Dodger

Ok, I’m all recouped from the haul-out and back to working on our to-do list.

This week I stitched up and installed the new dodger. The old one was only a few years old but the thread had completely given out so this time around I used Helios 100% PTFE thread. It has a lifetime guarantee and will last longer than the fabric. For the window, I chose the .40 gauge Strataglass and Sunbrella fabric.

Like the last one, I used SailritesMake Your Own Dodger DVD. They have done an amazing job with the instructional video. How they manage to break down such a complex and custom project into an easy-to-follow step-by-step “recipe” basically is quite amazing. Here is how it went:

Step 1:
Watch DVD

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Step 2:
Use dura-skrim and double-sided tape to pattern the dodger. The instructions show exactly how to draw the pattern and what and where to mark the pattern so that it will make sense once back in the sewing room. Once this step is done all of the “thinking” and “figuring” is done. From here on out it was just like following a recipe.

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Step 3:
Trace patterns on to sunbrella and cut out all pattern pieces. (My hurricane stash of canned chicken worked great as pattern weights!)

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Step 4:
Use double-sided tape to bind the pattern pieces together.

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Step 5:
Sew it up. The DVD tells exactly how to line the pieces up and in what order to sew each piece. It shows each and every step from start to finish.

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Step 5:
Install and smile at all the money I saved! Actually, I have a few finishing touches to finish up tomorrow, but I am proudly checking this one off the list.

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Notes to self for next time:
1. This is not a two day project. Plan on at least four full days.
2. This is not a solo project. You will need Keith’s help for several steps.
3. The window zippers and straps are a major part of this project and the most difficult part to get through the sewing machine.
4. Pattern the side panels when patterning the rest of the dodger-it was easier this way.
5. Consider changing from a tucked rain tail at the rear of the dodger to a hanging.

Next up….. the Bimini and the full glass and mosquito screen enclosure.

Update: enclosure project is complete-click here to see.

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Going Backwards

Our recently calculated need to complete an average of 4 projects per week was met with despairing results this week.

The good news first-we did get one item off the list. Keith found and bought 198 feet of 3/4 ” New England anchor line off of craigslist. It was new and still on the spool for less than $1.00 a foot. It is for our third anchor.

Unfortunately, we also added two items to the list-1) install a blower fan in the engine room 2) redesign the access to the electrical panel.

Then, and here is where it gets ugly, the enclosure project that I started last week snowballed out of control. It started out as making curtains on the bimini to keep out the rain. Big project, but manageable. I began by designing where all the curtains should attach, which lead to the realization that I was going to have to do some pretty major adjustments to the dodger design. While looking at the dodger modifications, I made the very disappointing discovery that all (ALL) of the thread has disintegrated and everything has to be completely restitched. Noting that I need to redesign and restitch the dodger, I concluded that I might as well replace the faded and scratched eisenglass too. By Saturday evening the project had morphed into making a completely new bimini, dodger, and enclosure.

I spent the rest of the night and Sunday making a meticulous supply list, sourcing/pricing products, and turning our one bedroom apartment into a fully functioning canvas workshop complete with three sewing machines. I was completely prepped to begin my project.

Then, just as I had finished, Keith comes up to me and says “I think we should build a hard top”……….And so began the brainstorming and sketching for a hardtop project.

Whichever way we go, we have added a lot of time consuming work for ourselves. My head hurts.

Here are pictures of the dodger/bimini I made (the one that needs remade) vs.a rough sketch of a hardtop option. Decisions, decisions………

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