Well the boat has been out of the water for about a month now. While Matt has done most of the winterizing on Friday afternoons while I’m at work I have spent a few Sundays out with him prepping it for the winter and getting the cover on. A cover that we had been very excited about since it was cloth, durable, and best yet, came with the boat. This was our first winter having a boat out in the elements and we felt sorry for a few of the boats surrounding us that just had a tarp slung over their boom as we pulled out our custom cloth cover. Once getting it in position though, we were a little surprised that it was not long enough to go over the toe rail. No matter how tight we tied it on each side there was still a few inches of deck visible all around the boat. We thought about buying a tarp to cover the remaining part but decided to see how just the canvas held up through the beginning of winter.
I thought I was going to be on easy street until spring when the cover came back off the boat. Hahaha, I was so wrong. The vinyl windows on our dodger were pretty old and falling apart, so they needed replacing. Matt purchased sheets of 30 ml vinyl online and thought with my excellent sewing skills (the fact that I’ve hemmed a pair of pants), that it would be right my alley. He also thought the Brother sewing machine he bought me for our anniversary a few years ago was the perfect machine for the job.
I don’t know why we’re replacing these, they look perfectly fine to me.
My sewing machine and I have our good and bad times. Once in awhile she’ll do exactly as I ask her to and run smoothly. Most of the time though it’s a nightmare where my thread is getting tangled up and I always have an ‘Error 1′ message flashing at me on the display screen. Before I could even think about working with the devil of a sewing machine though, I had to take out the further of the two sets of seams so that I could cut the existing vinyl down as close to the exposed part of the window as possible. After watching an online video I found out it was best to leave the existing vinyl on to keep the structure stiff until the new vinyl is sewn on top of it. Once that is secure you take out the other seam of the previous window and pull it out. Sounded easy enough. I don’t know why I haven’t learned yet but I thought I could finish this project in two weekends. Uhhh….yeah. It’s been two weeks and so far I’ve replaced one of seven windows. And it was the small one.
I’ll back up a little bit and try to explain. Parts of this project would have been much easier if it were the first time these windows were being replaced. It was not. From the looks of it we were the third people to put a new layer of vinyl on. And each person before neglected to fully remove the layer before them and I had three layers of vinyl where the seams were to rip out. Or more accurately, three layers of seams to be ripped. Some of the seams were nicely spaced where it was’t a problem to get underneath and tear the thread but other ones were just a few millimeters wide and I could barely get my needle under it. I think it took me three hours to do about five feet. Then came cutting those three previous layers back by about an inch. I’m not even kidding when I say it broke a pair of my scissors. Grabbing a back-up pair I made Matt finish that part and promise to buy me a heavy duty pair of scissors to work on the rest.
Then came the sewing. Oh my god, the sewing. First was getting the machine to actually work for me. Once I got the bobbin to stop from tangling and could sew a decent line on the scratch fabric I tried moving onto the dodger. To get at the right angle I’d have to roll the extra fabric into a space that was six inches wide by three inches high. Did I mention my sewing machine is not very big? And of course, of course when I moved from the scratch fabric to the real thing the bobbin would get jammed or the stitches would look like total crap and I’d have to take them out and start over again. Can you tell I’m frustrated? Sorry for the rant, but projects like this that should be simple enough and then make me want to rip my hair out because I just can’t get it right tend to drive me crazy. In the end to save myself a little sanity and my sewing machine it’s life I’ve decided to do the sewing by hand. It may be taking me ten times longer but it already looks so much better and can be kind of cathartic for an hour at a time. So this is why it has taken me to weeks to do 1/7th of the project. Good thing I’ve got a lot of winter ahead of me.