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Today we’re back working on the full boat enclosure for our Project Powerboat. The next piece in the puzzle is the front curtain. The front curtain on our boat will attach to the side curtains with zippers and then snap across the front, along the top of the windshield. Let’s take a closer look at how these curtain panels come together.

Our front curtain is actually made up of three panels that are all attached at the top to the bimini by one long zipper. Our curtain is made up of three panels because our boat has a door in the center of the windshield, so we made the center panel of the enclosure to roll up to allow easy access through the door. The roll up window features webbing straps to keep it in place and Velcro flaps to protect the zippers that run on either side of the roll up panel. We cover how to make all of these accessories in the video.

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The old front curtain

As we did for the side curtains, we made the front panel out of 30 Gauge O’Sea Clear Vinyl Window Material trimmed with Sunbrella Marine Grade Facing with a Shelter-Rite Vinyl backing.

In this video you will learn how to install a zipper to your bimini top, pattern for your panels on your boat, sew facing and zippers, make Velcro zipper closure flaps, and install snaps along the bottom of the curtain.

Materials List:

You can find all the materials needed to make your own enclosure front curtains (and all your other enclosure panels) at Sailrite.com.

Don’t miss out, we have even more great powerboat projects coming out in the next few months be sure to subscribe to the blog and get every post delivered right to your inbox!

2015_May-Gypsy-Stud-3

Most people are familiar with regular snaps; buttons, sockets and studs, but we get a lot of questions surrounding the gypsy stud. As sort of a hybrid of snaps, it can be less intuitive to figure out how to use this snap, but once you do, we think you’ll find it very handy around you boat.

A standard snap set up features a button riveted to a socket, which snaps into either a screw stud or a stud riveted to fabric with an eyelet. A gypsy stud is often called a “double stud” because it is used to attach two or more fabrics to a single stud.

The gypsy stud is the connector portion with a stud on the top and a rivet on the bottom that can be attached to a socket. So, a button and socket assembly can snap into the top of the gypsy stud, and it’s socket bottom can, in turn, snap on to another stud.

Here’s a diagram that shows how gypsy studs fit in to an application.

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These studs are great for spots on enclosures where side curtains join each other and need to share a stud or where the side curtain meets the dodger. They can also be used for adding bug screens to your enclosure curtains without drilling more snaps into your boat, for making an overlapping table skirt, or for adding a removable door panel to a boat cover.

Gypsy studs can be installed with a regular snap fastener installation tool, but you have to be very careful when installing it that you don’t damage the rivet portion of the stud. Easier options for installation are to use the SnapRite System or the Pres-N-Snap Tool. To use the SnapRite System you will have to buy the proprietary SnapRite Gypsy Studs, which have a hole through the center, but then the installation can be done with the basic SnapRite Dies. For installation with the Pres-N-Snap tool, you will need to have the Pres-N-Snap Stud to Gypsy Stud Die.

You can find all of these snap components and installation tools at Sailrite.com.

Do you have a great application for gypsy studs? Share your ideas and experiences with us in the comments.

With Memorial Day Weekend coming up this weekend here in the U.S., we are unofficially starting the summer season! I’m sure many of you will be spending your long weekend out on the water, but if you’re in the mood for sewing this weekend—or any time this season—we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite summer projects.

10 Summer Project Ideas

Corn Hole Bags

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Cornhole, sometimes called corn toss or bags, is a classic summer lawn game. If your set needs new bags, check out this tutorial. The corn-filled bags are easy to sew up and require only a couple of yards of cotton duck. Game on!

Hatch Canopy

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Help keep your cabin cool with a hatch canopy. These canopies keep the sun from shining into your cabin while funneling fresh air through the hatch to keep you more comfortable below decks. Plus, these are easy to build with the Sailrite Hatch Canopy Kit.

Companionway Cover

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Another great way to improve your cabin comfort is with a companionway cover. You can create your own screen door for your companionway to keep air and light filtering in while keeping pesky bugs out.

 

Picnic Blanket

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Enjoy the outdoors with a quilted picnic blanket. Learn how to create a custom, reversible blanket that is perfect for a variety of outings. We also include a tip for keeping your blanket from blowing away on a windy day.

 

Fender Cover

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Fender covers are great for extending the life of your boat fender and they protect the side of your boat from chafing. If your boat fenders need covers or your existing covers are looking shabby, this is a simple DIY that brings a lot of functionality.

 

Hammock

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What says summer relaxation better than a hammock? This hammock tutorial includes two methods for building the fabric sling as well as instructions on how to sew a detachable pillow and how to create the hammock harness.

 

Cockpit Cushions

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If you spend a lot of time of your boat then your cockpit cushions are almost certainly seeing a lot of use. If your cushions are worn out or you want to change the color and feel of them, we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step.

 

Swing Canopy

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If you have a patio swing or glider with a sun bleached canopy, give it a facelift this summer! When you make a new canopy yourself, you can use better quality materials for longer lasting protection from the sun.

 

Winch Cover

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Spend less time cleaning and servicing your winches by keeping them covered when not in use. This small DIY is a great starter project and we offer a winch cover kit that contains all the materials you’ll need.

 

Beach Bag

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Don’t forget a thing when you head to the beach or the lake this summer! This great carryall beach bag is big enough to hold a towel and all the essentials and easily slings over your shoulder.

You can find all the materials needed to make all the projects listed here at Sailrite.com.

What projects are topping your summer to-do list? Leave us a comment and tell us about them!

2015_How-to-make-bias-piping-1

Piping cord is a classic decorative element on the edges of pillows, cushions & upholstery pieces. Pre-made piping is available in some fabrics and braided piping and lipcord are also options, but a more common trim is piping that matches the fabric you’re using. Making custom piping is a great basic sewing skill to learn.

You can cut straight strips of fabric for your piping, but today we’re going to show you how to cut on the bias. The bias is a 45-degree angle through the warp and weft threads of a fabric. While cutting bias piping might seem more complicated, it’s really pretty simple and is much easier to sew with. Cutting along the bias makes your piping take curves easier and, in general, provides an overall cleaner look than straight cut piping. Also, fabric cut on the bias doesn’t fray.

Using a rotary cutter, cutting mat and acrylic ruler makes the process of cutting your bias strips quick and easy. Both the cutting mat and the acrylic ruler have lines at a 45-degree angle to help you find the bias. Plus, using the ruler as your guide when you cut the fabric helps you get a nice straight line.

This video not only teaches you how to cut fabric strips on the bias, join them together and sew them into piping, but it will also demonstrate how to sew the piping on a cushion, how to attach it to an upholstered chair and show you how to cleanly join the piping ends together.

 

Materials & Tools:

Find all the tools and materials needed to make your own bias piping at Sailrite.com.

What kinds of projects would you add bias piping to? Share your ideas with us in the comments.

 

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Brian installing Flex-a-Rail Awning Track to the radar arch of our powerboat

Awning track is a great way to attach fabric to a hard surface on your boat. It can be used for adding enclosure curtains to hardtop biminis, attaching the front of dodgers or for hanging awnings. Many of these applications require the awning track to be able to bend and curve. Today, we’re going to show you how to bend Flex-a-Rail awning track for your application and how to install it.

For our Maxum 2900 SCR Project Powerboat, we needed to add awning track to the aft side of the radar arch to attach the enclosure’s aft curtain. We decided to use awning track as opposed to snaps, because the track gives a smooth, finished look and is watertight.

We used Flex-a-Rail awning track for this application. Since this awning track is already created to take a slight bend, it makes it easier to create a sharper curve with it as well. As you’ll see in the video, we used a heat gun to make the awning track extra flexible so we can bend it into our desired shape. Be sure you’re ready to act quickly when the awning track is heated, because it will harden again as it cools.

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Heating the Flex-a-Rail to create a bend

In this video you will also learn how to install the Flex-a-Rail track to your boat and how to bed the screws with butyl tape for waterproofing.

Installation Materials:

You can find all the materials you need to install awning track on your boat at Sailrite.com.

To learn more about bending traditional, flanged awning track see our How to Bend Awning Track post.

Have you used awning track on your boat? Share your experiences with us in the comments!

To accompany your powerboat’s new bimini, we’re going to outline how to make a full boat enclosure, piece by piece. Full enclosures around your cockpit can make your boat feel secure in inclement weather or when you’re away. Today we’re going to take a closer look at how to create the enclosure side curtains.

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Finished side curtain

The configuration and set up of enclosures is going to be different for every type of boat. Sometimes it takes a bit of creativity to figure out the best way to get all your enclosures pieces attached. Careful patterning and consideration of what you want and how you use your boat will help you to get the best configuration. We’re demonstrating on a powerboat, but the principles can be applied for a sailboat, too. For our Maxum 2900 SCR powerboat the side curtains will attach to your bimini at the top and snap directly to your boat at the aft and bottom edges. The front edge of the side panels will attach to the front curtain, which we’ll make in a later step.

If you have a canvas bimini top, the first step for creating your side panels is to add a zipper to your bimini top fabric. If you have a hard top, you’ll want to use awning track and rope or fasteners to attach your side panels. We’ll show you how to install awning track in our next video.

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View of old side curtain

After you have made a careful pattern, you can transfer your pattern to your clear vinyl. For this project we used a 30 Gauge O’Sea vinyl. We chose O’Sea because it is UV, scratch and chemical resistant and has excellent clarity. When sewing with your clear vinyl, you’ll want to be careful to not scratch it. We have some great tips for this in our “How to Protect Your Clear Vinyl During Fabrication” post.

In this video you will learn how to install zippers in your bimini top, pattern for side curtains, add facing strips, sew binding, install zippers, and install the curtains on your boat.

Materials List:

Find all the materials needed to make these side curtains and your whole boat enclosure at Sailrite.com.

Do you have a full enclosure on your boat? Did you have the panels customized to your boat and how you use it? Share your experiences with us in the comments!

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Our ottoman before

Does this little black ottomans look familiar to you? Small ottomans like this have been mass-produced by big box stores and are common features of many living rooms. If you have a little worn-out ottoman like this, we’re going to show you how you can reupholster it to give it new life and a more unique look.

A small project like this is a great place to start if you’re interested in learning more about re-upholstery. This project isn’t complicated and really was almost more of a slipcover than upholstery. To recover this ottoman we sewed together a cover that would fit snugly around the foam and then stapled it securely to the ottoman’s base. Then we added a custom button to the top to re-create the tuft on the original ottoman.

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Ottoman after

For upholstery projects you’ll want to use a sturdy fabric that can withstand being pulled taut. Pieces that will see a lot of daily use should be upholstered with a fabric that has a high double rub count for the best longevity. You can find the double rubs rating listed on almost every fabric at Sailrite in the ‘features’ on the product page. Since our ottoman was relatively small, we chose a fabric with a small-scale design to better fit the piece.

In this video, you’ll learn how to measure and pattern your new fabric, disassemble the ottoman, sew the cover, install the button and put it all back together.

Materials List:

You can find all the materials you need for this and other upholstery projects at Sailrite.com.

We have a lot of other great re-upholstery tutorials in the works, so be on the lookout for those throughout the summer. Be sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a post!

Are you interested in furniture re-upholstery? What kinds of projects would you like to see? Share your ideas with us in the comments!

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