32-Panel Bag Beginner Stitching FAQ

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mc
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32-Panel Bag Beginner Stitching FAQ

Post by mc » 17 May 2010 16:35

1. What materials do I need to get started with stitching 32s?

You need scissors (Fiskars fine point are my favorite), thread (floss is my favorite - more on that later), fill (both heavy for weight and light for fullness), needles (John James Glovers Needles sz10 are best, search Ebay) and some kind of fabric (you can use anything soft and strong, but if you want to take it seriously, start with Ultrasuede Light - more on that later).

Scissors and thread are available at any craft store or store with a craft section. My favorite floss is Johnson & Johnson Mint Waxed Floss (NOT "Cleanburst" or any other fancy stuff) and you will need a lighter as well if you go with floss. The reason I like to use floss is that, aside from it being a strong thread that plays very well, you can avoid tying knots that are necessary with non-meltable threads. By melting the floss a little bit, blowing out the flame, and squishing the little ball of wax it makes, you can create a "stopper" at the end of the thread that substitutes for knots. You can also do this at the end of a pent to finish it, but don't burn your other threads or your material!

Some people make their first bag out of a t-shirt or some pants or something. I had the good fortune of having a stitching lesson and my teacher gave me some facile to start with.

If you want to get the good stuff so you can start learning on what the pros are using, you can visit www.FieldsFabrics.com (hopefully that link will not die for some time to come) and buy 1/8th of a yard (.125) of one or two colors of facile. This should run you about $15 with shipping. A few colors that are guaranteed to work well in any combination are Imperial Blue, Petit Pois (green), Flash Red, Country Cream (whitish). There are many good color choices, and I believe there are already separate threads dedicated to what's good and what's not. Start with these safe choices, and maybe pick a few others (although maybe consider asking around about whether particular colors are good or not in the threads I mentioned).

To get lead or stainless steel shot for heavy fill, visit a local gun or camping store. Google will help you find those. Lead plays great, but is poisonous. Steel plays decent, but is not as dense (heavy) as lead.

To get little plastic bits for light fill, visit a local craft store and ask for poly pellets or other little rubber / plastic bits to give your bag the fullness you want without adding weight.

2. How can I learn to stitch if I do not have a teacher?

You're in luck! A very kind person who I do not know has made a stitching tutorial video series on Youtube! If you search Youtube for "Skillteacher stitch footbag", his videos will come right up. There are videos on how to make stencils, how to trace, how to start your first panel, etc etc. It's easy to figure out the order in which you should watch these.

Fortunately, a great thing about making a footbag is that it's a very simple thing to do.

Cut the pieces out the right size, put them together in a clean consistent way with thread, fill it so that it is playable, close it, and kick kick kick!

Keep that in mind as you are struggling through your first few bags. Once you get your basic technique of attaching one piece to another, it is really very simple. If you take a look at the Bags and Equipment "Bags I've Made" thread, you will see a lot of other new stitchers making great looking bags from very early on, and that's because it's really not that complicated! You can do it, too!

There are no rules in stitching - as long as it is durable and playable, it is a good bag and you can have fun with it! Aesthetics and consistency are your next concern, and if you remember that you want to make clean looking bags that are the same throughout, you can figure out how to make nice bags quickly.

I recommend you get the materials I mentioned, watch the videos, and take a crack at it! You will probably make a very ugly bag with a lot of mistakes. Take pictures of that first bag, post in the Bags I've Made thread, and ask for tips. Chances are, there are a lot of very simple steps that you can take to work towards making better bags, and in no time, you will be among the ranks of people making beautiful, playable bags!
BRICK!

rfa::never give up::
nyfa

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Donovon
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Post by Donovon » 17 May 2010 19:07

Concerning Technique:
Here is a thread showcasing all eight of the skillteacher videos:
http://modified.in/footbag/viewtopic.php?t=20554
Personally, I feel his technique has a few flaws, but nonetheless it produces a bag. After learning to put a few bags together, it seems easier to modify your technique.
Yet, his technique seems "opposite?" of most stitchers. I would like to elaborate when I feel I can explain it right.
-In terms gather, you want even gather more than a specific taught-ness (I cannot express this enough). Most stitchers gather around a tool (ie a battery or a pen cap). This allows for a more even gather (although this is impossible with the skillteacher method since he "re-loops" stitching "hex-->pent" (many stitchers knot on the hex, opposite his technique)). [side note- some stitchers do gather "as they go" or "a side at a time," but i feel this takes a different feel as you cannot depend on a tool]
-Also, the way he ends the last stitch, he loops back around the hex-hex and not the pent-hex, leaving the final point of the pentagon uneven from the other four.
I hope these makes sense.

Dont bother with the stencil videos, here is an easy way to create templates (sometimes down, sometimes running):
http://patterns.mhansen.org/
Yet, his video showing how to complete the last stitch is pretty consistent with most stitchers technique, in my opinion.

Concerning Filler:

Stainless Steel- Lighter than Lean and Tungsten, very inexpensive, non-toxic. Non-stainless steel will rust and ruin your footbag.
**Steel Disc Filler/"Wire-Cut Steel"- It seems slightly counter-intuitive, but these really small flat discs are my favorite filler. They sit really well and i think they set very true. And they are so small, they take up a lot of space that larger shot wouldnt, allowing for true %. I use this and tungsten.

