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honchoboy
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Re: Build - Kwat AKA opening Pandoras magic box of kite fabr

Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:23 pm

3. Cutting of fabric cont.

As i have mentioned before this build requires us to layout the fabric in an orientation which makes the Icarex square to the outside edge of the sail. The orientation that is indicated in a build is important and should not be overlooked. It is to try and minimise any unwanted stretch in the material over time. I say 'unwanted' as a designer may well intend fabric to stretch to give a sail camber, thus running the orientation in an unusual manner, but this is in the minority.

Before cutting I have compared the Icarex scraps to each other and they are all pretty true across the range. What I mean by true is that they all have similar 'grid' spacings and the grid runs square. I have had Icarex in the past where the grid has been way off to other pieces in size and 'straightness' and although this can't be helped I like to try and get my 'grid' to run square from one Icarex panel to another i.e. lines meet up. However, orientation trumps neatness so don't fret it this is difficult to achieve.

So, first off lets grab that spray bottle of water and just clean down the mirror. Once done and dried off then spray a light misting of water onto the surface. Note the word light, you don't need to use much. Then take your piece of Icarex and lay it down starting in the centre and working out to the edges. You should literally see the water sucking the Icarex down and there is a good chance it will be flat straight off. If there are any bubbles or creases then just work them out. Once down flat the Icarex won't slip anywhere unless you want it to.

If you take a look at this first photo you can see the Icarex flat on the mirror and over to the right evidence of the water misting:

Image

I then take my time and square the template onto the Icarex. Now I found that the corrugated board I am using sits down pretty nicely on the Icarex and didn't really want to move around, however in the past I have been known to stick a few small squares of scrap Icarex onto the back of the template and then putting a dab of water onto the scrap sqaures and then place the template down onto the fabric. These small squares have helped the template to grip the fabric. You may not need to do this so experiment.

You can see in this photo the template squared onto the fabric:

Image

If you are working on a light table (or a piece of glass with a light under it) you could try laying up more than one piece of fabric on top of each other, putting a spray of water mist between each layer, getting the 'grids' sqaure to each other and then try cutting out multiploe panels at a time. It does work but I would say try it first on some scraps before cutting for real. It could be an expensive mistake if it goes horribly wrong.

Now you may notice I have ensured there is enough fabric on the right side of this photo to account for the hem allowance I need to put in (you might not need to do this part depending on how you made up your template). I then placed my ruler end on to the right hand side of this template and put a small pencil mark at 7mm away from the template. I do this in three places, top, middle, and bottom. I then take my knife, line up the ruler with these marks and cut my first straight edge (you can even put water on the back of a metal ruler and it will help hold it). I then carefully cut around the rest of the template taking my time not to budge the template out of position. Remember to keep changing the blade as needed especially if it drags the fabric. Now when I am pretty confident the shape has been cut out I advise you to lift the scrap material away from the panel and template, not the other way around. If you then discover that the fabric is still joined slightly you wont have moved the template or upset the flatness of the panel, and you can just cut where it is still joined.

Here is the first panel cut:

Image

Once we are happy with the first panel then go ahead and cut out the rest of the panels as needed. Note, if you are making the 'updated' panel layout then you need to flip the one template for each half of the larger triangle, as opposed to using two templates (does this make sense?)

Here we go, all panels now cut out. If you look at the top most grey panel on the right side of the photo you can see that rather than being a true triangle you can see the square part - this is the hem allowance that we put onto it:

Image

For this build I chose to use red, white, black, light grey and dark grey. You can see in this photo how it should look when sewn. The opposing asymmetry you can see on 2 panel sets is intentional. This is the left sail. The right sail will need reversing.

Image

Its just something I do but I try and place my darker or 'heavier' colours towards the bottom of a build to give some visual 'weight' to it. But that is just me, you do what looks right to you.


The panels are now done and need laying up next. That is where we will start with the next post......
Ian
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honchoboy
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Re: Build - Kwat AKA opening Pandoras magic box of kite fabr

Tue Jul 26, 2016 12:38 pm

4. Laying out sail pattern


I mentioned previously that I really do not like using tape to stick panels together. Just my opinion but, water based glue is far better than tape, not only does it do a more ‘forgiving’ job, but once stitched and either the sail is washed or rained upon, the glue will disappear. Tape is there forever.

    I hate sewing through tape. It will gum up your needle. Yes, you can clean the needle with a solvent (WD40 works well), but you will be constantly doing it. I used to use tape and I found that it just made my machines drop stitches. I lost a lot of time just fixing problems. Once the groove and scarf of the needle are sticky the thread can’t pass freely through and the thread misses the stitch.

    I don’t like seeing it on the kite when held up. You can just see it...ugly. I’ve used different tape over time and on some kites you can see how the tape has discoloured and looks brown on some (possibly dirt which has crept in). There is a double sided tape Tesla tape which is super sticky and excellent for many tasks but do not use it on sails. It comes on a red plastic backer and I found that you could see a reddish tint on the tape when it’s held up to the light. It stands out like a sore thumb.

I use the cheapest water based glue stick I can find for my sails. But the Pritt glue rollers are good for Leading Edge tunnels. They are expensive but I like them for Leading Edge tunnels. You can get them in refills which work out cheaper.



We are now ready to start piecing together the panels we cutout in the previous build step. If anyone is doing their own Kwat build and are using the original layout then you can just read this step and rejoin in a bit. I will point out when you need to pay attention again.

Now this following process is great for this kind of build. As we are only really dealing with a few panels at a time, rather than laying out a whole sail e.g. a trick kite sail, we can do this using something like a patio window to layout on. The reason I choose a window is simply because the light coming through turns the window into a light table and allows for being able to see through the laers of fabric, allowing for perfect alignment. Using a window on this kite is possible because we are not having to deal with a layout template, the panels are just aligned edge to edge. Now if you were laying out a trick kite sail it is a bit trickier but possible. You would want to adapt the process and work on something horizontal, say a piece of glass on top of a table with the plan sandwiched in between, or get your plan laminated. Ok, you are not going to get a 'light table' effect but you will still be able to see the template ok when laying your panels down on top. The techniques can stay the same but it does require more forethought into how to go about it. Practice first to see how it would work for your builds.

So first off grab a screenshot of the kite as decided upon in the coloriser. I tend to keep it on my phone as I can then easily mirror the image to ensure I get both halves of a kite correct. It can be easy to make a mistake with this. And you will kick yourself if you do!

First thing I do is dry-fit my panels together i.e. match up each half of the triangular panel with its matching neighbour, that together form the larger triangle (if you are doing the original layout then your work in this part is halved. I won't describe it as the process is the same). Remember, we are doing single flat stitched seams so we need to match up each panel half face-to-face. An easy way to think of this term is imagine a book which is open. Each page represents half of the triangle panel as seen from the front of the kite. Now close the book. The pages are now face-to-face. This is how we want our panels to be).

Once I have matched each half of the triangle with its partner I then go about proper fitting them together. This uses the same technique as described in the cutting of panels post. We are going to use water. First off clean the window or surface you are going to be working on. We don’t want any dirty marks on our expensive Icarex now do we. All done? Great.

Now I am going to point this out right now as it is important. I cannot 100% say that this technique won't cause some colours to bleed onto other coloured panels. I have personally experienced red Icarex bleeding onto white Icarex. I have seen this not only via this technique but also on a kite I built for a friend which used red and white next to each other and when he flew it in rain and left the sail damp the white picked up a very fine coloured stain off the red. It may just be the particular piece of red Icarex I have got (it is the same roll being used in both) but my feeling is it probably is true for all red Icarex. It also makes me wonder what other 'vivid' colour Icarex has the potential to bleed. As always, do your own testing first. Dark colours do not seem to be a problem (black, dark grey, light, grey). You have been warned! If you experience bleeding it can be minimised if you work quickly and don't let the water sit on the fabric for too long, but you may want to try another technique.



