Make Your Own Professional Grade Hammock at a Fraction of the Cost
3 ½ yards of primary color (your choice)
3 ¼ yards of secondary color (your choice)
6 feet of AmSteel Rope
2 adequate Carabiners
Nylon webbing to attach hammock to tree (if desired)
Spool of thick thread
1 glue stick
1 elastic headband (also optional)
You will also need a sewing machine, good pair of scissors, lighter, ruler and a book (for measuring the pocket).
Preparing the Hammock Body
The first step is to carefully cut down the bigger piece of nylon to 3 ¼ yards, and set aside the strip for later. Take the smaller piece of nylon and cut away two pieces along its length that are 14 ¼ inches wide and 3 ¼ yards long.
The next step is to take one of the strips of secondary color and sew it to the primary sheet. Start by sewing a seam that is an inch wide that includes the jagged edge that you just cut. Trim this afterwards down to a ½ inch. You should now have the secondary piece fitted atop the first one with ½ inch of the first sheet sticking out. The next step is to fold the edge of wider piece over so that it touches the narrower piece. Take the glue stick and seal the seam temporarily. Repeat the process on the other side of the fabric.
Lay the fabric so that you can sew a stitch over each seam. How you sew as well as how many stitches you make is totally up to you. One stitch should provide a good amount of strength, two will definitely make it more durable.
Making the Pocket
Take some of the remaining fabric and cut a square that will accommodate the biggest book or magazine that you think you will use. You can also modify it into a couple of pockets by adding some stitching later on as well. Simply lay both pieces of fabric on top of each other, with the color that you want on the outside facing up. You want to fold down both pieces along one of the edges to create a ¼ inch wide seam. Don’t worry about the jagged edges because they will be tucked beneath the pocket once it is attached to the body of the hammock.
Sew a seam along the inside of the edge that you just created, but make sure to leave at least ½ inch of fabric outside of the seam along where the top of the pocket will be. Do not sew this part. Repeat the stitching for the two remaining sides and the bottom. Again, you can double stitch or make a zig-zag pattern if you prefer.
Place the pocket atop the edge of the hammock in a location of your choosing. The color that you want the outside of the pocket to be should face down over the hammock material. Make sure that it rests on top, a few inches inside of the edge of the material and that both edges line up. This will allow you to bend the hammock material later for the rope channels without folding the pocket in the process. You don’t want the pocket to stick out from the material just yet.
Make another fold along the top edge of the pocket where it will be stitched to the hammock. This should eliminate the little notch seam along the top of the pocket and provide you with a thicker connection. Sew the pocket to the hammock. Once finished, you should be able to pull out the pocket and let it dangle over the edge of the hammock.
Making the Rope Channels
Fold the long edges of the hammock material down about 1 inch on each side. Then make an additional 2 inch fold in order to create a seam as well as a loop along the fabric. Keep the material from the first fold inside and along the edge. Stitch along this “padded” edge a few times in order to keep it as secure as possible, because this will take most of the load when you are laying in the hammock. Repeat for the other side, and make sure that the loop remains intact.
Take the rope and cut it into two segments that are the length that you desire. Make sure that you leave a couple of extra inches so they can be attached to the carabiners without shortening the hammock. Burn the ends of each rope with the lighter to keep them from fraying.
Attaching the Rope
Attach each end to the carabiners by folding the rope in half before feeding the loop through the carabiners. Next, feed both ends of the rope through the loop and pull. This will secure it to the carabiners. You should have both ends of rope on both sides of the hammock attached to a single carabiner on opposite ends.
That’s about all you need to do to create the hammock. If you made the pocket big enough, you can actually tuck in the hammock and make it easy to carry. Loop the nylon webbing around each tree and tie it off with each carabiner. You can also use two eye-screws if prefer. Use the headband as a way to crimp the pocket with the hammock inside closed during transport.
Keep in mind that you can layer the two colors to create different styles and accents, or you can also work with a single color as well. In any case, this is a fun project that can yield really nice results if you have the time, equipment, material and a little bit of creativity.