Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Sewing Machine Paying for itself

Is it worth buying an Expensive Sewing Machine?

Nearly a year ago, I spent the money on a Sailrite Sewing Machine, that's a Boat Buck! (Break Out Another Thousand) but I figured it could pay for itself.

Over the past year between everything else that we have done on the boat, I have practiced using the machine, trying to get even a straight stitch line to show that I am making progress towards being proficient in using it.

Now I feel that I'm getting there. I have watched dozens of How To project videos on Sailrite.com 
learning the many different techniques and concepts on their wide variety of DIY projects.

Some of the things I have learned include:
  • Measure Carefully.
  • Draw clear lines where to cut and where to stitch.
  • Don't make a start till I get to understand the next step.
  • Check the Bobbin before each run of stitching - it's a pain to run out of bobbin thread part way through a line.
  • Take it easy! Don't rush! It's better to run a slow stitch than to have to undo it later.
  • Draw the project, for me a simple sketch is worth hours of work.
  • Don't Rush! - Oh, I said the above, but it's worth repeating. 
  • Do you remember how difficult it was to learn to drive a car? Well, learning to drive the sewing machine requires just as much practice. So start with repairs and easy projects.
  • Watch the Sailrite Videos - seriously! It's like going to sewing school.

Is it worth it?


Todate I have made Fender Covers - they almost look regal! - but I'm biased. I have restitched our Dodger and replaced the plastic windows of the dodger side panels, made covers for the Dodger frame where it touches the new windows to prevent burning and made a cover for the firepit on our patio at home.

Now for the next sewing project: Replace the cabin curtains.
When we purchased the boat, the cabin windows had white fabric curtains on sliders on each side of the cabin - above the galley and above the nav table, in the head and in the quarter berth. They were showing their age and did not survive going through the laundry. The windows were shaded behind the curtains with blue fabric that was snapped into place, but it is a real pain to unsnap them to brighten the cabin during the daytime.

So it's time for new cabin curtains.
Here's what we're starting with:
Window Shade above Galley - Closed
Window Shade above Galley - Opened
Window Shades Port Side 
Window Shade - V-Berth Stbd side

As you can see, they are functional, not particularly nice and are a pain to use. The smaller ports open inwards so the window shade has to be removed.

The plan:

  • Remove the sliding tracks on both sides of the cabin (above galley and nav table)
  • Clean up the cabin sides 
  • Make replacement shades to cover each small port and each of the fixed windows.
  • The shade over the galley will have a smaller insert that can be easily removed (hook & loop) to allow for extra light at the galley.
  • All of the smaller port shades will have the option to be rolled up and secured in place so that we don't have to stow the shades, and they will continue to add a bit of color to the cabin.

The Process

After removing the slides, 5 minutes, the cabin sides needed a good clean and careful measurement.
A trip to the local JoAnn's store and we picked out a suitable outdoor material - it's Gaudy, Bright, and will make an impact inside the cabin. I purchased enough fabric to do all of the windows and have enough left over to make a matching cushion - I'm getting seriously domestic in all of this!
Not really and Ad for RedLobster!

Next to make the first small window shade. Here's some pics of the progress.
This is seriously going to brighten up our cabin

If you could see through the windows, it would look pretty good too.
We should be heading down to the boat tomorrow to check she is still ok despite the King Tides we're having this week. I hope to install that first window shade.

Well the grotty weather put the boat visit to Wednesday (at least) so I worked on installing the new Zippers on the Dodger & Side panels. That took most of the day but they look good and they work!

I'll load up the truck for tomorrow and see if we can get a trip down there to install the Dodger & Side panels, and test fit the new port shade. 

See you out on the water.



1st Shade Installed.

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