1. Spray the window with a fine misting of water and offer your first piece of panel up to the window and lay it flat. The water should suck it down flat, but help it if needed as described previously. I stick my other 'partner' half just below it so it is within easy reach, as shown in the photo below:

Image

2. Spray another fine mist of water over the flat panel, lift the partner panel and align it perfectly on top. The water mist will suck it down onto the other piece, so I deal with the top edge first and then smooth it down. Take your time doing this, we really want symmetry in our triangles.

Image

3. Once done you should have two perfectly aligned triangles laying face-to-face as shown in the next photo:

Image

This photo shows what I was mentioning earlier about trying to align your fabrics grid pattern up nicely. You can see that it isn't - I had to use the scraps of what I had. Normally I would cut the sail panel so that this won't happen:

Image

Now you have a choice at this stage. You could choose from either of the following options:

a) You could just try lifting off the water-stuck panels and sew them together straight off with no adhesive

b) You could add a small amount of water-based glue to the edge to be stitched, and by small I mean roughly 3-4mm worth (remember the stitching is what holds your sail together, the glue is just there as an aid when sewing so your panels don't become misaligned).

Either way, when you come to lifting the panels off the window do so from the edge to be stitched, as it will stay together better.

If you were laying out and stitching each panel almostimmediately after you may want to try the first option. It does work pretty well, the water will hold it together for you. Just lift it carefully from the edge that will be stitched and it shouldn't move. As an experiment I left two pieces of Icarex sprayed together for 7 days and they still were stuck as well as on the first day (but do remember the possibility of bleed if you leave water on it for too long!). The only thing you need to do is wipe off the excess water on the exposed panel surfaces with a piece of kitchen towel, to prevent it sticking to the bed of your sewing machine.

If you want to do all your laying up in one go, and doing your sewing at a later date then you may want to choose the option of adding a small amount of adhesive (this is the option to go for if doing a whole sail layout as in a trick kite). As I knew that this build was going to be done sporadically I went with the latter.

We don't need to ruin the alignment we have just made. Simply spray a water mist onto the panel and then gently fold down the top edge and stick it onto itself, as in the photo below:

Image

Now grab a piece of kitchen roll and just wipe off any excess water on the edges to be stuck together (we are using water-based glue remember), and then put a very thin amount of glue along one of the panel edges, about 3mm is all you need. It is then a simple case of lifting the fabric back and realigning. I press down in the middle first and then work out to each side.

You can see in this photo the panels stuck back down together and if you look carefully you can see the adhesive on the window:

Image.

That panel is already for sewing now. It is just a case now of repeating this process until you have all of your 24 panels aligned, glued into 12 panels, and ready to stitch together.

We will be continuing this process to start joining the triangle patterns into the sail shape (which is where those doing the original layout will join back in) but we just need to quickly stitch these triangles together along their edge first.

I'll put this stage in the next post, but will discuss stitching in greater detail further down the line.
Ian
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honchoboy
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Re: Build - Kwat AKA opening Pandoras magic box of kite fabr

Tue Jul 26, 2016 2:05 pm

4. Laying out sail pattern cont.


We need to quickly stitch the triangles together that we aligned and glued in the previous step. Anyone doing the original layout can rejoin very shortly, but the folding over of hem and stitching described here does still apply later on.

I'm not going to mention stitching too much here. There is a lot of information regarding this in other great build threads. What I want to say though is respect the aspect of stitching. Think about this...you are a kite enthusiast, which is a hobby, who has taken a decision to step into the world of needlecraft, which is a hobby. You are trying to combine the two together. Take your time learning about needlecraft, practice on scraps, ask questions in sewing shops, try different settings on your machine and write everything down. Your results will improve greatly if you treat the stitching as another hobby to learn as opposed to a means of simply making a kite.

