Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How To: Camping in Comfort


I'm very excited to be posting my first, of what will hopefully become many, How To/Tutorial Post. My boyfriend's friend is going camping in Colorado, Utah, and some other neighboring states for the next few months. Sleeping in a tent for a few days can be rough on the back especially after long days of hiking. One way to hopefully alleviate this problem is to use a camping pad underneath your sleeping bag for some more cushion. They can get rather pricey, but he had the idea to use an old mattress pad (Sultan Tjome Pillowtop) as a camping pad. If you don't have a mattress pad or pillowtop you could use an old futon mattress, i'm sure they're easy to find for cheap on Craigslist. If you wanted to start from scratch all you would need are a couple yards of fabric, 1 inch foam padding in your desired width and length, a sewing machine, and some thread! Here's how I made these...

The dogs hate taking pictures, except for when I'm actually trying to work
1. Begin by taking the foam padding out of the cover, measure both the cover and the padding to find the center, and then cut both down the center the entire length using scissors or a rotary cutter. You will end up with 2 body sized pieces of foam padding and covering.

What is happening here?                                                                              

 2. It's okay if you cut the fabric and foam padding a little unevenly. You're going to want to cut an inch off of both long sides of the foam padding so that you have enough room for seam allowances when you sew your  open edge shut. In the second picture above you can see how the foam is no longer hanging out.

3. If you haven't already place the foam padding back inside the cover. Starting about an inch down from the top, roll both ends of the open fabric in towards each other so the seams are no longer visible. Pin and continue doing this all the way down the length of the open size stopping again about an inch before the bottom.

4. Once pinned, starting an inch down from the top sew all the way down stopping an inch from the end. Keep the edge of your presser foot aligned with the edge of the fabric. I wasn't able to close my presser foot because the fabric plus padding was too thick, so if you  want to take it off you can (I liked how the presser foot helped sandwich the pieces). Slow slowly since you're working with thick fabric taking care to really press down on the material as you guide it through. You may want to use heavy duty needles.

 5. The fabric at the two ends was too thick for my sewing machine once all of the seams were all tucked in, which is why you started an inch from the top and ended an inch from the bottom. Using a simple whipstitch sew up the two openings at the top and bottom. Repeat with your other half of fabric and foam padding and you're all done!

Hope you liked my first tutorial, and you'll have no excuse for sore limbs the next time you go camping!

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