Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Dinghy Seat Cover and Storage Solution

Oddjob does not have a forward storage compartment.  Nick Nack did.  Many dinghies don't.
Inside OddJob - bow

Instead, they have seat covers with built-in storage.  A good, alternative idea.
Big pocket in front

I have been keeping my eye out at all the dinghy docks for design ideas so I could make one for OddJob.
I took pics of designs I liked and then hit the web.  There is a Facebook Group called Sewing On Boats - SOB.  Seriously, that is the nickname.  Ha!  I searched there for good ideas.  Sure enough, my fellow SOB's had designed and sewn some of their own.  I found one I really liked.  Jan had done a terrific job on hers.  I commented and asked a few questions.
Smaller pocket, long, skinny pocket and two drink holders

Soon we were chatting on FB Messenger - me in Martinique and she in The Bahamas.  She answered all my questions, sent more detailed pics and guidance and gave me encouragement.  "Keep me posted on how it goes."
Design, layout and cutting phase

I wanted to use up some of the leftover fabric pieces I have.  However, I wanted it to look nice as well - not too hodgepodge.  I THOUGHT I had enough fabric.  It turned out I really didn't for my type of sewing...."D-oh!  Damn it!  I cut it too small.  Argh Sabrina!" 
Not much leftover

However, I pieced and patched, using the same two fabric colors - grey and black as well as good amount of webbing and was just able to pull it off.
Expansion when needed

Velcro'd when extra space is not needed

I had some old, used zippers from our old dodger/bimini but I decided not to use them.  I didn't think they would hold up in the harsh environment that the dinghy has to take.  Additionally, I simply didn't have ANY spare fabric to make zipper covers and such.  Plus.....honest truth is....zipper are not my forte.  They intimidate me.  Instead, I decided to go with Velcro.  I love Velcro.  I am the princess of Velcro.  
What is in here?  

As with ALL canvas boat projects, the size is weird, odd shaped and not symmetrical.  But that is standard by now....that all canvas projects will not be standard.  Does that make sense?  Anyway, I used a plastic drop cloth to design the pattern and check it before I started cutting on canvas.  This doesn't mean I still didn't do some swearing when I cut the fabric wrong/too short.  But, I was developing it as I went, working with the spare fabric I had.  Really quite tough doing it that way.
Drink holder

Additionally, I was doing all this on the water.  Oddjob is in the water working as our dinghy.  I could have hauled him to the beach but it wasn't really necessary for just the seat.  However, it still wasn't easy.  I sometimes feel bad when I see all the beautiful, perfect canvas projects that fellow SOB's create.  Why can't mine have more of a finished looked?  Then I noticed in the pics from fellow SOB that whatever they are sewing it is sitting in someone's garage/basement/dinning room aka they created it on land....where stuff doesn't move....where there is room to spread out yards of fabric absolutely FLAT.....where the wind doesn't blow your pattern/material around as you try to fit it!  Mind you not all, but many, many are created on solid land.
Long, skinny pocket for say.....a bamboo outboard handle.  Note the drain hole

Anyway, I used our bed, the cabin sole and our main table in the salon to design, pattern, cut and sew my dinghy seat cover.  It turned out pretty good.  Anyway, good enough for us as I always say.
One last look - webbing with quick release clips under the seat keep it all place



  1. Especially considering the challenges of cutting, laying out, and sewing on the water, I think it looks amazing! I am crazy about velcro too and have used it in several RV projects. Since I don't have a sewing machine, it's a must!

  2. Wow! Looks great! I am impressed and it makes me feel so much better to know that other people don't just say, "Oh, I can make that" and it's done where it takes me a looooonnnggg time and 5 or 6 iterations to get it right and lots o'4 letter words.

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