Tuesday, April 14, 2015


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.

This morning I decided to be brave and take my Sailrite LSZ-1 Plus out of its case and set it up.  It is a HEAVY machine.  Being on a sailboat with very limited space, I decided to set it up on the floor to begin with.  I also wasn't sure that our wobbly table could handle it.   

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 decided to take the sewing maching off the floor and put it up on the table.  Wow!  It was so much easier to sew when I could use my foot on the pedal rather than my hand!  Ha, ha.  I wanted a finished look on the main edges, so I made a small fold along the edge of the material.  I didn't have any straight pins or transfer tape, so I decided to use staples.  It worked, but was a pain in the but to take the staples out because, of course, I didn't have a staple remover!

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!!!

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