2015_March_Piping

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.

2015_March_Chair

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!

2015_February_Draft-Blocker-10

Has it been a cold winter where you are? We’ve had temperatures in the single digits here in Northern Indiana lately, so we’re always looking for ways to keep our homes just a little bit warmer in the winter. Draft blockers, which are like small pillows that you put along the bottom of doors or windows, are a great, easy way to keep the warm air in and the cold air out. We’re going to share a quick tutorial for how you can make your own draft blocker.

We wanted to make our draft blocker functional (of course) but we also wanted it to look nice, so we chose a heavier weight fabric that would hold up when placed on the floor with a bright and fun small-scale pattern. As a filler for our draft blocker, we used rice, but you can fill it with just about anything that will keep the cold out like batting, plastic grocery bags balled up, flax seed or even kitty litter.

This project is simple to sew and great for beginners or anyone looking for a quick sewing project. Let’s take a look at how to make a draft blocker.

Draft Blocker Materials:

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How to Make a Draft Blocker

1. Measure the width of your door or window frame. You want the draft blocker to be a little bit wider than your doorframe. We decided to make ours 38 inches long.

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2. Pattern your fabric to a width equal to the width of the doorframe plus 1/2” for seam allowance and a height of 9 inches. This height accommodates seam allowance and creates a finished product that’s a little over 4 inches tall.

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3. Cut out your fabric panel. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise so the right sides of the fabric are facing.

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4. Using a straight stitch, sew up one short side and the open long side of the fabric. Sew about 1/4” away from the raw edges of the fabric.

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5. Cut away the bulk fabric at the sewn corner, if desired. This just makes the inner corner a little smoother.

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6. Now carefully turn your assembly right side out. Use a ruler or other long object to poke out the corners of the assembly.

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7. Fill your fabric tube with your stuffing. We used rice, so we chose to use a funnel to help with the process. Tip: We actually found our funnel end to be too small, so halfway through we switched to a funnel made from rolling a piece of paper, since it had a bigger opening.

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8. Once the tub has been filled to your desired fullness, turn under the raw edges of the open end and sew the opening closed.

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9. Now your draft blocker is all ready to keep you warmer!

Just one yard of fabric could make four draft blockers of this size so you could make them for all your doors and windows or share them as gifts!

Find a great selection of home décor fabrics for this and other projects at www.sailrite.com.

Have you ever made a draft blocker before? Where would you use yours? Share your tips and ideas in the comments!

2015_February_Brian-1

In the third and final post of our canvas repair series, we’re going to look at how to re-stitch seams, and how to replace old, failing zippers and Velcro on your boat canvas. Simple repairs like these can keep your cover in good working order for years to come. Be sure to catch up on the first two parts of this series where we discussed patching rips and tears, and replacing snaps and grommets.

Seams

Thread rots faster in the sun than most cover fabrics do, so you can often get several more years out of your canvas by re-stitching the seams when they fail. When thread gets old and rotted, it will start to disintegrate. A good way to test the strength of your stitching, is to gently pick at the thread with your finger. If the thread starts to fall apart at your touch, you should re-stitch.

If your cover is fairly new and you want to really prolong its life, you can use a lifetime thread like Tenara to re-stitch your seams. Tenara can be tricky to sew with, but it will likely outlast your canvas. In most cases, a UV treated V-92 Polyester thread will be a great choice. This thread is the standard for outdoor covers and is treated to be resistant to UV rays.

When you go to re-sew the seams and hems, you don’t need to rip out the old thread, just sew right over it. Since you will have a large bulk of fabric to maneuver around your sewing machine, be careful to not get extra fabric caught under the foot.

Zippers

If your covers and enclosures have zippers that are failing, they can also be replaced to extend the life of the cover. Zippers will rot over time with strong exposure to UV rays. A zipper is at the end of its life when it starts to fall apart or frequently pops open on its own.

If the zipper is easily removable, rip out the seams holding the zipper and sew a new zipper in its place. If the zipper is in an assembly where it is surrounded by binding and other elements that would require a lot of deconstruction, just cut the zipper out as close to the canvas as possible, and then install a new one.

Velcro

Velcro can be a really handy fastener around boats, but if not properly protected from the sun, it can quickly fail. If you have Velcro that is just not sticky anymore it can easily be replaced. Rip out the seams holding the Velcro to the canvas. Then you can sew new hook and loop in its place.

The backside of Velcro should always be protected from the sun. If your Velcro was not backed with canvas, we recommend adding a canvas flap for the hook and loop when you replace it. Just cut a piece of canvas a little bigger than the Velcro, and sew the Velcro to it. Then sew the canvas to the rest of the cover. This will prolong the life of the hook and loop.


This concludes our canvas repair series. Did we cover your questions? If you have questions on your canvas repair job, ask us in the comments and we’ll do our best to help!

You can find replacement thread, zippers and marine hook and loop and so much more for your canvas repairs at www.sailrite.com.

Installing snaps, fasteners and grommets can be a tedious task. Which is why it can be disheartening when one of your fasteners fails and rips out. Today in this second part of our canvas repair series, we’re going to discuss how to replace failed grommets and snaps. If you missed the first post in our canvas repair series, check it out to learn about patching rips and tears.

Repairing Ripped Out Snaps

Often, when a snap rips out of the canvas it’s installed in, it wasn’t set securely enough to begin with. When setting snaps make sure that they don’t spin in the canvas. If you think your snaps might be in danger of ripping out, a good preventative measure is to tighten them, by re-crimping the rivet. This is especially easy with the Pres-N-Snap Tool. If your snap tears out completely, sew a small patch of canvas over both the inside and outside of the cover over the tear. Then re-install the snap.

Fixing Grommet Troubles

If you have a rip caused by a grommet that pulled out you can repair the fabric and replace the grommet to fix it up. If your fabric is starting to rip around a grommet that’s failing, you should cut out the grommet and the fabric and repair the whole area. Installing a new grommet in ripping fabric will be a waste of a grommet. To repair where the grommet was, you’ll need to recreate the thickness of fabric and sew in an appropriate patch. A good hold for a grommet should be at least 3 layers of fabric. Then you can install a new grommet.


Find new snap fasteners and grommets and everything else you need to repair your canvas at www.sailrite.com. Be sure to check back next week for the third and final installment of our canvas repair series! Have you had snap and grommet troubles before? How did you fix them? Share your stories in the comments.

2015_January_Tear-1 Even if you sew your own boat canvas, it’s still a large investment of both time and money. So when grommets fail or you get a rip or a hole in your canvas, you want to be able to repair it to prolong the life of your cover. To help you be able to fix any rip or tear on your boat canvas, we’re sharing a 3-part series on canvas repair. In this first installment, we’re going to focus on patching up rips and tears. Before you dive into any canvas repair, it’s always a good idea to assess the state of your entire cover. If the cover is old (over 10 years for Sunbrella) you may be better off replacing the whole cover instead of repairing a canvas that’s on it’s way out. However, getting another season or two out of the cover might be worth it. It’s really a cost/benefit analysis of the time and effort the repair will take you. If you decide to repair, you first need to assess what caused the damage. If the chafing caused the rip (this is common around windshield corners for example), you’ll want to reinforce the area more than if the rip was caused by something external hitting or snagging the canvas. Then, depending on your tear, you have some options for how to patch it up.

Patching at Your Sewing Machine

2015_January_Tear-2 If your damage was caused by external forces, you can patch just the outside of your canvas using the same material the cover is made from. If your hole was caused by chafing, you should patch the inside of the canvas with a chafe resistant material like Shelter-Rite vinyl or Surlast to keep the damage from happening again. Use the same cover material on the outside. For the most technical, sturdy and precise patch, here’s what you want to do. Cut out a rectangle around the rip in your canvas. Cut a slit at each corner and fold the edges of the patch under and sew in place. Then, cut a rectangle of your new patch material (top and bottom if necessary) larger than the hole in your old canvas. Hem the edges of the patch fabric and baste it in place on top of the hole in your cover. Sew around the perimeter of the patch to secure. To make this even easier, you could use a hotknife to cut out the rip and the new patch fabric and eliminate any need for hemming. Then you would just sew the patch fabric over the removed rip in the cover. If the patch is vinyl it should not be cut with a hotknife, however vinyl won’t fray so it doesn’t need to be hemmed anyway.

Patching in Place

2015_January_Tear-3 Often we hear from customers that have a rip in a bimini top or an awning and don’t want to take the fabric down to take it to their sewing machine. If you want a quick, no-sew repair, try Tear-Aid Fabric Repair Patches (Type A). These adhesive-backed patches will create a solid, quick patch as long as they are properly installed. Be sure to clean your fabric thoroughly and let it dry completely before application and use the provided alcohol prep pad. If you can get access to both sides of the fabric (like on an awning) you can also use the Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl to sew on a patch without taking your fabric down from its application. Be sure to check back for our next installment on repairing grommets & snaps. Find everything you need to patch up your canvas as good as new at www.sailrite.com. What other questions do you have about patching rips and tears? What was your toughest repair job? Share your questions and stories in the comments!

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