It was not until we shelled out $800 to have the dodger repaired, that I kicked myself and said – “get a sewing machine”! We have a number of projects and it is not feasible to pay someone else to complete them all. Obviously, I have a long way to go before I will be as good as a canvas shop or a seamstress – but practice makes perfect, right?
First up: Buy a sewing machine and figure out how to use. My mother (aka sewing guru) bought me a Singer Heavy-Duty sewing machine for Christmas. With her help as well as Sailrite, the Facebook group Sewing on Boats, and various You Tube videos, I am building up my knowledge.
Next: Practice sewing on something that is already pretty wrecked. The weathered pirate flag was perfect for this, as it is normally flying high up the mast (far away from eyes to critique my awful sewing). By the time I was onto my 7th seam, I had finally gotten one straight.
Feeling more confident, I began my first big project: the Bimini – (apparently, I am of the Go Big or Go Home mind set)
- Remove & replace ensign glass
- Repair the couple of small holes in the Sunbrella material (I used Tear-Aid – that stuff is awesome!)
- Solar Panel Project: create a method to attach the solar panels to the bimini.
The ensign glass project took me almost four hours to remove all the stitches and the old glass from the dodger, measure and cut the new glass, and apply and sew on the Velcro to the new glass.
Cutting the Sunbrella, adding velcro and sewing everything on for the solar panels took much, much longer. In the end, it came out good and cost substantially less then it would have been to have a pro do it.
Dodger – The stitching and zippers on parts of the dodger were starting to come apart from the fabric (even though we shelled out $$ to have the entire dodger restitched two years ago!). So, down came the dodger and I restitched almost all of the dodger with the good uv-resistant thread. I also added some material around the dodger frame in order to mitigate the rubbing of the ensign glass.
Fender covers – I had an old pair of blue sweat pants that were ready for retirement, so instead of tossing them out or donating them I made two fender covers.
And then another bimini project…our friends Pam & Chris on Wind Chaser ordered a bimini for their Catalina 30 which required a slight alteration in order to be useable. Of course the alteration was to split the bimini in 1/2 to add a zipper and, oh yeah, a “cone” to go around the backstay. This was my first sewing project that was not my own personal item to potentially mess up. It ended up being a very simple project and I was handsomely rewarded with a handle of Captain Morgan…oh and their happiness! 🙂
The big and scary project (I mean my ultimate sewing goal): Chaps for the Smitty Ditty II, our Highfield Classic 290.