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Old 12-26-2012, 08:10 PM   #1
MrSpiffy
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Feb 2012
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So my first go-around with making my own BIAB bag didn't go so well. It was a pain in the butt, I had to learn how to use a sewing machine at the same time, and I didn't know jack about stitching seams. So, my seams ended up starting to split open when I first used the bag. Fortunately, I was able to continue brewing and strain out any grain that escaped. But I surely needed a new and better bag, if I was going to continue into my all-grain excursion.

Today, I decided, would be the day to sew a new bag. If I want to brew this week, I need a bag. So, I whipped out the extra voile material that I had from my last attempt. I had plenty for another bag. Going on advice from my mom, I straight-stitched the inside seams, then I turned the bag outside-in and zig-zag-stitched the outside of the seams, folding the material over the original stitch, to give me a good 4-ply seam. It's not pretty. But I'm confident that it will hold a LOT better than my last attempt.

I also felt it was necessary to reinforce the edges where the drawstring would exit, so the material wouldn't rip. The black nylon webbing is to assist with that. I folded a strip over the top on each side, and then crossed them together with another strip, both inside and out, to also protect the long seam down the side of the bag.

The bottom is a circle, since I read about issues with dripping on the corners and grain getting stuck in the corners of rectangular bags. The drawstring just goes through the already-sewn loop for a curtain rod on the top, and is made of paracord.

I feel pretty confident about hanging it to drain by the paracord. But I'll still probably wrap the cord around the top of the bag, first, for extra support, and then hang it.






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Old 12-26-2012, 08:44 PM   #2
inhousebrew
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Looks good enough to me
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:46 PM   #3
tankcrash
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Very good write up .... pretty sure I am going to follow your design to the letter. I have some extra nylon webbing laying around so think I might add a strip of that surrounding the draw cord.

 
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:48 PM   #4
mb82
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Looks like it will work. I need to get around to reinforcing my stitches. While they have held I am nervous about them.
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:13 PM   #5
MrSpiffy
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Feb 2012
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Last time I made the mistake of sewing too close to my edges. If the edges aren't lined up perfectly, you could end up sewing too close to one edge, leaving very little material holding the bag together. (Did that last time...) Then your material can fray and pull right through the stitches, opening nice holes in the seams. (Yep, that happened last time...)

This time, I made sure to leave a good 1/2" of material next to my stitches, so that I wouldn't run into that problem again if I wandered while sewing. I'm pretty confident these seams will hold this time.

 
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:25 PM   #6
sweetcell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSpiffy View Post
Going on advice from my mom, I straight-stitched the inside seams, then I turned the bag outside-in and zig-zag-stitched the outside of the seams, folding the material over the original stitch, to give me a good 4-ply seam.
could we get a close-up photo of your seam?

thanks for writing this up!
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Old 12-26-2012, 10:27 PM   #7
Cider123
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I now see the benefit of a well formed bag. I brewed today and got lazy. Instead of sewing up a bag, I just cut down one large curtain to fit the pot. Without a clearly defined top with a drawstring it became a bit unmanageable. One section dropped into the pot causing grains to spill out of the bag. I had to go fishing with the strainer. The loose ends that hung over also dripped all over the floor. Yes, I did use clips on the rim but obviously not enough.

I worry about the stitches. I can see me having a blow-out since I don't sew. Both my grandmother and her mother were both seamstresses and members of the ladies garment workers union. I wish they were here now. I'd give them some beer for their help.

 
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Old 12-26-2012, 10:58 PM   #8
MrSpiffy
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Feb 2012
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Cider123, don't be afraid of sewing. It's not too hard, once you get the hang of it. It's hard to do it neatly, but not hard to do sufficiently for this type of application. Just plan out what you want to do first, and make sure to pin the seams ahead of time so they don't go all wonky on you as you're sewing. The hardest part is getting the machine up and running. (i.e. putting thread in it)

Here are photos of the stitching that I used.

Normal stitching was done by placing the two edges together, lined up. (Think taking the two sheets of fabric, one on top of the other. Edges flush with each other.) Then I used a fairly small straight stitch to close the seam. I then flipped the bag inside out so that the two pieces of fabric were folded over that seam, as you see in the pic below. Then I zig-zag stitched over that to really make the seam strong.



I also noticed a different stitch, where it appears that I also straight stitched after folding the fabric over the seam, and then also zig-zag'd over that. This stitch is on the seam going up the side of my bag. I'm not sure why I did that one differently. Either method should be fine, I'd imagine. Unless you're doing 10-gallon BIAB batches , I'd imagine this bag will hold all the grain you'll need.


 
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:57 AM   #9
KellyL
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For a smaller application like yours why can't you use a 5 gallon paint strainer? I have used them for grain in partial mash batches and as hop bags.

Just curious, not critiquing.

Kelly

 
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:02 AM   #10
MrSpiffy
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Excellent question! I tried paint strainer bags for a larger beer last time (1.070 OG), and I had to use two strainer bags. One couldn't hold 12-13lbs of grain. It ended up making a mess and was a PITA. This larger bag will let the grain move around more, and hopefully make things easier for me when I try brewing higher gravity beers.

 
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