Boat skylight covers (again!)

Remember when I sewed some covers for the boat’s skylights back in January 2011? Frankly, I tried to put it out of my mind and certainly never have to make them again, but the larger of the two covers blew away (presumably – we’re not entirely sure what the ex-tenant did with it, grumble grumble), so I was forced to revisit these.

To me, home dec sewing is the worst – lots of boring rectangles and straight lines, measuring, unexciting fabrics, and then you don’t even get to wear it in the end! But as I discovered last time, outdoor home dec stuff is even worse!

To say I was dreading sewing this is a total understatement. But I sucked it up, brought out the remains of the waterproof vinyl from the dark hole I’d shoved it into, and then ordered another 1 metre of the green vinyl from Pennine Outdoor. Luckily, there was just enough clear vinyl leftover from before so it only cost me a tenner all in to complete this replacement one, even though the new green is a totally different shade to the previous one!

Another annoyance of sewing these is that the pieces are so big that I had to lay this all out on the floor to measure and cut. The previous skylight cover didn’t fit perfectly (in desperation I just ripped out one corner seam and said “it’s good enough!”), so I figured if I had to re-sew this, I might as well make it fit properly this time! So I remeasured the skylight and found I was a few centimetres off on one of the sides, so I corrected that and this one fits perfectly!

Also, I did a few things differently this time around to try and minimise the pain & frustration:

  1. Rather than cut the hole in the green and sew the clear pieces to the “window” as before, this time around I placed the clear pieces to the underside of the green (meaning the walking foot touched the “sticky” clear vinyl and not my machine bed!) and cut out the holes afterwards. This worked MUCH better!
  2. I cleared everything off the desk in my sewing room to give me as much room as possible, as this is over a metre long and difficult enough to sew without the stuff vinyl ramming into other machines!
  3. This time, I held the clear vinyl in place with sello tape (scotch tape), and since I was sewing from the wrong side, it didn’t matter when I couldn’t remove every little last bit.

These changes, combined with the few things that did work last time (like using a walking foot and a leather needle), meant the pain factor was considerably reduced. This was by no means fun, but it wasn’t the tear-inducing torture of the last time, either.

So why bother making one at all, and not just chucking a tarpaulin over it and be done with it? Well, this will not only keep the odd drips from getting into the captain’s cabin, but protects the wood and glass, and also gives a bit of insulation there, too. And the clear vinyl means light can still get into the cabin, which has enough windows and skylights to not require any electric lights during the day (wonderfully thrifty 1930s home design!). The cover needs to be removed to open the skylight, though, but that’s less likely to be a frequent occurrence in winter.

While I was taking photos, I thought I’d show you how good the bedroom skylight cover one is still looking nearly 2 years later!


“Here’s one I made earlier!”

My reward for doing a boat chore and completing this was that I gave myself a few hours to do fun sewing, which for me meant working on my latest project, another pair of Jalie jeans!

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to finish them in time to wear to Amsterdam or not though!

Leave a Reply