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!