Sunday, August 12, 2018

Pedestal Cover

Making a Pedestal Cover

The Instrument Shelf on the Pedestal is a custom job that I completed in year 1 of owning Eximius - details here.

It's very convenient as it not only holds the Chart Plotter, Depth display unit and the Wind Instrument, but it's also handy to clip info sheets close at hand when at the wheel. It also acts as a handy hand hold when moving around the pedestal to or from behind the wheel.

The wheel is 41" diameter. The outcome is that there is not an off the shelf pedestal cover made for out boat, so we have a compass cover (shown in the pic), a cover for the depth instrument holder & chart plotter holder and another for the wind instrument.

None of them offer any cover for the pedestal or wheel, so we have to do clean up often. Hence reason for making a new Pedestal Cover.

Step 1. Guesstimate the amount of material required.
We took the general measurements for a cover and figured we would need several pieces.
  •  Front Piece: From the top of the Instruments, down in front of the shelf, snug up close to the pedestal guard (that's the vertical stainless steel tube structure  to which the wires are tie-wrapped) and down to the base of the pedestal.
  • Aft Piece: From the top of the wheel, down the aft face of the wheel and then down to the foot of the pedestal. It would have a vertical zipper from the top of the wheel all the way down it's length.
  • 2 Side Pieces: These would extend from the top center of the instruments on the shelf and reach down to the foot of the pedestal, connecting to the Aft Piece and the Front Piece.
The bottom of the cover would have a sewn in shock cord to close up the bottom around the pedestal.

It might work out that the side pieces would only extend from the shelf down and that a separate 'Top Piece' would extend over the shelf and instruments, joining the Front, Aft and 2 Side pieces. That decision will have to wait till we make a template out of Dura Skrim patterning material. I also have some Tyvek House Wrap that can also be used for patterning but prefer the Dura Skrim as the transparency is useful in allowing view of what is beneath the template material.

The rough measurements show that I'll need about 6 yards of 48" material. I already have 3 yards, so just need to order another 3. But will wait until we have made the pattern, too much material is OK, but not enough is pain.

And now some good news!

A sailing buddy gave me a box of canvas (Unlikely Sunbrella as it is faded on the outside surfaces.) that was left over / removed from a friends boat and too much to deal with at the flea market. Bonus! It included an old dodger & bimini that was failing (not UV thread). I was able to salvage a 50" piece of YKK Zip #10 in great shape and quite a bit of the material that is clean.

We went down to the boat and used the Sailrite technique to make a template for the cover. I made the template in 4 parts.

  • 1/2 the wheel - Starboard side only
  • Starboard Side Piece
  • 1/2 the Aft piece (stbd side only)
  • 1/2 the top piece (stbd side only)
Brought them home and cleaned up the edges, laid them out on the material and marked the edges + 1/2" for the hems. I did make a mistake with the center part of the wheel where the zipper would be installed. The Sailrite video showed the need to add a 2" center piece between the port and starboard segments of the section that covers the wheel, ie. 1" to each side down the middle, for the zip. I added 2" to each segment, so the wheel cover is 1" wider than it should be. You would have to know in order to criticize the finished product.

Sewing the zip was a breeze thanks to the Sailrite video and the result looks great. Sewing the segments together was easy too. I used Profilin Clear thread, that will probably last longer than the pedestal cover. I did not sew the bottom hem and the shock cord before taking the cover down to teh boat and checking that everything was ok. It was, but while there, I marked the hem in a slightly better position than when making the templates. Back home I quickly marked up the hem and shock cord lines, 10 minutes work with my machine and it was all done.

We took it down to the boat and it fit really well, it will not blow off if it's zipped up (down, as the zipper starts closed at the top and open at the bottom) 

When I feel like blowing the money, I may remake it in Sunbrella (sans the 1" error) but it should last a few years. Here's some pics.

I know, it looks weird - but then it covers our weird pedestal and wheel. We get really heavy rain down here in South Florida, so I raised the front bottom end.

Onto the next project.

See you on the water.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

New Sewing Tips

Tip #1: Goodwill Stores

I needed some denim material for some fender covers.  A trip to Goodwill and the purchase of a few
pairs of Fat Boy denim jeans provided enough material for 4 fender covers. After cutting and sewing the material into shapes it was easy to make new fender covers.

Tip #2: Magnetic Thread restraint

I learnt from the Sailrite website about holding the upper and lower threads during the first few stitches to make sure that neither get pulled out. They showed a solution of using a Quarter ($0.25) with a piece of basting tape to hold it to the surface of the machine base trapping the threads.

Well that works, but far from ideal. A better solution is a round magnet (about the size of a Quarter) covered in leather with about a 1/2" overlap. This allows an easy way to sweep the threads away from the sewing point and capturing them between the leather and the machine base. After the first few stitches, just pickup the covered magnet. I keep two of them near the machine - the 2nd is for when I have a bunch of material that won't fit between the threads if held by just one magnet. I use the 1st magnet to hold down the lower (bobbin) thread and the 2nd magnet to hold down the upper thread passing the thread over the material.

Oh! Tip #3: Guess where I got the leather from?
Same place I get the denim. 😊

To make the thread restraint, simple find a suitable magnet (Amazon has them) and a piece of leather about 3" x 1.5". Fold in half to create a square. Sew from the folded edge about 1.25", rotate the square by 90º and sew a 2nd edge to form a pocket a little bigger than the magnet. Insert the magnet (Raise the foot out of the way, lower it after magnet is in it's pocket. Rotate the square another 90º and sew back to the folded edge. Include a couple of reverse tack stitches at the start and finish. Trim off the excess leather. All done

Here's how I use them.


See you on the water.