Looking for advice on sewing Cordura

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Sep 9, 2003
Yvelines, north-west of Paris, France.
After trying for hours, I've decided that ordinary compression sacks are just not going to work with the quilt I intend taking on a trip later this year.

I can just about get it into my biggest Granite Gear 23litre sack, but it makes it an ungainly shape for putting into my rucksack.

So I'm thinking of making up a longer, narrower "sausage" bag that I can put over the top of my rucksack, hanging down the left and right hand sides.

I've found some 350 gr/m² Cordura that looks like it might suit (since this is going on the outside of the rucksack, I want it to be resistant to abrasion), and I'm wondering what else I might need...

  • What kind of thread?
  • Do the edges need binding or heat sealing, or is it enough to turn back a hem?
  • Will SWMBO's domestic sewing machine (a Janome Green 19, mechanically the same as the JL110) be up to the job?

I've never done much machine sewing; I don't even know the names of the stitches, other than what I think my grandmother called "straight stitch" and "zig-zag stitch"...


Full Member
Dec 31, 2005
Get a series of new needles aimed at denim or leather, replace them if the machine struggles. I'm sorry I don't know anything about your machine. Get a good strong polyester thread my one is aimed at furniture so is quite thick but you need to make sure it'll fit in the eye of the sewing needle. I cut Cordura with a 'hot knife' to seal the edges as it goes but a good hot soldering iron will do the job. I really only use a straight stitch but I'm no master of sewing. Drop John Fenna on here a line he's at expert level and beyond.


Sep 6, 2011
I would use V92 polyester thread with a size 110 needle. You won’t have to bind or melt the edges , just turn the fabric in so the edges are inside the seam.ie three layers. Straight stitch is fine.
No idea about your machine, sorry. Just look up the biggest needle it will take.
I would use a flat fell seam.
Last edited:


Jan 21, 2005
S. Lanarkshire
Heavyweight Denim needle and decent quality polyester thread (Gutterman, or Drima, or similar, look for heavyweight, button or Top Stitching thread if you're not going to need a lot of it.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Guterman...-Strong-30m-Jeans-1-Reel-5-Reels/322044367207 )

Thing is though, ordinary sewing thread will work, and will mostly work fine, it's just that it frays a bit when it's dragged through heavyweight fabrics and it's not ideal. Personally I'd try an offcut and whatever thread's already in the machine and see how hard it is to go through multiple layers before I spent any money on expensive needles and threads.
Generally cordura is tabby woven and fairly easy to sew.

As for the seams, I'd bind them. Nothing wrong with Birchwood's suggestion about flat felling, just that it's hard to do neatly and gives a stiff rigid type seam in cordura, and it's another row of holes through the waterproof fabric.
You really want to keep the bag as waterproof as possible, and binding them with suitable tape not only helps with that but reinforces and protects the seam and stops the fabric fraying.
Point North sell both cordura and the tapes. Point North come recommended :D and they're easy to talk to as well. They'll understand where you're coming from, iimmc ?
They've been in business for a while, and I haven't a single complaint with their service, their goods or their advice.



Best of luck with it. It'd be interesting to hear how you get on, and how the bag turns out :)



Oct 6, 2003
How are you going to keep the quilt dry, mounted over top and down both sides of your pack in its custom bag? Deep cold winter trip, no water around?

How are you thinking of doing the bottom/end of the sausage? A round end, or a square end? If round, you won't be able to do flat seams, but you should be able to get by without. I have stuff that has been used on multiple trips held together without folded or bound seams, just the urethane coating on the fabric. Two or three layers of Cordura isn't too bad, but things can get interesting if your design calls for a layer or two of webbing to be sewn into a seam. Take care with your design so it suits your machine.

For your machine, I would go with Guetermann Tera 40. It is strong and smooth, something that can't be said for the domestic strong thread that they sell in sewing shops.

If you wind up with threat that is on a cone rather than a reel, you will probably need a stand (aka cone holder).

On my machine, straight stitch in heavy fabric is fine, but going to a heavy needle and thicker thread, thick fabric, and zig-zag, lots of trouble. For bar-tacks I often go back to thinner thread.

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