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  1. #1

    Default How to make a boat cover??

    I have a 1999 seadoo challenger 1800. I just got new uholstery put in it and i have no cover for it. I don't see myself spending 400 dollars for a cover i can't even keep on it in the water. So i found some fabric on the internet and i was wondering if anyone knows how to make the covers that snap to the boat. I know ill need fabric and snaps. But what else and how to do it? I think i can save a lot of money buy doing it this way. Any help is appreciated
    Thanks
    Ben

  2. #2
    Supreme Mariner
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    Lightbulb Re: How to make a boat cover??

    Ben, I am not familar with the Seadoo style of boat. On a runabout for example, one would stitch together two pieces of Sunbrella or other canvass, sucn theat the seam runs down the middle. Make a flat seam by stiching the two pieces together and then laying the seam flat under one side of the canvass and sewing again. Use nylon coat thread. Now comes the tricky part. You will need to cut and sew the fabric to accomodate the windshield and any rails. There will be a seam on the top of the windshield and any other things that stick up. Now sew a hem around the perimeter of the cover and attach the snaps.

    Always double sew each seam, line any wear points with vinyl and use support poles to pitch the cover up for drainage.

  3. #3
    Petty Officer 1st Class blouderback's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to make a boat cover??

    Without an old cover to use as a template, it's gonna be a lot of trial and error. I made a replacement cover for my old 18' bowrider a few years ago, and it was pretty easy because I had the old one and used it as a template. Maybe you could use an old bedsheet or something to create a template.

    I bought Sunbrella fabric on the internet, used my wife's 20 year old standard Sears sewing machine, and about 5 "denim" needles (it took me that many to figure out to not push the fabric, let the machine pull it through).

    Snaps were purchased at ********, and went on pretty easily. The whole thing cost me about $150, and took about 12 hours total.
    -Bob-

    ---------------------------------------------

    2005 Larson Senza 206: "Annabo"

  4. #4
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: How to make a boat cover??

    Go to your local library and check out a book on basic upholstery. It is not hard to make a good cover, but you may decide it is not worth it once you have studied it out a bit.

    As blouderback said old bedsheets makes wonderful pattern material. I usually get mine for under a buck down at the local thrift store.

    The bottom edge of the cover should have a rope sewn in it to reenforce it and make the cover last longer. If you use grommets on the bottom edge and go side to side underneath your PWC with a couple of bungee straps, then you will not have to put snap fasteners on it.

    If you are really cheap, but want some of the best tarping material, find you local billboard company and get one of their old bilboard covers. The vinyl is very UV resistant, sews easily and holds grommets well. If the advertising that is on one side bothers you then you can paint it or turn that side under. This route will cost you under $20 for all materials.

  5. #5
    Supreme Mariner Silvertip's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to make a boat cover??

    Several of us have made our own covers and you've been given one bad bit of advice if you plan to trailer this boat. DO NOT put a seam down the middle of the boat as you need way too much fabric and will waste too much of it, not to mention if you need to replace a panel you need to replace one whole side. There is simply too much stress on a single bow to stern seam. To tell you how to do it would take pages and i'm not willing to do that. learn to sew first on some scraps and then plan the cover using shorter pieces going side to side. I start by placing masking or painters tape down the entire length of the side rails. Then starting at the bow, place a dot on the tape every six inches. These marks provide side-to-side measuring points so you can transfer those measurements to the fabric using a fabric marking pen. Leave extra for the hem and clamp the cover to the rails while you figure the next panel. Use newspaper or heavy wraping paper to make a template for areas like the helm and windshield. Plan it with as few seams as possible. When it comes time to add the snaps, start at the front of the boat and work toward the rear.

    Here is just one of the several i've made using -- yup -- an old Sears Kenmoore. Use a needle for leather. Standard needles won't stand up.


  6. #6

    Default Re: How to make a boat cover??

    Well i like the whole template idea i would'nt have thought about that right away. But i guess i get the point of sew as you go make a small section and sew it. If yall have any pics i would like to see.
    thanks
    ben

  7. #7
    Petty Officer 3rd Class vess's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to make a boat cover??

    Boo- think about purchasing a "semi-custom" cover as well. You can get one that will fit your boat for anywhere from $150-$300, and put in couple of snaps yourself. If you are only using it to trailer, they usually come with nylon straps that reach around the hull, and that will keep it covered while standing or moving. They sell covers that will fit most models fairly well. Have you checked out the selection here at iboats?

  8. #8
    Supreme Mariner Silvertip's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to make a boat cover??

    While generic covers work fairly well, a custom fit cover holds up much better when trailering. you will note there are only two bungee cords on my cover. Actually the main cover has no cords. The nose bra is a separate piece that allows me to cover the boat with the trolling motor in place. I take the troller off for travel and install the nose bra to catch at least some of the road debris. That cover travels at 65 - 70 mph and is entering its fourth season. The last one I made is now over 10 years old and still in use. Fit is crucial in a long-lasting travel cover. Also -- "a couple of snaps won't do it". Try every 7 inches.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to make a boat cover??

