The reason you want to leave the old plastic in until you sew in the replacement is the cloth won't hold its shape or position very well without the rigidity of the plastic in place, and will make it really difficult to sew in the replacement accurately.
"Remember, don't remove the old plastic until you have the new one sewn in".
Why? I unfortunately put my hand through my dodger window the beginning of this year and we plan to attempt to repair it ourselves. I would have thought you would take the old out, use it as a template when you cut the new piece and then sew it in. Since your advice is contrary to my intuition, I thought I'd ask for the rationale behind it so I can learn.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.