I am a clothing geek. Clothing selection is critical to having a safe, pleasant experience in the outdoors. When you are not in a waterproof, climate-controlled, bug-free environment, your clothes become the primary interface between you and the elements. I have been learning a lot about clothing over the past couple of years and continue to refine our systems as we spend more time outside.
Finding the right clothes at the right price for a family of five can prove challenging at times. One little secret we use was outlined in a guest post I wrote a few months ago here. Another approach I have started to experiment with lately is to make some of the clothes myself, my latest project being a windbreaker for our youngest daughter.
This jacket pattern came from the Sandpiper Wind & Rain Suit made by The Green Pepper. The fabric used was the 1.1 oz nylon ripstop from Thru-Hiker. The only modification I made to the pattern was to not do the front pocket. In the future I also think I would change the hood a little so that it has less of a beak, and make it a full-zip instead of a velcro pull-over. In the end, we got exactly what we wanted: a highly breathable, light-weight, water-resistant windbreaker at a good price, in the right size, in the color of her choice. It was a win-win situation for everyone!
In case you might be interested in attempting to make some outdoor clothing (or gear) of your own, here are some great online resources that I have found:
- Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics has a good selection of outdoor fabrics, notions, and patterns
- Thru-Hiker has a limited selection of very specialized patterns, fabrics, notions, and kits for making clothing and gear for long-distance hikers. This site has a wealth of information on sewing techniques and also has a forum that is very helpful for sewing newbies.
- The Rainshed has a wide variety of patterns, fabrics, and notions for all kinds of outdoor pursuits
- Rockywoods Outdoor Fabrics has a great selection of outdoor fabrics
- Shelby Extreme Materials & Gear is a European site that carries a selection of patterns and high-tech (expensive) fabrics not easily found anywhere else
- The Green Pepper is a company that makes outdoor clothing patterns for both adults and kids
- Controlled Exposure is another company that makes outdoor clothing and gear patterns
- BackpackingLight has several articles on how to make your own gear. The forums also have a MYOG (Make Yor Own Gear) section with all kinds of really interesting discussions on cool projects people are working on. Great inspiration can be found throughout this site. I am always amazed at what people are doing: making their own tents, down-filled sleeping bags, backpacks, etc.
[...] I am beginning to love this part of who we are and who I am becoming. I also love having a husband who sews. He didn't always but finding suitable gear for the children especially is difficult so he's applied his engineering mind to the problem and come up with sewing as the solution. I love this man! I'm amazed at anyone who can follow a sewing pattern so I'm awed with the projects he's been tackling. His latest was this windbreaker for Brienne. [...]
Damien!! Wonderful job at
Damien!! Wonderful job at this wind-breaker!! I think you've missed your calling! I can't wait to get a sewing machine here. There is sooo much you can do! Blessings to you and the fam.
Damien! Thank you for sharing this. I'm inspired at the possibilities for backpacking. I agree with you about the modifications you'd make next time. But she looks darn cute in that thing! I love the option for using the exact material you want! And I'm grateful for links to more resources that I didn't know existed!
[...] When Damien started talking about sewing clothing and gear for our kids a couple years ago I was pleasantly surprised, I hadn't known any men who sewed. Sorry ladies, this awesome husband is mine, all mine! His first project almost 2 years ago were fleece pants for Celine (she still wears and loves them). His latest was this windbreaker for Brienne. [...]
[...] of patterns. This was the same pattern he used (but it's a totally new unused one) for making this wind jacket for Brienne. var addthis_pub="rtougas";var addthis_feed="http://fimby.tougas.net"; var [...]
Great Kids Project
I made this same rain suit for my kids. it is a great pattern. I also added a pocket/stuff sack inside the coat so the whole thing can be bundeled up and packed away. Nice site there is a lot of great info here. thanks
This is amazing!! I was
This is amazing!! I was thinking of making the kids some rain gear and this is where I thought to go!! I KNEW you would have amazing resources and that you did!
patterns for a down sweater, jacket in mens size
Years ago, Recreational Equipment sold some patterns for down clothing. I had
most of them but don't have a pattern for a mens down sweater. Back in the late
1960's I made and sold down sweaters and jackets and made my share of them so
I know how to put one together and will use the Polish down rather than the cheap
chinese stuff. Anybody out there know where I could find a pattern?
Sorry it took me so long to
Sorry it took me so long to reply to this, I just found it stuck in my comment approval queue...
You might want to ask in the Backpacking Light forums (free to join), as there are a lot of people there who have experimented with making down clothing and gear.