Where the Coconuts Grow Interview

Meet Jody and Peter, the sailing couple behind the blog “Where the Coconuts Grow.” This determined couple set their sights on the live aboard sailing life and didn’t look back. They’ve been cruising in the Caribbean for the past two years on board S/V Mary Christine. To continue their sailing lifestyle, they’ve embraced a “work hard, play hard” mentality, which includes long hours at their island job and DIY projects to affordably maintain their own boat with the freedom of the sailing life as the ultimate payoff. Sailrite is a sponsor of their DIY projects and I recently had the opportunity to ask Jody a few questions about the cruising lifestyle and DIY aboard.

Q: Tell us a little bit about you! How did you start sailing? How did you decide to cruise in the Caribbean?

A: I’m originally from the Seattle area (Jody), and Peter is from San Diego. We both had boating experience since we were little but neither of us knew how to sail before we bought our boat! Peter knew one day he would buy a sailboat to economically get to all the epic surf spots and fishing grounds. We originally looked for a boat on the West Coast but found better options on the East Coast. The boat we purchased was in Florida so the Caribbean was the natural route to begin our cruising. We are SO glad it ended up that way instead of the Pacific side as our training grounds.

Where the Coconuts Grow Interview

Q: Tell us about your sailboat, S/V Mary Christine. 

A: Our boat is a Whitby 42 – A 42′ bluewater ketch. She was built in 1980 and is very solid. The previous owners took impeccable care of her and we are lucky to have such a perfect tiny floating home. With the age comes character. There is a lot of interior teak but that also darkens the space very quickly. My settee cushion project and throw pillow project both immediately lightened up the space and made it feel even more cozy inside. I love that our boat feels like home and not just a boat.

Q: What is your favorite part of your cruising lifestyle?

A: I love the freedom the most. We have the freedom to pick up and move anytime we want, bringing our tiny floating home and all of our belongings with us. We can travel, see the world and never get homesick all at the same time.


Q: Why do you think DIY skills are important for cruisers?

A: When you travel to remote places, boat parts and repair facilities are few and far between. Even if you don’t know how to fix something, you figure it out. A little common sense and motivation go a long way on the water. DIY skills are also very rewarding. Before we became cruisers, our DIY skills were nowhere near what they are today simply because they didn’t need to be. Now, we look at all the things we have done by ourselves and they are all huge accomplishments. That makes you feel pretty proud.

Q: How did you first hear about Sailrite?

A: A few of my cruising friends have used Sailrite machines and they were always highly recommended. I did my research and decided to not waste my time with a cheaper machine that would inevitably break down or not hold up to the marine environment. My primary motive was to be able to do sail repairs if necessary with the versatility to sew other projects and the general consensus was that Sailrite is the best. I can proudly agree now!

Where the Coconuts Grow Interview

Jody’s new settee cushions

Q: I know you have an Ultrafeed LSZ-1 Sewing Machine, what do you think of it so far? How many projects have you sewn with it?

A: I absolutely LOVE my LSZ-1!!! It runs so smooth and I have no trouble sewing heavy-duty materials. It does everything I need it to do. I’ve done about 6 projects so far and my to-do list keeps growing :) My favorite completed projects are these three:

Q: Your settee cushions turned out great! What did you learn in the process of making those?

A: Wow, the cushion project was incredibly intimidating before I started. I had wanted to redo them since the day we bought our boat and I avoided the project for two whole years. By jumping into that project, I learned that it’s really not as scary as it looks, with the help of my LSZ-1 and all the wonderful Sailrite videos. I was very patient and watched the videos over and over again until I felt like I understood what to do at each stage of the project.

Where the Coconuts Grow Interview

Betsy, Peter & Jody’s sailing pup, approves of the new cushions

Q: What advice do you have for other sailors thinking about sewing for their boats?

A: Don’t be intimidated!! The Sailrite videos make anything possible. If you have a question about any part of the process, the Sailrite customer service is beyond exceptional and they will help you figure anything out. Take on any projects you are considering and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do them sooner.

Q: Do you have any DIY projects on the horizon?

