Sunday, April 25, 2010

First Manly Sewing Project - Tactical Tie-Down Strap Keeper

Most of us manly men own at least a few tie-down straps.  They're great for strapping down furniture on the roof of your Honda Civic, holding up dilapidated sections of fence in the back yard (you fixed the front yard fence properly, right?), "clamping" broken stuff together while the glue dries, hanging kayaks from the ceiling of the garage, or "securing" your car's trunk lid partly shut while you transport thirty-seven 8' two by fours home to make that crappy shelf you promised you'd build months ago.  Their utility is only limited by your imagination, kinda like zip-ties or duct tape, but for heavier jobs or jobs where you'd like to wallow in laziness a little longer and are looking for the peace of mind that can only come from a product with an 800lb breaking strength printed right there on the tag.

They come in various sizes and invariably end up in a tangled heap in the garage, your trunk or wherever.  Oh sure, you can neatly roll them up and place them lovingly on a shelf next to your wrenches, but the next time you reach for those wrenches if you so much as brush past one of those rolled up tie-downs it'll promptly unroll itself like it was spring loaded.  This in turn will set off the other three next to it and soon all four are making a dive for the spider infested gap behind the shelf and you end up with a blood-pressure-spiking aneurysm-inducing rats nest of multicolored nylon webbing with a few hooks and ratcheting mechanisms hopelessly trapped in the melee.  If you're particular about that sort of thing you'll probably stop what you're doing and dedicate 5 minutes to untangling it all and making everything pretty again.  If you're like me, you'll leave the mess and fix it later when you actually need a tie-down strap.  I suppose that's not what a good steward would do, but if I died that same hour I'd hate to think I spent 5 of my last 60 minutes on earth fussing over some straps I'd never use again.  Super lame...

So rather than risk a lame surprise ending to life, I decided to make a simple pouch for securely holding four rolled-up 1" tie-down straps.  It's made of black ballistic nylon, webbing and velcro and looks like it'd be at home on a tactical vest, so I decided it's a "tactical tie-down strap keeper."  I'm sure the US Infantry has a Light Armored Temporary Fixers Brigade somewhere who'd love this thing.

Best of all, it was my chance to test out the new (old) Necchi BU Mira sewing machine I recently bought.  Once I figured out the right tension settings and zig zag stitch length to use with the size 69 upholstery thread, it worked fairly well and happily plowed through 4 layers of 1050D ballistic nylon with no problem.

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