I rarely buy less than 10 yards of anything at one time.Ok...two posts in row....
So...for you experienced guys...what are the staple materials you use? Buying a few yards of something special seems good when you need it but is there something you use a ton of enough to justify buying a roll of it? Rolls seem to be around $500 for the commonly used fabrics I've seen and that is pretty daunting... but as people have said already...its nice to have stuff on hand.
Just my advice, as someone who does this part-time professionally.
It’s ok to spend a little more on fabric to get better quality. Buying the cheapest mesh will leave you wishing you had spent a little more for something nicer. I also prefer polyester webbing over polypropylene, but its harder to find, and the stuff I use isn’t available in small quantities (I have to buy 500 yards at a time)
Again, seek out your local tarp/awning shop. “Scraps” from such shops usually means anything too small to make a whole tarp out of and are often large enough to do several projects out of one piece..
When sewing mesh:
1. Leave a seam allowance of at least 1/2” or you risk pulling seams. Generally more seam for more open mesh.
2. High quality mesh makes sewing and cutting straight lines really easy, just follow the warp/weft with sharp scissors and save time marking and measuring.
3. Short stitches are more secure, it’s worth taking the time to double, or even triple stitch most seams. My rule of thumb is to match the stitch length to the mesh yarn count. One stitch per yarn in the mesh.
4. For even more robust seams, you can cut it with a hot knife to seal the edges AFTER sewing. (be sure you have adequate ventilation when melting pvc)
The mode of seam failure is most often the polyester fibers pulling out of their PVC coating, melting the ends of the fibers prevents this.
5. Pinning webbing to mesh may result in Puckering. Webbing shortens when you sew it. Consider pre-sewing your webbing before you sew it to mesh, or just marking your mesh clearly and develop the technique to avoid puckering.
For other woven fabrics: Nylon doesn’t really like UV and will fade and degrade faster, though it is more mechanically durable than polyester. 600 denier Polyester is considerably cheaper and a fine choice for most articles of river gear. Polyester also dries faster.
Use polyester thread for anything that will see lots of sun time.
I could give away all my trade secrets, but what would be the point? A guys gotta make a living and maintain an edge over his competitors.
One more thing, buy a $10,000 electronic pattern sewing machine for serial bartacking.