A: My list of projects I’d like to start is ever-growing. As soon as I have a few more days off, I’m going to finally tackle repairing the aft isinglass panel of my cockpit. The zipper has been disintegrated by UV exposure and we can’t keep the rain out. I’ve got the supplies, now I just need to plan my first steps. I’m so happy I don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for someone else to do it!

Where the Coconuts Grow Interview

Q: Where are you sailing now?
A: We are currently in the British Virgin Islands working full-time as Captain and First Mate on a 48′ Day Sail Catamaran. The Virgin Islands are some of our favorite sailing grounds of the entire Eastern Caribbean. Someday, we’ll sail west to Central America and onto the South Pacific, but as they say, plans are drawn in the sand! Wherever we end up, we’ll always be Where The Coconuts Grow :)

You can follow Jody and Peter’s sailing adventures on their blog, Where the Coconuts Grow as well as on Facebook and Instagram!

With summer right around the corner, it’s time to pull your patio furniture out of storage and get your outdoor living space ready for the season. If your old patio furniture is leaving you feeling uninspired, why not sew up a new project or two to give the furniture and patio space a new look? You could sew new cushions, change the throw pillows, add outdoor drapery or re-do old sling chairs for a brand new look this summer.

To help get you inspired for new patio projects, we’ve compiled three different looks using Sailrite fabrics that can use on your own patio. Each design features all outdoor living fabrics, so everything is appropriate for occasional outdoor use.

Graphic & Bright

3 Patio Design Styles to Try

Let’s start things off with a bang! Your outdoor living spaces are great places to take design risks. If you love bold colors but aren’t sure about them inside your home, try them outside! Your patio is a great place to play with not only color but also bold, graphic patterns like latticework, abstract geometrics, and large-scale floral. This look features a statement fabric, a punchy floral but is also toned down with a solid beige. The bright blue unites all the fabrics to keep the look cohesive. We also included a sling fabric, to show how sling chairs can work with softer pieces in the same space.

Get this look:

  1. P/K Lifestyles Outdoor Matisse Dance Watermelon
  2. P/Kaufmann Outdoor Print Affair Caribbean Blue
  3. Sunbrella Canvas Antique Beige Upholstery Fabric
  4. Phifertex Vinyl Sling Bailey Stripe Aqua Shimmer

Classic Black & White

3 Patio Design Styles to Try

Black and white is a timeless color pairing that will always look stylish. For this look we started with a base of black and white fabrics (think for cushions and larger pieces) and then we added a pop of color by bringing in the greens of this tropical palm leaf fabric. You could use any accent color with black and white—you could even pick a fabric to match the flowers, plants or landscaping around your patio. Black and white make for a great base for creativity!

Get this look:

  1. Sunbrella Canvas Black Upholstery Fabric
  2. P/Kaufmann Outdoor Little Hipster Ebony
  3. Tommy Bahama Outdoor Swaying Palms Aloe
  4. Sunbrella Cabana Classic Upholstery Fabric
  5. Waverly Sun N Shade Luminary Licorice

Soothing & Serene


Make your outdoor living space a relaxing retreat with cool, calm colors as seen in this sophisticated and understated look. The soft blues bring in color without being too loud and the greys and beiges really anchor this color scheme. You could mix and match these fabrics in many different ways around you patio, using a solid or one of the patterns as the main cushions with pillows in the others. Give your pillows a little extra pizzazz with a Sunbrella piping or fringe, which are durable enough to be used outdoors.

Get this look:

  1. Sunbrella Hybrid Sky Upholstery Fabric
  2. Sunbrella Echo Ash Upholstery Fabric
  3. Sunbrella Decorative Piping Spa Vellum
  4. Sunbrella Gateway Mist Upholstery Fabric
  5. Sunbrella Fretwork Pewter Upholstery Fabric

Which of these designs suit your style, or would you do something completely different? Share your opinions & ideas with us in the comments!

Shop for even more outdoor living fabrics in a wide range of colors and styles at Sailrite.com.

