Repairing my Octobank
I love my Bowens Octobank 120cm to bits. It is my “go to” light modifier for portrait sessions. It is a bit of a hassle to bring on location but I do love the quality of light it produced. The seam of my Octobank ripped open during take down. I called Bowens about it but they don’t offer support for this problem. I don’t think other companies do (I know, because I had seam problem with my HiLite and they just replace/refund.)
Since I am quite handy with sewing machines I decided to fix it myself. At over £200 a piece, I can’t bear to throw it away when I know I can fix it. So, with my heavy-duty sewing machine and a heavy duty thread, it’s all hands on deck.
Considering the use of the Octobank, a 36s Polycore thread should be good enough as the thread is ideal for high-stress seems. The Octobank was straight stitched under that bias tape (yellow bit) then straight stitched again over it.
To fix mine, I decided to use Straight Stretch stitch. The 3-lined sign in blue and red. The Straight Stretch is stronger than regular straight stitch because it locks three times – forward, backward and forward again. It is used to reinforce seams of sportswear in stretch and non-stretch fabrics, and for curved seams which take a lot of strain.
But before I can do that, I have to baste the panels and bias together so it does not slide off kilter. Basting in sewing terms is applying temporary stitching intended to be removed. It is a lot safer than using pins too!
Just to be darn sure, I run it twice.
I lost the white ribbon so I left it out. I do not want to replace it with another, untested material because it will be come too close to the hot studio light and might become a fire hazard.
If you are not familiar with sewing machines, it is best to take this to someone who alters clothes. Bring your own heavy duty thread (it’s less than a fiver) and request they use reinforced stitches.
You can repair softboxes this way too. The thing to remember with the Octobank is the amount of stress and stretch it has on the seams and fabric. That’s why it is important to use reinforced stitch and heavy duty thread.
If you encountered this same problem, I hope this helped you sort it out instead of throwing your gear. Thank you for looking 🙂