Shime-building Manual:The Stitching Process
From TaikoForum Wiki
Positioning of rope anchor holes is a wonderful application for TRIG! Figure out the angle required to have 10 rope anchors around the outside edge of the shime. Those of you who are slightly more lazy might want to use an online pie chart generator to create a chart with 10 divisions of 10% - this creates a perfect template you can print out. The holes will be 5/8-3/4 inch in diameter, so make sure to measure accordingly. I made mine 5/8 in. to fit a 1/2 in. rope. Using an awl, mark the center of each hole, along with four points along the circle to give you a guide for stitching around.
Before you begin, you want to mark the circles you will stitch with a white charcoal pencil (it wipes right off with water after you're done). The first circle of stitches should be close to the ring. For the second circle, place the body of the shime on the skin, and trace about 1/2 inch away from it - this will ensure that the head still fits after you're done (CRUCIAL).
To stitch, I recommend using a sewing awl. This is a combination tool of a leather awl for punching holes and a needle to sew them conveniently. This device employs lockstitching, a very strong stitch, but one that takes a bit getting used to. You would be wise to spend a little time looking on the internet for videos and practicing on some spare fabric.
The first head will take up to 6-8 hours to stitch, but once you get the hang of it, I've been able to stitch up an entire head in under two hours. Having another person on hand greatly helps with lockstitching - one of you can be punching the holes while the other threads the needle through the loop on the other side. If the skin toughens to the point it becomes difficult to punch holes, no worries - simply throw the entire setup for a 30 minute soak, and it'll be smooth sailing once more.