Are you redoing your boat cabin and not your patio? Check out our roundup of 3 Boat Cabin Design Ideas!

On April 20, 2016 we hosted a fundraising day, pledging to donate 10% of the day’s sales to Make-A-Wish. With the help of all of you, we were able to raise $7,931! With the cost of the average wish running around $7,500 this will be enough to help grant one wish.

Sailrite Make-A-Wish Day 2016

This past Tuesday, to celebrate our fundraising efforts and to learn more about the work Make-A-Wish is doing for children with life-threatening medical conditions, we were visited by a few special guests; Kelsey, from Make-A-Wish of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, Wish Kid Cayden and his mom.

Cayden is an outgoing 9 year-old boy from Harlan, Ind. who loves to jump on the trampoline, go for bike rides and watch baseball games. His favorite movie is Big Hero 6 and he loves to eat cheese pizza from Pizza Hut. In 2014, Cayden was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, which starts in the immune cells and causes the lymphatic system to irregularly reproduce. This creates problems within the immune system and rapidly grows.

Sailrite Make-A-Wish Day 2016

When Wish-Granting volunteers met with Cayden, he knew exactly what he wanted to wish for: to go to Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawaii, so he could swim with dolphins, go snorkeling and take surfing lessons. He even wanted to ride in a helicopter to see volcanoes!

Thanks to Make-A-Wish, Cayden’s wish was granted this past spring break and he and his family spent 6 nights at Aulani experiencing all Hawaii has to offer. The trip was also a well deserved opportunity for the family to all relax together and take a break!

Sailrite Make-A-Wish Day 2016

During their visit, Cayden and his mom told us about their trip and how Make-A-Wish set everything up for them, making the whole experience easy and hassle free. The thought of the upcoming trip was a source of encouragement to Cayden and his family during long hospital stays. He and his mom were also happy to report that Cayden has now been off chemotherapy for one year and is back in school.

We here at Sailrite look forward to making our Make-A-Wish Day an annual event. Be sure to look for more information about it next spring so you can help us grant more wishes for kids like Cayden! To learn more about Make-A-Wish and the work they do, visit wish.org.

Introducing the New Look of Sailrite.com

Have you seen the new look of Sailrite.com? If you’ve visited our website in the past week you will have noticed some big changes and if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to go take a look around! We’ve been hard at work behind the scenes developing this new website experience for all of you and today we wanted to point out a few of the new, helpful features of the site that we think you’re really going to like.

Browse Better

Introducing the New Look of Sailrite.com

New Quick View Feature

We’ve made several improvements that will help the way you peruse and shop around on the site. First, our new site runs faster than ever before and is now mobile-friendly, making it easier to shop from anywhere on your phone or tablet. Additionally larger images on product pages help you really see the products before you buy!

For those who like to browse around, we now have 3 different viewing styles on our category and search pages. You can view products in 4 columns, in a 2 x 2 grid, or in a list. Each view offers different perks for different shopping personalities. For example, the list view allows you to shop quickly by adding products to your cart directly from the search and category pages.

Another addition that makes ordering quicker and browsing easier is our Quick View feature. This lets you see more images of an item, provides a little more information and lets you add the item to your cart all while keeping your place on the category or search page.

Keep Lists

Introducing the New Look of Sailrite.com

Our new Wishlist

Our new website offers two features that will help you keep track of materials lists, items that catch your eye or splurges you’re saving for next time; Wishlist and Save for Later. Our Wishlist lets you save products you’re interested in and sort them into multiple wish lists and even prioritize among your items. And if you’re ready to purchase, you can add an entire list to your shopping cart with just the click of a button.

The ‘Save for Later’ feature is great for sorting through items in your shopping cart. If when looking through your cart you decide you’d rather wait on an item or two but don’t want to forget them, you now have the option to ‘Save for Later.’ We’ll store those items in a separate section of your shopping cart until your ready for them.

