Need to hand sew a zipper onto heavy canvas

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Hi,

My car has a canvas top and the the zipper for the rear window
completely ripped out.  I would like to sew it back on by hand, but I
am not very good at sewing.  So I thought I'd better ask for some
advice before attempting this repair.

What kind of thread and needle should I use?  Anything else that would
make this chore go more smoothly?  I've already received a few
suggestions on what to use for thread.  They are:

dental floss
waxed carpet thread
the kind of thread used to repair sails

Using dental floss as thread sounds kind of crazy, but I am tempted to
try it.  It should be rather strong, and I have a long roll of waxed
dental floss that I'll never use (unwaxed floss works better for
cleaning between teeth).  I am not sure how well it would hold up to
sunlight, though.

BTW, I wouldn't normally try to sew heavy canvas by hand-- it would be
sheer torture.  Or, at the very least, not much fun.  Fortunately, the
holes in the canvas from the previous stiching are clearly visible.  So
I think that, with plenty of patience, it should be doable.

Phil


Re: Need to hand sew a zipper onto heavy canvas
Phil wrote:
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Years and years ago we had a rectangular trampoline and the stitching
that held the webbing straps (which held the triangular rings connected
to the springs) all ripped out. As a family project we hand-sewed it
back into place. IIRC we used a heavy cotton thread and beeswax. And
big curved needles, rubber grips to pull through the holes, and some
sort of thimble-like item. (The top of the thread spool worked pretty
well.)
...
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Not like there's much choice; car won't fit through the feed dogs!

HTH

--Karen D.


Re: Need to hand sew a zipper onto heavy canvas
For stuff like that I use my "Speedy Stitcher". Do a Google; they're all
over the place for about $10. They come with heavy waxed polyester thread. I
use waxed linen thread a lot too, and it stands up to the UV well.
JPBill
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Re: Need to hand sew a zipper onto heavy canvas
w_boyce wrote:
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If you've got an REI or other good outdoors store in your town, ( not a big
5) you can find one locally.



Re: Need to hand sew a zipper onto heavy canvas
Thanks for all the suggestions.  For this particular job, I think the
Speedy Stitcher sounds like just the right tool.  The price is right,
too.  So tomorrow I'll be heading off to the local REI to purchase one.
And a small spool of heavy-duty thread, too.

Phil


Re: Need to hand sew a zipper onto heavy canvas
Excellent decision!  I've used mine (same one!) since 1951 to repair golf
and other bags, footwear, tarps, tents, windows in convertibles, belts,
knapsacks and numerous repairs on other gear in the field when camping and
backpacking.
JPBill

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Re: Need to hand sew a zipper onto heavy canvas
pcalvert@rocketmail.com wrote:
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It's not too bad if you have a sewing awl.  I think Clotilde (sp?) sells
them.

Re: Need to hand sew a zipper onto heavy canvas

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A sailmaker's palm?

--
SML

Re: Need to hand sew a zipper onto heavy canvas

On 13-Dec-2005, pcalvert@rocketmail.com wrote:

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Dental floss is highly overrated for sewing - for an outdoor application it's a
poor
choice.  Since it's nylon, it will have poor UV resistance.  Use a good, strong
polyester thread instead.

Mike

Re: Need to hand sew a zipper onto heavy canvas

pcalvert@rocketmail.com wrote:
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dental floss is actually quite good, both in strength and sun
resistence.  Rather expensive though.  Usually not used unless sun
resistence is a huge factor AND you only need a few yards of thread.
Otherwise, genuine Gore-Tex thread on spools is cheaper.

I suggest you go to Sailrite.com and search for a sailor's palm,
seriously heavy hand stitching thread, an awl (and a mallet from your
local hardware store), maybe a heavy set of pliers and have at it.  You
can stitch serious canvas by hand though it will be an effort.


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