Sewing Smashup (Part 1)

 

Just before we left Florida in October I placed a seemingly mishmash order from Sailrite for all of the items I was missing in order complete my outstanding list of sewing projects. One more zipper, a different sized snap, a few more yards of fabric…. I was confident now that I had all my supplies,  I’d for-sure get my projects done.  Silly me, even with the number of weather days we’ve had I haven’t made it through my list. Most of my to-do items have to do with shade and ventilation, something that has not been a concern of mine it the last few months, and so they are still to be done.  But I did get a few done—YAY!  ….and now that I’ve got the momentum going…watch out!

Cockpit Beanbags:

 

Our cockpit has a few ergonomic challenges and since we spend so much time sitting/lounging/napping there I made us a set of beanbag wedges.  Wa-la  instant comfort.  I used Sunbrella so they can just stay outside (and stay clean).    They are excellent for wedging yourself into a comfy spot when on a rolly passage or finding just the perfect angle for reading a book. Only I should have made three; Kai likes them too.

**I learned from the last beanbags I made that the beans get compressed and they have to be occasionally refilled so this time I added YKK Zippers and just put a stitch through the slider to keep them from accidently opening.

 

Seatbelts for the Jerry Cans:

We have a lot of jerry cans on the deck and we found that we were not always very diligent with retying them to the rails every time we used them so we’ve lost more than a few sun covers and occasionally had the cans go sliding across the deck during a squall. (Not so shipshape of a situation) To make it easier and quicker to keep everything lashed in place all the time I made webbing straps with buckles.  Since making them all their very own seatbelts we haven’t lost a cover or can.  We will still lash them with rope for any crossings, but we always double everything up then anyway.  On the same theme, I made two straps on the stern rail to clip up the davit lines.  We use these a couple times a day and it just makes it faster and easier, I guess neither of us were speedy knot tiers because now the lines are always secured. 55 cent buckles that hold up to the sun, gotta love the little things!

**I used the polyester UV resistant webbing

 

New Zipper for Wetsuit:

One of my wetsuit tops came with a metal zipper slider and since we don’t have the luxury of washing our dive gear down with freshwater after each use, it corroded out. A new YKK plastic zipper—and all is new!

 

Puppy Proof Fish Hooks:

Our little Kayla (our previous pup) once got a fish hook in her mouth, it is an experience that I would like to never repeat.  Kai has an understandable obsession with the lures on Keith’s fishing poles and though we store them where he could never reach them, I though it would be safer for him, and maybe us, to have safety covers for the hooks.  A scrap of fabric and a strip of Velcro was an easy solution.

 

Multi-talented Sailrite:

I love my Sailrite, it does the tough stuff like stitching the double layer leather chafing patches on the bimini extension or sewing through the outdoor carpet strips used to protect the enclosure glass.  But it also does the delicate stuff-like dinner napkins.  We don’t use paper napkins on the boat but the cloth ones I had were looking a little worn out and stained so I made us a few more sets with some remnant material.  While I had out the remnants bag, I stitched together a few new toys for Kai; they don’t have pet stores out here and while I had a big stash of toys for him before we left, he has gone through them all already.

**Just a note to other cruisers/to-be cruisers: While in George Town we heard several cruisers asking over the VHF radio if there was anyone with a Sailrite Machine they could borrow. Sorry, I did not let my precious machine go for a dinghy ride across the harbor in someone else’s boat.  I also heard almost as many calls for people needing needles because they had used their last one.  So, if you are headed out and have a Sailrite onboard, I’d suggest ordering several extra packets of needles of different sizes and different weight threads (you never know-you might want to make something other than sails too).  The machine is amazing, but it doesn’t do a thing without thread and needles.

Welcome to my Sewing Room

Ok, it’s really just the V-berth, but every space on a boat is multi purpose.
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At the heart of my workspace is my new LSZ1 sewing machine from Sailrite. Let me just say it was Keith that really thought we should go ahead and buy the new sewing machine reasoning that with it we could do the mizzen sail repairs ourselves and make a copycat Gailsail storm sail, thus paying for itself quickly. (We just won’t dwell too hard that those are the two projects I have not gotten around to yet 🙂 )

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Anyway, the LSZ1, I knew it was a tough little machine but still had serious reservations about just how much it could handle. I was coming from a serious commercial Juki LU-563 powerhouse and didn’t think anything could compete with the power of it. Guess what, the Sailrite machine has earned my respect! I haven’t found anything yet that has given it any pause. And I have shoved some tough stuff at it. The sail covers frequently had 6 layers of Sunbrella and 4 layers of sailcloth going through at one time, more at seams. Didn’t hesitate. Not one skipped stitch either. Impressive. The shade awning had some real thick layers at the reinforcement points too, no problem.

The toughest challenge I threw at it was the cushions. Sunbrella usually is about 7-9 oz per yard weight. Storm sail cloth is about 9 oz. per yard weight. The Crypton upholstery fabric I chose was 16.9 oz per yard weight and with welting and seams I frequently had 8 layers cranking through it. That little machine didn’t care at all. Wow.

Oh, and by the way–the cushions are done!!! I love them. We went old school, with welting and buttons. I think it matches the traditional interior of the boat. Well, I’m not completely done, I am dying to make fun new throw pillows to brighten them up. Like frosting on a sugar cookie. Ah, but that will wait as it isn’t really a priority. I am packing fabric and it will be a fun rainy day project once we get cruising. Until then, my plain white pillows will do-I have a mizzen sail to repair instead.

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So where is the rest of my crafting and sewing stuff? Everything but the fabric is in one very tightly packed locker. There is most definitely a one-in-one-out rule going on in there as it is filled to the brim with my canvas and crafting supplies. The bolt fabric is on a long shelf above the fishing poles and my folded fabric is in a waterproof bag. I am all set to keep on sewing. Of course I have a happy helper to assist. Kai is ever eager to press the foot peddle, ready or not.

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Where were we ONE year ago: Chugging Away