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Cover for the Dinghy, with Name

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Yes, yet another cover. But the dinghy is wood, with Brightside paint and some exterior varnish, so a cover beats maintenance.

I have invented many arguments to skip the patterning steps for these canvas projects, utilizing my amazingly accurate eyeballs, a few quick measurements, a rough sketch, and then Jack Daniels. I have found this method successful in making a sloppy job with numerous refits, and in proving how many measurements you find you don't actually have, and in the general folly of shortcuts.

The best teacher I know for patterning irregular shapes is this:

The idea is to make panels on the boat for each surface, then transfer them to Sunbrella or other cloth. For patterning I use 4-mill plastic, sold as plastic drop cloths (they're lousy as drop cloths). Just tape the plastic over the object and outline the panel in Magic Marker, then cut with scissors. Comes out looking like this:

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Then transfer pattern to cloth.

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Nobody can make a cover that fits the first time. Even professionals have to return to the boat for an interim check before finalizing the sewing job. Darts can always be added to smooth out the fit and mistakes corrected.

I put shock cord in the hem. All that is required to put the cover on is to stretch the Sunbrella over the dinghy, no other attachment needed except for a safety tab at the bow.

Painting on Canvas

Vinyl letters don't stick on fabric, but there is a (fairly) easy way to put letters on canvas--the yacht name on the sail cover, for example.

Thelonious's name font is Galeforce BTN . It's not on the Microsoft Word font pull-down menu, although hundreds of other fonts are. Most custom fonts are available on the Internet, often free.

On a Word document, expand the size of the letter to the appropriate size (350-point in this case). Then print out and tape together.

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With a common nail, punch through the outline of the letters. With the template positioned on the fabric, a sharp pencil in the holes transfers the pattern. The dots can be connected freehand, for outlined letters.

Ordinary exterior latex house paint is then used to fill in the outlines, coloring-book style. It sticks very well, as our paint-stained shirts prove after five years in the laundry. Do not paint outside the lines or teacher will scold. Also, you have to start all over--mistakes can't be removed.

Painting the name on a separate piece of fabric is best. It can then be sewed onto the larger project. That way the piece can be rotated as you paint. And the name can be removed if you sell the boat or otherwise have a crisis of identity.

Galeforce script is kind of a bear, but a block font such as Arial is quite easy to paint. Artist brushes are required, quarter-inch works well. And a bit of patience.

Is there an easier way? Maybe. If so, don't tell me.

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Updated 08-16-2018 at 01:11 PM by Christian Williams

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Maintenance and Mechanical , Racing & Crusing , Ericson Ownership


  1. frick's Avatar
    For many projects I drape the fabric (outside in) over the object that I want to cover.
    Use a hand held stapler to take out the extra material and create a tight fitting shape about the object (this is real easy when making a hatch cover as you only have 4 corners).
    Lift it off... Cut and sew the edges along the staples.. Make a hem and I have a perfect no measure fit.

    not tried this is a dingy....

    I have also seen folks wrap and object in saran wrap. tape it up... Put it apart and your now have custom patterns.