I've always been a hiker, but have no camping experience at all and I haven't sewed anything since a 7th grade home economics class. I got the bug to go on a long-distance hike. After a lot of research and buying and returning tents that didn't work for me (6'3"), I landed on hammocks and then on to DIY.
I bought an inexpensive sewing machine (refurbished brother LX2763) and ordered everything I thought I needed to make a basic hammock kit. To figure out how to use the machine, I first made a stuff sack for my cook kit, then a 1.7 MTN XL hammock with double ended stuff sack and ridgeline organizer (planned for 11', wound up with 10'9" due to user error), a couple of tree straps, then an open bottom bug net and then the 12 foot ultralight tarp kit. I also ordered 2 shanks of amsteel and made continuous loops and whoopie slings , and 2 shanks of zing-it to make a structural ridgeline for the hammock and tarp guylines.
I really have no experience with camping equipment or sewing, but with your materials, resources and help from hammock forums, I really had very little trouble. Making my own gear saved some $$ to boot!