Have you ever wrapped a gift in fabric? Fabric can be used to make re-usable gift bags, to accent your wrapping or to take the place of paper altogether. Today we’re going to share some ideas with you that will not only help you spice up your gift wrap game this holiday season, but will also give you a chance to use up some of the fabric scraps in your stash.

1. Embellish Plain Paper


This is the simplest method to dress up a plain package and it requires only a little fabric and no sewing. You can use a plain cardboard box for your gift or wrap the gift in kraft paper. Then, cut a strip of fabric using pinking shears and wrap it around the box. Secure the fabric with twine or a ribbon. Finish off the package with a tag.

2. Wrap with Fabric


In Japan, hostess and birthday gifts are often wrapped in fabric using a method called Furoshiki. Creating your own fabric wrapped gifts gives a unique look and is eco-friendly because the wrapping is reusable. To do this, start with a large square of fabric. I wrapped a small box in a 16” square piece, but I probably could have used more. Then, lay out your fabric in a rhombus shape (like a diamond) and set your gift in the center. Over the center of your gift tie two opposing ends in a single knot. Tie the remaining two ends in a double knot over the first knot and pull tightly. Then you can embellish the top with a tag, card, or candy cane.

3. Sew a Fabric Gift Bag


These reusable fabric gift bags look more unique than a paper bag and will last so much longer. Plus, they are great for odd-shaped gifts that would be difficult to wrap in paper. To make this bag, select your fabric and cut one long panel of fabric that is your desired width and twice your desired height. Fold the panel in half widthwise and sew up the sides. Turn the bag right side out. Then you can either hem the top of the bag or cut along the top with pinking shears for a decorative, no fray finish. All that’s left is to put your gift inside and tie the bag up with a pretty ribbon!

Love the fabrics featured in this post? They’re all available at www.sailrite.com.

Have you ever used fabric for wrapping presents before? Would you? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

The do-it-yourself spirit is alive and well in Sailrite customer Jack Rosen. Jack will try his hand at making just about anything. He’s successfully built airplanes, cars, and even a business! With all of those skills it’s no wonder that Jack would be a do-it-yourselfer for his sailboat too.


Jack teaching his CANE Seminar

Jack first became smitten with sailing while living in Toronto. He was spending his free time racing cars when a friend convinced him to try racing sailboats instead. So Jack went out on Lake Ontario with his friend on a 35-foot R-boat.

“I became fascinated with it,” Jack said. “I am allergic to grass, and when I was out on the water, away from everything, I felt like a weight was lifted off my chest.”

It wasn’t long before Jack bought his own sailboat and began competing in regattas. On his Lightning 19-foot daysailer, Jack raced against the New England and World Lightning Champions.

“I learned more about sailing from that Lightning,” Jack reminisced. “You could see the changes instantly.”

It was also during this time that Jack was first introduced to sewing for his boat. He met a sailmaker, and together they sewed sails for the Lightning on Jack’s living room floor.

Eventually, Jack moved to New England, where he wasn’t close to the water and so he sold his boat to one of his crewmembers. When another move found him near Cape Cod, he quickly purchased another Lightning and later a Catalina 380.

The Catalina needed a new sailcover and Jack knew that he could do the project himself. He borrowed a Sailrite Yachtsman sewing machine from a friend and created a custom sailcover that comes apart at the Dutchman lines and splits into three pieces.


Jack’s custom-designed sailcover

After that project Jack and his wife had the hull of the boat repainted, which left their hand-me-down canvas clashing with the boat. Not wanting to borrow a sewing machine for all the projects now on his list, Jack called us up, talked to Eric for advice about which machine to get, and ended up with a Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ-1 Sewing Machine.

With his new machine at the ready, Jack set up a sewing station in his garage workshop. He created a cut-out for his machine in his work table, dropped the machine in and created a sewing table.

One of the first projects he tackled with his Ultrafeed was a new bimini. He took the entire bimini frame off his boat and rigged it up in his workshop. Then he built a new bimini patterned directly off his frame.

“I’ll just go around our boat and make things,” Jack said. “It’s just so handy to create something you want.”


