You may have noticed that we’ve slowed down our posting here on the DIY Advice Blog.

Earlier this year our main website, Sailrite.com underwent a re-design, improving both the look and feel and the function of the site to create a better shopping experience. A part of this re-design included the creation of a how-to section of the website to house all of our how-to videos, instructions and project tips. Now that we have this new space, we will be moving most of our how-to content from this blog over to our main website. All new how-to projects we’re currently working on will be posted directly to Sailrite.com as well.

To be notified of the latest how-to projects and posts being published at Sailrite.com, sign up for our email list.

Stay tuned for more updates and announcements about our how-to content!

Angela Rovetto stumbled into sewing by chance. A self-described workaholic, Angela’s schedule was plenty busy and she wasn’t looking for a hobby. But a broken patio chair was about to lead her into a joyful and unexpected new phase of her life.

Angela Rovetto: Finding Happiness in Hobbies

Angela with two of the patio chairs she made-over.

A couple of years back, Angela went to relax in one of her patio sling chairs when the fabric ripped. A gift from her parents, the patio set was really nice and the frames were still in good condition, so she decided to look around to see if she could fix her chair instead of just replacing it.

“Knowing it was an expensive set, I got on Google to look around,” Angela explained. “Once I figured out it was a sling chair, one of the top hits was Sailrite.”

She watched Sailrite’s video and was encouraged by how detailed the steps were. She said she figured she’d give the project a try because it was cheaper than replacing the whole set.

“I took 8th grade home ec, so I’m a pro at sewing,” Angela joked. “But I knew I could sew in a straight line at least.”

After watching the video “like a hundred times,” Angela set out and completed her patio set.

“I felt such a sense of accomplishment, like, I did this,” she recalled.

After the slings chairs were complete, Angela had fabric leftover. Not wanting to waste it, she came back to Sailrite to look for another project she could sew. She found the market tote bag tutorial.

“Who doesn’t need a tote bag?” she said and jumped into the project. “From there [sewing] spiraled into a hobby.”

Angela Rovetto: Finding Happiness in Hobbies

Two different bag designs Angela made.

She started sewing purses and then wallets for herself and her friends. Then she made drawstring backpacks for all the children in her life.

“I made a lot of backpacks,” she said. “It was like, ‘You get a backpack! You get a backpack!’”

Along the way, Angela also reupholstered a chair. She described the inspiration to try upholstery as being similar to the patio chairs that started it all.

“My parents gave me a really nice chair but it was completely hideous,” she said. “I found a video at Sailrite on how to reupholster a chair. The video really gave me a lot of confidence. It has tangible steps to follow. I’m a very visual learner, so seeing someone do the project really helps.”

The more Angela sewed the more she wanted to learn. She recalls spending a lot of time on Google, looking up new sewing techniques to help her perfect her projects. She couldn’t always find tutorials for exactly the project she wanted to make, so she’d piece the instructions together from multiple sources. In late 2015, this lead Angela to want to start her own blog as a way to share the projects she’d made with others and to “be a part of the conversation,” she said.

“I just started it to see what happened,” Angela said about her blog, which has already received hits from around the world including Germany, Portugal and India.

But perhaps one of the most unexpected perks of taking up sewing for Angela has been her renewed happiness and a better work/life balance.

“I found that I’m a lot happier,” she said of life with her hobby. “It involves what drives me; problem solving. I really like taking things apart and putting them back together.”

Angela Rovetto: Finding Happiness in Hobbies

Angela made these outdoor cinder block benches and the cushions.

Since learning how to sew, Angela has been a prolific maker, filling her blog with all of her creations but when she thinks back to what she’s most proud of she goes right back to the beginning.

“[I’m most proud of] the patio set,” she said after a bit of thought. “I use it so much and it was the first thing I did. I’m proud of a lot of things I’ve done since then, but this was the project that started them all.”

Since sewing has made such a profound impact on her life, Angela is very encouraging of others taking up sewing.

“Just try it—if you don’t do it right the first time, rip the seams and try again. I’m a professional seam ripper,” she laughed. “Get a good seam ripper and be patient with yourself. If you don’t want to waste your good fabric, use scraps and make a prototype. Just try. And use the resources out there. If you search for something, you’ll get a hit. I always find myself going back to Sailrite.”

Angela admitted that she doesn’t sew as much during the summer months, opting instead to spend time outdoors and on her boat. She’s currently working up the courage to reupholster the seats on her Sea Ray powerboat.

Her next big project will be altering a bridesmaid dress for a wedding she’s standing up in at the end of the summer. Angela will be hemming the dress and her aunt, a seamstress, will help teach her how to alter the bodice, she said.

“I really do feel that anyone can do this,” Angela added. “I don’t have an innate talent for sewing. Anyone has the ability to sew. Just work your way up and you can do this.”

To see more of Angela’s projects, follow her blog, Angela Sews or visit her page on Facebook.

If you enjoy striking “before and after” photos of makeovers, this post is for you. One of our managers, Brian, recently purchased a total fixer-upper powerboat and, together with the Sailrite team, he completely transformed it into a great looking vessel for himself and his family. Take a look at this stunning makeover.

Before & After Sailrite's 2016 Project Powerboat

When we started, this 1982 Regal 245 XL Ambassador was looking pretty dated with its brown vinyl on the bridge deck. The inside was worse, with musty carpeting and cushions as well as a furry headliner that was beginning to fall down from the ceiling. All of the cockpit upholstery was replaced using Morbern’s Seabrook Vinyl in a brighter color combination that utilizes three different fabrics for decorative effect. We also reupholstered side panels in the cockpit and added Infinity Luxury Woven Vinyl Flooring.

Before & After Sailrite's 2016 Project Powerboat

In the cabin, all the headliner was removed and replaced, the cushions in the v-berth was redone and curtains were added on the windows using Geobella fabrics. We even made a decorative hull liner panel for the aft cabin that mimics the design on the cockpit cushions.

We made instructional videos for each of these major projects to help you achieve this same look on your own boat. Here’s a preview of a few of our already released videos and a few of those still yet to come:

Before & After Sailrite's 2016 Project Powerboat

All of these project videos will be released in our brand new How-To Projects & Guides section of the Sailrite website. You can click on 2016 Project Powerboat in the left-hand navigation to filter down to all the videos from this series.

Are any of these projects on your to-do list? What kinds of powerboat projects would you like to see? Share your feedback with us in the comments.

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.

2016_May-Coconuts-Grow-4

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

2016_May-Coordinate-Fabrics-2

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!

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