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Old 26-02-2022, 15:44   #16
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Re: How to Decide on Boat Upholstery

My personal favorite is Alcantara, if a bit expensive. It is used in high-end cars. It is very durable, comfortable, and stain-resistant. It is also very easy to clean stains off. From the same manufacturer, Ultra-Suede is often sold to the marine market. I think the difference is the backing material - they look very similar.

I went with a very light brown (not as creamy as beige). I had the same concerns for brightening the interior. It has served well but if doing it again I would opt for a bit darker color.

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Old 26-02-2022, 16:09   #17
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Re: How to Decide on Boat Upholstery

no one has mentioned Ultra-Leather and its equivalents. It's a great alternative to Sunbrella and its equivalents. Used together it makes for an interesting alternative eg Ultra-leather seats and Sunbrella cushions
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Old 26-02-2022, 18:58   #18
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Re: How to Decide on Boat Upholstery

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no one has mentioned Ultra-Leather and its equivalents. It's a great alternative to Sunbrella and its equivalents. Used together it makes for an interesting alternative eg Ultra-leather seats and Sunbrella cushions
Brisa is from the same company but it breathes. Not nearly so sticky and cleans really easily. It's not as breathable as Sunbrella though.
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Old 26-02-2022, 19:46   #19
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Re: How to Decide on Boat Upholstery

I had custom cushions made for my first boat.....the tops and sides were regular upholstery cloth, but the backs were leather. After installing on my boat they lasted for over a decade.
I was advised and did spray a fabric protector on the fabric when I first got them on the boat.
I was also advised, and did, cut the foam about 1-2" wider than the actual size needed. This gives the foam some more pressure against the cover, which was cut to size, otherwise cushions will be quick to sag.

If you're planning to make cushions for the cockpit...you HAVE TO HAVE closed cell foam and a fabric like sunbrella.
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Old 28-02-2022, 10:01   #20
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Re: How to Decide on Boat Upholstery

I need new cushions for my Catalina 30. The quotes for cushions run in the thousands with Catalina Direct being upwards of $6K.

I decided to make my own. I figure that if they come out 90% correct they will still be way better than the horrible cushions (ones not missing) that are currently installed.

I bought a Sailrite sewing machine which at the end I can always sell for close to what I paid for it (after doing all of the other canvas work naturally..).

I like you am trying to decide the fabric.

Sunbrella (acrylic solution-dyed) seems to be the most popular fabric. Supposedly you need to stay away from normal home upholstery fabric since organic fabric s(i.e. cotton blends) will grow mold.

The problem is the color. I wanted a solid color as it is EASIER to sew (no stripes to align.) but haven't found a color that I really like.

I, like you wanted a lighter color to keep the main cabin from looking dark like a dungeon, however the staining was my concern.

Also, if you go too "artistic" with the fabric, it may make selling the boat in the future more difficult. What you "like" someone else may "hate". Neutral colors are therefore best .

I am looking right now at Bella Dura fabric. It is also synthetic marine upholstery fabric. and has silver ions bonded into the material to prevent mold/mildew growth.

Also, note that you need to stick with marine upholstery fabrics as they are different than normal marine fabrics. They are lighter in weight and softer than marine canvas. (the difference between a sofa cushion and a sail cover...)

Good luck & cheers.
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Old 28-02-2022, 11:34   #21
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Re: How to Decide on Boat Upholstery

We found that the colours shown on a computer monitor are generally way off of what they look like in real life.
I would never buy fabric without getting a sample first. Sometimes we've had to order a full yard of several colours to get a look. The full yard really shows you what the look will be.
We made extra cushions with the rejects so nothing went to waste.
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Old 01-03-2022, 08:46   #22
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Re: How to Decide on Boat Upholstery

I havn't made cushions, but have sewed main and mizzen covers, plus awnings, etc, from sunbrella. I imagine making cushions is similar.

