4th May 2021

A couple of years ago I bought a Sailrite sewing machine. After an initial burst of enthusiasm it ended up in the garage. If you don’t know these machines, they are seriously tough but they are also very heavy, so when a little mending job cropped up it was too much effort to cart the machine upstairs, find somewhere to put it and then to locate the thread and all the bits you need. So, to make life easier, I have just built a sewing trolley!

Sailrite LZ Machine

The design evolved partly because I found it hard to feed a long length of material into the machine using just the area on the machine’s own base so now I have sunk the machine into the trolley. The top board lifts out so there is useful storage space for things like a roofing square, oil, and spanners. All the edges around the top have been pencil rounded so the material doesn’t catch. There is a pull out tray to keep things to hand and shelves on both sides for storing all the fiddly stuff. It is mounted on big flight case castors, two with brakes. Inside is a four way socket to feed the machine and I’ve added the new magnetic LED light.

Sailrite Machine with a Roofing Square
Lifting up the top for extra storage

I must say, it is a joy to work on the little trolley so I have been making and mending all sorts of things. Patches are the new badge of honour. Making things last longer is so much better for the environment than tossing them out and buying new stuff.

I’m no expert, so complicated projects go to the professionals. I have used Marine Canvas Hut and C and J Marine for boat covers, Ratsey and Lapthorne for my sails, and Jackyards for the camper van seat covers. I just mend stuff and make easy things.

Recently I’ve made:

My new windshield in matching colours to the van (not quite finished yet!)

A tiller cover, a cover for a balcony table, a winch handle bag, a radio bag, a wind shield for the camper van (shown above), and a back seat cover for the van. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. I’ve also patched loads of covers. I’m getting better at it each time.

Technical stuff

I use Sunstop Anti-Wick Thread Size 92 treated with UV protection and anti-wick. Normally I choose a tan colour so any breaks will show up -thanks go to Eric Hiscock for the tip.

The material of choice for the boat and the van tends to be Sauleda. I buy it from Point North Fabrics.

For the long seams I used narrow double sided seam tape from 3M. 9 mm wide works well. I think I buy that from Point North too.

I cant remember the model of the machine but it has a zig zag feature. I also bought a heavy flywheel and hand crank which I would consider essential.

I’ve added a magnetic LED light which I bought from Axminster Tools

My latest project – Extending my boat tarpulin

4th August 2021

My Sailrite machine mounted on a PlanKform trestle

I don’t know why but my winter cover for Sumara no longer seems to cover the whole boat. When I took the cover off this spring I concluded that it needed to be 1′ 6″ longer. It is a bit weird because when I measured the cover it seemed to be near as damn it 26 ft so I can only conclude that the boat is growing. I decided to tackle the task of adding a strip of canvas myself. I bought some green 16 oz cotton duck from Point North Profabrics who are my favourite fabric supplier. I cut out a 9″ strip from the original cover because it had two unnecessary seams in it. The idea was to retain the end of the cover, with its hem and eyelets, and insert a new piece in between. I could sew the end strip to my new piece upstairs using my splendid new sewing trolley but sadly the next seam joining the whole thing together entailed moving the mind blowingly heavy sewing machine outside. I fixed the seams firstly with seam tape to avoid any creep then sewed them using Sunstop Anti-wick thread in green.

The size 30 wad punch with the hand closing tool lying beside

I then got my box of wad punches out and added a couple of new large eyelets to each side. I suppose it took about 5 hours by the time everything was put away. I’m rather pleased with the result.

The extended tarpaulin
Sumara wrapped up for the winter

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