Sailmaker's Supply

I just realized this is the last full work week in November! From now until New Year's weekend, time always seems to fly. But, before we start stressing over the Holidays, lets talk about another boat project.

Fall or winter is the perfect time to recover or replace the interior cushions on your boat. If the weather is too nasty for boating, at least you can work on the boat from the comfort of your sewing machine. The first step is to select the fabric.

Splurge on the fabric for the settee in your salon. (We'll talk about the rest of the boat later.) Pick a high quality fabric you love. Look for a comfortable synthetic. A good idea is to pick one with a texture or pattern that will help hide dirt and stains. Sunbrella Upholstery Fabric has lots of good choices.

Another option is Ultrasuede. With plenty of beautiful colors, it is durable and cleans up surprisingly well. It is expensive but worth it. To cut down on the cost, use regular Sunbrella on the parts that won't be visible, like the bottoms and zipper boxing.

If you like the leather look, get real leather. It is really not that much more expensive than the fake stuff.

Forget vinyl. Yes, clean-up is easy, that is, if you have an uncontrollable horde of kids to clean up after. Otherwise, vinyl is hot, your bare skin against vinyl will sweat, and you'll stick to it.

Also, forget faux leather. It is only vinyl after all, with all of the undesirable attributes listed above. Plus, most of it is thinner than regular marine upholstery vinyl so it won't last as long. And, it is expensive (and not worth it!)

Stay away from cotton and any fabric that is more than 25% cotton. Unless you keep your boat heated and cooled like your home, cotton won't last on a boat. Moisture and warmth will cause mold and mildew, and they will eat cotton.

The berths in the stateroom or v-berth will probably be made up with sheets and bedding. The quarter berth, or places where guests sleep only occasionally, are likely used for storage the rest of the time. In these places, I recommend Sunbrella marine fabric. Yes, use a color complimentary to the settee, but you do not have to use the same fabric or color throughout the boat.

On our boat, I chose Ultrasuede Sand #3584 for the settee in the salon. It's a neutral beige color that turned out to be lighter than I expected. But the light color brightens up the boat since we have a lot of dark teak on the interior. To cut down on the cost of the cushion covers, I used Sunbrella fabric on the bottoms and zipper boxing.

I made the cushions 6 years ago (we live aboard) and have washed them (in the washing machine!) twice. They came out looking new again each time. I use Resolve carpet cleaner once in a while for spots. When I feel the urge to re-decorate, I make new pillows.

We have a regular mattress for our bed in the stateroom that is always made up (hopefully). The v-berth has bunks which are mostly used for storage. For the cushion covers, I chose Sunbrella Aquamarine #4623, not so much because it matches the salon, but because I like the color.

Now for the foam. You know that smell on the boat that is part fuel, part mildew and part holding tank? Well, that smell is all stored up in your old foam. You probably don't want to put your nice new cushion covers on that smelly old foam. What kind of foam to use is for another newsletter.

Until next time, happy sewing!

Jean Carroll