Thought I might add my two cents worth to this thread.
After renovating my little 20 foot boat I received a nasty shock when I was quoted almost $1000 here in Australia
to have a simple basic canvas cockpit
cover made, but after shopping
around I soon came to the conclusion that I could easily make the cover myself on an industrial sewing machine, if only I had one. Looking around for a suitable machine I soon found that even used industrial machines can be quite expensive and therefore defeated the purpose. However, in the end I did solve the problem and was very pleased with the result. For those interested in doing the same here's how I did it -
After some research
I discovered that the best machine I needed to sew my canvas cover (without going industrial) was a 'Singer 201', the same as your dear granny's old treadly machine! My granny and her machine are long gone so I bought a used one off ebay for $150. The model I got was a "Singer 201K", (the 201 model is reckoned by some as "the best sewing machine ever made"). It was an electric
machine but can be also used with the old treadle mechanism as well. It's quiet, has a beautifully smooth action, and I found it to be more than adequate to handle the thick material. It sewed normally through six layers of the canvas I used.
Some info on this model can be found here -
SINGER 201, SINGER 201K
Now, I'd only ever used a sewing machine to hem a couple of pairs of jeans so I was a bit of a novice
. I found great advice from watching some sewing videos on youtube, especially this one below which shows how to do the necessary seams when sewing boat cover canvas. -
Armed with the right machine, all the necessaries, and the right knowledge, I began by making a pattern to work from. I did this using a heavy plastic sheeting, taped it to the boat and cut it to the required shape taking care to have it fitting nicely around corners etc. I found the whole process to be quite enjoyable and was highly satisfied with the end product A photo
of the pattern and finished cover can be seen below.
The products I used for my cover were as follows -
Material : WeatherMax 80. (Polyester type canvas similar to Sunbrella but probably a bit lighter, it is weatherproof, strong, and long lasting).
Sewing thread: Sunstop size 92 Bonded UV Polyester thread.
Sewing machine needle: Schmetz No.18
I also used -
1 white, material marking pencil,
1 roll of 1/2 inch double-sided adhesive
1 good sharp pair of scissors
21 Stainless steel
Press Stud Snaps
1 Press Stud Snap setting hand tool
11 Bunjee cord loops with buttons
Cost all up, INCLUDING THE SEWING MACHINE, was under $600
P.S. In the photos you will also see my boat's new bowrail. The situation was similar, outlandish prices quoted to have one professionly made so I decided to make my own. The result speaks for itself, and I'm glad I made the decision. How I went about contructing the bowrail is a story I'll tell some other time.