Done At Last!

Today I finally finished sewing the Painless Parafoil.  It may be called the “painless” parafoil but, for me, it was far from painless.  The last two days I have been sewing the top and bottom panels together.  There are eleven ribs between the two panels that must be attached in parallel lines across the panels from one side to another.  they also must end up in the same line front to back.  So if any of my measurements are off, now is the time they will show up.  And they did.  I seamed and ripped and seamed and ripped until I finally made it across the kite.  The final hemming of the trailing edge went pretty smoothly.  In a couple of places the one or the other panel gaps just a little.  But from the ground, it will never be seen.  I can guarantee I will not be entering this kite into any competitions.

The bridling took some time just because there were twelve lines.  They are in pairs that must be the same length.  There was a lot of measuring and re-tying of knots until this was right.  Now, all day there has been a wind on our street.  This means there has been an even stronger wind on the beach.  After getting the bridling done, I was ready for a test flight.  Guess what!  No wind.  This kite appears to be cursed.  Tomorrow will be the test flight day.  Hopefully it will fly and I can get some decent photos of it.  From how it appears as it lies on the floor, the appliquè looks pretty good.

This kite is called the Painless Parafoil because the ribs are shaped with angles instead of curves over the top,  This is supposed to make the kite easier to assemble.  And it is easier to match straight lines to straight lines instead of a curve to a straight line.  And the top and bottom panels are all one piece instead of being assembled cell by cell.  However, it is my opinion that the larger number of ribs and the smaller cell size actually makes this kite trickier to assemble.  There isn’t that much space to work with and it is more critical that everything be parallel.  I may or may not try another soft kite.  If I do, it will be a pattern with fewer cells.  I can put up with a “burrito” roll in order to sew the final seam.

One thing for those kite builders who may be reading this.  I hemmed the cells closed on the trailing edge.  Leaving a two-inch opening for each cell.  This should restrict the air flow without stopping it.  I got a look at a parafoil from this pattern that is a proven flier.  The trailing edge was done this way on that kite.  So I couldn’t see changing something that worked.

And what have I learned from this kite?  My sewing table is too small to do anything larger.  I sew better curves than straight lines.  The seam ripper is your friend.  And I must not strive for perfection but just do the best that I can do and live with the rest as long as it flies.

Wish me luck!

Fair Winds All.


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