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It’s amazing how something as small as a seat cushion can change the look of your whole dining set. As a part of our Outdoor Dining Area Makeover, we sanded and refinished the wood on an old dining table and chairs to give them new life. The seats on these chairs had seen better days, too, so we decided to recover them and we’re going to share the process with you! Re-covering seat covers is a great beginner-lever upholstery project. Let’s take a look at how to re-cover dining chair seats and how to add a moisture barrier to the foam.

Even though our chairs are under a covered porch, we wanted to add some moisture blocking elements to protect the foam. On the cushion’s interior, we took the extra step to add a layer of Cushion Wrap Silk Film around the foam. If your cushion has batting and foam, the silk film would be placed on top of both of those layers. For the exterior, we covered the cushions with a Sunbrella Upholstery fabric, which is water, mildew, stain and UV resistant.

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Chair before

 

If you are using a decorative fabric with a pattern, you’ll want to take care to line up the pattern in the same way on all of your chairs. Select an element of the fabric pattern that you want to be centered on the chair, and lay out your fabric accordingly. If using stripes, choose a center stripe and then make sure it is straight on the seat before stapling.

You can use the upholstery principles from this project for chairs of the same style inside your home too. For interior use, the silk film is optional; you can leave it out or add it for protection against spills.

In this video, you will learn how to remove the old fabric from your chair seat, plump up the foam, add silk film, and attach decorative fabric.

Materials List:

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Completed seat

 

You can find all the materials and tools to recover your own dining chair seats at Sailrite.com.

Have you ever re-covered seat cushions before? What advice would you have for the process? Share your experiences in the comments!

As we are officially heading into spring (finally!) it’s a great time to turn our attention to the outdoors. After a winter cooped up inside, it’s nice to be outside in the fresh air as much as possible during the spring and summer. We made over this covered porch to create a relaxing and stylish outdoor dining space for sharing family meals in the open air. In the next two weeks, we’re going to share with you the 5 DIY projects that we put together to make this bland patio more inviting.

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Dining Area Before

Outdoor Dining Area Projects:

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Dining Area After

Today, we’re going to share the first how-to in our Dining Area Makeover Series. Our makeover started from the ground up—literally. We started by adding an outdoor area rug to make the space feel more like an interior room. The rug also helps to create a dining zone in the larger porch area.

For our rug we decided to start with an expensive rug from a hardware store and add a fabric border to make the rug look nicer and to tie it in to our overall color scheme. Our rug had a relatively low pile, so it was easy to sew with the Ultrafeed LS-1 Sewing Machine. For the fabric border we chose to use Sunbrella Upholstery fabric because of its excellent durability.

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Fabric Trimmed Rug

In this video, you will learn how to prepare the rug for sewing, calculate the needed fabric, sew the edging and nicely finish the corners.

In making our project, we realized that to create a cleaner finished topside of the rug, we should have marked on the underside of the rug and sewed the fabric to it first. You can make this change when you sew your rug.

Materials List:

You can find all the materials to trim your outdoor rug in fabric at Sailrite.com.

Do you have an outdoor dining area or other living space to makeover this season? Share your plans with us in the comments!

For more great outdoor living DIY tutorials, check out last season’s DIY Porch Makeover Series!

Linda Newland has devoted most of her life to expanding the presence of women in the sailing world. She earned her reputation by pushing limits and working her way into and up in a sport that had previously been something of a boys’ club. Now, as the President of the National Women’s Sailing Association and the Women’s Sailing Foundation she’s empowering new generations of women to feel confident taking the helm.

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Linda Newland

Linda started sailing in the 1970’s when her then-boyfriend bought a 22-foot sailboat on San Francisco Bay, despite the fact that neither he or Linda actually knew how to sail. The pair just motored around the bay until they had an accident. They struck their mast on a bridge because they didn’t know to radio to ask for the bridge to rise. After that Linda decided she needed to learn how to sail. She enrolled in lessons and discovered that she really liked it.

She quickly started sailing a Santana 22 at a local yacht club with an all-women crew.

“We were the first all-women crew to race with the guys,” she said. “And we just didn’t want to be last. The guys weren’t very welcoming.”

But the crew gained their credibility at the yacht club one day during a casual beer can race when the women beat their male competitors.

Linda and one of her crewmates then started a women’s sailing club at the crewmate’s yacht club.

“I’m proud of that, and getting more women into the sport,” Linda said.

Not long after that Linda became “entranced” with single-handed sailing and in 1981 she single-handed in a race from San Francisco to Hawaii. A year later she competed in a single-handed race from San Francisco to Japan.

In the early 1990’s Linda met Doris Colgate, President of the Offshore Sailing School, at a sailing seminar for women at a boat show in California. Doris had recently founded the National Women’s Sailing Association. While being a big proponent of teaching women to sail, Linda didn’t get involved with the organization right away, but in 2005 joined the board for the National Women’s Sailing Association and has held several positions before being elected President in 2014.

The National Women’s Sailing Association is a program of the Women’s Sailing Foundation. The group’s mission is “to enrich the lives of women and girls through education and access to the sport of sailing.” To accomplish their mission the group sponsors an annual Women’s Sailing Conference as well as hands-on weekend seminars. Seminars include a diesel engine workshop, a sail repair workshop hosted by Doyle sails, and a 2-day seminar on boat electrical systems.

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Attendees from the Electrical & Marine Systems Workshop presented by NWSA Board Member & ABYC Master Marine Tech Beth Burlingame (far right).

The Women’s Sailing Foundation also sponsors a program called AdventureSail® that introduces at-risk girls, ages 9-14 years old, to sailing and their local waters. The girls meet mentors and learn leadership, responsibility, teamwork, and environmental stewardship.

“We partner with local yacht clubs and people take girls out on boats for the day,” Linda said. “Many girls have never been on boats before.”

As a follow-up to the program, girls can apply for scholarships to attend sail training programs. This year the Association is giving a scholarship for an AdventureSail graduate to sail aboard the tallship Adventuress, a 100-year old schooner. The trip, called Girls at the Helm, will be a 4-day cruise in the San Juan Islands of Washington State that focuses on tall ship sailing, marine biology, and leadership training. Linda herself has sailed on the Adveturess and is a big supporter of the AdventureSail program.

“I haven’t been to an AdventureSail day yet, but those who do [volunteer] are hooked,” Linda said.

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Attendees from 2014 AdventureSail in Racine, WI

Linda loves teaching sailing, and finds it especially rewarding to teach other women.

“I’ve found that women have a different learning style from men. Women want to talk things out,” she explained. “We like the idea of women teaching women until they get the confidence to go co-ed.”

She said that the most rewarding is teaching women who have been on boats but whose husbands do most of the sailing.

“When you ask them how much they know about boats they always say they don’t know much. But then they have an aha moment when they realize [that they know much more than they thought]. The knowledge is there, and I love that moment.”

Linda encourages any woman interested in sailing to jump in and try it.

“If you’re motivated, don’t let anything hold you back,” she said. “Get professional training and crew on as many boats as possible for experience.”

She also really encourages women to look for conferences and other opportunities to meet fellow women sailors.

“The energy level is amazing,” she said.

Linda lives and sails in Washington State with her husband. The couple stays very involved in sailing and races in a boat that her husband designed. She teaches sailing in the summers.


For the second year in a row, Sailrite has donated products for auction/raffle at the 14th Annual Women’s Sailing Conference, which will be held at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead, MA on Saturday, June 6, 2015. Proceeds raised help fund AdventureSail programs.

For more information on the conference and the National Women’s Sailing Association visit their website www.womensailing.org.

Perfect for poolside lounging or outdoor dining, sling chairs are a popular style of patio seating. They are comfortable, durable and easy to maintain. If your sling chairs are starting to look saggy or dinghy, you can replace the sling material in the frame to extend their life. Sailrite carries two, high quality sling fabrics: Phifertex Plus and Sunbrella Sling. These fabrics look very similar, so it can be hard to tell which one to select for your application. Let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between these two popular fabrics.

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Sling Chairs by Eleanore F.

First, both of these fabrics were developed with sling chair applications in mind. They are both extremely UV resistant, durable, and breathable. Likewise, both fabrics are very easy to care for and clean with just mild soap and water. Plus, they are both manufactured right here in the United States at top-notch mills. The differences between these two fabrics are subtle and come from the fiber content and the manufacturing process.

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Phifertex Plus Delray Stripe Poolside

Phifertex Plus is woven entirely from PVC coated polyester yarns. When the fabric is being finished the PVC coating is actually re-melted slightly and then set again so every point where the fibers cross is fused together. This makes the fabric extremely dimensionally stable and leaves little bias stretch. This is important because when the fabric is stretched over your chair it won’t form pockets or sag. However, being covered completely in vinyl does give Phifertex Plus a distinctive look—less like a woven fabric and more like traditional vinyl.

Sunbrella Sling, on the other hand, combines Sunbrella acrylic fibers with PVC coated polyester and weaves the two fibers together. This gives Sunbrella Sling a softer look than Phifertex Plus, more like a traditional woven fabric. However, the acrylic fibers prevent Sunbrella Sling from being completely bonded together like Phifertex Plus making it less dimensionally stable. Over time, Sunbrella Sling could start to sag in an application. Sunbrella does provide a 5-year limited manufacturer’s warranty on Sunbrella Sling fabrics.

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Sunbrella Sling Myrtle

Both fabrics are mildew resistant, and Phifertex Plus also features Microban® antimicrobial protection. If your furniture will sit by a pool, you might want to choose Sunbrella Sling, which features chlorine and chemical resistance. Additionally, Phifertex Plus has a little broader use, if you want your chairs to match cushions, shades or window screens, you can make them all out of Phifertex Plus.

In conclusion, you really can’t go wrong with either fabric. If your top priority is the look and feel of your chairs, then try Sunbrella Sling, with the softer hand and more stylized design. If your primary concern is longevity above all else, then you will certainly be happy with Phifertex Plus.

The choice is yours. Take a look at the full line of colors of Sunbrella Sling and Phifertex Plus and find the best one for your outdoor living space at Sailrite.com.

Be sure to check out our great tutorials for replacing your sling chair fabric in your spline cord or envelope style chairs.

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Adding piping to the edge of a cushion or pillow project is a great way to take the style to next level. However, sewing piping on so it looks just right can take a little bit of practice. The aspect of sewing piping that we get questions about the most is how to join the ends together so the piping still looks nice. Today we’re going to go over our method for joining piping ends step-by-step.

This method is great for piping you make yourself with an outer fabric layer or for prefabricated piping like our Deluxe Vinyl Piping that has an inner cord. The method for finishing the ends of decorative piping trim and lipcord is a little different. You can see an example of that in this Chair Pad video tutorial.

How to Join Piping Ends

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1. Since you want the piping to join at the backside of your cushion, start your piping at the back of the cushion plate about 2-3 inches past the center point. Leave 4-5 inches of piping unsewn (like a tail). This will make the piping easier to join at the end. Sew all the way around the cushion plate and stop just a few inches short of the center where you started.

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2. Carefully peel back an inch or two of the covering on each piping end, cutting any seams or peeling apart glued fabric. The exposed piping cord should overlap when laid down.

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3. Lay the cords side-by-side and as flat as possible. Snip both the piping cords (not the fabric covers) with one cut so that the ends will be completely flush with one another.

4. Trim away any excess fabric, so that when the fabric from one end of the piping is wrapped around the other the fabric will only overlap about a 1/2 inch.

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5. Match the tails of the piping cord up as closely as possible and fold the longer fabric end over the other.

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6. Sew the piping closed, making sure your stitches overlap with your initial stitches at both ends. Be sure to bar tack to lock your stitches in place.

And that’s it! Now you’ll have a nice subtle overlap at the back of your cushion and beautiful trim all around.


 

To learn more about adding piping to your project and to see this process on video, check out our Learning To Sew Series Part 6: How to Add Piping.

You can find great fabrics and decorative piping for your next sewing project at Sailrite.com.

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Adirondack chairs have been an outdoor seating staple for over a hundred years. Named after the Adirondack Mountains where the chairs were first designed, this iconic chair had stood the test of time. If you want to spruce up your Adirondack chairs and make them a little more comfy for those long summer days, why not add a cushion? Today we’ll show you how to make a hinged cushion to perfectly fit your Adirondack chair.

In the video, we will show you how to pattern your cushion foam based on measurements from your chair, so no matter what style of Adirondack chair you have you’ll have a perfectly fitted cushion. For the foam we used sheets of Fairfield’s Poly-Fil Nu-Foam, which is compressed polyester batting. This foam is a great choice for this project because it’s easy to work with, inexpensive and mildew resistant. If you prefer more traditional foam, Polyurethane Foam is also a great choice.

Our cushion design features tiebacks on the seat and backrest portion of the cushion so you can tie it to the chair to keep it from sliding around or blowing away. We used pieces of Sunbrella’s Soft Braid Acrylic Binding to create the tiebacks, but you could easily sew ties out of your scrap fabric for a perfect match to the cushion.

Watch this video to see how to pattern your fabric, sew the plates, attach ties and insert the foam for your hinged Adirondack chair cushion.

 

 

Materials List:

You can find all the materials needed to make an Adirondack Chair cushion at Sailrite.com.

Do you have Adirondack chairs? Would you use a cushion like this? Share your opinions and ideas with us in the comments!

At the end of your sailing season or before a new season starts it’s a good idea to carefully inspect your sails. Today we’re going to focus on one aspect of your sail that you should pay close attention to during inspection: the battens and batten pockets. A broken or a missing batten can cause a lot of damage to your sail, creating costly or time-consuming repairs. Taking care of your battens each season will reduce your risk of damage.

Check Batten Pockets

First, you’ll want to take a close look at your batten pockets. Check the elastic in each pocket by inserting a batten and applying a little tension. You want the elastic to be strong enough to keep the batten right up against the leech edge of the sail. If the elastic is too stretched out or broken, you’ll need to replace it.

Carefully inspect the pocket itself, making sure there are no rips, tears or broken stitching. Repair any failing stitching. If the pocket is badly damaged, you’ll want to replace it with a new pocket. Here’s a video to show you how to replace a batten pocket.

 

Check Battens

After making sure that the pockets are sound, you’ll want to remove the battens and take a close look at them. First, make sure that all the battens are accounted for. Using a sail with missing battens can prematurely damage the sail due to excessive flutter. Next check all the battens to make sure that none of them are warped, split, broken or cracked. Flex the batten slightly to look for cracks that might not be able to be seen when relaxed. You’ll need to order replacements for any missing or broken battens.

If there are any sharp edges on your fiberglass battens, be sure to sand them down before returning it to the pocket. Make sure all your battens have end caps to prevent chafing. You’ll also want to make sure that your battens are secure in their pockets. Check the leech edge of the sail and any batten end protectors.

Remember, doing thorough checks now can save you a lot of work later! You can find replacement battens and end caps as well as Dacron sailcloth at www.sailrite.com.

Have you ever repaired batten pockets yourself? Share your tips and techniques in the comments!

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