Author Archives: Sailrite

Hello 2012! Whether making resolutions for the new year is your thing or not, our goal for the year is to provide great instructions on several fun projects for everyone from the beginner sewer to the hard-core do-it-yourselfer!

To start the year off right, here is a new video on how to make a neck roll pillow (aka bolster pillow) cover. We use Sunbrella® Upholstery Fabric, our new neck roll pillow forms, Velcro® and button forms.



The pillow cover features a Velcro closure so the pillow form is easy to insert and optional button forms to dress up the ends of the pillow. All materials used in this video can be found at

Join the conversation! Leave a Reply below with your comments, questions, or suggestions.

We are constantly looking for ways to improve our Ultrafeed® Sewing Machines and the overall sewing experience in general. We use your feedback and comments about the machine and your project work as a catalyst for those improvements and innovations. Here are 2 accessories for the Ultrafeed machine that are designed for greater efficiency and convenience!

1. Integrated Thread Stand

We are really excited about the new Integrated Thread Stand. This thread stand attaches to the Ultrafeed® Deluxe Carrying case and then can pivot to the ideal thread feeding position and also into a safe storage position inside the case while fully installed. Visit and search #103658 to learn more.

2. Deluxe 5 1/2″ Magnetic Sewing Guide

The Deluxe 5 1/2″ Magnetic Sewing Guide is a high strength magnetic guide that has an extended length for consistent hem and seam construction as the fabric moves all the way through the machine. Search #103597 at to see this product.

Join the conversation! Leave a Reply below with your comments, questions, or suggestions.

There are a lot of practical uses for stainless steel tubing on a boat like stanchion poles, bimini frames, awnings, bow rails, solar panels, and grab rails. The advantages to using stainless steel are its corrosion resistance and durability, but those characteristics also make working with it a little trickier than with aluminum.

Jim Grant (Sailrite® founder) has been working on renovating his Islander 37, so we joined him as he made and installed a new stainless steel stanchion pole on his boat. Stanchions are used for installing lifelines around the deck of a boat. Check out our How to Install and Make Stanchion Poles Video to learn a few of our tips and tricks for working with stainless steel tubing and fittings and of course how to make a stanchion pole.

We have added new stainless steel stanchion hardware and tubing connectors to better accommodate your many tubing and framing projects. See our entire line of frames and fittings at before you start your next project.

Join the conversation! Leave a Reply below with your comments, questions, or suggestions.

Regardless of where you live, now is always the perfect time to make repairs to your existing canvas or bring to life the hundreds of canvas ideas you come up with over the summer. If ever there was a time to sew…it’s now!

We often get questions from beginner sewers (and new to Sunbrella® sewers!) about working with Sunbrella’s Marine & Awning Fabric. There are a million different ways you could use Sunbrella, but the basics are always the same. From marking and cutting to stitch length and seaming, our new Working with Sunbrella Marine Grade & Awning Video sheds some light on the basics!

Sit back, grab a hot drink (I particularly enjoy hot apple cider), and check out these great tips for working with Sunbrella fabric.

We love Sunbrella fabric and choose to sell it for a lot of reasons. Visit to learn more.


A hatch canopy is designed to protect an open hatch from sun and rain while allowing air to flow down into the cabin. The cover can be raised to increase air flow or lowered to help keep rain and moisture out. The canopy also provides excellent shade protection over the hatch. Watch our new video instructions on how to build a hatch canopy with the Sailrite Hatch Canopy Kit.

Sailrite’s Hatch Canopy Kit features Sur Last® a tough, non-abrasive 100% solution-dyed polyester, that offers excellent weather and abrasion resistance with good breathability. SurLast has a urethane coating on one side to provide additional stability, increase water and mildew resistance, and minimize shrinking or stretching.

A spring batten sewn into the fabric along the edge can be shortened or lengthened by an aluminum pole to create a low or high arch in the front edge of the canopy. A high arch allows for maximum airflow and greater angle for rain run-off. A lower arch allows the hatch cover to block inclement weather while still allowing ventilation for the cabin.

The hatch cover attaches with two stabilizing lines secured to stanchions or shrouds at the rear and a front line around the forestay wire, furled sail, or bow pulpit. An adjustable webbing strap with buckle can be used to attach around a furled sail. Visit to learn more.

Director’s chairs and sling-back patio chairs are a popular way to provide summer seating for friends and family on your deck or porch. Oftentimes, these chairs come with fabrics that are not intended for heavy use or high sun exposure. The result is faded fabric and rips or tears in high stress areas. Fortunately, the simplicity of these chairs makes the fabric easy to replace!

Check out these two new videos with step-by-step instructions on how to replace the fabric on both a sling-back chair and a director’s chair.

