18 December 2015

Sewing Madness | Boat Projects On My Sailrite

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.


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.


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


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?

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come to visit! We're also on Facebook - we'd love for you to pop by and say hi! 


  1. You sure are getting a lot of use out of your machine! It has been one of the best investments I made as well :) Just finished my salon cushions - feels good to update the old stuff :)

    1. Salon cushions is a huge project! I think it will be a long while before I recoup the cost of the machine as we don't need to do anything really expensive to hire out like reupholstering cushions or making a bimini and dodger.

  2. I couldn't sew a straight line if my life depended on it. I can't sew at all. Hubby does pretty good though. Everything we have done for the boat is done by professionals. It would be awful if we tried. Some have the mojo, but we don't.

    have a fabulous day. ☺

    1. I do okay sewing straight lines now, but it definitely took some practice.

  3. Sewing is one of those things I CAN do, but right now just don't have the energy for. Sometimes I wonder if i ever will get into it again. Funny about that fabric habit: it can grow and grow and grow. I have to hold myself back from buying more of the fabric of choice on Galapagos because I know I want new seat cushions in the salon but can't face doing them myself, and can't face choosing another fabric either so I want to get it now. Note to self: Stop it.. Just stop it. I need to have those fender frocks.

    1. I think sewing has to be something you want to do. I like the arts and craft aspect of it, but I think you paint don't you? That would be a good creative outlet. I LOVE the fabric you used in your saloon. I think you should start making other things out of it, like winch and hatch covers :-)

  4. I love your projects! It sounds like the Sailrite is working well for you. Does it have a walking foot?

    I have an industrial sewing machine with a walking foot. Unfortunately, I don't have anywhere to store it or use it at the moment. I really miss it, though. We'll probably need some upholstery work done before too long.

    I've sewn a set of bucket seats for someone's speed boat. They were complicated, but they turned out pretty well. I'm currently in the middle of creating some bench seats for my brother-in-law's muscle car, but am located several hours away from my machine now, and it's hard to get back to it.

    1. It does have a walking foot - one of the key features we wanted, along with zig zag. It sounds like you're a very talented sewer. Making bucket seats sounds very complicated.

  5. I love my Sailrite! Fender covers with boat blanket, winch and hatch covers, repairs on a number of things like surfboard bags, folding bike bags are just a few of the projects it has conquered! Now for the biggie....can I repair a sail??? That is the next task! www.2freespirits.wordpress.com

    1. Will be very interested to hear how your sail repair goes! I haven't had to tackle anything like that yet. I should probably make some winch covers too.

  6. What makes the Sailrite so good for boats, specifically? You've certainly made good use of it.

    1. It's an industrial machine with a walking foot which enables it to sew through many layers of heavy fabric, like sails. Non-sailors also use them, like folks who make leather handbags. It also doesn't draw too many amps when you run it (important on a boat when you need to conserve power) and you can also get a "monster wheel" which let's you sew by hand when you don't want to use electricity.

  7. Thank you for sharing this blog with us. Here at bluewhale hardware , we specialize in bluewhale hardware products. We are all family and are all working together to bring our customers exactly what they need.Buy best boat hardware from given link Boat Outfitters

  8. Top insulated cups Handle with the best quality of stainless steel is Made of Brass. We have 2 sizes, please check the measurement chart carefully before you buy the item by click Insulated Cups Handle

  9. Really this is very nice collection. These all pics is looking very nice. Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing. If you want best boat accessories then visit here fishing pole holders
    with 30% discount. Keep sharing.


We LOVE when people leave comments. It's so much more fun hearing what you have to say. If you have a blog, make sure you leave a link and I'll be sure to pop on by.