I bought a Sailrite sewing machine so we could do our own canvas work. Sailrite is a well know and respected industrial sail making machine, and the company is know for it's good customer service and many tutorial videos.
I hadn't sewn since home ec class in 8th grade. And that was a LONG time ago! In 8th grade I sewed scrunchies (yes, they were super cool at the time), a polka dot lunch bag (which my dad still uses to this day), and a pull apart cat stuffed animal. I remember a lot of entanglements and HATING bobbins.
I used the free tutorial video on how to set up the machine as a guide, pausing it and rewinding it many times. After getting it properly set up I tried out some practice stitches on a scrap of fabric. It was really awkward having the machine on the floor. I was using my hand to press the pedal, and struggling to sew a straight line one handed. I did start getting a hang of it, though, practicing sewing straight lines and back stitching to lock the thread in place.
I sewed a goofy miniature pouch as my first experiment.
I was soon feeling impatient and ready to do a real project. After flipping through Don Casey's Sailboat manual for some inspiration, tips, and project ideas, I decided to start with a cover for our Honda eu2000i generator. The cover would protect it from the elements, and make it less obvious to potential thieves.
It was a rough start. I didn't have proper measuring devices or cutting tools, so I just decided to eyeball it. I took a rough measurement with our measuring tape from the tool kit and grabbed the gigantic roll of sunbrella forest green fabric. I put down our salon table and awkwardly tried to measure and cut a piece of sunbrella, marking it with a white soapstone pencil and cutting it with our only pair of scissors.
I stitched the first side, and it was a success. I made a slot that I could later feed a bungee cord through. Before my next stitch I had to get another "measurement." It was like doing the StairMaster. I went up and down the ladder into the cockpit so many times, laying the fabric over the generator to get an estimate on where it should be stitched.
After a while I was really getting the hang of it and no longer needed to staple the material. I just held it in place and fed it under the sewing machine. I don't have any bungee cord yet, but will go get it and feed it through the bottom slot of the cover so it will stay snugly on the generator, even if a squall comes through or if it is very windy.
I was very pleased that my first project was a success. Aside from slight deformation on the top of the cover, I am pretty satisfied. It will serve its purpose. I will be getting some more sewing supplies soon so I can make more precise measurements.
I wasn't sure if I was going to be any good at sewing, but now that I realize that it isn't exactly rocket science, I will have more confidence when I take on my next project! So many things I want to sew!!!