The finished bimini rigged up in the garage

Jack’s Catalina lead him to join a local sailing club, The Catalina Association of New England or CANE. The club provides monthly seminars on various aspects of sailing for its members, and Jack was asked to give a seminar on sewing for your boat. When it was listed, forty people signed up and Jack had to split the class into two sessions to accommodate everyone in his garage workshop.

Sailrite helped sponsor the event, providing catalogs for all attendees and copies of our Make Your Own Cushions DVD and Make Your Own Full Boat Enclosure DVD to raffle off as door prizes.

“The main theme of the seminar was to tell people that doing canvaswork is not a black art. It’s far easier than you think it is. You just need to know a few things, and Sailrite can help teach you those things,” Jack said.


Jack teaching his seminar

Jack was nervous about how the day would go, but the informal seminar was a big hit among the CANE members.

“I was very concerned,” he said. “I had planned to just show pictures and talk about needles and the machine, but [the conversation] went on and on.”

Jack answered participants’ questions for two and half hours. Beyond sewing, they also talked about needles, thread, fasteners and how to punch holes. “All the little things that scare people,” Jack said.

“I brought the little grill from our boat and we grilled out afterwards. Everyone had a really good time,” he added. “Several of [the attendees] are sewing away right now.”

Jack hopes to offer the seminar again next year if there is enough interest.


With his Ultrafeed LSZ-1

He enjoys sharing the projects he has worked on in hopes of inspiring others to make things for themselves, too.

“You get a sense of accomplishment. It helps you appreciate your boat a little more,” Jack said about doing his own canvaswork.

His advice to aspiring DIYers is to “just do it.”

“Practice on scrap material and learn as you go along.”

He also recommends watching Sailrite videos to help with projects.

“Watch the videos, first of all,” he said. “If you need to, start with a simple machine and then make the investment for the Ultrafeed and put it in your will—it’s going to outlast you.”


Jack’s Catalina 380 s/v JaxSan under sail

Jack sails his Catalina frequently in the summers with his wife, 10 year-old grandson and their Russian Wolfhound, Darby, out of New Bedford Harbor in Massachusetts.


Hanging a stocking by the fireplace for Santa to fill with goodies is a classic part of Christmas. Young or old, stockings can be a joyous part of the holiday season. If you need a new stocking, it’s easy to sew your own! We’re going share with you step-by-step how to sew your own stocking and we’re even sharing a PDF stocking template to help you create that perfect stocking shape.

Making your own stocking allows you to customize it to your holiday décor and taste. You could make a unique stocking for every person in your family or you can make a whole set that matches. Using bright colors will certainly bring out the Christmas spirit or you could go for a more subtle, muted color palate. We went for a slight twist on traditional look and chose a soft red plaid and a with a white velour cuff.

Christmas Stocking Materials



How to Make a Christmas Stocking

  1. Download and print out the Christmas Stocking Pattern. Cut out the pieces and tape them together as shown on the pattern to create the stocking shape.


  1. Lay the assembled stocking pattern out on your main body fabric and trace around the perimeter of the pattern with a soapstone pencil or fabric marker. Do this twice for both sides of the stocking


  1. Carefully cut out your stocking shapes.


  1. Fold your cuff fabric in half so you can pattern two cuff shapes at the same time. Lay one of your stocking patterns on top of the cuff fabric. Trace the top of the stocking to outline the top of the cuff. Then decide how far down on the stocking you want the cuff to go and make a mark on each side. Trace down the sides then remove the stocking body and connect the bottom line.


  1. Cut out your two cuff pieces.


  1. Position the cuff on the outside of each of your main stocking pieces. Remember, the feet should be facing in opposite directions at this point!


  1. Flip the cuff fabric down, so the bottom is in place, but the right sides of the fabrics are now facing each other. Sew a row of straight stitches along the bottom (now top) of the cuff fabric.


  1. Flip the cuff fabric back up into its final position. Sew a top stitch over the cuff bottom. At the top of the cuff, fold over a small hem and sew the cuff fabric into place on the main stocking piece. Repeat this process on the other half of the stocking.


