Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Sail Cover Patterns?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default Sail Cover Patterns?

    Hello,
    I'm interested in making sail covers for a gaff-rigged Herreshoff 12 1/2.
    I'm new to sewing but I think I could manage this. I'm wondering if anyone here is familiar with a source of patterns for the covers?
    The ones in this photo look great- I'd like to be able to replicate them.
    Thanks!Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 9.48.18 AM.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
    Posts
    19,360

    Default Re: Sail Cover Patterns?

    sew custom covers ?
    Just lay a piece o sunbrella on there, cut slots for the bridle, tuck it in .
    I know I know, too simple. does not compute.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Madison Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,041

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    St. Helens, Oregon
    Posts
    2,983

    Default Re: Sail Cover Patterns?

    I think Marino's book "The Sailmaker's Apprentice" talks about fitting sail covers if you want to start from scratch. And it's a fun book to have on the shelf

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Mukilteo, WA
    Posts
    3,426

    Default Re: Sail Cover Patterns?

    I bought that book from sailrite a few years ago. Have made lots of covers now. I'm very happy with them. You'll want to change the shape slightly for the gaff rig, but the methods for measuring and construction will be the same.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Bainbridge Island WA
    Posts
    3,887

    Default Re: Sail Cover Patterns?

    I'm doubtful that you will be able to find patterns for your boat.

    On the upside, learning to make your own and then building the sailcovers from them has the potential to be quite rewarding. It may also be a very frustrating project for someone who is new to sewing. The covers you pictured are well fitted, whoever made them knew what they were doing (though it could be argued they are too tight, trapping moisture under the covers...but that is a slightly different topic) definitely not a first foray into canvaswork.

    There are any number of books on DIY nautical sewing projects, Sailmakers Apprentice is good but assumes a fairly high level of sewing ability to start. Sailrite has a lot of videos available for free on their website, a good way to pass a rainy afternoon and get a sense of what is involved. There are others, poke around your local used book seller and see what style of instruction works for you.

    Start simple, maybe make a couple of shirts from commercial patterns to get a sense of what goes into creating 3D shapes from 2D material. Then move on to heavier materials, maybe new covers for your cockpit seat cushions. Heavy weight fabric like Sunbrella works differently than lighter fabrics, it takes some time to get used to it.

    I'm not trying to dissuade anybody from taking up sewing as a craft, I have enjoyed it as a hobby for as long as I can remember. The tailoring class I took in college stands out as one of my favorites, they've got arcane formulas for things that make reading a table of offsets seem like child's play. But it is a fun way to create things, relatively cheap too as compared to some other aspects of wooden boat stewardship.

    Time to go, my sourdough rye loaves are finished baking
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
    Posts
    19,360

    Default Re: Sail Cover Patterns?

    A gaff rig main cover may wind up being full of snaps,closures, zippers, pull strings ,and still need to be laced over to prevent the thing from flapping around.
    Why I mention to try to stay simple, not trying to be a smartoss.
    A perfect fit is tough, too tight and it will leave bits of dacron sticking out to cook up, too loose ....flailing .
    b

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Madison Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,041

    Default Re: Sail Cover Patterns?

    The covers you pictured are well fitted, whoever made them knew what they were doing
    My reaction to that photo was just the opposite. In my humble opinion the covers shown in that photo are a very poor fit and just barely do the job with a lot of undesired gaps. It would not surprise me in the least to see an amateur who can carefully follow directions for measuring and cutting come up with better fitting covers than those - even as a first canvas project. There are certainly things to learn and details to be aware of during the process, but that's what a good instruction book is for (Grant's sailcover book is better for that than Marino's in this case). This project, with proper instruction, simply isn't that difficult.

    The biggest questions that I would have is what sort of sewing machine do you have? Will it handle V69-V92 thread (about the weight of button or carpet thread from the typical fabric store) a #18 or larger needle and sew a straight stitch about 4-5mm long through three or four layers of Sunbrella? Those questions are far more likely to make or break the project than how much sewing experience you have. It would also be drastically easier (and stronger) if you have access to a hot-knife for cutting the fabric. This can be as simple as a flat, thin blade stuck in a soldering iron, but it makes the job go much better.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Bainbridge Island WA
    Posts
    3,887

    Default Re: Sail Cover Patterns?

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    My reaction to that photo was just the opposite. In my humble opinion the covers shown in that photo are a very poor fit and just barely do the job with a lot of undesired gaps.
    On second look, I can't argue with your take. I was struck by the effort made to at least acknowledge the shapes under the covers. The sailcovers on my boat are at the thrown together in the hurry/modified as I changed up the rigging/really ought to make a nicer looking set end of the spectrum.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Madison Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,041

    Default Re: Sail Cover Patterns?

