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!

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