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  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-18-2009 10:00 PM
Sabreman I recovered all our cushions along with new foam too.

Ditto; it's the best source for everything including advice.

I used upholstery fabric from the local fabric store. If the cushions are for outside, use the solid foam colored ones and skip the fabric. For interior, I think that sunbrella is scratchy.

One bit of advice - use an open mesh fabric for the cushion bottoms to let them breathe.

More advice - In winter, take the cushions off the boat and store in the attic. They won't smell like a mildew convention.
10-18-2009 09:53 PM
Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
I've never been a big fan of sunbrella uphostery. It seems to age and look wrinkled very quickly. On the other hand, I am also not a huge fan of cotton. While comfortable to sit on, it absorbs moisture, and smells and can support mildew pretty quickly. I have used automotive uphostery fabrics on one of my older boats. I was surprised how nicely that worked.


Sunbrella interior or exterior ?

I once used a tenting canvas for upholstery. Took it to a commercial laundry and had them launder the stuff half a dozen times to get rid of the sizing. Then we made the covers. Worked splendidly. Lasted forever.

I've also made cushion covers from heavy grade (very hard to find) Batik. That also was a great success.


10-18-2009 09:10 PM
Waltthesalt I recovered my interior cushions 2 years ago. I was new and a klutz to sewing if you’re likewise these notes may be of some value to you otherwise it may just be overload.
It was a great winter project. I had 8 cushions to recover and it took several months. I set aside a room for the project.
Reading books on the subject were essential to me. I used The Big Book of Boat Canvas by Karen Lipe and Don Casey’s Canvaswork and Sail Repair. Either would have done the job. Lipe’s book was more detailed and step by step.
I use Sunbrella as I wanted it to be bullet proof and hard to soil. As this is a guy-type boat simple and sturdy trumped comfortable and pretty. But that is oversimplified. Sunbrella is made to handle exterior weather and UV so it’s overkill for interior use. It also has a relatively hard and less porous surface. Finally it’s tough stuff so sewing it even on a sturdy machine is a lot more difficult than sewing softer interior fabrics. This is not an issue when you’re sewing two layers but with zippers and corners you’ll be punching thru 4 or more layers. I also found it difficult to adjust bobbin tension with sunbrella. When I later made some cotton cleanliness covers out of canvass sewing was a breeze.
The point of all this is that you really have a wide range of fabrics to consider that will work well besides sunbrella as long as it’s mildew resistant. Both books talk about the pros and cons of various types. There was also an article on fabrics to use in the July ’04 Good Old Boat.
I don’t recall the thread I used only that was a big, commercial spool. I got my stuff from a local recreational fabrics store (Seattle Fabrics) who sell stuff for making tents, sleeping bags, knapsacks etc. They were very helpful on what I would need. Besides a lot of sturdy fabrics to look over they also had all the other stuff to compare like heavy duty zippers, snaps, needles etc. There may be a similar store near you. It would be miles ahead of a regular sewing store. Quilt shops are a good source for miscellaneous tools.
A rotary fabric cutter that looks like a pizza cutter was invaluable. I went thru two blades. Take the warning seriously to keep the blade shield on when not in use. It’s not so much slicing off a piece of your finger but bleeding all over some expensive fabric that’s the problem.
I found a special 2 ft square plastic mat made for using the cutter helpful in minimizing the times I cut thru the dining room tablecloth and into the table.
A seam ripper is also essential as from my inexperience I found myself ripping out and resewing seams fairly frequently until I got the hang of it. I found typically that I’d complete a seam but find out that I’d need to resew it to get a good match on top.
I used my original foam as replacing it was $$$$. Using a seam ripper let me disassemble and use the original covers to make measurements (not templates) for the replacements saving lotsa’ time. Make sure you mark which side is inside and which is out.
Taylor’s chalk, is great for marking where to cut and where to sew.
I put in piping. The stuff I used was plastic and kinda’ stiff. A more flexible core would have been helpful. Also I found the pre-folded bias tape a pain to work with compared to the unfolded tape.
I found that I needed to remeasure and recut the zipper band after the zipper was sewn in. I also had to be careful to keep the zipper on the track to ensure that it would go into the fold.

Hope this is of some help
10-17-2009 04:18 PM
deniseO30 I love the soft butter like texture of the nauga or whatever it is they have on showboat cushions! wooo
10-17-2009 03:30 PM
kmusbach I am redoing our cabin and am using ultrasuede its cool and easy to clean. A little difficult to sew with but so it looks great
10-14-2009 05:21 PM
Jeff_H I've never been a big fan of sunbrella uphostery. It seems to age and look wrinkled very quickly. On the other hand, I am also not a huge fan of cotton. While comfortable to sit on, it absorbs moisture, and smells and can support mildew pretty quickly. I have used automotive uphostery fabrics on one of my older boats. I was surprised how nicely that worked.

10-14-2009 04:51 PM
Originally Posted by LookingForCruiser View Post
Hi all,

I'm thinking of re-upholstering all my cushions with Sunbrella. OK, easy enough to get Sunbrella, it's just expensive.


a. Is there a special sort of thread you're supposed to use with it?

b. Is there a source for some sort of weather-resistant (and preferably pre-sewn) piping somewhere? Traditional piping is just cotton, that won't have much mildew resistance

You should be able to buy pre made piping from sailrite. You can also make piping if you buy an ultrafeed machine, the standard foot has a notch for making piping.

I would use #69 upholstery thread. You may need a larger needle, or if you have a home sewing machine, you may also need a larger machine.
10-14-2009 04:49 PM
Siamese Ditto for Sailrite. You can get your Sunbrella there, thread, piping, etc. / zippers, too. You'll see lots of helpful videos on their site / many are free to view.

You'll probably be using V92 weight thread, and they have a lot of colors available in that weight. Any heavier than V92 (like v138) and you'll need to have an industrial machine.
10-14-2009 04:47 PM
chef2sail Sunbrella is nice and we are big Sailrite fans in our household. We are shopping in fabric stores thouigh which have great prices. We want a fabric mostly mad of cotton with some poly to breath and for durability.

The fabric stores have so many more designs and choices,,,at 1/5 the price.

10-14-2009 04:37 PM
resdog check with
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