How to Make a Personal Watercraft Cover (and other odd shaped covers!)

Summer is just around the corner here in Indiana (and we’re jealous of you if can be out on the water 24/7). Since we’re not on the water yet, we’re in full-on project mode getting our own boats ready and of course working on some of the projects you’ve been asking for!

We just finished making a semi-fitted personal watercraft (PWC) cover for Matt’s jet ski. While filming the instructions, we realized there is a lot to learn about patterning odd shapes. This instructional video places special emphasis on the patterning phase of the project as well as all the sewing. This PWC cover features Sur Last fabric (because it’s very durable, breathes, and stores well) and an elastic shock cord drawstring in the bottom hem. We hope you enjoy the video and learn something new even if you don’t own a personal watercraft!

Tips on Patterning Odd Shapes

Patterning odd-shaped covers, like semi-fitted PWC covers, require a little extra attention to detail. Here are a few tips about making a pattern for irregularly shaped objects:

  1. Keep plenty of patterning material on hand! It may take an attempt or two to get the pattern perfect. It is better to start over with new patterning material than try to use stretched out material and decipher which marks are the “right” marks. We like Dura Skrim.
  2. Utilize a match-up system to keep all the panels lined up perfectly until all patterning is completed. Your cover will not come together as planned if you continue patterning on panels that have shifted even an inch. (Check out min. 8:25, Patterning Using the Match-Up System).
  3. Mark and tape together all pleats and darts on the pattern (we’re talking overkill!). An accurate pattern shape will result in an accurate cover shape! We also use straight pins to hold darts and pleats together when transferring the pattern to the actual fabric (it really helps while sewing!).
  4. Add seam and hem lines after transferring the pattern to the actual fabric. Extend all the patterned lines through the sharp edges and corners, and then continue to mark the seam and hem lines by measuring perpendicular to the patterned lines (minute 29:15).

All materials for making a personal watercraft cover can be found at

  1. Ken and Jill said:

    would like to watch videos but my computer a newer Mac, will only play 10-15 seconds and then stops and then waits and then plays the next short segment and the process repeats. My computer or perhaps my DSL.

    • Hey guys, sorry for the technical difficulties you’re having (I know that can make for a frustrating viewing experience). I tested the video on our macs here at Sailrite and wasn’t able to duplicate the issue myself. I suspect it is an internet connectivity issue. Sorry!

  2. Phyllis said:

    Your PWC video on pattern making is the best I have seen, and demos your products well. You should say, the seam tape helps stop seam water leakage at seam lines.

    • Cassie said:

      Thanks Phyllis and you’re absolutely right! The double-sided tape does help make seams more water resistant.

  3. Kurt Lorenz said:

    Should Sailrite make covers for “Personal Watercraft”? Sure. That’s their business. Our business as sailors and responsible boaters should be to do whatever we can to legally restrict, deny, and remove personal watercraft from US waters. PW are loud, dangerous, polluting, obnoxious devices almost always driven irresponsibly by fools who simply want to run circles around everyone else on the water, at great risk to us and to themselves. PW virtually define irresponsible temptation to violate everyone else’s rights on the water while arrogantly insisting on the rights of the immature to show off. PW are a blight on the nation’s waterways and should be banned outright.

  4. peg niland said:

    Do you make covers for grills? We have a Vermont castings grill we purchased ae a yard sale/ We have bought a grill cover from them, not waterproof although they say it is. We thought about buying your fabric and trying to make a cover but if you make them at a reasonable price. Please let me know, Thank you It is approximately 62″ wide and about 60′ high with some details that would have to be explained. Thank You again

    • Hey Peg, we aren’t really set up to do custom grill covers. Our goal is to provide the best possible instructions and all the materials and tools you would need to make your own custom cover. If you would like, you can call in and talk to one of our customer service staff, they would be happy to help you put together an accurate materials list for your project! Hope that helps.

  5. Doug said:

    The PWC demo is a Great video! Lots of technique tips.
    Thank you very much.

  6. mark robinson said:

    great vidio learned a lot from it keep up the goog work

  7. stan Kuczynski said:

    Just wanted to comment on how much I enjoyed the video on making the cover, I clearly remember saying out loud…I can do that! My only suggestion which I take from my own experience of making patterns for wood working is this. When locating the dots on the sides of the seat I was surprised that you did not first determine then place a piece of tape length wise to form a center line down the middle of the seat.
    Starting at one end of the center line you could mark off dots every 6 to 10 inches. Then going back to each dot measure from the centerline down the side of the seat to where you wished to stop. Next do the same on the opposite side
    Watching the video you had to measure several time and move swatches of tape till you got a fairly good guesstimet as to it being symmetrical to the other side. By first finding the center line it takes the guess work out of trying to develop a mirror image. Otherwise you did a great job plus I did enjoy the occasional harrowing and climactic bloopers along the way.
    My next sewing project will be a custom motor cycle cover.
    Thanks again.

    • Cassie said:

      Hey Stan,
      That’s a really good idea and probably quicker than what we did. Great suggestion!
      Good luck with your motorcycle cover!

  8. Ken Michel said:

    Exellent, I really enjoyed the video and will probably refer back to it many times.

  9. where can I find the clear fabric used to make the pattern

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