    Hey,
    what if i joined two pieces of sunbrella together and layed over the boat and pulled it tight with tape or something. Then draw a line where about i want it cut the excess off and heim around the perimeter would that work? It sounds easier then using old bedsheets b/c if you do it that way you how more sections. Let me know what ya think
    thanks
    ben

  10. #10
    Supreme Mariner Silvertip's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to make a boat cover??

    We can't see your boat so you will have to take a chair, sit down next to the boat and think about what you see. Pay attention to the windshield and anything else that sticks above the gunnels. Sunbrella is not cheap. You are only going to have one chance. Screw it up and you will wish you had spent the extra money to have a custom cover made. Material is 54 - 60 inches wide. If you put the seam down the middle and pull it tight where do you think the stress is? Have you ever seen a cover that the seam runs down the middle? They run cross wise for a reason. Less stress on the seams and there is less waste. Make a template out of whatever you have available. Just be sure to leave enough for the hem and sew the entire hem last. buy some fabric scraps and learn to sew first. You may change your mind if you can't master that or don't have a machine that can handle the material.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: How to make a boat cover??

    Do a template out of cheap plastic sheeting. Cut it to fit and tape it together as you go with masking tape. Once finished, cut it to make patterns for best use of the fabric. The only reason to run seams across the hull instead of lengthwise is it gives less waste. Stress running with a seam is easier on the material than stress running across it but either way works if you sew and reinforce correctly. Sunbrella also comes in 31" widths. Use tooth grommets if using grommets. Use bonded polyester thread instead of soft twisted poly or nylon. Most decent home machines are good for needles up to size #20 and use with thread size V92. The lower their numbers the smaller they are and if you have a light duty machine (read modern...after about 1970) start with a #19 needle and V60 thread. Double back "basting" tape makes it much easier to fold the edges over and hold for sewing hems...otherwise use pins.

    Here's the mini walking foot I use...
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12

    Default Re: How to make a boat cover??

    I get what you are saying but in order to make the fabric wide enough you have to join two pieces together. So there will be a seam in the middle no matter what. I just want to find the easiest way to do this without screwing it up. Thanks for the help

  13. #13
    Supreme Mariner Silvertip's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to make a boat cover??

    Apparently you are not concerned about wasted material and strength of the cover. Stress on a cover is from side to side since that's the direction you pull to get it tight. Side to side is also the stress direction if water happens to pool on the cover. With a lengthwise seam once pooling starts, the full length of the cover gets stressed and that single seam will let go. If you trailer this boat all of the wind stress goes right down the middle as well. Easy is not always best -- and if you have to repeat the process in a short time where is the savings?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How to make a boat cover??

    Booboo;

    Buy a cover. You will be money ahead.

  15. #15
    Supreme Mariner Silvertip's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to make a boat cover??

    If you don't have a sewing machine (and a heavy duty one at that) you will need to rent one or get one from a neighbor or friend and then you still need to learn to sew. If that machine happens to be anything built in the last 20 years it very likely has plastic gears and it will either cost you a new machine or a friendship. Check with a local canvas/tarp shop. They make covers for all shapes and sizes of boats. They may have a template for your boat and while there might be some savings, it will be a custom fit and will likely last longer than the commercially made covers.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: How to make a boat cover??

    Quote Originally Posted by booboo7353 View Post
    I get what you are saying but in order to make the fabric wide enough you have to join two pieces together. So there will be a seam in the middle no matter what. I just want to find the easiest way to do this without screwing it up. Thanks for the help
    Best thing to do is get a canvas sewing book that will show the basics. Jim Grant of Sailrite wrote one, Karen Lipe wrote several. All give the basics. I have theirs and give the edge to Grant. Used ones can be had off ebay for cheap.

    Yes their will be seams...don't worry about them. Pulling seams apart no matter what direction they are isn't a major issue if the cover is done right...correct material, correct stitching (straight or zigzag), correct reinforcing.

    How to sew two pieces together? Lay them on top of each other with the edges lined up. Sew along the seam with two lines of stitches about 1/2" apart. If you want the seam flush...sew the flap down.

    For hems along the edges...fold over the fabric the width of a yardstick and sew one line of stitches on each side about 1/4" from each edge. The more times you fold the stronger the hem but Sunbrella usually does fine when folded over only once. This makes 4 layers at the corners which is good.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: How to make a boat cover??

    Iboats has a cover for your boat on sale from $202.99 with a 5 yr guarantee and free shipping. May not be the color you want but you can't beat the price. I bought mine here 2 yrs ago and have no complaints. Check it out.

    http://www.boat-cover.net/?brand_id=...****=491372988

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