One of the more expensive things we bought for our new boat was a Sailrite sewing machine. It cost us over $700 to drink the Koolaid and join the Sailrite cult. (You can read more about the decision process and other machines we considered here.) In exchange, we got a shiny, blue hunk of metal which promised to transform our boat into a fabric covered wonderland.
Considering how much we spent on our Sailrite back in August, I've been trying to put it to good use and recoup some of the cost. I've written posts on the Spartan green slipcovers I made for the settees in our saloon and the crazy kiwi and fishy throw pillows I stiched up.
But, there are also some other projects I've magicked up over the past several months, which I thought I'd document here on the blog so that: (a) I keep track of what I've done; (b) you don't think I've been a total slacker when it comes to boat projects since Scott's been gone; and (c) the folks at Sailrite see this post and, after one too many rum-laced eggnogs, think I'm such a fabulous seamstress that they offer me a lifetime 75% discount on everything they sell.
If you're into sewing projects, have a look below. If you're not, and I totally get it, then turn off the computer, pour yourself your own rum-laced eggnog, put some holiday music on and spend some time with your loved ones.
CLOTHES STORAGE CONTAINER
We don't have a ton of good storage space on our boat for clothes. One of these days, I'd like Scott to put some shelves in the hanging locker in our aft cabin (which we use as our bedroom) so that we can stack folded clothes in there. Right now, it's set up for hanging up clothes, but since I don't have a proper job these days, I don't have too many clothes that need to be hung up.
Since we started traveling around by tiny camper and boat, I don't have the most glamorous of wardrobes. There isn't even an iron on our boat - that will give you a sense of how little of a fashionista I am. Because I don't have a good place to store my folded t-shirts, shorts and tank tops, I've been piling them up on the settees in our aft cabin. It looks awful - an untidy mess of clothes just waiting to tumble all over the place when the boat moves.
So, I had this idea to sew up some sort of cute storage container which I could put my clothes in, hide them from view and tidy the place up. I thought about creating something like those packing cubes you see which people use to organize their clothes in their luggage. What I ended up with wasn't quite like what I pictured in my head. But, isn't that always the way. In my head, I have frizz-free hair which is thick and luxurious. In reality, not so much.
I basically ended up with a rectangular box made out of a floral print I got on sale and lined with some blue duck cloth. I made a bottom panel, four side panels and stitched the whole thing together. Using the same principle, I made a lid which I attached to the box at the back so that it folds back. I'm planning on adding velcro on the sides of the lid and box to keep it closed securely.
I don't like that it turned out so floppy. It's okay when it's full of clothes, which helps give it structure. But when it's empty or partially filled, it flops down all over the place. Ick. I'm thinking of opening up the side panels and adding some sort of plastic inserts at some point to give it some structure. But, in the meantime, things look a teeny bit tidier on Tickety Boo. Just don't look in the v-berth. That will scare even the least organized person among you.
FRIDGE MAT COVER
The previous owners had a foam mat which they placed on top of the fridge. For those of you not familiar with typical fridges on boat, you might not realize that they often open up from the top. It's a crazy system - you open up the fridge, lean over and poke around everything trying to find that last bell pepper that you know is in there somewhere. Usually, all you find is a can of beer you forgot about, wilted celery and some mysterious oozing liquid from something that spilled. The key is to drink the beer quickly and forget about the mystery ooze. Save that problem for another day.
Having some sort of insulation on top of your fridge is a great idea - it keeps the coldness in and saves on energy required to keep the fridge at the right temperature to provide perfectly chilled beer. The original foam mat was utilitarian, but boring. We don't do boring on Tickety Boo. And why should we, when we have a trusty Sailrite sewing machine that can transform our lives. Or at least, transform a foam met.
I made a simple cover for the foam mat out of some colorful oilcloth, slid the mat in, sewed up the edge and admired it while sipping on my beer. A very simple project which brightens up the galley.
The previous owner had sewn some nautically themed curtains for the head (aka bathroom). They're perfectly fine, but not my cup of tea. So, I whipped up some new ones using this weird tangerine swirl fabric. I really shouldn't be allowed to look at fabric online with a credit card handy.
Another simple project. Basically, each curtain consisted of a panel of weird tangerine swirl lined with plain white broadcloth. I hemmed up the top and bottom so that fishing line could be inserted all the way around both curtains and tied onto hooks on the window. I didn't quite get it tight enough at the top so it droops a little bit. Something to add to the list of fix this one of these days projects. Using fishing line is a great idea because it is almost invisible. I can't take credit for that - I just copied what the previous owner did.
Making covers for our fenders was one of the earliest projects I did. Scott calls them fender frocks. They're basically little outfits you put on your fenders to protect your boat. I made these ones out of boat blanket, which is kind of like a thick felty material that is often also used as carpeting in cars, campers and even boats. All you do is make a tube with hems at the bottom and the top with line sewn in so you can cinch it up and Bob's your uncle. The Sailrite sewed through the thick material like a dream. Dead easy
MARKET TOTE BAG
This market tote bag was the very first project I made on our Sailrite. I used to do some home sewing many, many years back, but I was really out of practice when we got our Sailrite. So, I picked a project from the wonderful tutorial videos that Sailrite has on their website, grabbed a cheap remnant at Walmart, watched the video a million times and went at it.
It's actually a good first project to practice on. I got to monkey around with trying to make straight seams (not always easy!), used seamstick tape to baste my seams before sewing, zig-zagged my raw edges to keep them from fraying and sewed through multiple layers of materials. While it doesn't look like the most professional of bags, it was a good learning experience, was inexpensive to make and its functional.
Next up on my sewing project list is a new cover for our Magma grill, another clothes storage box, hatch covers, a duvet cover and repairs to our bimini and dodger. I'm also thinking of making some pencil bags and the like out of the scrap material I have left over.
Are you a sewer? What kind of things have you been magicking up lately?
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