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Fabric

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.

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!

Soothing & Serene

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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.

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.

How to Retreat Sunbrella Fabric

All Sunbrella fabrics are treated with a fluorocarbon finish that makes them water-resistant, but after years of being out in the elements and being pelted by rain the finish can wear off. If you notice that your Sunbrella® fabrics aren’t beading water like they used to, it’s probably time to retreat them and restore their water repellency. We’ll show you what to use and how to retreat your fabric so it repels water again.

To restore the water repellency of your Sunbrella fabric we recommend using 303® Fabric Guard. Actually, 303 Fabric Guard is also the choice of the manufacturers of Sunbrella as the best treatment to restore water repellency. 303 Fabric Guard also protects against stains and provides UV screening without affecting the color, feel or breathability of the fabric. While 303 is great for canvas like Sunbrella, it should not be used on vinyl, zippers, plastics, rubber, fiberglass or imitation suede, so be careful when applying it to canvas near these other materials.

How do you know when to retreat your Sunbrella? We recommend always retreating your fabric after a thorough cleaning and also when you notice the fabric stops beading water. Do a quick test of your cover every couple of months by flicking a small amount of water on the cover and see if the water beads up and runs off or soaks into the material. If the water soaks in, it’s time to retreat.

In this video we’ll show you step-by-step how to retreat a boat cover with 303 Fabric Guard. Also included is a brief discussion of the differences between the different lines of Sunbrella fabric and how to tell which side should face out on your projects (hint: for most Sunbrella fabrics, it doesn’t matter!).

You can find 303 Fabric Guard and other products for cleaning and caring for your fabrics at Sailrite.com

Do you use 303 Fabric Guard on your Sunbrella fabric? Share your experiences with it in the comments.

If sprucing up the cabin in your boat is on your spring to-do list this year, this is the post for you. If you’re going to re-do your boat interior, it’s important to start with a game plan of which fabrics you’re going to use and the feel you want for your home aboard. Today we’ve rounded up three different cabin “looks” to help get your ideas flowing.

Before we get into the designs, we should take a moment to talk about fabric fiber choices. In a boat cabin you want the cushions to be comfortable but also to not allow mold and mildew to grow. To do this, avoid cotton fabrics and opt for acrylic, olefin or vinyl instead. You’ll also want to use a durable fabric for settee cushions and berths, but accents of occasional use outdoor fabrics are a fun way to bring in different colors and patterns. All of the recommendations we make in this post are fabrics that are appropriate for use in a boat cabin.

Classic Nautical

3 Boat Cabin Design Ideas

A perennial favorite, the classic nautical color scheme and patterns are still the first choice of many boaters for their cabins. This includes traditional colors like true red, navy, royal blue and white. This looks remains a classic for a reason, these colors look great alongside a traditional teak and holly interior. Our look imagines using a traditional navy blue as a base color with added pops of a red fabric with a knot motif. The fabric with sailboats and burgees is also a playful nod to the sailing life.

Light & Neutral

3 Boat Cabin Design Ideas

Boat cabins don’t always get a lot of natural light and with the abundance of wood finishes, they can sometimes feel dark. A great way to brighten up your saloon is to use a light-colored upholstery fabric on your settee cushions and other fabric finishes. A soft neutral like this Light Oyster Ultraleather® (#1 in the image) makes a great base for cushions. Then, other colors can be brought in with throw pillows and other accessories. If solid beige isn’t your looks, think outside the box! Neutrals don’t have to be solids; patterns in soft colors will also brighten your cabin. Also, gray is a great neutral with a modern feel.

Tropical & Bright

3 Boat Cabin Design Ideas

Another way to brighten up your cabin and infuse it with personality is to incorporate vibrant colors. Bring the colors of the Caribbean to your cabin with bright, tropical tones like in this popular Sunbrella® fabric. Balance out your punchy colors with either a darker coordinate color like this dark navy or a light neutral like a beige as accent colors for curtains or pillows.

You can find more fabrics for your cabin in these looks and many more at Sailrite.com.

Which design idea is your favorite? Do you have any of these themes in your boat? Share your opinions and ideas in the comments.