We recommend using a Sunbrella® or a Phifertex® as replacement fabric for your chair. Sunbrella fabric offers excellent fade, stain, and water resistance and provides great durability to withstand the weather. Phifertex mesh is a dimensionally stable tight mesh with great flexibility, durability, and fade resistance. Either fabric would be an excellent, long-lasting choice for your outdoor furniture.

Tenara® thread has its many benefits including high resistance to sunlight, mold, and rot, but SEWING with Tenara thread can be tricky. The advantages to using Tenara far outweigh the slight modifications needed to achieve trouble-free sewing. For a list of those advantages and tips on sewing with Tenara, watch this video.



We received an email from an Ultrafeed® LS-1 sewing machine owner with his creative solution to sewing with Tenara. Enjoy!

“I recently purchased Tenara thread to use for the construction of a Bimini. I had lots of problems using it with skipped stitches etc. Tried smaller needles, moving the thread a distance away from the machine, rotating the needle. However nothing worked until I built this at your advice. Using a #18 needle, rotating the needle 15 deg. +/- and this device to help eliminate tread twisting, IT WORKED!


The frame is made from ½” heavy wall PVC pipe, 2 tees, 2 elbows and 4 – 7/8” “feet” available from hardware store. Total cost less than $5. I did not glue the components together so that I can move the feet so that the tread comes off the spool on the lower end and it will not slip on a smooth working surface. Rough dimensions are 12” legs (total), 5” high and 10” wide.

Hope this helps your customers.”

Thanks Sam for sharing this great idea!

Written by Dan Smith, Sailrite employee

A common problem for anyone living aboard a boat is keeping the heat out during the summer and keeping the heat in during the winter. The problem grows exponentially with larger windows, like those found on trawlers and houseboats that seem to have a built-in convection draft that sucks air right out of the boat.

As a live aboard myself, I’ve observed several different methods for insulating a window over the years, but none seemed to offer an optimal solution. Standard curtains or drapes provide some relief but are not sufficient on really cold or windy days. Thin cushions, made from ½” Ensolite foam and sized to fit into the windows, cut down the draft but kill any light coming into the boat and require drilling holes in the interior of the boat for the mechanical fasteners needed to hold cushions in place.

While helping a fellow live aboard and Sailrite customer, I came up with an effective (and creative!) solution using sheets of random fiber expanded foam packing material (found at any post office). This translucent foam material is a great insulator and is only about 1/16″–1/8″ thick allowing for more light and less bulk. Watch this video for step-by-step instructions on how to make these window covers:

Use the foam material as a liner between (or behind) panels of Sunbrella Shadow (preferably light colors like Snow or Sand). Covering the panels with Sunbrella on just one side will let more light through, but the window will not have as finished a look when viewed from the outside. Fold the outer edges over twice and sew to create a rubbed seam or bind with a 1″ premade binding to finish the edges.

Hang the window panels with the new adhesive-backed YKK® SNAD®. A SNAD is a low profile nylon molded male or female snap held in place by a high tech 3M adhesive. Install a button snap in all four corners of each panel. Then attach a male stud SNAD to each button. Pull the paper backing off the SNADs and adhere directly to the glass, smooth fiberglass, or varnished wood surface.

The result is an attractive window cover that provides both insulation and privacy while still letting in quite a bit of light. Your neighbors will be impressed and probably want to know where you got them!

A summer alternative to the foam material is Sailrite’s Thermozite material. Thermozite is a very good insulator and when installed with the shiny side facing the window also reflects sunlight to keep the heat out. The obvious drawback is that Thermozite is opaque and will block all light. Use SNADs and female snaps as described above to hold the panels in place. See this video for instructions on how to make Thermozite Window Covers:

If I were refurbishing my boat, I would create window covers using Sunbrella Shadow and create ceiling panels with Thermozite insulation. (Boater lingo is a bit funny as “ceiling” panels refer to the vertical sides on the inside of the hull and “overhead” to the horizontal surface above your head.) Adding Thermozite Insulation to the inside of the hull will help keep the heat in or out when oftentimes the only thing between you and the elements is less than ½” of fiberglass.

This clever energy-saving project is simple and the concept could be applied to window covers and sun shades for homes, RVs, and cars.

Project Materials List:

  • Sunbrella® Fabric
  • Insulation Material (foam packing material or Thermozite)
  • Snap Fastener Buttons
  • Thread
  • Sunbrella® Binding (optional)

Thanks Dan for coming up with such a great idea! Visit to get these products.

I’ve deemed the “perfect fabric,” whether for upholstery projects, patio furniture, boat interiors, or outdoor covers, as a high quality fabric that doesn’t wear out, fade, stain, or shrink. It is easy to clean and looks great no matter where it’s used. A fabric line with beautiful colors and patterns without the ridiculous price tag! Sounds almost too good to be true!

