Saturday, August 12, 2017

INSUL-BRIGHT IN THE AIRSTREAM INTERSTATE, PART 1: SLIDER

Those of us who boondock extensively never miss an opportunity to increase the insulation in our rig, because each incremental improvement helps, and that is surprisingly important in a Class B with its huge surface area to volume ratio.
The smaller the RV, the more difficult the climate control.  You have the rules of physics to thank for that.  Here you can see the side shroud that I sewed out of reflective metallic fabric, in a attempt to keep the van from absorbing some of the brutal incident energy that pounds us here in the Deep South during the summertime.  
I'm cautiously optimistic regarding the potential of the product known as Insul-Bright to help us reach a new level of efficiency in this regard.
The sewing community is bullish on its performance.  It is unusual to see Amazon ratings that high.  
Until quite recently, I had trouble buying this product in bulk.  It only seemed to be available in small packages, which wasn't well-suited to my practice of #vansizedsewing.  But the American textile supply franchise Joann now carries it, and with their coupon deals, it's very economical - as little as four dollars per yard.

I am getting ready to embark on the largest trip of my life, so my first Insul-Bright project was modest in scale - a replacement for our tattered cotton slider door privacy curtain.  Here's how that project went, in pictures.
I bought about 3 yards of Insul-Bright as a starter.  There's the old white slider window covering positioned on top of the Insul-Bright.  As usual, I did this project with no measurements.  I used only real-time fittings.  It's much easier and quicker that way. 
After I cut out a properly-sized Insul-Bright core, I placed it on black rip-stop nylon in order to fashion the backing for the window covering. 
Some might question my use of black in this application, but we stealth camp, and I didn't like the idea of the slider window liner being white.  I don't want anyone to be able to get a sense of what's beyond that window - it needs to be a black hole.
So there I've trimmed the rip-stop backing. 
I did a single-fold hem all the way around the Insul-Bright.  This front side is going to be "skim-coated" with finish fabric, so the single-fold seam will be covered by that. 
I then positioned and sewed on all the Velcro loop tabs that will attach to the OEM riveted hook tabs that were installed by Airstream on the slider door (with rivets, no less).  
My "skim coat" fabric choice was the same metallic stuff that I'd used for the exterior side shroud.  I had bought quite a lot of it on close-out, and had plenty left over.  Stylistically, it coordinates well with the aluminum inner skin of the Airstream Interstate.

The best way to marry these quarreling fabrics was to hem two right-angled sides of the metallic, stitch those two sides in place, smooth the whole thing out, trim, and then hem the remaining two sides.
So after the first two sides were finished, it looked like this. 
I say "quarreling" because the three fabrics used in this project are all of very different texture, weight, and character.  They did not always want to go together neatly.
It wanted to bunch, it wanted to pucker, it wanted to pile, it wanted to run.  It was a general pain in the ass.  
There's a fold-over shot so you can see the front and the back at the same time, in their finished condition. 
As I was doing this, I felt like I was sewing a high-tech winter coat for the slider.  Here's the money shot of that winter coat (which in our area, is more of a summer coat to keep heat out, rather than in):
All Velcros in place. 
And here's what it looks like folded up.  A single layer of Insul-Bright is surprisingly non-bulky.  I will have no trouble storing this.
And the odd thing is, it actually weighs less than the original privacy cover. 
Onward to the rest of my remaining little projects, because I'm coming down to the wire on my upcoming trip departure.
And what a packing job it's going to be!

Our slider window is not quite as well-insulated as this guy in the meme above, but it's definitely improved.  

No comments:

Post a Comment