Saturday, May 19, 2012

Aft deck canvas - step 1

Dressing a boat is definitely a different thing than dressing a body. Same thing is true when sewing for a boat. The tools are different - no pins. I bought a different sewing machine - a second hand Sailrite. I guess the biggest difference is the pattern - there is none!

So, while I have some transferable sewing skills from years of garments, I always used patterns when making clothing. The kind of canvas work that I'm doing is pretty much all custom work. For our Bayliner, I have the benefit of an intact frame and the old canvas for reference. The old canvas is in fair shape, but has stretched and shrunk making it unusable for patterning purposes.

I'm starting on that portion that covers the top of the ladder going up to the fly bridge. This is the only portion of this project that separates from the rest of the project. The piece that's being replaced has snaps, a zipper and two parallel double keyholes that allow the canvas to wrap around the ladder when it's in place.

Aft deck fly bridge ladder cover
Knowing that the old piece had gotten distorted over time and would no longer snap into place, it was no better as a pattern than the rest of the canvas. Still, it's a small piece and gave me a start on the actual pattern. Using different color Sharpie markers, I traced the old piece, checked the fit and marked up the necessary adjustments in another color.

Fly bridge ladder cover pattern
On the retired piece, the keyholes were finished with binding. Lots of curves would make that challenging without a binder, so I made a sample. Halfway through, it wasn't looking good.

1st keyhole sample - lumpy binding
I tried facing the opening which was much more successful. Turning the facing to the wrong side was a little challenging, but doable.

2nd keyhole sample - faced, turned and top stitched
Next step - cut facings, stitch, turn and top stitch them. I'll size the facings so that they also serve to reinforce the snaps. And thinking. Without a pattern to follow, I find myself thinking about how to sequence my steps. It's a bit like a puzzle and I'm having a lot of fun trying to solve it!

Get Going ... Biking! Richmond  CA isn't well known for innovative educational programs, at least not in my mind. Today's newspaper challenged that thinking in a story about some kids who have been designing an electric bicycle at Richmond High School. If you need a shot of confidence in today's youth, have a look. I think you'll be as impressed as I was!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Time to really get going!

What a whirlwind life can be! I'm a newlywed and have recently moved aboard my husband's Bayliner 3880. We're prepping the house to put it on the market and adapting to our new life together.

Life is good. Life is very good!

Who knew there was so much to be sewn on a boat? I would have thought curtains, pillows, cushions maybe. On those 3 fronts, the Bayliner is in pretty good shape. The exterior canvas work is where the attention is needed. Not that I know anything about sewing exterior canvas work for anything, this is what I'm working on.

There is much to be learned, but this is a lot of fun! With fabric going for about $24.00/yard, I'm scouring the Internet, the Library and the marina to learn everything I can.

Here's the starting point:

Port side aft deck canvas

Mid aft deck canvas
Today was dedicated to patterning. Since each boat and the owners needs are so unique, there are no patterns and the canvas work is custom work. I was surprised at how physical the work was, but the day went very quickly and I am very happy with the result.

Tools of the trade

Aft deck patterning

Next step - remove the pattern, reassemble the pieces as necessary, transfer to fabric. It's quite an adventure - stay tuned to see how it turns out!

Get Going ... Organizing! On a Boat! I check out Jeri's Organizing and Decluttering News from time to time. She often has great ideas. A recent post is focused on boat living - couldn't get more perfect! Great reading whether you're downsizing or upsizing!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

TAST 2012 - Week 5 - Herringbone Stitch

I'm in catch-up mode in the Take A Stitch Tuesday challenge. There's just a lot going on, but I'm still finding relaxation and great enjoyment in regular hand embroidery.

Week 5 was actually done quite a while ago. I stitched the sample onto a card and it's ready and waiting to be mailed... Catch-up seems to be the theme these days!

Get Going ... Couture!  On yesterday's blog, Couture Du Jour: Susan Khalje's Top Five Pattern Picks. She picked Dress with Bow in Back (8-2010 #116) as her #1 pick. My wedding dress pattern! How cool!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Denim skirt - inspiration and realization

I love this denim skirt - its simple and not too straight - not being a pencil skirt fan, I think the A-line is more comfortable and suits me.

Denim skirt - inspiration and pattern
I spent an evening going through my patterns and Burda magazines. I was amazed at how few patterns I found that would  get me started on this look. The line drawing is style #135 from Burda 11-2010. The ruffle will go but I think I'll go ahead and do the side patch pockets as well as the 2 piece front. I'll probably stick with the fly zipper instead of the buttons as shown on the inspiration.

I'm travelling, so I traced the pattern in my hotel room this evening. When I get home, I'll get the muslin going.

Get Going ... Rumbling! Nothing on TV that seemed worth watching tonight other than West Side Story. I've seen it 100 times and was never truly convinced that gang members would fly through the air synchronously or break into song like the Jets do, but it's still a great movie. Tonight I noticed how much Tony Mordente looks like Matt LeBlanc.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Denim skirt capsule

Moving to live aboard a boat means that many of the things I took for granted in my 4 bedroom house have to be rethought. Closet space, a dry environment, an ironing board. The concept of wardrobe planning, never something I spent a lot of time on, becomes increasingly important. 

Wardrobe capsules are on my mind, a lot! 

I'm starting this new lifestyle more than a few pounds lighter and very much appreciating the simplicity that comes with any downsizing. The marina life is more casual which appeals to me, too.  A denim skirt is definitely on my list of upcoming projects. And, I've had a Nancy Zieman jacket pattern (McCall's 5668) in mind for a while. provides a perfect set of tools to play with a capsule plan. And that's where I've laid out my inspiration. The green jacket is from the pattern illustration. Everything else is out there in the world wide mall. The grey will be grey and the white will probably be a color. But, the shapes work well for me. Let's see how they play out!

Get Going ... Doing! How do you tend to the things that must be done? I read Getting Things Done last Spring and have reread parts of it many times since. I love the approach - it speaks to me. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

TAST 2012 - Week 4 - Cretan Stitch

Four weeks and I'm still in the game! It's a 52 week stitch-along and I'm having a blast!

At the same time, my husband and I are doing a test-float - spending the month on the boat to see if living aboard is a lifestyle for me (we already know it's for him). The hand stitching is a perfect fit for the boat and we even have a plan for the sewing studio when we take the plunge permanently.

In order to keep from accumulating, I've worked my samples into a single piece that became a postcard. This week, the Cretan stitch sample sort of formed itself. I've always loved how God created the rainbow as a symbol of his promise to all living creatures. As I worked the stitch, I pulled threads and beads in rainbow colors and here's the result:

I sewed the sample onto a card, wrote a note and it's on its way to my Mom, hoping to brighten her day as she has done mine, so many times!

Get Going ... Doing Anything But! The gas lines at Costco were short today. Traffic was light and Home Depot looked like a ghost town. The Super Distraction is to blame, but there are lots of alternatives out there for non-football fans, sewing is just one of them. Read about what they do in Detroit and check out that vintage Kenmore sewing machine!