Sunday, August 22, 2010

what I did on this 90* Sunday

Well, long time no see.
didn't think it would take me so long to get back to posting.
I have done some tatting this summer and will post that as I go.

but I thought that I would share what I did today.
it was 92* today with 25+ mph winds. It didn't cool down all that much last night, so just didn't bother to close up the house. With the wind blowing it wasn't too bad, but warmer then I like.

here goes.

Here is the back story. Back with DH and I got married in 1973, we had less then a week for a honeymoon, so decided to go camping out to the Black Hills in SD. We bought a tent at the local variety store - Canvas of course as that was all that was available. And a metal Colman cooler (still use the cooler, those metal ones just keep standing up.

We used the tent for several camping trips as the years went by. I mended holes in the window and door mesh and replaced the zipper and patched a few holes in the canvas and the floor. The kids used it for campouts in the back pasture or when it was hot in the summer. As the years went by the family got larger and we needed a second tent. about 15+ yrs ago I found a 7 person nylon tent at a Discount store for 70% off. good deal. That got used a lot too.

Both tents have been stored for the past 5 yrs or so, all the kids left home and we haven't gone camping.

several weeks ago I loaned the nylon tent to our daughter. she didn't have one big enough anymore.

Then a week later 2 neighbor families and we decided to go camping. I got the old canvas tent out thinking I would make sure that it didn't need cleaning or minor repair. Well, a 40yr old tent has pretty much ended it's useful life. the floor needs complete replacement and a couple spots on the sides are simply starting to come apart. and the window and door mesh need total replacement and ....
so I got the nylon tent back from our daughter. She hadn't had a chance to get it out and put it up to check it, so I did that. well, guess what. one back corner was absolutely shredded and who ever had been using it tried to repair it with clear packing tape. I do not recall anyone ever mentioning it to me. Looked like something had used claws on it. Below is one of the sides of the corner to show you what it looked like.

I was able to find tent material and waterproofing online at Campmor I used to buy from them years ago.
I ended up having to travel for business so didn't get to go camping last weekend. DH was invited to stay in one of the other families camper. It rained heavily so maybe a good thing we didn't have the tent up.

Which brings me to this afternoon.
I got out my handy dandy 1948 American Star sewing machine and set it up outside. I don't use my fancy computerized machine to sew things like this, plus I can't take the new machine outside, it needs to be in a table, and I can't use my treadle machine, as I have to find a couple parts for it, but the treadle machine might be even better for this type of sewing.

I needed to sew outside because of the size of the tent and it was cooler because of the wind.

Have you ever tried to sew a flat felled seam in nylon tent material in a 25+mph wind. sheesh, there were a couple of times the whole tent lifted off the ground.

it took much longer to get it all patched then I thought it would. Below is a picture showing the 2 sides of the corner that had to be replaced. The new material is the very light grey. There were a couple of tiny holes near the top and just above the corner that needed to be mended as well.

Here is a front look at the tent. it is dark out by this time. I didn't finish until about 8:30 pm and had to get everything cleaned up before I could put the tent up. Want to see if my stitches will hold, so am going to leave it up tonight and tomorrow. I put it up under the maple tree in the front yard so it will be in shade most of the day tomorrow.

I still need to seal the seams and apply water proofing to the whole tent before it is completely finished, but I am pleased so far.

This is an American Camper tent. according to the research I did, it was produced and sold by JC Penneys.

so that is what I did today.


  1. Nice work! Love the old sewing machine. I grew up with a Singer that looked like that - but never learned to use it!

    Your blog looks great too.
    Fox : )

  2. Wow! Color me im-PRESSED. 'Lady. I have sewn costumes before and mended them, but would never even dream of mending a tent, nyon, canvas or otherwise.

  3. Ah, the pioneer spirit! I know I'm still a city girl at heart, even though I've lived on a farm for 28 years. I'd have thrown the tent out and told them... sorry!

  4. That WAS a day well spent, a brilliant repair. Enjoy using it. the last time we tried to go camping in Ireland we ended up in a hotel, can't trust Irish weather!

  5. Sounds like you had a fun day!!


  6. Thank you Ladies, I do feel a sense of accomplishment when I finish a project like this. I am one of the re-use generation, throwing things out that I can repair just seems wrong somehow. of course I get reeeeallly tired of mending DH's jeans, but what do you do.

    it has been rainy this afternoon, so am going to see if it is water proof when I get home.

  7. Yup, I actually have the dolls... my husband started a really bad habit! And even worse, he CONTRIBUTES to it by bringing them home for a surprise. Most wives get flowers, chocolates... taken out to dinner; my dear husband brings home barbies! Haha.

    His mom and dad also feed the fever and stopped by with 4 more they found at a garage sale.... my grandma sends me dolls she finds, even DAD, my DAD, (! whoa !) gets them at yard sales and saves them for me. The whole top SHELF of our closet is FULL of Barbies in boxes. Craziness!!

  8. I came to your blog to check out the cute Christmas tree earring, and discovered THIS post!

    WOW ! What a story and amazing repair job! Do you repair gazebo covers? :) I caused our first one to be ruined by leaving it up on the frame during the winter of 2007 (it made it fine thru 2006). Actually the top of the frame itself collapsed (not surprising with the weight of the snow) and we had to cut the canvas top off, then have the frame welded back into shape! The exact replacement cover (a see-through, meshy-kind of material) lasted four seasons, but it started shredding this year from the excessive heat. There's no real way to repair this kind of material. The gazebo company went out of business but we fortunately obtained a 'copy' of the cover (to use next year), and it's made out of a different (and hopefully stronger) material - more like on your tent!

    I may need your expertise in finding repair materials, water proofing, and seam sealers!!

    I'm a motel person myself, but I admire and envy your outdoorsy spirit !!! I'd be a little worried about bears, though!

  9. Hi Kathy, I did my tent material shopping at they have several types of fabrics, from mesh to tent sides and floor. the tech I chatted with was very helpful. you can get water proofing and seam sealers from them as well, and they can advise you as to the best ones to use.
    if you have any questions, just ask me, I will do my best to give you a hand.
    you do very pretty tatting


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