I’ve found that Glen Raven Sunbrella® Fabrics come pretty close to “perfect,” and they have been growing in popularity and demand for the last several years because more and more people agree! Here’s why…

All Sunbrella fabrics are:

  • • 100% Solution-dyed acrylic fabric – Each individual Sunbrella fiber is color saturated from the inside out for a rich, fade resistant color that lasts even in extreme conditions.
  • • Water resistant – Sunbrella is treated with a fluorocarbon finish for water repellency.
  • • Fade Resistant– A must-have in my book for both outdoor and indoor fabrics!
  • • Mold and mildew resistant
  • • Stain resistant and easy to clean
  • • Minimal shrinking or stretching
  • • Easy to sew

The Sunbrella brand undeniably leads the way in both outdoor and indoor fabrics with a great list of qualities you can expect in every Sunbrella fabric! The great news is that Sunbrella comes in a variety of different collections that are specifically designed for certain uses. Use this quick reference to determine which Sunbrella fabric you need for your application:

Sunbrella® Marine Grade Fabric

Sunbrella Marine Grade fabric is designed to withstand the harsh weather conditions and durability needs of boat and marine environments. Sunbrella’s marine grade fabric offers good stability and also up to 98% UV protection. Use for boat covers, awnings, cockpit cushions, and other outdoor covers.

Sunbrella® Awning Fabric

Sunbrella Awning fabric offers the same great durability and UV protection of the marine fabric collection but comes in a variety of beautiful striped patterns designed with commercial and residential awnings in mind.

Sunbrella® Upholstery Fabric

Sunbrella Upholstery fabric features a soft hand and a wide variety of beautiful patterns, colors, and textures that makes it a comfortable indoor and outdoor upholstery fabric. Sunbrella furniture fabric is intentionally easy to clean and maintain making it a worry-free fabric for families and pets. Use for cushions, pillows, patio furniture, upholstery projects, and gazebos.

Sunbrella® Sheer Fabric

Sunbrella Sheer fabric is also an open weave Sunbrella fabric designed with a very light, soft hand to create romantic, airy curtains or draperies both indoors and out. Sunbrella Sheers fabric is beautiful and luxurious yet flaunts the fade resistance, stain resistance, and cleanability of a performance fabric.

Where to buy Sunbrella fabric?

Sailrite became an official distributor for Glen Raven Fabrics back in 2003, making it possible to keep hundreds of indoor and outdoor fabrics, like Sunbrella, in-stock and available at great prices. Buy Sunbrella fabric by the yard or find more detailed information about a specific Sunbrella fabric at

Photos provided by Glen Raven.

Typically when starting an outdoor fabric project substantial consideration is given to the quality of fabric used whether it is for a boat in a marina or an outdoor awning for a home or business. Often little consideration is given to what type of thread will be used. Unfortunately, the fabric is only as good as the thread that holds it together! The quality of outdoor thread is just as important as the fabric in any outdoor application.

There are two major causes for outdoor thread deterioration: Ultraviolet radiation and water-borne bacteria and fungus. Sunlight and micro-organisms cause outdoor thread to weaken rapidly, lose color, and deteriorate. Unfortunately, these problems are here to stay! The solution is GORE™ Tenara® Outdoor Thread.

Tenara Outdoor Thread is unaffected by sunlight. Extensive tests performed in full Arizona desert sun show that Tenara thread retains its strength for over five years. In fact, Tenara will probably outlast the material it is sewn into! During the same experiment (same duration and conditions), both polyester and cotton thread lost over 80% of their strength. These types of thread will fade, discolor, and weaken over time.

GORE Tenara Thread is also unaffected by mold and mildew. Tenara thread is hydrophobic, meaning it repels water. Without water, micro-organisms like mold and mildew will not grow in the thread. Both polyester and cotton threads attract and retain water so they can absorb colored dyes, but it also makes for a very attractive environment for mold, mildew, and algae. Over time, the natural progression of mold and mildew can cause polyester and cotton thread to rot, discolor, and lose integrity.

Tenara will add years to the life of boat covers, awnings, and other outdoor applications, and it is supported by a Lifetime Guarantee. However, choosing to sew with Tenara also comes with a few drawbacks. Tenara is significantly more expensive than standard UVR polyester thread, and it can be difficult to sew. Although the cost factor is for you to decide, we’ve put together a video full of helpful tips and tricks to use when sewing with Tenara thread.



Whether you live in the tropics or want outdoor covers and awnings that don’t need restitching every other year, choose GORE™ Tenara® Outdoor thread. Tenara comes in several different colors and two different weights. Standard Tenara is similar to a V-92 weight thread with an 8–10 lb. breaking strength. Heavy Tenara is similar to a V-138 weight thread with a 15 lb. breaking strength.

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