How to Make V-Berth Cushions


Does your boat’s v-berth have cushions that are old, uncomfortable or unsightly? The v-berth cushions on our Islander 37 project boat were all three! So we set to work making new cushions that would be comfortable and stylish with a snug fit. Today, in the second video in our Project Boat Cabin Series, we’re going to break down all the steps for making brand new, irregular shaped cushions for your v-berth.

V-Berth cushions, with all their angles, can be an intimidating project to undertake, but once you start sewing, you’ll see that they assemble just like any other box cushion. The trick to getting irregular cushions just right is careful patterning and attention to detail. In the video, we break down the patterning steps slowly with calculations, so you’ll know just what to do for great fitting cushions.

We chose to make our v-berth cushions with a breathable Sunbrella Upholstery Fabric, which is great choice for boat interiors because it is water and mildew resistant. Since the cushions are not reversible, we used a cushion underlining fabric for the bottom sides of the cushions. This helps with breathability for a comfortable night’s sleep and is budget friendly.

In this video you will learn in detail how to pattern both the foam and the fabric for v-berth cushions and how to sew the cushions together. There’s also a bonus discussion on foam and which types best suited for sleeping berth cushions.


Materials List:

Find all of the materials to complete this project from fabric to foam at

Our new cushions make a huge difference, don’t you think? Have you ever considered making new v-berth cushions? Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments!

  1. Hi Everyone, We (Sailrite) spend a huge amount of time and financial resources to do these videos. The fact is that we love sharing our knowledge and leaving a legacy of information to DIY boaters. This leads to my question…

    Some of these FREE videos are getting to be very long. To make them free we utilize Youtube and they are simple streaming videos. But this means that watching a video requires a fairly fast internet connection which may not be ideal for many sailors. So the question is; Should Sailrite produce longer content videos as free, like this v-berth video, or should we create DVDs and sell them?

    The advantage of the DVD is that the content requires no internet connection, making it more portable. I would love to hear any and all comments.

    Also let me point out that this “v-berth cushion” video is one of the more complex projects we have filmed. A cushion with stripes, an irregular shape and angled edges presents some challenges. We have done our very best to cover all of these challenges instead of making this project appear easy. But if you follow the steps I guarantee you can achieve professional results and the cushions will fit.

    Best Regards,
    Matt Grant, Sailrite

    • Sally said:

      I wish your video had been available when I made the first v-berth cushions for our boat. I certainly will use it the next time I re-do them. Your tips and techniques are very good, and help to make a complicated project easy to understand and follow. Like others who have replied, I like your current method of posting videos. Thanks so much for the excellent videos you produce at Sailrite!


      • Nikki said:

        Thanks, Sally!

    • Sandra said:

      I really appreciate that your videos are free, and they’ve encouraged me to take on projects that I wouldn’t have thought possible with my limited sewing experience. I patronize Sailrite for 95% of all of my sewing needs, and the reason I do it — even if I end up spending a little more money on fabric, shipping, etc. — is to show my appreciation for the DIY resources on this website. My wallet gets a little lighter (and in some cases, a lot lighter!) every time I see one of your videos and think, “hey, I should do that!” In fact, now that I’ve wrapped up my sailboat cabin cushions, I’m moving on to the cockpit.

      • Nikki said:

        Thanks, Sandra!

  2. mnorgan1 said:

    Free is always better when on a tight budget. It leaves more money to spend on Sailrite products and supplies. Great videos. Keep them coming.

  3. Emmett Stoker said:

    ………..very good and most timely! Thanks, Emmett

  4. Good video but one thing that I would mention is that using a magic marker to draw lines and label foam is not a good idea. If marking with marker make sure the line is removed while cutting the foam to size. When labels need be done , use masking tape and label on that. The tape can be removed before insertion of the foam in cushion casing. If not you will get what is called bleed through. I have seen this too many times in the 40 plus years in business.

    • Nikki said:

      That’s really good advice, thanks!

  5. Mike Nelson said:

    I will add my vote for You Tube and Free. Great instruction!

    • Nikki said:

      There’s no specific reason why we didn’t use seam tape on this project. It can actually be a really great tool for lining up patterns and strips on cushions. If you do choose to use a basting tape with cushions, we suggest using the 1/4″ width. This way all of the tape will be hidden in your seams. Hope this helps!

  6. To expand on what Nikki posted, Basting tape is a great tool and would be very helpful if we were sewing the cushions with a drop feed sewing machine. But we are using a walking foot machine and since it pulls evenly (top and bottom material), the basting tape can be omitted.

    • Well, I’m obviously a beginner, but I thought that keeping the edges together was the reason for using basting tape. I am learning a lot and thank you for the info.

      • Nikki said:

        It is for that, too!

      • There would be nothing wrong with using basting tape with one potential issue. In this application it is possible that the basting tape could show up on the outside of the assembly (cushion) if the stitching is not perfect. Such as situation would be bad since dirt would collect on the exposed adhesive.

  7. Placing the tape inside the sewing line holds the material in place and prevents the problem of the tape showing. Thanks again.