How to Choose an Upholstery Fabric

When you’re about to start an upholstery project, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is which fabric to use. With all the options available it can be hard to know which fabric would be a good choice. You’ll obviously want to the take the color and style into account so your piece matches your home, but you should also consider if the fabric is strong enough to be stretched for upholstery and how the fabric will wear over time. I recently sat down with Cindi, our resident upholsterer and asked her a few questions about what to consider when choosing an upholstery fabric.

What are the double rubs?

Double rubs are an abrasion resistance measurement from a test called the Wyzenbeek Test. The test simulates people sitting on furniture by rubbing cotton duck over a fabric. Each pass forward and back is one double rub. For a family room, you’ll want to use a fabric with at least 15,000 double rubs. You can read more about double rubs in our post “Double Rubs and the Wyzenbeek Test”. Go to Sailrite.com and search (#300100XHT) to read more.

Do you have kids or pets?

Kids and pets are hard on furniture. If you have small children or pet that sits on the furniture you’ll want to look for a fabric that can stand up to a lot of wear and tear. A cleanable fabric like Sunbrella® Upholstery Fabric which is stain resistant and can be treated with bleach, would be a great choice for a family with messy kids. As Cindi says in the video, fabrics with a “hard finish” are good for pets. Look for fabrics that don’t have a loose weave or any fibers that could be pulled by claws. The example fabric from the video is P/Kaufmann which is an animal print fabric with a sateen feel and shine and a slick finish.

Where is the piece in your house?

Where the upholstered piece is going to live in your home and how you use that room is another important consideration to make. You want to choose a fabric with more double rubs that feels heftier for a family room, but you could pick a lighter, more delicate fabric for a formal living room that doesn’t see as much traffic. This could also influence your color choice. Darker colors will hide dirt better than lighter colors.

When you’re ready to start your next re-upholstery project, head to Sailrite.com and browse our selection of upholstery fabric.

What is most important to you when choosing fabrics for your home? Share your experiences in the comments.

Have you seen or heard about Geobella® fabric yet? We’re pretty excited about the possibilities of this fabric line. Geobella is made from 100% olefin yarns, which is known for having a wool-like feel. It’s a great choice for both inside and outside your home or inside your boat cabin. Today we’re sharing a few of Geobella’s best traits, so you can see the possibilities of this fabric, too.

Geobella is Green

What is Geobella Fabric?

The name Geobella breaks down into two parts: “geo” meaning “earth” and “bella” meaning “beautiful.” That’s a great summation of what the makers of Geobella set out to do—create an eco-friendly fabric that’s also stylish. Geobella fabric is made from 100% recyclable yarns. In fact, olefin fibers, the material Geobella is made from, can be recycled up to 10 times! Olefin is a synthetic (man-made) fiber, but the process of making it is greener than other synthetic fibers. Extruding olefin creates virtually no by-product, resulting in very little waste.

Geobella is Durable

What is Geobella Fabric?

Geobella fabrics are extremely durable, both for use outside and inside your home. All Geobella fabrics are solution-dyed so they are incredibly colorfast down to their core. These fabrics are great for use near water like in boat cabins or pool areas because they are moisture wicking and quick drying. In addition, Geobella is resistant to bacteria, mold, mildew and odors.

Geobella is also great for interior upholstery, especially for families with kids or pets. While Geobella has a rougher hand than most other upholstery fabrics, the tradeoff is its long-wearing durability. This fabric, as Matt Grant likes to say, “wears like iron.” Pet’s claws won’t easily tear the fibers of this fabric and spills clean up easily. In fact, you can clean Geobella with a 50/50 bleach and water solution and it won’t harm the fabric.

Geobella is Stylish

What is Geobella Fabric?

Geobella fabrics are manufactured by the makers of Phifertex® and Phifertex® Plus and as such are an excellent compliment to those lines of fabric. Pairing Geobella pillows with Phifertex Plus sling chairs makes a really stylish poolside or patio set-up. For inside your home, Geobella’s predominantly neutral color scheme makes it easy to pair with other décor, so it can fit seamlessly into your existing décor.

Geobella is Versatile

What is Geobella Fabric?

We recommend Geobella fabrics for boat interiors, outdoor cushions and patio furniture as well as cushions and upholstery in high-traffic areas of your home.

