Stitch and Bitch

Thought I'd share some of the crafting I've been finishing as we begin our final preparations for departure (a departure which, after six straight months of crafting, I'm feeling beyond ready for).

Above is our newly completed mainsail cover! It has been the most challenging sewing project thus far. I made it from the Sailrite pattern, but managed to misjudge the depth of our sail and cut the the smaller pattern when the larger was really needed. Rest assured that the fault for this blunder lies entirely with inadequate measuring instructions. Even so, I may never forget the brutality of the moment when, after days of sewing sixteen foot seams in my ten foot cabin, the circumference of the material did not wrap entirely around the boom. The lesson from this experience being an adage that my dad wore proudly on a t-shirt throughout my childhood—measure twice, cut once.

Or, more specifically, measure the circumference throughout the length of the boom (twice), not just at the mast (once). Dominic and I went through a few design options to remedy the situation, and the second solution we put into place was successful. I attached four extension panels that run along the bottom length of the boom and extend the length of the port panel, making it wide enough to wrap around to starboard.

I attached the two panels using snap clasps. These salty little fucks are the second reason this project tested my patience. They consist of two parts, an eyelet that fits over a toggle that locks when rotated 90 degrees. They are so ubiquitous in sailing yet so impossible to install! The eyelet has to be punched out of the fabric, usually multiple layers of Sunbrella and nylon webbing. Then, little notches have to be razored into the material so the teeth of the eyelet can be inserted and then hammered around their backing plate. 

This takes about 15 minutes per eyelet. But it takes 45 minutes if you forget the backing plate the first time around, and then have to pry the teeth open, wiggle the backing plate on, and rehammer them into place. I managed to do this five times, and the fault for these blunders lies entirely with me. Agony! Shout out to my dad who could pry those teeth up like a champ and save me from my spiral of self-loathing.

Dominic really appreciates having a new, clean, custom mainsail cover. I'm not quite there yet. Thankfully, this experience built my sewing fortitude and made the next round of projects comparatively effortless. 

This is one of our new boat shades! These awnings drape over the booms (above is the staysail shade; we have one that drapes perpendicular mainsail as well) and protect the boat from the sun, and let us open the hatches if it is raining. They're huge pieces of fabric, but pretty simple designs. Just rectangles and and triangles seamed together. No fitted cylinders! No snap clasps!

Shout out to my amazing mamacita, who donated her time and her new sewing room to help me get these projects done. We spent a very productive few days after Christmas stitchin' and bitchin', gushing over the costumes on Downton Abbey, and making sure Helios has all the accessories she needs for her big trip.