    • I does if you are careful. We have a new 1/4″ basting tape (#104167) which is very aggressive and thin enough that it is a great tool for this type of project.

  8. Ed Herlihy said:

    Please keep posting the long YouTube videos… It helps me understand what would be involved in the project, and makes me want to buy the tools and supplies from Sailrite. If I had to buy the DVD, I would be less inclined to start the project myself. You can always offer the DVD to people with slow internet connections…. Or, those with slow connections could simply go to the nearest Starbucks/McDonalds/etc. (which you can find throughout ports in the US).

  9. Cheryl Giesbrecht said:

    I like the free videos better than the DVD’s they are just easier to access. The one for the V berth came at great time for my winter boat project. I used the 1/4″ seam tape for the zippers and found it made insertion very neat & tidy. I still like to use a stapler to hold the pieces together [from a different Sailrite video]. The hot knife is an great tool for cutting & sealing the edges – well worth the investment! Thanks Sailrite for all the support you have available, it makes these projects a lot easier.

  10. I would like to add that the stripes should be matched to be more pleasing to the eye look. I had maided in the past cushions like theses for a client and took some extra time to accomplish that but the final results were much better then the showing sample.

  11. Laurie said:

    just bought a new computer with windows 8 on it…might be of interest to know that most computers now do not have a place to play DVDs…so I think Youtube is the way to go

  12. Barb said:

    Great videos!!! Please keep them free!! How about a video on making sheets for the berths ?? Perhaps I’m not creative enough, but these are a pain and very expensive to purchase. Just a thought.

    • Nikki said:

      I think that’s a great idea, Barb! I’ll be sure to bring it up to the project guys!

  13. Lisa said:

    Absolutely wonderful video! Made a lot of things clearer in construction, especially the foam cutting and zipper. Thank you!

  14. -Tricia said:

    love the you tube videos vs dvd so I can access the material on a kindle at the boat, the tv while I work on the sewing as well as on my laptop. The you tube videos with the competitive pricing online from you have give me the courage to start vberth cushions for our hunter cherubini which came without any of the original cushions. We were able to salvage good quality foam from a scrap cat 22, form into shape we needed and are looking forward to getting started on the sewing by next weekend if materials arrive by then. Since I will be making all new cloth for the boat as well as canvas projects, I will be saving up for my next big purchase which will be a sailrite sewing machine.

    • Nikki said:

      Thanks for your comment, Tricia. Good luck with your cushions, we’d love to see pictures of them when they’re finished!

  15. + 1 for YouTube vs DVDs. What you could do is have a PDF with the ecocide formulas you used so that ppl with bad internet connection could watch once to get the idea and then use a print out for the project itself

    • Nikki said:

      That’s an interesting idea, Desiree! I’ll see if I can look into something like that.

  16. Tipsy said:

    Please keep the YouTube videos free, I watch them on my TV with a Roku, whenever hubby is watching sports I’m in the bedroom watching Sailrite, plotting my next project for the boat. Sailrite videos are awesome, great information to get your customers inspired to actually do the needed project. I feel more confident and capable when I see how easy it looks online. Keep filming! We love Sailrite!

  17. Julia said:

    Any advice on replacing the V-berth table? Our boat is missing ours and we’ve fashioned a piece of wood to support the cushions for sleeping…but we’d like to be able to dine at the table.

    • Nikki said:

      Hi Julia,
      Actually, none of us here have ever replaced a v-berth table, so unfortunately, we don’t really have any advice to share on that one. Sorry!

  18. John Hughes said:

    One small pointthat’s not really emphasized in the video: when you’re cutting out the boxing, you say to make each boxing piece the same length as the corresponding edge of the top plate (except for inside corners, where you add 3/8). That’s exactly right, of course … but until I watched it three times, I still thought you were saying to make it as long as the corresponding edge of the TEMPLATE, which didn’t make any sense at all. I’m also planning, in my cushion, to mimic what the old cushion has: the main boxing goes almost all the way around, but wraps only a few inches onto each end of the back, and then is folded back inside. The zipper boxing is slightly longer than the resulting gap, and is sewn behind it, so that the zipper pull and zipper ends are nicely hidden. One advantage to this: you don’t have to get the main boxing length right bit-by-bi — it just has to be long enough overall.

    Great video, folks — I feel much more confident about tackling this.

    • Nikki said:

      Thanks, John! We’d love to see your cushions when they are finished!

  19. Bruce said:

    videos free…………..only way I can afford them and as I am new to sewing they are of GREAT VALUE to me and the whole world.

  20. mark hamill said:

    please leave online free–need the information–length not an issue–thanks for doing them

  21. Debbie Pearce said:

    Thank you very much, I’m going to enjoy making my v berth after watching your video. Your encouragement is greatly appreciated… Debbie

  22. Dean said:

    Please continue putting these videos on youtube. I watch them to get project ideas. I just bought an LSZ machine from you along with your dodger kit. It will be my 1st major project. I support your company partly because you offer so much added value with your on line videos. I appreciate the effort it takes to keep them going. Please keep it up. Thank You. Dean

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