This is my tip on stitching. The machine will stitch neater the faster you run it, whatever stitch pattern you are using. It may scare you to run at a high speed but have courage. Go a bit faster than what you normally do and my guess is your stitching will be straighter. Its a bit like trying to draw a straight line either slowly or fast. The fast one will be straighter as there is less opportunity for deviation. Also, don't force, push, or pull the fabric through. That is what the feed dogs on your machine are for. Let the machine do the work for you. It's worth pointing out now that thinking about it I have done a lot of this stitching from the rear of the kite. This is not normally how you would tend to go about a trick kite sail which you stitch from the front. However, I trust my machine to give as good a looking stitch from either side and doing it this way helps me to actually see where the edge of the hem is.

We are going to use a simple straight stitch all over this kite. The stitch length I nearly always use is 3mm long. Just run a small test on some scrap material, checking your tensions are set right, and measure the stitch length until it is set at 3mm. I am going to use a size 11 ballpoint needle on all areas except where thicker material (dacron) is involved. Then I would swap the needle over for a size 11 or 14 standard needle. ALways run tests on scraps prior to stitching for real to check tensions, and size of neeedle hole.

I mentioned I would be using colour matched thread. To get this right we need to consider which way we want the overlap fold to lay. This really is just a case of thinking about the colours of each panel. We would want the overlap fold to be stitched behind the panel with the strongest/darkest/boldest colour, in order to hide it as much as possible. An example would be...we have a triangle, half white, half red. The red is the more dominant colour here so the fold would lay down onto the red side of the triangle. Therefore if we also use red thread on this triangle our stitching will be discrete. If you did it the other way, fold laying down on the white you will see the red behind it when held up to the light and it won't look as neat. Some colours are easy to make q decision on, others are more six of one, half a dozen of the other, so hold it up to light, play with it, and goes with what looks better to you.

Once you have figured out which way the hem fold is going to lay and what thread you would use for each triangle lets stitch the join edge together.

The triangles have a 7mm hem built in so it is at 7mm in from the edge that we want the stitiching to sit. You could choose a number of different ways to get this 7mm right; You could use a stitching guide which attaches to you rmachines foot. You could measure 7mm from your needle tip and put a piece of tape on the machine bed as a guide. You could simply draw a line 7mm in onto your panel using either a pencil or dressmakers chalk. If you go with the latter put the line onto the side that you decided was the more dominant colour, so red in our example above. This will mean that the mark will be come hidden when we fold the hem over to the red side.

Whatever you choose, stitch the panels together down their join side. I tend to start my stitching with 2 forwards, 2 back and then stitch. I end it with the reverse - 2 back, 2 forward. I then just cut off the loose thread ends using scissors.

You can see in the following photo me starting to stitch the panel halves together:

Image

Once this has been done spread the panel out into its true triangle and you will have a 7mm hem which sticks up as in the next photo:

Image

The next photo shows a panel which has been joined but shows the coloured thread discussed earlier, this panel is half red, half white:

Image

The next photo shows the hem being folded over towards the red half. Press this down to create a nice sharp crease:

Image

You can see how from the front of the panel we now can't see the hem folded over behind the red:

Image

We need to now stitch down the hem neatly.

You can see in the next photo that I have stitched the hem edge down. I try to do this about 2mm in from the edge. I am lucky in that the edge of my foot to the needle is 2mm so I just follow this to get a straight line:

Image

You can see in he next photo the stitching all done:

Image

You will be left with a little overhang bit which you can see in the next photo. Cut this off with your knife:

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Now flip your panel over and admire your joined panel halves, your discreet and neat stitching and grab a beer as a treat. Repeat these steps for your panel halves until they are all done:

Image

Phew, that part is done. We now need to start joining these individual triangles together to form each sail.
Ian
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honchoboy
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Re: Build - Kwat AKA opening Pandoras magic box of kite fabr

Tue Jul 26, 2016 3:45 pm

5. Stitching of the sail


So this is where anyone who may be following along and doing the original panel layout will be joining back in. Essentially the previous step got us to the point where you already are...getting 12 triangles ready to stitch together to produce a sail.

The process is really just a repeat of the steps taken above, so reread it if needed.

The easiest way to go about producing each sail half is think of it as follows:

We have a right hand sail and a left hand sail that will be joined together to create a complete kite sail. Now split each sail half into a top and bottom. We are going to join three triangles to give a left-top sail, three for a left-bottom sail and then join the top and the bottom up together to give the left side. Then repeat for the right side. All being well we will end up with a great symmetrical kite sail :D

The process to do this is no different then what we have already done.