Lead - Heaver than steel, lighter than tungsten, inexpensive, toxic.

Tungsten - Heaviest, very expensive, non-toxic. Ideal for minis.

For tungsten, I get mine from here:
http://www.ballisticproducts.com/depart ... p?dept=371
Go with the Hevishot (its tungsten). Comes in small sizes, (even size 9).
Dont go with the tungsten-iron, It rusts.
You used to be able to get it per oz from freedomfootbags, but it gets even pricey-er that way, because its really pricey to begin with.
Ive seen this thrown around too:
http://www.tungstenspheres.com/
If you want tungsten, you should either hook up with others who are interested or find a stitcher willing to part with some. Otherwise, be ready to pay a lot of money for a lot of tungsten, lol.

Many people use the metals for the weight and plastic or seed bead as a complimentary filler for fill percent. Im under the impression seed bead are little tiny glass beads.

Concerning Fabric:
Fields is the place to go for facile (ultrasuede light)
Here is an old thread on Amaretta:
http://modified.in/footbag/viewtopic.php?t=15440
Some stitchers live near fabric stores and often a few are in the business of selling/trading fabric.
Microsuede can be found in some fabric stores.
You can be very inventive with your fabrics, but these fabrics are tried and true for really playable bags.

Concerning Color Patterns:
For questions concerning color patters, or even ideas on different things to try, check here:
http://modified.in/footbag/viewtopic.php?t=21008

Many stitchers also have a lot of their own quirks that they pick up from other stitchers, critiquing their own technique, and modifying they way they stitch. You've got to keep experimenting to find the techniques that allow you to make the bags you want to make.

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brianbear
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Post by brianbear » 18 May 2010 08:52

Great work guys, I believe a good bag can be made from these tips :)
I just wanted to add one thing in about the beginning of a stitcher's career.
A good way to get critiques is to trade bags with established stitchers. They can tell where you are making mistakes and give a thorough and accurate review of the bag (this can lead to some sells). Most importantly filler/ the bag's feel) can be reviewed from trades, you After all, if you hear a known stitcher say they like a certain bag, you're more likely to buy it!
brian "bear" sherrill
buy my footbags
via freedom footbags
or on occasion (also for fabrics) thru modified

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Donovon
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Post by Donovon » 18 May 2010 16:52

RipWalker wrote:Lezthan,

You're not looking for a sample set, if you want to order small amounts of individual Ultrasuede Light colors. Here are the exact links that you'll need with a brief explanation of what each represents:

Ultrasuede Light Extrawide

The link above is the normal Ultrasuede Light page with many of the more popular colors. You'll typically pay $6.87 before tax for .125 (1/8th) of a yard.

Ultrasuede Specials

The link above is the "special deals" Ultrasuede page with many of the less popular colors. Note that this page may contain other types of Ultrasuede - not only Ultrasuede Light, so read the titles carefully (some people like using the others regardless... I've never tried them myself, only Light). This page is GREAT for those who are just starting and want to learn on some colors at a slightly lower price point. You'll typically pay $4.62 before tax for .125 (1/8th) of a yard.

Ultrasuede Light Jungle Prints

The link above is the Jungle Prints Ultrasuede Light page. All Ultrasuede Light with some interesting colors for those unique bags that you might want to make. You'll typically pay $6.87 before tax for .125 (1/8th) of a yard.


If you're just starting out, when you go to order some of the fabric and you're entering a "quantity," don't type 1. Instead, enter .125 as the quantity. That represents 1/8th of a yard and is the smallest increment in which Field's will cut fabric for you.

Hope this helped!
The sample kit can be good if you want to really see all the colors, but you will also end up with a lot of unusable fabric.

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RipWalker
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Post by RipWalker » 19 May 2010 09:26

Thanks Don.
Mark Bull

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garygargan
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Another beginner tip

Post by garygargan » 22 May 2010 06:43

Perhaps this sounds silly, but... Wash your hands. Apart from keeping your bag clean while you stitch it, the biggest advantage is it makes the needle easier to hold. The natural oils on your skin can make the needle slippery. I find i am able to stitch without glovers needles as long as my paws are clean.
GG Footbags - Bags available #41, #43, http://www.modified.in/footbag/viewtopic.php?t=21206

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Post by Ramen God » 06 Jul 2010 15:03

Lots of new stitchers all of a sudden, I'll keep this near the top of the bags and equipment section for them.

mc
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Post by mc » 02 Jan 2011 07:21

Thanks!

[bump]
BRICK!

rfa::never give up::
nyfa

mc
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Post by mc » 28 Jul 2011 15:07

bumperoo
BRICK!

rfa::never give up::
nyfa

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billyg
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Post by billyg » 28 Dec 2011 05:19

What's the best way to trace your template onto black fabric? I've been using a white colored pencil, but I figure there must be a better way out there.
Billy G.

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D.
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Post by D. » 28 Dec 2011 06:05

A silver gel pen is the best thing I have found for black and purple.
Get the finest tip you can, and no sparkles. They just rub off.

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