With the tent “finished”, I was obviously itching to see what I’d ended up with, so put it up in the garden. I knew it wasn’t the neatest sewing job ever, but was hoping it would look ok. Results are a bit mixed, to be honest.
I mentioned in one of the captions above that it’s a bit crooked on the beak seam, and this does distort the look of it quite noticeably. It’s not that far off though, but it has the effect of drawing the eye, so looks worse as a result. The back seam (the one that was so difficult to get aligned) is also wandering all over the place, as indeed are parts of some of the other seams.
It looks very much like what it is: a homemade tent, made by someone who’s not very good at sewing. None of the big name tent manufacturers (or even the smaller cottage makers frankly) are going to be worrying much about the competition I’m posing.
I don’t think I’ve done the tieouts especially elegantly, sacrificing aesthetics for security throughout. It would probably look better if the thread was a closer match to the fabric, but that wasn’t really an option.
I think a mistake was made on the side panels by not putting in a seam where the side and side front would have met. This would have helped the tieout strength and alignment.
I am pretty happy with the front corners though, where 3 separate panels all meet at a point.
Some of the seams look like they’re straining a bit when I try to get a tight pitch, which is not surprising as force isn’t distributed evenly around the tent due to the lack of symmetry caused by sewing mistakes. I did also notice that my staking wasn’t 100% lined up in some places so that won’t be helping either.
Against this, I’m sure it will look better when seam sealed, and feel stronger. I need to decide what, if anything, I’m going to do about the beak first though – either live with it, and go ahead and seal, or attempt a reworking of that part first. If I can think of a reasonable way of just replacing the very topmost part, then I may do that. I have enough fabric left.
But what’s it like inside, where I’ll be spending the time ?
The space behind the pole is about what I was aiming for, although the inability to get an even and taut pitch in places is hampering that a bit. It’s also clear that the higher the pitch the better – which is fine, as this is not a shelter I’ll be planning to take for conditions I know I’ll have to hunker down in.
The vestibule space is fine too – enough to be workable, but not so large that it’s wasting space. With the doors closed or extended beak dropped down, it’s good. Indeed the larger than expected ventilation gap above the doors will be a positive boon for cooking. Of course the size of that same gap also means I’ll probably be taking the extended beak with me most of the time. So much so that I’m considering permanently fixing it to the main tent (it would then just roll up into the peak).
The shelter’s been pitched a couple more times in the garden for seam sealing (I ran out so had to abort and do a second session), and each time I’ve got a better pitch on it, and it doesn’t look as bad as I first thought. Ok, get up real close and you can see a lot of imperfections, but from a distance it looks like a shelter.
I have been liberal with the sealant, preferring security to aesthetics in this case. There is one patch on a back corner seam where under tension you can see under the seam and not just the stitching but daylight too. That got a big dollop of sealant, but ultimately needs a sewn reinforcement.
The beak looks less crooked with each pitch, so at least part of the problem is in the pitching itself, and in gradually working out the best way to do it.
Despite all the thought that went into attachments for inners, actually attaching an inner has been a problem. I had to resort to pegging out the cheap Aliexpress inner I still have, but when I did it looks workable – at least until I can get my custom made one done.
*Yes I know the garden is in a bit of a state!