Sewing Projects on the Boat

Finished salon: nav chair, salon cushions, curtains, throw pillows. A wide angle lens covers all manner of sin!
You won’t believe how many sewing opportunities a boat provides! Cockpit cushions, interior curtains, salon cushions, throw pillows, dodgers, biminis, shades, and adding lace to your cut off jeans to cover up oil stains. And then re-doing the curtains and salon ‘cause the regular fabric is providing too much penicillin! What larks!

Curtains gone moldy. So sad.
Before I start a sewing project, I religiously watch the Sailrite instruction videos. Sailrite makes videos of employees making cushion covers etc; they make it seem “easy” and “fun” so you rush online, clickety-click on fabrics and zips, and then make fabulous amazing cushions, just like the videos! Except your name isn’t Deb, and it’s not like it is in the videos.  

First up: patterning. Sailrite has fancy pencils, patterning material, rulers, etc. I also strongly suspect by the lack of pit stains that they have air conditioning. I have Christmas paper, a biro, and work in “feels like temps” of 110F.

Down back rests and foam cushions, custom cut to cover our storage openings exactly instead of the stupid old way of removing two cushions to get to one storage area.
It's time to transfer the pattern to the fabric. Sailrite has a table, a very large table, for this. The biggest, flattest, cleanest spot for me to do this is on my bed. Don’t worry, the dog food and water bowls I kick over while struggling through the salon and down the companionway are left for the husband to slip in. (Cost of ER visit = considerable grumbling and $900)  Amazingly I have yet to accidently cut the sheets (I know, I’m cursing myself) (Future anticipated cost = $45). This method involves a lot of hunching and sweating while I mis-cut the pattern (something Sailrite never does) (Cost of lost fabric = $35).

Then I heave the marked fabric through the boat obstacle course to hunch over the hotknife in a precarious way on an un-air conditioned ledge (after shutting down anything that uses power in the boat since the hotknife will overpower the system otherwise).

Now it’s time to start swearing, I mean sweating, I mean sewing. I enjoy sewing so much that I often spend 4 hours sewing a cushion together to discover that it is 4 inches short. Or inside out.

A cushion too short. Life is more tragic than orderly. 
Do Deb and Sandra at Sailrite really not swear while sewing? Do they edit it out? How many takes do they have to do? How is it that it's always the same person all the way through the video? Surely half way through, Deb says, that’s it, I quit and is carted off to a mental health center and Sandra has to take over? Why does their bobbin never run out of thread?

Deb also never seems to be forced to stop her project because her husband, in the middle of a head plumbing project, needs her to carry (I am not kidding here) a 3 gallon bucket of sloshing s-h-i-t (again, I am being literal) to be “taken care of” - aka, flush it down the other toilet, while sloshing it over the new cushions, your piles of clean laundry, and the floor. They don’t have to delay their hotknifing because the aforementioned husband is using all the boat’s power on powertools associated with his own s-h-i-t-t-y project.

Hastings wants to know why I'm making such a dog's breakfast out of this. Maybe I should watch the videos again.
Don’t worry, this delay is a perfect time to angrily lay in a dejected heap calculating how expensive this money saving DIY project is. Sure, it would cost $3500 to pay someone to re-do my couch, and it only costs say $450 for materials. But when you calculate the 40 hours of labor, the lifetime loss of a straight spine, the permanent mental health damage, the 6 recovery days at the spa and the 25 boxes of wine, what is the true cost? And no, there’s no immeasurable satisfaction of doing it yourself. There’s only the deflating disappointment you feel when your eyes are constantly drawn to that hotknife burn mark, the missed stitches, and the strange bulges.

Hemming the curtains in-situ due to sloping window sizes
At least I know why they love sunbrella fabrics so much: the blood, s-h-i-t, sweat and tears wipe right off. This will be handy for the celebratory wine I'll be sloshing around later!

You did OK mom, just missing a certain dog smell. I'll get right on it!

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