Shop Smarter

Introducing the New Look of Sailrite.com

New Shipping Estimator in the Shopping Cart

We always strive to provide you, our customers, with all the information you need to make informed purchases so you are confident that with each order you have the right materials for your project. To continue to increase that confidence level, our website now includes product reviews and transparent inventory so you know what we have in stock. We’ve also brought back a feature that we know many of you have been wanting, a shipping estimator in the shopping cart. You can now get shipping estimates on your order before starting the checkout process.

So what are you waiting for? Head over to Sailrite.com, take a look around and let us know what you think of the new design and features!

Meet the Ultrafeed v.3

We’re excited to announce the upcoming release of our latest Ultrafeed model, the v.3. Coming this June the Ultrafeed will include several new drive parts and an updated look. This new machine is still the Ultrafeed that you know and love but with a few improvements.

Here at Sailrite, we have a long history continually improving the Ultrafeed Sewing Machines to maintain their status as the best portable, heavy-duty sewing machine around. If you’re interested, you can read the full history of the evolution of the Ultrafeed in our article “The Ultrafeed Journey.” Because we’re always improving, even though we loved the v.2 machine, we knew that we could make it even better. This fine-tuning and optimization process is what led to the v.3 machine.

What Is New?

The Ultrafeed v.3 has 3 basic new features: three of the drive parts have been re-designed, the feed components are improved, and the PLUS and PREMIUM packages come in a new Industrial Carrying Case. So what do all these changes mean? Let’s break them down and take a closer look.

Drive components

Meet the Ultrafeed v.3
For the v.3, we re-designed three of the drive components: the motor bracket, jack drive and the motor pulley. All of these parts have been optimized to create less friction and to be better aligned for smoother operation. This also results in less noise while sewing and less wear on the parts, increasing their longevity. These updated parts are actually not unique to the v.3 Ultrafeed, but rather have been phased into our v.2 machines starting in 2016. So if you bought your machine during the first half of 2016, you may already have these parts.

Feed Components

Meet the Ultrafeed v.3

We have made improvements to the feeding mechanism to make it last longer and grip even better than before. Unlike other sewing machines with knurled feeding mechanisms, the Ultrafeed has sharp teeth to grip and evenly feed your material through the machine.

Industrial Carrying Case

Meet the Ultrafeed v.3
Our new carrying case come standard with all Plus and Premium Ultrafeed packages and can be purchased separately if you want to upgrade your existing Ultrafeed. The new case features a specially padded lid to support and protect your machine, even when stored on its side. The Sailrite logo is silkscreened on the case lid and serves as an easy guide to remember which way the lid fits and which direction to set the machine for sewing. Other new features include extra-large rubber feet to keep the case in place while sewing, and heavy-duty butterfly latches securing the case lid.

Meet the Ultrafeed v.3

The Ultrafeed v.3 machines will continue to be tuned and finished in our Indiana facility and will offer all the power, performance and quality you’ve come to expect from Sailrite.

Look for the Ultrafeed v.3 Sewing Machines at Sailrite.com starting in June 2016.

Lifetime threads are more expensive than traditional polyester thread, but for projects that will be outdoors all the time, a lifetime thread is well worth the extra investment. Sailrite stocks two brands of lifetime thread, Profilen and Tenara, and today we’re going to break down the strengths of each so you can decide which will work best for you.

First, let’s go over what all lifetime threads have in common. They all carry a lifetime guarantee (hence the name) and are unaffected by exposure to UV rays, harsh cleaning agents, pollution, saltwater, rain, snow, cold and rot. These threads can be left outside all year round in all of the elements and they still will outlast the fabric they are sewn into!

Selecting the Right Lifetime Thread

All 5 colors of Tenara Thread.

Tenara Thread, by Gore, is the original lifetime thread and is made of a unique fluoropolymer fiber construction. It is available in five colors on 8 oz. cones and comes in two sizes: regular, which is similar to a V-92 thread, and heavyweight, which is similar to a V-138 thread. Tenara thread is lubricated with a very small amount of silicone wax. This wax finish helps to provide lubrication during the sewing process. This extra lubrication can make the thread tricky to sew in some sewing machines, but is ideal for use with rotary hook sewing machines. In a rotary hook machine, the wax lubricates the machine too, and helps to create excellent stitch quality with very low stretch. We recommend Tenara thread for use with rotary hook sewing machines like the Sailrite 111, the Sailrite Professional Series and the Sailrite Big-N-Tall.

