Friday, March 25, 2016

Sew What? (Part 1)

   Cruisers are do-it-yourselfers. By nature and necessity, if we can rewire it, unclog it, stitch it, or jury-rig it, we will. This is in large part due to the fact that cruisers are often in remote locations where getting outside help isn't an option. Most of us are also on limited budgets. So, in an effort to make our cruising dollars last as long as possible, we either rely on current knowledge or learn as we go in order to get the job done. The latter reason was the driving force behind my next big project.

   If you've been following along with us, you know that I have dabbled in sewing. The projects I have taken on have been rooted in necessity. We needed more storage around the boat. So I made pockets to hang over the life lines and mount on the walls. When the hardware on my purse turned green from the salt air, I stitched up my own bag, sans the hardware. . . So, when Bill and I decided that we needed to look into replacing our saloon cushions, I immediately wondered if I could do it myself (Being a left-handed, right-brained person, I thrive on a good creative project).

   Now, I know what you're probably thinking . . . That's a big leap . . . From a few minor projects to a large job. And what if I mess it up??? . . . I know . . . This wasn't a split second decision. I poured over fabric choices, spent hours on sewing websites, watched several how-to videos at least half a dozen times, and filled several pages of ruled paper with notes and measurements. All of this lead up to one conclusion: I could do this. It might be a challenge but, I could do it. Not only could I completely customize the cushions but, based on local quotes, I could save us at least $1,000 (Yes, you read that correctly . . . Amazing, right?). That's even with the price of new foam sheets (since the old foam that we had was not only falling apart but, was glued together like a patchwork quilt of scraps).

   A few days ago, I finally had a beautiful sunny day off; the perfect day for a project. With the saloon cleared out and all of my materials at the ready (well, as much as they could be in a 38' boat), I set to work . . .


   I first layed one of the foam sheets out on the port settee frame. The foam had to be cut to size. So, I used a marker and tape measure to determine and mark the shape of the frame.

This was easier to use than I thought.

   Then, using an electric kitchen knife, I made the initial cuts.

The kitties "helped" by inspecting my work.

   Since the cushions are supposed to taper towards the bow, I trimmed the foam to fit the angle of taper. After a few tries, the foam fit snugly in the frame. I then repeated the process for the starboard settee.

As you can see, the batting took up almost the entire floor in the saloon.

   Next, the batting had to be glued down to the foam. After rolling it off of its giant spool, I gathered all the batting up and brought it, along with the trimmed foam, up on deck.

Ok. It's not a glamour shot but, . . .
safety first

   I then set to spraying the foam and batting with glue and pressing it into place. I left the back panel void of batting so that it wouldn't catch in the zipper when I put the cover on.

   After the batting was glued on, I trimmed off the excess and let the cushions dry.

Hmm . . . at least I didn't glue
my fingers together

I certainly made use of the deck


In case you're looking closely, the lower of the two cushions
is turned the wrong way.  They really do fit flush.

Once the cushions were dry, I wrestled them back into the boat and checked the fit again. Voila! They fit perfectly.


   So, now that the cushions themselves are ready, I have to tackle the job of sewing the covers. . . I'll keep you updated . . . In case you're curious, this is the fabric for the back cushions.  The fabric for the bottom cushions is a solid navy to go with the darker stripes in the pattern.  Oh, and there's another new recipe on the "From the Galley" page. Check it out!


   Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)

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Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments.