How to Sew a tarp

So this post is going to be in a this is what I did, this is what you should do format. Before you ask, yes I messed it up.

What you will need:

Cutting board:I really like my Fiskers.

Circular cutter: Fiskers again.

Material: I got 10 yards of 1.1 Silpoly from Here

Tie out anchor: I use .5 inch Polypro.

Tie out:I use TarpWorms.

Guy line: This is good stuff. You might need two sets depending on how long you want these to be.

Thread:Gutermann Mara 700 is good and should come with an order from

Pattern: You don’t need this, but it’s cheap and very helpful.

Disclaimer !! Right after I bought all this stuff, started to offer pre-cut tarp kits. It would have saved me some heartache, but been  little bit more.

When I got this I immediately opened and spread out the pattern.Diy-TarpIt’s huge. Hidden under there are a queen size bed and a wife. It also has gauges on the bottom to help with the cat cuts that aren’t 100% necessary with Silpoly for stretch, but are if you want a consistently taught pitch. Cut it out on a large open area. I used my cutting mat and circular cutter on my bed. I just made sure to keep the mat under my cutter.


Realize that this pattern is a quarter pattern. It doesn’t say it is on ripstop’s site and looking, it’s obvious. So fold your material in half. You should end up with two 5 yard sections, cut them out. Then fold each of those 5 yard sections in half, pin the pattern to the fabric and cut out the tarp. Repeat for the other piece.


Fail to realize that it is a quarter pattern even though it’s obvious. Fold the ten yards in half and then cut out the pattern. Leaving me with one five yard piece, and two 2.5 yard pieces.

Pin the template to the fabric so it doesn’t move around as you cut it.


Hem the edges at this point. If you sew the two pieces together now you’re going to loose strength. After hemming, sew the two pieces together on the long straight edge to form the tarp. If you want some extra strength, sew some Grosgrain over the two edges.


Sew the pieces together. Realize what I did. Swear. Say F@#k it. Start hemming. Break the needle on the crappy sewing machine I’ve had for years. Get frustrated and call my cool Aunt to see if I can use her super nice Bernina machine. She ends up sewing the rest.


At this point you have the edges hemmed, the Ridgeline sewed, and all you need to do is to put on the tie out points. For this I used 2 inches of the 1.5 inch Grosgrain and the same length of the .5 inch polypro. Sew the poly pro onto the corner of each tie out. Then wrap the corner with the Grosgrain and sew it on along the edges. It’s important to remind you to sew the reinforcing stitches along the polypro once the Grosgrain is on and not before. This put the tension on the Grosgrain, then the cat cuts of the tarp, which is what you want. Then seam seal with this silnet sealer.


I had my Aunt sew it. But I bought a new machine.

DIY synthetic top quilt. What not to do.

Materials needed for a 6’3″ male:

4 yards of inner and outer fabric. I used Hexxon 1.0 .
4 feet of shock cord
One cord lock
4 yards Synthetic Insulation of your choice, I used 3.6 oz Climashield.

Let me start off by saying that I got this thing to work, even though it’s heavier Than I like.


First you start out with your fabrics, and cut them to around 80″ if your 6’3″ like I am. I made a few mistakes putting this quilt together and this is where I made two of them. Just because you are 75 inches tall and you only want the quilt to come up to your chin does NOT mean to cut the fabric to 70″. That’s just dumb. There would be no room for a foot box. Second, if you want a head hole to wear the quilt like a poncho so you don’t have to bring a jacket, now is the time to cut it.


Sew a hem on 3 sides of a 2.5 inch wide strip of cloth leaving one long edge with out a hem.


Cut a hole about 12″ long where you want your head to come out. I put mine roughly in the center of the quilt. Now for the harder part, that I didn’t do and don’t have pictures to help explain.

Take the long UNHEMMED edge of the strip turn and sew it to the inside of the top layer of fabric.
Sew it so that when it’s right side out it doesn’t show the hem.


Layer like so. You want the top fabric in the middle, the inner fabric on the bottom, and insulation on top.


Pin the junk out of it. The more pins the better. Everything that I read to research this told me to sew it with the insulation faceting l facing up, but the insulation caught in the foot of the machine. So I turned it over and it seemed to work fine.


Once your three sides are sewn up, you can turn it right side out to test the fit and trim off any excess. It’s better to be longer, it’s hard to add to these, believe me.


OK this is from my screw up, but the idea will work. Imagine this is the underside of the quilt. You need to cut holes it the insulation and the inner layer of the fabric to match the hole already in the outer layer. Pull the strip of fabric through the head hole, the hemmed edge should be the edge that comes out. Then pin the inner layer and insulation to the outer, and sew it together.


Place snaps like so along the head hole so it can close up. You want them to overlap a bit.


OK bad pic, but assuming that everything else is working, sew the other cloth strip on, sandwiching the foot between the edges of the strip.


OK worst picture ever. But if you look hard you can see the shock cord and cord lock passed though the fabric strip on the foot, and the snaps used to snap the foot box together. These snaps will also be used to seal the poncho around you.

Hopefully that’s not too hard to follow, I’m going to go back through when I sew the next quilt and use the better pics to update this post.