The first photo shows a triangle being misted down onto the window (remember my point about all these steps being done face-to-face, otherwise it will be the wrong way round!):

Image

Then, as described before, spray some more water onto this triangle and align its neighbouring panel on top. Take your time getting this right:

Image

Then spray a bit more water to hold the top triangle as you fold it down, wipe off any excess water from the edges to be glued, apply about 2-3mm of water based stick adhesive, and then roll the top triangle back up to achieve the perfect alignment again (You may notice that I have drawn a very faint pencil line along this edge 7mm in to follow when stitching them together. It won't be seen as long as you do it on the side where the crease will be pressed flat):

Image

These two triangles now need to be stitched in exactly the same manner as described in the above post. Pay attention again to which way you want the hem to lay. If you have two triangles of the same colour then consider how it may look in the centre of the kite where all the triangles meet when all done. I can't really describe what I mean here. Depending on how you lay the hem you can end up with either a thin or fatter looking triangular spoke part of the kite. A bit of playing around with this should show you what I mean.

This photo shows two triangles stitched, with the hem sticking up waiting to be folded, creased and stitched flat. The hem will lay behind the grey and black triangle otherwise you would see bit of grey laying behind the white panel if you did it the other way:

Image.

Then, when we have two triangles together we need to repeat this process and stitch the remaining top/bottom triangle onto these two to give us a top or bottom half of the sail for each side, as shown in the next photo:

Image

Still with me? Good, we are very nearly done with this part.

We now need to join the top and the bottom of each half of the sail. Again, it is just a repeat of the above process. I did this part flat on a piece of glass laid on a table, rather than a window, but still used a mist spray. Spray down either the top or bottom (remember face-to-face) and get it as flat as you can. Spray more water on top and then align the other half on top of it. When happy fold back one half a bit, wipe down excess water off edges, apply 2-3mm of glue and then roll back to get perfect alignment:

Image

Now you need to stitch the top and bottom together exactly as described before. It can be a bit trickier deciding which way to lay the hem fold on this bit if you have used a lot of colours. Don''t worry too much though. We are going to placing a spar tunnel behind this join in a bit which will hide the overlap somewhat when held up to the light.

There we go, we have now made a complete side of the sail (this photo shows the reverse):

Image

You will notice some sticky out bits around the edge from where the triangles have joined. Just cut these off neatly with a ruler and knife:

Image

The final part we need to do for now is fold over and stitch down the 7mm hem around the edge of the sail. I flipped the sail over so I am looking at its reverse and put a few very faint pencil marks 14mm in on each straight edge. Then I folded in each side to touch this mark, thus giving me a 7mm hem all the way around. If needed apply a small amount of glue to help hold it down. Then it is a case of straight stitching this hem down all the way around in one pass. Again I did this at about 2mm from the hems 'exposed' edge:

Image

And finally, when you are doing this you I suggest you roll the sail up to reduce any creases as you manipulate the sail on the machine:

Image

There we go, one stiched half of the sail. If you haven't already then you need to do these stages again to give you the other side of the sail. Just remember to mirror the panel layout, unless you are intentionally wanting an asymetric sail design!


Woop, woop. Two halves of the Kwat :mrgreen:


Next post we need to join the two halves, make a spine tunnel, and apply reinforcements.
Ian
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Re: Build thread - Opening Pandoras magic box of kite fabric

Tue Jul 26, 2016 4:40 pm

honchoboy wrote:
The kite I have started to make comes from this book.

Image

This book should be on your bookcase if not already. It is an oldie but a goldie. You can track it down relatively easily and even my local library has a copy of it. I suppose i should point out now that if you want a kite that can do all the 'latest' tricks then your not going to find it in here! Go and grab yourself a modern opensource plan if that is what you are after. There is a plethora to choose from.


I have that book - never made a kite from it yet but enjoying this thread
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