SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: Making Your Own Sails Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
08-26-2003 09:43 AM
Making Your Own Sails

You are looking for a suggestion on where to start.

Don Casey, the old boat guru, wisely suggests starting small and modest. Take his advice.

1)Find yourself an old homemaker''s electric sewing machine with a nice, heavy mechanism and flywheel; an old Kenmore or Singer, for example (it should feel too heavy to use as a doorstop). Take it to a shop to have it cleaned and reconditioned. Preferably a shop where the repair person is elderly. They should smile warmly when you heft your old gem onto the counter, and concur in your intent to use it for sailmaking (the fellow behind the counter at my neighborhood shop told me with amusement that every spring he gets a raft of boat owners bringing their wive''s late model sewing machines in for repair after trashing them trying to do sail work on them).

2. Find a small, simple project to start with. A wind scoop for your forward hatch; a sail cover kit from sailrite; add some reefing points to your mains''l, or redo (beef up) the reinforcing triangles at the head and clew of your existing jib or main (either of these will give you a really good idea of whether your machine will handle sewing through several thicknesses of dacron capably).

3. After doing 2 above, or if you know your way around a sewing machine well enough already, and are of a mind to upgrade your boat by adding roller furling, you can do what I did: Take an existing sail or buy a used one, and convert it for roller furling. Sailrite has the kits and instructions; it typically involves shortening the luff by cutting off a triangular strip from head to tack, repositioning the head reinforcement patch, attaching a special luff tape for the furler extrusion, and attaching a sacrifical (sunbrella) cover to the leech and foot of the sail so that when it is rolled, the dacron is protected from UV.

4. If you are really intent on trying sailmaking, start off by making a storm jib for your boat. Lower material cost, easier to cut, lay out for seaming, easier to fix mistakes if the shape comes out wrong, etc.

Once you''ve got your machine and have a few of these starter projects under your belt, you''ll hopefully have an appreciation of the fun and challenges involved in making your own set of sails.

Happy stitching,

Allen Flanigan
Alexandria, VA
08-26-2003 07:30 AM
Making Your Own Sails

If you look under "Sail Repair- sewing machines" (last post 08-13-03) in Gear & Maintenance, you''ll see a lot of discussion about sewing machines. I think the gist is that a proper choice of needle and a heavier fly-wheel will help your machine punch throught the layers of fabric.

08-25-2003 07:26 PM
Making Your Own Sails

Making your own sails from a sailrite kit is a practical endeavor if your boat is less than 25''. Larger boats require heavier and larger sails. The heavier material and larger bulk makes it difficult to sew on anything but a heavy duty machine.

A first timer trying to cut his/her own sails and sew them is pushing the odds. The result will likely be less than optimum and disappointing.

I made a genoa for a 23 footer I had at one time. It was a sailrite kit and was good quality and the instructions were very good. However, the machine I had to use at the time was really struggling to sew though multiple layers of material. Trying to feed the rolled up sail through the machine and sew a straight seam was a real challenge.

Just my experience.

08-25-2003 12:24 PM
Making Your Own Sails

Sailrite has kits available. They sell kits, materials, cloth, sewing machines, etc. We have not personally made a sail, but we have made a custom bimini using their materials and sewing machine. They were very good to work with.
08-25-2003 11:49 AM
Making Your Own Sails

Does anyone have any expierence with making their own sails? I''m looking for a suggestion on where to start with this. I''d really like to know if there is a pattern available. I''ve seen some information online about kits but all the links I have found are old. Thank you!

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome