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Making your own gear is a very rewarding pursuit. Not only can it be customized to a tee - it's endlessly more satisfying to use gear built with your own hands. Zipworks is a Youtube channel dedicated to inspiring you to make some great zippered gear for yourself using our kick-ass pattern generator and tutorials.

#myog #diy #sewing

Pattern generator

The pattern generator is a tool that lets you create a plain vanilla sewing pattern for any size boxy bag. The idea being that you then build upon that base to make it something. Add pockets and shoulder straps to make it a backpack. Add a handle and tabs to make it a dopp kit. The possibilites are endless, get creative with your next design!

LAUNCH generator

(better on desktop)


Selecting the fabrics for a project may seem like a daunting task since there are so many options. Fabric choice is a huge topic, highly dependent on what your making and obviously a matter of personal preference. It can also be made very simple - below is a shortlist some of the most popular premium technical fabrics used for pouches and packs. Often you can order fabric samples before you make up your mind. Note that many of the fabrics come in different weights as well as colors.

Hybrid Dyneema

Dyneema composite fabric is the rock-star of technical fabrics - famous for having an unmatched weight to strength ratio. It is waterproof, stiff and very expensive. The hybrid variants include a laminated polyester face fabric for added abrasion resistance. Creases easily but if you dig the dyneema look then this fabric is a great choice. Would not learn to sew on this fabric as it is very unforgiving.


Regarded by many as the ultimate fabric for making your own gear - waterproof, light and super tough. It is a laminate fabric which sandwiches a PET film and sometimes the characteristic x-grid between a nylon face fabric and poly backing. Unforgiving to sew, creases and is expensive.

Robic Ripstop

Not all nylons are created equal, Robic nylon feels premium and is a very popular choice among DIY enthusiasts for good reason. It is a woven fabric with ripstop with a PU coating on the back and a DWR on the front. Very durable and excellent water resistance at an affordable price. Easy and forgiving to sew. This is the least stiff fabric mentioned.

Cordura Nylon

A classic choice for gear and in my opinion perhaps even the best looking out of the bunch. Much heavier than the fabrics above, Cordura is an exceptionally strong fabric built to last. Very forgiving to sew, if you put stitches in the wrong place and need to rip them out, it might not even show afterwards. Good water resistance with a PU coating on the back and a DWR on the front. Very affordable.

Ballistic Nylon

Similar to cordura but thicker and a different hand feel. Rugged and super abrasion restistant yet somehow sleek and elegant. Love this material for a boxy bag. This one is not for the weight weenies, this is for making something bomb-proof that will last forever! Comes with a PU coating on the back for water resistance.


Fully woven UHMWPE, high-end ultralight technical fabric - built to be the ultimate fabric for packs. Insanely high tear, cut and abrasion resistance - it will literally resist a knife cut. It's almost too tough, hard to cut when you want to. Comes with a TPU coating for excellent water resistance and ability to be bonded rather than sewn.


All of the above are RipstopByTheRoll affiliate links, thanks for your support!


To put a project together you'll need a few basic craft tools and supplies. You certainly don't need to go out and buy all these things - use what you already have! Borrow your aunts old sewing machine, make do with the kitchen scissors - anything will get you started.

Sewing machine

I recommend the mechanical Singer Heavy Duty series. It will get the job done and is very affordable! I have over 100 projects on mine and it's still going strong.

Singer Heavy Duty

For measuring and cutting. I recommend having at least a short and a long one. In addition, rulers that allow you to mark out a 90 degree angle are extremely handy.

Steel Ruler
Framing Square
Quilting Ruler

Sharp scissors makes cutting a lot easier, try to have a pair exclusively for fabric.

Fabric Scissors
Rotary cutter

If you wanna level up your cutting game, get a rotary cutter and run it along a metal ruler for really nice straight cuts.

Rotary Cutter
Cutting mat

You'll want a cutting mat to go with that rotary tool. This is an instance where bigger really is better.

Cutting Mat
Seam ripper

Unfortunately chances are you'll need this to fix a mistake at some point. Or maybe all the time.

Seam Ripper

Something to mark fabric that is not permanent. Tailors chalk will work but a chalk liner is more precise.

Tailors Chalk
Chalk Liner

A lot of the time I'll risk it and mark the outline of the pattern with a silver sharpie rather than chalk just because it marks so well. #yolo.

Fine Point Sharpie

Clips are used to hold pieces of fabric together for sewing. Clips are superior to pins because they are simpler to work with and don't poke holes in the fabric.

Sewing Clips

Very occasionally I need to pin something, good to have a few around.

Wonder tape

Double-sided tape that washes away with water. Very convenient, very addictive. Especially useful when sewing elastic fabric, keeps it from stretching while sewing.

Wonder Tape

For burning edges of webbing and sealing thread. Don't skip this.

Surely you already have a lighter
Thread snip

This is likely to be your most used tool. Although scissors will do the job, a dedicated thread snip works a lot better.


Go with a strong polyester thread, avoid cotton. I use Gutermann Mara 50 or 70 for nearly all things. (50 is stronger than 70)

Mara 50
Mara 70

Look up the recommended needle size for the thread you intend to use. I typically use a 90/14 or 100/16 universal needle.


All of the above are Amazon affiliate links, thanks for your support!

Looking for DIY ideas?

Zipworks on youtube