Excellent build text and photos.
Now that has put a grin on my face 4. Laying out sail pattern
I mentioned previously that I really do not like using tape to stick panels together. Just my opinion but, water based glue is far better than tape, not only does it do a more Ďforgivingí job, but once stitched and either the sail is washed or rained upon, the glue will disappear. Tape is there forever.
I hate sewing through tape. It will gum up your needle. Yes, you can clean the needle with a solvent (WD40 works well), but you will be constantly doing it. I used to use tape and I found that it just made my machines drop stitches. I lost a lot of time just fixing problems. Once the groove and scarf of the needle are sticky the thread canít pass freely through and the thread misses the stitch.
I donít like seeing it on the kite when held up. You can just see it...ugly. Iíve used different tape over time and on some kites you can see how the tape has discoloured and looks brown on some (possibly dirt which has crept in). There is a double sided tape Tesla tape which is super sticky and excellent for many tasks but do not use it on sails. It comes on a red plastic backer and I found that you could see a reddish tint on the tape when itís held up to the light. It stands out like a sore thumb.
I use the cheapest water based glue stick I can find for my sails. But
the Pritt glue rollers are good for Leading Edge tunnels. They are expensive but I like them for Leading Edge tunnels. You can get them in refills which work out cheaper.
We are now ready to start piecing together the panels we cutout in the previous build step. If anyone is doing their own Kwat build and are using the original layout then you can just read this step and rejoin in a bit. I will point out when you need to pay attention again.
Now this following process is great for this kind of build. As we are only really dealing with a few panels at a time, rather than laying out a whole sail e.g. a trick kite sail, we can do this using something like a patio window to layout on. The reason I choose a window is simply because the light coming through turns the window into a light table and allows for being able to see through the laers of fabric, allowing for perfect alignment. Using a window on this kite is possible because we are not having to deal with a layout template, the panels are just aligned edge to edge. Now if you were laying out a trick kite sail it is a bit trickier but possible. You would want to adapt the process and work on something horizontal, say a piece of glass on top of a table with the plan sandwiched in between, or get your plan laminated. Ok, you are not going to get a 'light table' effect but you will still be able to see the template ok when laying your panels down on top. The techniques can stay the same but it does require more forethought into how to go about it. Practice first to see how it would work for your builds.
So first off grab a screenshot of the kite as decided upon in the coloriser. I tend to keep it on my phone as I can then easily mirror the image to ensure I get both halves of a kite correct. It can be easy to make a mistake with this. And you will kick yourself if you do!
First thing I do is dry-fit my panels together i.e. match up each half of the triangular panel with its matching neighbour, that together form the larger triangle (if you are doing the original layout then your work in this part is halved. I won't describe it as the process is the same). Remember, we are doing single flat stitched seams so we need to match up each panel half face-to-face. An easy way to think of this term is imagine a book which is open. Each page represents half of the triangle panel as seen from the front of the kite. Now close the book. The pages are now face-to-face. This is how we want our panels to be).
Once I have matched each half of the triangle with its partner I then go about proper fitting them together. This uses the same technique as described in the cutting of panels post. We are going to use water. First off clean the window or surface you are going to be working on. We donít want any dirty marks on our expensive Icarex now do we. All done? Great.
Now I am going to point this out right now as it is important
. I cannot 100% say that this technique won't cause some colours to bleed onto other coloured panels. I have personally experienced red Icarex bleeding onto white Icarex. I have seen this not only via this technique but also on a kite I built for a friend which used red and white next to each other and when he flew it in rain and left the sail damp the white picked up a very fine coloured stain off the red. It may just be the particular piece of red Icarex I have got (it is the same roll being used in both) but my feeling is it probably is true for all red Icarex. It also makes me wonder what other 'vivid' colour Icarex has the potential to bleed. As always, do your own testing first. Dark colours do not seem to be a problem (black, dark grey, light, grey). You have been warned! If you experience bleeding it can be minimised if you work quickly and don't let the water sit on the fabric for too long, but you may
want to try another technique.
1. Spray the window with a fine misting of water and offer your first piece of panel up to the window and lay it flat. The water should suck it down flat, but help it if needed as described previously. I stick my other 'partner' half just below it so it is within easy reach, as shown in the photo below:
2. Spray another fine mist of water over the flat panel, lift the partner panel and align it perfectly on top. The water mist will suck it down onto the other piece, so I deal with the top edge first and then smooth it down. Take your time doing this, we really want symmetry in our triangles.
3. Once done you should have two perfectly aligned triangles laying face-to-face as shown in the next photo:
This photo shows what I was mentioning earlier about trying to align your fabrics grid pattern up nicely. You can see that it isn't - I had to use the scraps of what I had. Normally I would cut the sail panel so that this won't happen:
Now you have a choice at this stage. You could choose from either of the following options:
a) You could just try lifting off the water-stuck panels and sew them together straight off with no adhesive
b) You could add a small amount of water-based glue to the edge to be stitched, and by small I mean roughly 3-4mm worth (remember the stitching is what holds your sail together, the glue is just there as an aid when sewing so your panels don't become misaligned).
Either way, when you come to lifting the panels off the window do so from the edge to be stitched, as it will stay together better.
If you were laying out and stitching each panel almostimmediately
after you may want to try the first option. It does work pretty well, the water will hold it together for you. Just lift it carefully from the edge that will be stitched and it shouldn't move. As an experiment I left two pieces of Icarex sprayed together for 7 days and they still were stuck as well as on the first day (but do remember the possibility of bleed if you leave water on it for too long!). The only thing you need to do is wipe off the excess water on the exposed panel surfaces with a piece of kitchen towel, to prevent it sticking to the bed of your sewing machine.
If you want to do all your laying up in one go, and doing your sewing at a later date then you may want to choose the option of adding a small amount of adhesive (this is the option to go for if doing a whole sail layout as in a trick kite). As I knew that this build was going to be done sporadically I went with the latter.
We don't need to ruin the alignment we have just made. Simply spray a water mist onto the panel and then gently fold down the top edge and stick it onto itself, as in the photo below:
Now grab a piece of kitchen roll and just wipe off any excess water on the edges to be stuck together (we are using water-based glue remember), and then put a very thin amount of glue along one of the panel edges, about 3mm is all you need. It is then a simple case of lifting the fabric back and realigning. I press down in the middle first and then work out to each side.
You can see in this photo the panels stuck back down together and if you look carefully you can see the adhesive on the window:
That panel is already for sewing now. It is just a case now of repeating this process until you have all of your 24 panels aligned, glued into 12 panels, and ready to stitch together.
We will be continuing this process to start joining the triangle patterns into the sail shape (which is where those doing the original layout will join back in) but we just need to quickly stitch these triangles together along their edge first.
I'll put this stage in the next post, but will discuss stitching in greater detail further down the line.