    This is what I consider a boom cover that fits properly. It's a little one, but basically no different in design or construction than any sail cover. For a gaff or standing lugsail where you can lay the yard down flat, you can eliminate most of the section going up the mast, which is more commonly there to cover a Marconi headboard in a track, and you may need to extend a section forward a bit to cover some boom jaws. The sides and back end, however, should fit neatly and be free of gaps and as lump-free as possible. In this case, the vang, boom kicker, main, jib, and spinnaker halyards, jumper stay control line, and Cunningham line all drop neatly out of the cover's forward bottom without making disruptions or big gaps in coverage. For boats with mid-boom sheeting, the mainsheet would do the same. The aft end is neatly and securely closed around the boom so that it will stay that way in a blow. By keeping it all bundled up neatly and orderly you also limit the number of critters likely to fall out onto your wife or girlfriend when you start hoisting the sail.

    boom-cover.jpg


    A couple of things to be aware of. Sunbrella acrylic canvas is fantastic fabric and the clear choice for these types of covers (the regular Sunbrella style, not the coated style, as breathability is actually more important that waterproofness for boat and sail covers). Sunbrella, however, is not super abrasion resistant. If you are going to have structure or hardware poking specific spots on your covers it is worth sewing a small patch of some sort of more abrasion resistant fabric on the inside of the cover in those areas. It looks a lot better than a patched hole does later. Ballistic Nylon, cordura nylon, truck tarp vinyl coated nylon, and Dacron sailcloth all make good internal "grunch patches" that will protect the Sunbrella from abrasion, and it will protect them from UV damage.

    Also, Sunbrella softens a lot with age. It still works fine, but you will notice it gradually losing the stiffness it had when new. If you happen to be installing snaps, twist locks or similar canvas fasteners, you want at least a couple layers of cloth as a base for the fittings. I often use small strips or hunks of heavy Dacron sailcloth or similar on the inside to back up fittings. The Sunbrella may age and soften, but the back-up cloth will make sure that the prongs, snap bases, etc. won't eventually pull through and out.

    Just about any time you are sewing big hunks of fabric, it helps and improves the quality of the finished product if you have a means of basting the pieces together before sewing. It keeps them properly aligned until they get sewn. The most helpful tool that I know of for boat canvas project basting is a simple office stapler. The best ones are stapling pliers, shooting staples with legs 1/4"-3/8" long. The proper removal tools after sewing are a small flat-bladed screwdriver and your thumb. I usually space the staples out maybe 4"-5" or so when sewing seams on canvaswork.

    staplers.jpg

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Sail Cover Patterns?

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    My reaction to that photo was just the opposite. In my humble opinion the covers shown in that photo are a very poor fit and just barely do the job with a lot of undesired gaps. It would not surprise me in the least to see an amateur who can carefully follow directions for measuring and cutting come up with better fitting covers than those - even as a first canvas project. There are certainly things to learn and details to be aware of during the process, but that's what a good instruction book is for (Grant's sailcover book is better for that than Marino's in this case). This project, with proper instruction, simply isn't that difficult.

    The biggest questions that I would have is what sort of sewing machine do you have? Will it handle V69-V92 thread (about the weight of button or carpet thread from the typical fabric store) a #18 or larger needle and sew a straight stitch about 4-5mm long through three or four layers of Sunbrella? Those questions are far more likely to make or break the project than how much sewing experience you have. It would also be drastically easier (and stronger) if you have access to a hot-knife for cutting the fabric. This can be as simple as a flat, thin blade stuck in a soldering iron, but it makes the job go much better.

    Thanks for the reply and encouragement. I recently bought a mid-sixties Kenmore Model 95 from the original owner- it's in great shape and from what I've learned from YouTube, etc., it seems that it's up to the job. If nothing else, it seems like a good machine to learn on.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Madison Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,041

    Default Re: Sail Cover Patterns?

    Keep in mind that there tend to be a vast assortment of parts and accessories for old sewing machines, as well as supplies like thread, bobbins, etc. on eBay. Prices are often less than most other sources, and for popular machines you may even find reprints or copies of original instruction manuals.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
    Posts
    19,360

    Default Re: Sail Cover Patterns?

    One might make a combo boomtent /sail cover for the boat...not much more work.
    keep the bird crap and rain,not just the sun.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Branchville, NJ
    Posts
    179

    Default Re: Sail Cover Patterns?

    Sailrite kit, My first one back in, I think 2007 100_1095.jpg

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Sail Cover Patterns?

    Great suggestion! I think I'll tackle both forms.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •