Tag Archives: sewing

Final Touches on Sugar Shack

There were just a few more final touches that we wanted to make on our boat.  We still had a lot of canvas projects and we needed to replace our bathroom accessories in our two heads (bathrooms for my landlubber friends).  The bathroom accessory update is on the second half of this blog post – scroll all the way down.

Matt and I were so excited to buy a second hand LSZ1 Sailrite machine from our friend Chris.  But then fifty million projects took priority over our sewing projects and it sat for several months unused.  We finally broke it out to learn how to use it.  We decided to start with a vinyl cockpit table cover (to better protect the teak) and it was a good first attempt.  Then the sailrite sat for several more months as we focused on more important boat repairs and upgrades.  That was the final straw. We decided to ask Kim from Masterpieces in Canvas for some help with our canvas creations.

Here is a list of “final” projects:

  • (2) Cockpit table covers (1-vinyl for Matt’s work bench & 1-Salueda for guests)
  • (2) Aft cushions to go over line the bins and around the wenches on the transom
  • Redo our exterior cushion covers in a darker, vinyl fabric
  • (2) Sets of 3 pockets (mounted on the aft of the boat for storage)
  • (2) Recycle bags
  • (1) Remote wench control bag
  • Cover for our Man Over Board Horseshoe

These projects are not urgent and are not necessarily needed.  However, all of the pieces are old, ratty, and in need of a refresh or make over.

Transom Seating

Our transom spans across the back of the boat.  This is where we store our lines and where we have our working winches.  However, inevitably, we have people over and they always sit on the hard, uncomfortable fiberglass.  And if you sit over the line holders your rear end sinks into the holes.  We have wanted to add seat cushions here since we bought the boat – 13 years ago!

When we bought Sugar Shack in Turkey, we replaced all of the interior and exterior cushions.  We saved the outside foam (from the cushions) because we thought one day we might use them for the transom seating.  I will be honest, I thought we would use them a lot sooner than 13 years!  But here we are doing them now.

Matt cut the foam around the wenches, pad eyes, and stanchions.

Then we handed them off to Kim to cover.  This is more than a “final touch” and we are so excited to finally have this project done!

Cockpit Pockets

The boat came with these nifty pockets in the cockpit which collect all sorts of junk and treasures.  Spare lines, small tools, cleaning supplies, bungee, SUP fins, etc…

The stitching is coming out, the bungee is dead and they are just looking tired overall. Matt has wanted to design them a little differently so that the bungee can be more easily replaced.  

Additional Bags

We have several recycling bags where we put glass, plastic, aluminum, and cardboard.  In addition, we put smelly things that might stink up the house.  We also have a small bag that holds the main wench remote holder.  All functional, but need replacing.

The new recycle bags are just as big and wonderful.

Line Bags

We keep our main sheets inside two bags that hang off the life line off the transom.  They came with the boat, so they are at least 13+ years old.  The bags are functional, but too big for the space and we are often fidgeting with them.  Plus the fabric is torn and they are just ready to be replaced. 

We were going to ask Kim to remake them, but we ended up finding store bought ones Ronstan Line Tail Bags (large-RF3912) for a very reasonable price.  The final price with tax and shipping was $68 per bag.

The new line bags are smaller and far more functional.

Table Cloth Covers

We currently have a gray vinyl cover over our beautiful teak table.  It is our work cover that Matt uses when he works on projects and it gets super dirty.  We decided to make a dark vinyl cover and a nice salueda cover for when guests come over.  So, one will be a working cover and one an every day cover.  Kim made this awesome velcro piece underneath to keep the cover on during high winds.

Exterior Cushion Covers

We really do love the new light gray salueda exterior cushions.  However, they show dirt so easy and they do not clean as well as we had expected.  As people sit down, the back of their legs rub against the side panel and crease (seam where the top and side panel are sewn) leaving dirty marks that just don’t come out.  This just after a few months of use.  So, we decided to recover them in a dark gray vinyl that does not look or feel like vinyl!  We are hoping this will be our final recover project.

The new cushion covers turned our really nicely.  We are hoping we have better luck with these without “sticking” too much.  This is a nice touch to the boat and really looks classy.

More Sun Shades

We love, love, love our new cockpit enclosure.  However, we noticed that our sunshades needed to be expanded to cover the corner areas.  We have a giant sunshade off the transom and one for each side.  But there is a giant triangle of space between the side and the back that needed to be covered so we had Kim make us corner sun shades.  This should be the final “shade” project for the cockpit.

Man Over Board Cover

Our man over board cover was looking incredibly bad.  So bad that I did not even take a photo of it before it was tossed.  But we have a new one and it looks bright and bold!

Rail Protectors

As you know, I painstakingly varnished 90% of the exterior wood while we were on the hard.  So, when I saw our jib sheets rubbing on the cabin top hand rails I about flipped my lid.  I immediately went about making rail protectors so the jib sheets won’t ruin my varnish!

Just when you think you are done, you find more things to update and beautify.  Man we need to get out of New Zealand as it is costing us a fortune.  Well can’t really blame NZ as we’ve needed to do these updates for some time now.  We add a few more final touches to our beautiful home.

Bathroom Accessories

We have two heads (bathrooms).  In each head we have hooks, cup holders, toilet paper holders, dish holders, and towel racks.  None of these pieces were stainless steel and they have since turned green, spotted, pitted, and turned icky in general.