  1. Cut about 6 inches of ribbon for the hanging loop. Fold the ribbon in half to make a loop. Use a small piece of basting tape to baste the ribbon ends together. Position the loop on the upper, heel-side corner of one of the stocking halves. Secure the loop with another small piece of basting tape.


  1. Place the two halves of the stocking together, right sides facing each other.


  1. Sew a straight stitch around the perimeter of the stocking.


  1. Turn the stocking right side out. Now it’s ready to hang on your mantle!



You can find all the materials needed to make your own Christmas stocking (as well as great stocking stuffers!) at www.sailrite.com.

What colors would you choose for your Christmas stocking? Share your ideas with us in the comments!


Yesterday we shared tips on how to give your Christmas tree a nautical flair and today, as promised we’re back to show you how we made our monkey’s fist knot Christmas tree ornament. A monkey’s fist, or monkey’s paw, knot resembles a bunched fist or paw and is used as a weight at the end of a heaving line and as an ornamental knot. The monkey’s fist as decoration is growing more and more popular both in and out of marine circles. With its rising popularity, we thought a monkey’s fist would be a fun, different way to accent our nautical tree this year.

There are many different methods to tie a monkey’s fist. We’re going to show you one method but you can use these basic principles to customize your own. Often a weighted sphere is placed in the center of the knot to support the shape and to help with throwing. We used a Ping-Pong ball to hold the shape in our knot, but you could use any small sphere, knot the end of the line and place it inside the larger knot, or use nothing at all. At the end, we finished our monkey’s fist with a modified hangman’s knot so it has an adjustable loop for displaying on the tree. When monkey’s fists are used for heaving often both ends of the rope are left free and the fist is used as part of an eye splice.

Watch this video to see step-by-step how to tie a monkey’s fist knot.


Quick Tip: Be sure when you’re wrapping the rope around, that each strand sits next to the one before it without overlapping.

Materials List:

You can find all the materials needed to make your own monkey’s fist, for hauling or decoration at www.sailrite.com.

What do you think of monkey’s fist knots as decoration? Want them all over your Christmas tree or better left at the boat? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments!


If you’re looking to decorate for the holidays in a way that incorporates your love of the water, we have some great inspiration for you today! Every year we put up a Christmas tree here at the Sailrite Headquarters and, naturally, we decorate it with a nautical flair. This year we thought we’d share with you how we bring a little sailing to our tree. These ideas can all be scaled up or down for a large tree at home or a tiny tree on your boat.

1. Use a Nautical Rope as Garland


Instead of stringing up metallic garland or ribbon this year, try using rope. We use 3/8″ Sta-Set Double Braid in red, but the green or white with green fleck are also festive choices. For a more rustic, natural look, you could use plain, manila rope too. Just start at the top and wrap it all around the tree.

2. Hang Sailboat Ornaments


What is a sailor’s Christmas tree without at least a couple of sailboat ornaments? Nautical themed ornaments like sailboats, lighthouses, anchors, and even shells are widely available and will give the perfect accent to your nautical tree. The Sailrite tree is about half decorated in various sailboats. Bonus points for a sailboat tree topper!

3. Create a Monkey’s Fist Ornament


A great nod to your rope garland and the seafaring lifestyle is to hang a monkey’s fist (or several) from your Christmas tree. This is also a really fun holiday DIY. Need help learning how to tie this iconic knot? Check out our tutorial for making these ornament-sized monkey’s fists.

4. Make a Custom Tree Skirt


We made a new tree skirt for our Sailrite tree last year and shared the tutorial right here on the blog. Ours is a festive red and white, but this is a really easy way to make your tree feel more nautical or beachy. You can use a fabric with knots, coral or even fish! In fact, we have a whole category of nautical fabrics to put the finishing touch on your tree.

To see even more holiday DIY and decorating inspiration, check out our Christmas at Sailrite board on Pinterest!

Do you have a nautically themed Christmas tree? Tell us about it in the comments or send us a photo at marketing@sailrite.com.


Remember when you were a little kid and you just couldn’t wait for Christmas to come? You could make a paper chain or open the doors of an advent calendar to count down the days. Today we have a reusable, no-sew idea for a Christmas countdown or advent calendar that you can make for your kids, grandkids, or even just for yourself!

For this Christmas countdown we made 25 little fabric pouches, one for each day in December leading up to Christmas. Inside the pouches you can hide candy, gifts or even ideas for holiday activities. We added an ornament hook to the back of the pouches so you can hang them on a tree or a garland to make a display.

There are many different ways to modify this project to make it your own. For example, we used two different fabrics, but you could make your pouches all look the same, or you could use up scrap fabrics and have each pouch be unique! Also, we used tags to display the numbers, but you could use a fabric marker and write the numbers on the bag or use iron-on numbers. The possibilities are endless!

Christmas Countdown Materials:


  • • 2 yards of fabric (or enough to make 25 11” circles) we used Harper Home Abbot London Red and Astrid Sandstone
  • • Cardboard or something to make a template
  • • Scissors
  • • Christmas Candy or other filler
  • • Tags or other numbers
  • • Twine
  • • Ornament Hooks (optional)

How to Make a Christmas Countdown

1. Create a template for your circles. On a piece of cardboard, measure out a circle that is 11 inches in diameter and cut it out.


2. Using your template, trace your circles on the fabric. If you stagger the circles and keep them close, you can get all 25 on two yards of a 54” fabric.


3. Cut out the circles using pinking shears.


4. Take one circle and lay it out flat. Place several pieces of candy or a small prize in the center of the circle.


5. Gather the fabric around the candy, cinching it with your hand right above the candy, creating a little round pouch.


6. Wrap a length of twine tightly around the bag where you hand was, to cinch the pouch tightly shut. Tie the twine in a bow so it’s secure but easy to untie later.


7. Prep your number tag. We used pre-made tags and I wrote the numbers on them with a marker. Tie your number to the twine, and snip off any excess string from the number.


8. If you want to hang your bags from a tree or garland, slide an ornament hook under the twine at the back of the bag. Pinch the hook shut to secure.


9. Now you’re all set to display your Christmas countdown!


You can find great fabrics for this project and many more at www.sailrite.com!

Does your family keep a Christmas countdown? How do you keep track? Share your traditions and stories with us in the comments!


The holiday season is quickly approaching and Thanksgiving is just a week away! If you’re looking for new ideas to make your dinner table look festive and fresh this holiday season, we’ve got a great, easy DIY for you. We’re going to show you how to make reversible quilted placemats.

Placemats are both practical and decorative and many people use them on a day-to-day basis. They are great for protecting your table from heat, moisture and scratches and, depending on the style, they can give your table a more formal feel. Plus, placemats are easier to clean than a tablecloth and can be quickly switched out depending on your mood or season.

We made our quilted placemats reversible so you can easily switch from one pattern to the other. The quilting gives the placemats a unique and more casual look. We used a Sunbrella Upholstery fabric for our placemats to keep them easy to clean and stain resistant. The quilting was created by sandwiching a layer of thin, polyurethane backed foam between the two decorative fabrics. You can use either thin foam or batting for this project, both are machine washable (let air dry).

Watch the video to see step-by-step how to pattern, sew, trim and finish your own quilted placemats.


How to Make Quilted Placemats

  1. Standard placemats are 19” x 13” finished. Cut your foam 1” larger on all sides.
  2. Using the foam as a template, cut out your fabric panels, each a little bit larger than the foam.
  3. Use a spray adhesive to baste the foam to the fabric for easier sewing.
  4. Sew the quilting across the assembly. Start by sewing diagonally across one corner and then measure down 2” and start the next line. It is helpful to draw out the quilting pattern with a soapstone pencil to know where to sew.
  5. Create a cardboard template the exact finished size you want the placemats to be. Trace the template on your assembly and cut it out.
  6. Add binding to the edges to finish the placemat!

Materials List

All of the materials needed to make your own quilted placemats are available at www.sailrite.com.

Do you use placemats everyday, just for special occasions, or never? Have you ever sewn your own? Share your placemat opinions and tips in the comments!


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