I bought a relatively inexpensive sewing machine from Walmart, plus some heavy duty sewing needles, you will need these.
You will need to get some extra strong nylon thread in the color of your choice. Regular cloth thread won't do.

I had never sewn before, so learned it does take patience and dexterity in feeding a large mass of cloth thru' the machine. It's real pain in the ass to re-spool that little bobbin under the needle.

A few practice runs will help you set up the machine or better yet, get someone with some experience to sit down besides you.

Cutting and measuring and connecting pieces together, prior to sewing is a bit of an art.

You will basically be sewing from the inside out. My end results were passable to the naked eye. Closer inspection will turn up a few " whoopsie" spots.
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Old 01-03-2022, 11:29   #23
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Re: How to Decide on Boat Upholstery

The Sailrite videos are good to watch to get a basic feel for the process for cushions:

https://www.sailrite.com/How-To-Proj...e=DIY-Projects

They cover all the basics, when to make the foam bigger and the covers smaller and stuff. I also remember watching 2-3 other videos on how to do the zipper plackets so that the zippers are hid nicely by the fabric.
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Old 01-03-2022, 11:35   #24
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Re: How to Decide on Boat Upholstery

Sunbrella is ok, I had the mattresses and etc covered in it once. I used good fabric with a pattern in the salon.
Plain colors like most Sunbrella's will show any spot, including body oils and suntan lotion etc over time.
An advantage to a patterned material is it wont show that so much.

This was 20 years ago and kinda 'busy' material, but it sure didn't show spots!
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Old 01-03-2022, 17:41   #25
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Re: How to Decide on Boat Upholstery

The polyurethanes like Brisa and Ultraleather don't stain.
More money upfront though.
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Old 01-03-2022, 18:05   #26
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Re: How to Decide on Boat Upholstery

I personally don't like the way the Sunbrella feels, and pattern is obviously largely about personal taste.

One thing I'll add, if you go with a material that has any nap to it, make sure you don't get something that snags and pulls easily. My PO had the upholstery re-done, and it looked great, but the fabric does tend to snag. I have one area on the end of a settee where we often rub against it, and another area where we slide across to get under the salon table. Both these areas are showing snags and pulls.
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Old 03-03-2022, 23:31   #27
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Re: How to Decide on Boat Upholstery

I am going through this same question / problem right now-what fabric? In the end we went with a 100% polyester upholstery fabric. All the outdoor fabrics felt like plastic coated cloth. The current salon cushions are from 1988 and have been around the world, they are also standard upholstery fabric though now faded and out of fashion. I found fabricguru.com, thefabricco.com, and 1502 fabrics good sites to find and order sample. It took us 22 to finally decide on a blue we like the color and feel of.
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Old 04-03-2022, 07:03   #28
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Re: How to Decide on Boat Upholstery

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Originally Posted by kayakerChuck View Post
CAnything with a tweed or pattern will hide dirt & stains better than a solid color. The Royal Blue that Ann suggests is a tweed. Charcoal Tweed is about the best for hiding dirt, stains, and whatever.
Thanks! I hadn't thought of that aspect. Was looking at some "bold" patterns, but I don't have the skill level to make things like stripes line up. So I was leaning toward solid colors. Now you've made me re-think that, too. Tweed seems to be a good compromise.
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Old 04-03-2022, 07:59   #29
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Re: How to Decide on Boat Upholstery

Make sure you get something mildew resistant or prroof! I like expensive Sunbrella.
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Old 04-03-2022, 08:44   #30
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Re: How to Decide on Boat Upholstery

I replaced the white vinyl in my 43í Beneteau with Sunbrella and also have Sunbrella cushions on patio furniture out in the Florida sun. The boat cushions are like new after 8 yrs. I can remove the covers and throw them in the washing machine. I choose to line dry the covers. The boat cushions are NOT outside. They are down below. The patio cushions are constantly outside. I do have some light staining on the ivory color cushions from moss or mildew despite bleach, but thatís on me. No fading or deterioration after 5 years on the Florida coast.

I have no idea why the photo is rotated.
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