Matt and I searched all over New Zealand and the U.S. for 316 stainless bath accessories.  It is a lot harder than you think!  We found 304 and stainless plated but nothing else in NZ or the US.  Until we stumbled across Drench in the U.K.  We found all of the pieces we needed in 316 Stainless Steel. Hopefully these beauties will last us a life time!

And the new bath accessories in the port bathroom:

It appears starboard bath accessories are worse off than port which could be because we leave our escape hatch open and the salt air gets to these pieces more frequently.  Perhaps, maybe they are just 23 years old and tired?

And Starboard bath accessories:

These updates make me so very happy!  

Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind actual live events.  This blog took place during the the months of March and April.  We remove part of our standing rigging to do repairs – check it out here.

Channeling Betsy Ross

We have had a laundry list of sewing projects that we have been “meaning” to get to but haven’t had time.  Maybe it is because there are so many and it is overwhelming, maybe because setting up the sewing machine is a “process” maybe because I was not 100% sure I remembered how to sew (since it has been 35+ years since I touched a sewing machine), or maybe it was just plain procrastination (and a combination of all of the above).

This week, I sucked it up and jumped right in.  First let me tell you how we prepare to start a sewing project:

  • Matt pulls the sewing machine case out of the bilge
  • Pull out supplies from various storage areas: hot knife, extension cord, carpenter’s square, tape measure, scissors, blue tape, pencil, chalk, velcro, basting tape, shower curtains (for patterns) and fabric
  • Turn on inverter to provide electricity to sewing machine and hot knife
  • Set up machine

Sewing supplies

My first project(s) was to create new helm seat cushion back covers.  Our current blue ones are stained, torn, falling apart and need to go.

Old helm seat back covers in blue.

Yep, we procrastinated long enough – these need to go.

So, I took the Starboard one off first, measured, double and triple checked the measurements, created a pattern, transferred the pattern to the fabric and cut into my huge 15 yard roll of Sunbrella Toast fabric.

Transferred my pattern to the fabric.

After I created my pattern on the fabric, and remeasured and cut the fabric with a hot knife to prevent loose strands. Then added basting tape to hold the hems cleanly to the fabric.

Basting tape for the hems.

Next, the female velcro was added to one side (we used velcro that had a sticky back side).  Then I flipped my piece over and added the male velcro (so that when the piece is rolled they stick to each other).

Velcro applied to pattern.

Test, with just the basting tape holding the piece together, I take it outside and test to see if my measurements were correct.  EEEK Gads!  They are not!  I had measured the circumference 7 3/4 but did not take into account an extra 1″ for the velcro overlap.  Yikes. Luckily, I had not sewn anything yet so I had to go back a few steps, shorten my hem and create an overlap so that the velcro actually overlaps and sticks together.  Yeah!  Worked swell. Now the hard part – sewing.

I had not touched a sewing machine in over 35 years and was a little intimidated about using this one.  But, Matt figure it out and walked me through a few things, tested using scrap fabric, fixed mistakes, tested again, fixed mistakes, rinse and repeat.  Finally when I felt confident, I broke out the project piece and started sewing the velcro to the fabric.

Working diligently on getting the fabric, basting tape, and velcro through the machine.

Yep, I got this!

Almost done and feeling a little giddy, I start working on the last step which is sewing the end tie pulls into the left and right hems so we can pull them tight to hug the pole.  Easy enough, little basting tape, hold the line in, shift the foot on the sewing machine to get a closer fit to the line and call her done!

Yep, the lines are askew, but not bad for a first project.

Finished the port helm seat cushion back cover the next day.  The first one took me about 5 hours to complete from start to finish and the second one took me about 3.5 hours.

Completed port helm back cushion cover.

Super pleased with myself, I moved on to a much more complicated project – the outboard cover.  I won’t bore you with a separate email on the outboard cover, just give you the highlights here.

It took me 7 times to create a pattern that worked – yep, that is 7 different patterns.  Part of it was because Matt had a different idea of what he wanted for the cover than I had so once we got on the same page, we worked it out.

Since it was using two different fabrics and had many curves and uneven measurements, I taped the pattern to the cover to see if it would work before I cut my fabric.

Using a shower curtain, I created a pattern.

This is way beyond my sewing scope, but I am willing to give it a whirl.  Keep in mind that this entire process is over multiple days and I have already been frustrated, recovered, frustrated, recovered, over and over.

After blood, sweat and tears (literally all three) Matt and I finished the project together.   It was such a relief to have his help, logic, and different outlook and it made all the difference in the world.   Let me tell you – this was a complicated project!  Glad it’s done.

Hole on the front is for the starter handle.

We were going to remove the stitching on the phifertex to make it fit the opening but decided it wasn’t worth it.

Phifertex over the to let the engine breathe and hand hold to lift the engine.

Matt likes his new engine cover.

Next, was a simple cover for our ICOM as the screen is getting wonky from the sun.

ICOM Cover at the helm station.

New pillow covers – done

Recovered two new pillows in Sunbrella red to match with the boat better.

New socket holder.

New socket holder.

Made several wind barriers to stop the whistling

Made several wind barriers to stop the whistling


Before & after: Curtain for office shelves with sewing junk.

Before & after: Curtain for office shelves with sewing junk.

Before & after: hide shoes & yoga mats.

Before & after: hide shoes & yoga mats.

Too embarrassed to show true before with all the shoes and yoga mats but you get the general idea.

We have several other projects, but I will save those for another time.  They include:

  • New sunshades (this will be a huge one as our old ones are small, dirty, and old)
  • Cushions to set over the line storage area
  • New man over board cover

You can tell I don’t like to have my “stuff” to be seen so hide it behind a curtains.