Give Geobella a try for yourself! Sailrite carries Geobella Fabric in over 60 patterns and colorways. Find them at Sailrite.com.

Have you ever sewn with Geobella? Share your experiences with this fabric line in the comments below.

Sur Last® is one of our most popular fabrics. This solution dyed-polyester is great for a variety of cover applications from boat covers to patio furniture covers. It has a urethane coating on one side of the fabric that provides added stability, minimizes shrinking and stretching, and increases water and mildew resistance. The coated side should be the inside of the fabric when used in an application, but sometimes it can be really hard to tell the difference between the coated and uncoated sides. In fact, this is actually one of our most frequently asked questions!

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We made a quick video to show you an easy, fool-proof trick for determining which side is the inside, coated side and which is the outside, uncoated side. Ready for our tip? Sprinkle water on the fabric! The outside of the fabric will cause the water to bead up on the fabric’s surface while the inside will soak in the water more, just like in the photo above. This trick works on all Surlast fabrics, no matter the color.

If you have older Sur Last that has been out in the weather for a while you can restore this water resistance with 303® Fabric Guard   This easy to apply spray will make the top of your fabric repel water so it beads up and runs off your cover again. The video will also show you what a great job this product does at restoring water resistance. We recommend treating your Sur Last whenever you notice water not beading and after each time the fabric is washed.

Learn more about Sur Last fabric and if it would be right for your next cover project at Sailrite.com.

Is this something you struggled with before? How did you figure out which side was which? Share your experiences in the comments!

 

How to Pick the Best Fabric for Your Cockpit Cushions

You spend a lot of time in your boat’s cockpit, so you naturally want the most comfort and function out of your cockpit cushions. We’ve already shared our video tutorial on how to make cockpit cushions, but today we’re going to follow up with an in-depth look at the pros and cons of the different materials you can use to put those cushions together.

Consider Your Foam Choice

For the best performing cushions, the choice of which foam and fabric to use should influence each other. Let’s start by taking a look at foam. There are 3 types of foam we recommend for cockpit cushions: closed cell, polyurethane and Dry Fast foam.

How to Pick the Best Fabric for Your Cockpit Cushions

A common priority is cockpit cushions that will also float. If you want your cockpit cushions with floatation, you’ll want to use closed cell foam. Closed cell foam can be wrapped in just about any type of marine material, because the foam itself won’t soak up any water or moisture. Polyurethane foam is the standard for OEM boat manufacturers, but it soaks up water and takes a long time to dry out so we recommend covering the foam in vinyl. The waterproof vinyl will keep your foam nice and dry. The third option is Dry Fast foam, which is a very breathable foam and allows water to run through the cushion. We recommend using a breathable fabric like Sunbrella or a mesh fabric to accommodate this main feature of the foam.

To learn more about theses different foam options to pick the one that’s best for your needs and tastes check out the second part of our Cushion Foam Series, 5 Types of Outdoor Cushion Foam.

Fabrics & Their Advantages

There are three main types of fabric that we recommend for cockpit cushions (vinyl, woven and mesh) and each has its pros and cons. Let’s break each choice down.

Vinyl

How to Pick the Best Fabric for Your Cockpit Cushions
The pros of vinyl are that it is waterproof, very durable, relatively inexpensive, and it’s the easiest of all three options to clean. We really like Morbern Seabrook Vinyl and Naugahyde Universal and All American vinyl for cockpit cushions applications. The Naugahyde brands cost a little bit more, but they feature a protective BeautyGuard finish that adds to their durability and is a big plus. The cons to vinyl are that it can be very hot to sit on and can have more of a plastic look than a woven fabric.

Woven

How to Pick the Best Fabric for Your Cockpit Cushions
Woven fabrics offer a beautiful appearance with a true fabric look and are the softest to sit on. Woven fabrics are breathable and you’ll want to select one with water resistance for the demands of the application. Sunbrella is our favorite brand for a woven cockpit cushion fabric as it’s breathable, durable, water and UV resistant and easy to clean. The drawbacks here are that woven fabrics are not as durable over time as vinyl or mesh and are not quite as easy to clean as vinyl.

