“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Let the Sewing Begin!


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)

  1. Remove & replace ensign glass
  2. Repair the couple of small holes in the Sunbrella material (I used Tear-Aid – that stuff is awesome!)
  3. 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.


Out with the Old and In with the New

IMG_2079 IMG_2080

IMG_2081 IMG_2082 IMG_2083

The Final Product

The Final Product

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.

IMG_2483Fender CoversCustom-fit Sheet:  I took a flat queen mattress sheet and added elastic all the way around so that we now have another custom-fit mattress sheet to for our odd-shaped mattress.

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! 🙂


Wind Chaser's New Bimini

Wind Chaser’s New Bimini

The big and scary project (I mean my ultimate sewing goal):  Chaps for the Smitty Ditty II, our Highfield Classic 290.

13 thoughts on “Let the Sewing Begin!

  1. I’m pretty sure you no longer qualify as a beginner 😉
    These are also some of the projects I’ve been tackling/am about to tackle. Glad to hear that the little boot thingy on the bimini wasn’t too bad. I might be making two of those. Everything looks fantastic!
    Oh yeah – I also have to make chaps for our Highfield… I am putting that one off as long as possible!

  2. Nice looking sewing machine you have there. I have an old Singer Stylist I use for my boat projects. (I’m a little tough on it… I also wear safety glasses when I sew Sunbrella or marine vinyl. I break the odd needle. Took the tip of one off the forehead once and it stuck there! Hence safety glasses. )
    Your sewing looks great! Watch out for those needle tips.

  3. Great job. I would have just done stick on velcro as much as possible. I can sew very well but I am lazy.

    • I hear you- anything to make life easier. I did use the stick on velcro but being out in the elements- if it was not sewn on well then it would be gone.

  4. Wow – you sure do know how to tackle big projects! You’ve done an amazing job! How does Tear Aid work? I’ve got to do some repairs to our bimini including patching some worn areas and was wondering if Tear Aid might be an option.

    • Thank you. 😊
      The Tear-Aid works great. We had two spots on the bimini that were worn thin from chaffe. I put Tear Aid on the front and back side of each area. the areas are stronger and waterproof. the Tear-Aid is not as clear as I hoped it would be once put on the Sunbrella fabric but it really is not noticeable. There are two types of Tear-Aid so be sure to order the correct one for your application.

  5. Wow, you should feel really proud, that was quite a list of projects and they all look great! Good job! I am also going to look into the tear-aid. I’ve never used it before.

  6. I’m impressed with your sewing skills, and also kinda jealous!
    If you keep practicing, you could become the Traveling Tailor.

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