Selecting the Right Lifetime Thread

Profilen Thread in both colors and cone sizes.

Profilen thread is made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and also features properties that repel dirt and water and it is self-cleaning. Profilen is available in two colors on 4 oz. or 8 oz. cones and the thread size is comparable to a V-92 thread. Profilen thread is softer than other lifetime threads, which makes it easier to sew properly. We highly recommend Profilen thread for use in oscillating hook sewing machines like the Sailrite Ultrafeed.

If you’re not sure if your sewing machine has an oscillating or rotary hook, our Rotary vs. Oscillating Hook Sewing Machines blog post outlines how each type of machine works and tells you how to tell which type of machine you have.

All in all, you cannot make a wrong choice with lifetime threads, but selecting the one that will sew best in your sewing machine will give you an easier sewing experience.

You can find both of these lifetime threads at Sailrite.com.

Easy DIY Flanged Pillow

Adding a decorative flange or ruffle to the edge of your pillows is a fun way to mix up the look. These little pillows would be perfect for a living room, bedroom or even outside on your patio. They are a quick and easy DIY project that you can do in just a day to add a little bit of color wherever you need it in your home.

Over the last couple weeks we’ve been sharing several projects for the same patio, we recovered bullnose chair cushions, made lumbar pillows and sewed up a bench cushion. Today is the final finishing touch and we’ve made these flanged pillows for a set of sling chairs to keep the colors flowing all around the patio. We’re using a Waverly Sun N Shade fabric, Santa Maria Mimosa for these pillows, just like we did for the lumbar pillows.

Materials List:

How to Make a Flanged Pillow

1. If using a fabric with a pattern, determine which part of the design you’d like featured in the center of the pillow, if any. Mark the center of this design for patterning reference.

Easy DIY Flanged Pillow

2. Pattern your fabric using the same dimensions as your pillow form. Our form was 18” x 18” so we traced out an 18” x 18” square on the fabric.

Easy DIY Flanged Pillow

3. Cut out your first square and use it to pattern the second panel.

Easy DIY Flanged Pillow

4. Lay your two panels on top of each other with the right sides facing each other so the pattern lines up symmetrically.

5. To make the corners of your pillow fuller, trim a little fabric from each corner. At one corner of your fabric panels, measure down 4” and make a mark. From the corner again, measure over 1/2”. At an angle, draw a line connecting the two marks. Do this for both sides of the corner, then cut along that line.  Repeat the process on the opposite corner.

Easy DIY Flanged Pillow

6. Fold over the fabric and use it as a guide to trim the two remaining corners.

Easy DIY Flanged Pillow

7. Pin your two fabric panels together. Take them to your sewing machine and sew around the perimeter of three sides of the pillow. Leave an opening at the bottom of the pillow big enough to insert your pillow form.

Easy DIY Flanged Pillow

8. Trim the excess fabric from each corner.

Easy DIY Flanged Pillow

9. Turn your pillow cover outside right.

Easy DIY Flanged Pillow

10. Carefully work each edge at the seam so it lies as flat as possible.

Easy DIY Flanged Pillow

11. Pin the seams flat and the pieces together around the perimeter of the pillow cover. Take your fabric to the sewing machine and sew 1/2” in from the outer edge of the fabric on three sides. This will create a 1/2” lip around the pillow.

Easy DIY Flanged Pillow

12. Carefully insert your pillow form.

Easy DIY Flanged Pillow

13. Fold under the raw edges on the pillow’s opening and pin a 1/2” in from the folded edge to create the lip along the bottom of the pillow.

Easy DIY Flanged Pillow

14. Using your sewing machine, carefully sew the opening closed.

Easy DIY Flanged Pillow

15. Enjoy your new pillow!

Easy DIY Flanged Pillow

You can find all the materials needed to make your own throw pillows from pillow forms to decorative fabrics at Sailrite.com.


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