Mesh

How to Pick the Best Fabric for Your Cockpit Cushions
By mesh we mean fabrics like Phifertex and Phifertex Plus that are sturdy, vinyl meshes. These fabrics are ultra low maintenance and will last a long time. When used with the right foam, you can leave mesh cushions out in the rain with no worries. Because the mesh will not block any water from reaching the foam, this fabric should only be used with Dry Fast foam. The open weave of this fabric can also allow contaminates to reach the foam, which could shorten the lifespan of the foam. Mesh can be a little uncomfortable to sit on at times and can be trickier to clean than other options because you need to remove the foam before cleaning.

The Hybrid Approach

You can always create cushions that use a combination of two fabrics, like using Sunbrella on the top of the cushions and then Phifertex Mesh on the bottom with Dry Fast foam. This gives you a comfy seat but allows great drainage for the Dry Fast. We like this approach, but it does eliminate your ability to flip the cushions, if this is something you do frequently.

As you can see, there are several factors to consider before building new cockpit cushions and the right pairing of foam and fabric really depend on your preferences and how you like to use the cushions. We hope that now you have all the information you need to make an informed decision on what is best for you and your boat.

Find all the foams and fabrics discussed here for your cockpit cushions at Sailrite.com.

Have you made your own cockpit cushions before? What foam and fabric combination did you use and why? Share your design decisions with us comments.

Sunbrella® offers several great lines of marine fabrics, most of which come in standard, solid colors. We love these products and their color line, but when so many fabrics look alike it can be hard to know if you’ve ordered the best one for your application. Each of Sunbrella’s lines has its own unique properties that make it perfectly suited to different projects. We’re going to break down the differences between all these marine solids, so you can rest assured you’re making the best choice for your next project.

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Sunbrella® Marine Grade

Sunbrella Marine Grade is the standard cover cloth of the marine industry. Like all Sunbrella fabrics, it is a 100% solution-dyed acrylic fabric and is soft, breathable and UV, water, and mildew resistant. Sunbrella Marine Grade will not noticeably shrink or stretch and both sides of this fabric are the same, so either side can face out. Sunbrella Marine Grade is suitable for use in awnings, dodgers, biminis, sun bands, boat tops, sail covers, outdoor covers, outdoor furniture, cockpit cushions and enclosure curtains. Marine Grade fabrics are 46” wide, but select colors also come in 60” width. These fabrics are exactly the same, just wider.

Sunbrella® Clarity

Sunbrella Clarity is very different from the other three, in that it was specially engineered for awnings, not necessarily for marine applications. Clarity features a durable polyurethane undercoating for excellent water resistance and a special finish on the top that uses sunlight and rain to remove organic contaminants and stains (like roof-run off) from the fabric. How this works is that when sunlight hits the awning the properties in the fabric are triggered to cause organic materials like oil, mold, mildew, grime and VOCs to decompose. Then the rain washes these materials away. Unlike other Sunbrella fabrics, water doesn’t bead up on Clarity, rather it wets out, which is part of the cleaning process. This technology makes Clarity the perfect choice for hard to reach awning applications, as it’s mostly self-cleaning. We recommend Clarity for commercial and residential awnings, canopies, market umbrellas, and other hard-to-reach shade structures as well as marine tops and boat awnings. Clarity should be used with the smooth, soft, uncoated side facing up (exposed to the outside).

Sunbrella has a lot of great acrylic fabrics to offer and hopefully now the choice between them will be a little less daunting.

See the full line of all Sunbrella Marine Grade & other exterior fabrics at Sailrite.com.

 

When you see “waterproof” and “water resistant” in descriptions of fabrics on Sailrite’s website, you might be thinking to yourself that those two terms seem interchangeable. While they do seem incredibly similar, they convey very different meanings and should be taken into consideration when choosing an outdoor fabric.

Let’s Define the Terms

Waterproof: Fabrics marked waterproof will always repel water. They do not let water soak into them under any conditions, even if the fabric is old. These fabrics are mostly vinyl, vinyl-coated or laminated.

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Vinyl is an example of a waterproof fabric

Water resistant: Fabrics that are water resistant have been treated to repel water from their surfaces, but if the coating is old or water is pooling on top of the fabric they can soak through.

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Sunbrella Marine Grade (seen here) is a water resistant fabric which causes water to bead and run off its surface.

Water Resistance & Breathability

Waterproof looks like the way to go all the time then, right? Well, not quite. One of the biggest tradeoffs of a waterproof fabric is breathability. Waterproof fabric, by its nature, doesn’t let anything through its surface, and this includes air. This isn’t a big deal in some applications like awnings or speedboat interiors, but can be problematic for covers.

When air and moisture get trapped underneath a cover, mold and mildew and grow and cause serious problems. If you want to cover your boat, for example, in a vinyl or laminated waterproof fabric, we recommend adding a vent.

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Boat Vent II installed in a Surlast pontoon boat cover

If you value breathability more than full waterproofness, you can still use breathable, water resistant fabrics for covers. If they have a good pitch (from poles or the angle of an awning) the water will run right off these water resistant fabrics and they won’t require vents—although many people like to vent these covers, too.

There are also, of course, applications where waterproofness doesn’t matter that much. Patio cushions and pillows are a great example of this. Water resistant fabrics are desirable here because they will protect from the elements but the breathability makes them a more comfortable seat. And, since cushions can be brought inside and out of the rain, a fully waterproof fabric probably isn’t necessary.

Conclusions

In conclusion, while truly waterproof fabrics are great for protecting your boat, patio furniture and more, they can cause problems as covers if not properly vented. Water resistant fabrics offer much better breathability but need to be tented in a cover application. So, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons for your application and, of course, your personal preferences. But now you have to tools to make the best decision for your next project.


For more information on what to consider when choosing an outdoor fabric, refer to our visit Sailrite.com.

What’s most important to you when choosing a cover fabric? Share your opinions in the comments.

Perfect for poolside lounging or outdoor dining, sling chairs are a popular style of patio seating. They are comfortable, durable and easy to maintain. If your sling chairs are starting to look saggy or dinghy, you can replace the sling material in the frame to extend their life. Sailrite carries two, high quality sling fabrics: Phifertex® Plus and Sunbrella® Sling. These fabrics look very similar, so it can be hard to tell which one to select for your application. Let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between these two popular fabrics.

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Sling Chairs by Eleanore F.

First, both of these fabrics were developed with sling chair applications in mind. They are both extremely UV resistant, durable, and breathable. Likewise, both fabrics are very easy to care for and clean with just mild soap and water. Plus, they are both manufactured right here in the United States at top-notch mills. The differences between these two fabrics are subtle and come from the fiber content and the manufacturing process.

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Phifertex Plus Delray Stripe Poolside

Phifertex Plus is woven entirely from PVC coated polyester yarns. When the fabric is being finished the PVC coating is actually re-melted slightly and then set again so every point where the fibers cross is fused together. This makes the fabric extremely dimensionally stable and leaves little bias stretch. This is important because when the fabric is stretched over your chair it won’t form pockets or sag. However, being covered completely in vinyl does give Phifertex Plus a distinctive look—less like a woven fabric and more like traditional vinyl.

Sunbrella Sling, on the other hand, combines Sunbrella acrylic fibers with PVC coated polyester and weaves the two fibers together. This gives Sunbrella Sling a softer look than Phifertex Plus, more like a traditional woven fabric. However, the acrylic fibers prevent Sunbrella Sling from being completely bonded together like Phifertex Plus making it less dimensionally stable. Over time, Sunbrella Sling could start to sag in an application. Sunbrella does provide a 5-year limited manufacturer’s warranty on Sunbrella Sling fabrics.

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Sunbrella Sling Myrtle

Both fabrics are mildew resistant, and Phifertex Plus also features Microban® antimicrobial protection. If your furniture will sit by a pool, you might want to choose Sunbrella Sling, which features chlorine and chemical resistance. Additionally, Phifertex Plus has a little broader use, if you want your chairs to match cushions, shades or window screens, you can make them all out of Phifertex Plus.

In conclusion, you really can’t go wrong with either fabric. If your top priority is the look and feel of your chairs, then try Sunbrella Sling, with the softer hand and more stylized design. If your primary concern is longevity above all else, then you will certainly be happy with Phifertex Plus.

The choice is yours. Take a look at the full line of colors and styles at Sailrite.com.

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