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How To Sew Camouflage 
Or Ghillie Suit

Once you decide that you need camouflage, it is immediately obvious that the best camouflage is a ghillie suit. In ghillie suits, the choices become a little more confusing.

If you plan to make a ghillie suit, you will need supplies, time, effort, and patience. Depending on the purpose of the suit, as well as the quality and longevity you want from the finished product, you may spend many hours preparing, making, and seasoning it before you can put it to use. When a ghillie suit is made from scratch, these tasks can take as many as 100 hours to complete. For a small cost, however, you can buy most of the materials you need to put your camouflage together more quickly and easily. A third option is to buy a ghillie suit that is pre-made and ready to wear.

A ghillie suit starts with a foundation, usually a battle dress uniform (BDU) comprising pants and jacket, a flight suit, or simply an old pair of coveralls. If you improvise your own foundation suit by using such garments as old coveralls, make sure they are first washed with a detergent that has no scented chemicals added. When you need your ghillie suit to provide cover only from the waist up, leaving your legs free for movement, you can plan to make a net poncho covered with ghillie material rather than a full suit.

Dedicated people who are determined to make their own ghillie suits from scratch need to buy burlap in preparation for the most time-consuming and tedious part of the operation. This involves dyeing the burlap to various shades ranging from medium green to brown, cutting it into strips, and sewing the strips onto the foundation suit with the ends of the higher strips overlapping the attachment points of the lower strips by about half an inch to provide coverage. Alternatively, you can first sew and glue netting to the foundation suit, then attach the dyed burlap strips or jute twine to the netting. Be careful not to finish with blocks of strips in similar coloring, as this will defeat the aim of using the ghillie suit to merge into the background.

The dye colors should be chosen to blend in with the area where you will be wearing your ghillie suit. You can also increase the authentic look by taking the suit to the area and rolling it around in the local vegetation, or by adding some of the vegetation to the strips on the netting or the suit. Keep in mind, however, when making your ghillie suit, that burlap is hot and heavy. If you add too much to it, you may find it difficult to move as quickly as you may need, as well as being uncomfortable, particularly in hot weather.

You can omit the dyeing and cutting, but still have a hand in the making of your ghillie suit by buying a ghillie kit that includes all the materials you need, as well as assembly instructions. These can be ordered in the custom color combination you want or bought in available patterns, and can take from five to 10 hours to complete by hand. If time is a factor, a pre-made ghillie suit costs more than a kit, but saves time and effort.

When making your own ghillie suit, you need to remember that Hessian and burlap are highly inflammable and take appropriate precautions to treat it. This need should not apply to the ghillie suits and kits available for purchase, because they are usually treated with fire retardants before you buy them or are made of fire resistant materials. They are also often made of materials that are lighter and cooler than burlap, making them more comfortable, if less traditional, than the type of ghillie suit you would make yourself.

They are made from jute, burlap, old rags, or synthetics. You can find some that are "one size fits all", and others that come in 12 different sizes. Most of them come in four different color patterns, but a few may have six or rarely eight choices of color pattern. The very best (and most expensive) suits are built on a base of BDUs covered with a sewn on mesh. At the other end of the scale there are those built of only the mesh and the ghillie material. There is a wide range of quality in these mesh only suits. Usually, the old adage , "you get what you pay for", works with ghillie suits as much as anything else.

 

 

Your first decision should be whether to go with jute or synthetic. My personal preference is for the synthetic. I believe the US Armed Forces agrees with that choice. Synthetics are not a fire hazard like the jute, burlap,and others. Synthetics lend themselves to cleaning better, will not rot, are mildew resistant and last a lot longer than others. Some of the synthetic suits can be thrown into the washing machine, but I would check any labels or specifications first.

 

The color pattern for your ghillie will be dictated by the terrain in which you Will be using it. It is generally accepted that the pattern called "woodland" is the closest to being a universal pattern, but it's not definitely suitable for all locales. Your area may require the "desert, mossy, leafy, timber, white" or some other combination of colors. Only you can decide which is best for you.

 

My advice as far as the size of your suit is to err on the side of too large. Personally, I would rather my ghillie suit be a bit large. Suits come in kids sizes all the way up to triple X long sizes. If you're not sure, go large. A ghillie suit can always be cinched in smaller, but if it's not big enough, neither you nor the suit can do your jobs effectively. If you have an unusual build, consider pants and a jacket instead of a one piece suit. That way you can get one size for the jacket and another size for the pants. Pants and jackets are more practical in a lot of ways. If you damage either, you won't have to replace the entire suit.

 

As with any other purchase, buy the best you can afford. If your budget can handle it, the new ultra-light synthetic pants and jacket which are built on a set of BDUs with your option of camo pattern, give you the most bang for your buck. If that's out of your reach, the most popular suit available is the one referred to by some as the "Special ops paintball hunter suit" or by others as the ultra-light paintball suit. While not built on BDUs, it does have an inner liner that makes it really comfortable. Remember that all businesses have to make something from their products.

 

If you see one that is really cheap, ask yourself "why?"

 

Another consideration depending on what you are going to be doing is whether to get a ghillie suit to cover the entire body or will a head and shoulders suit do the job? A short poncho or maybe a ghillie jacket may be what you need. Quite often the legs are never exposed when still hunting or in a blind. Sometimes a paintballer will opt for nothing on the legs for the mobility.

 

One last comment on the new synthetic ultra-light suits. For a small fee you can get pockets in the jacket and/or the pants.

About the author:
Tyler Farrens is a manager at Ghillie-Suit.net. The company features a wide selection of new ghillie suits

http://www.ghillie-suit.net/ghillie-kits/index.html

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