Posted by: livingaboardspellbound | March 9, 2013

Bimini revisited

Remember when I wrote that our Bimini was in rough shape? I had an estimate to replace it and it was expensive of course, $700-800, So we put that on the back burner for a while. One day not too long ago I was taking the garbage to the dumpster and when I opened the gate there sitting beside the dumpster was a folded Bimini in pacific blue in great condition! I am never this lucky (remember calamity Gina?), so I took it back to the boat thinking even it didn’t fit I could use the sunbrella for other projects. We took the old Bimini off and attempted to put this found one on our frame, it was the right size forward to aft, but port to starboard it was too long. Hmmmm, what to do… We decided to take it and our old bimini to a marine canvas shop and see if they could make a duplicate. We were told that it was difficult to do that since fabric stretches and it probably wouldn’t fit well. They could have a guy come out and and see if it can be refit to our frame, so we made an appointment for him to come out. The appointed day came and the guy from the canvas shop arrived at our boat. I noticed immediately that he had the attitude that he didn’t want to do this and we were wasting his time. My husband handled him and I stayed below because I did not want to say what I thought of his attitude and customer service skills, he wouldn’t have liked it!
However, he did proceed to give us an idea of how he would do it. So that got the wheels turning in my little brain and I decided that I would give it a try.
He told us that he would gather the extra material in the center and pin it and make the cut there. So that is what hubby and I did, we put it on the frame and gathered it little by little in the center and pinned it, then we took it off the frame and made a cut above the pins to create a center seam. I had already purchased special UV resistant thread from Philmore supply in pacific blue and a special thread spool holder from Sue’s Bay Area Sewing

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I set up my sewing machine and attempted to sew the seam and my machine kept binding up, even after several attempted to change settings, talk about frustrating! So I put it away and decided to consult with people who have sewn canvas before. We have a friend who had a machine that was all set up for canvas, so we borrowed it. I set it up and started sewing, it still had some trouble binding up, especially thru the thicker areas. I cut away a small portion of the zipper that was in the way of the seam. By the way save those portions of zippers you cut as you will need those later.

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I also reinforced all the zippers on the Bimini because the thread was damaged in some areas. Once I got started it really didn’t take long at all to finish it up. When I was done hubby then took it and put it back on the frame to check the fit.

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This is always a fun process! Once it was on we adjusted the straps and zipped it up. Now, remember those pieces of zipper I cut away and said to save? Here’s where we need them, when you cut the zippers you now have nothing to stop the zipper pull from coming off the zipper because you removed the stopper. So to remedy this you cut the teeth of the zipper into individual pieces like this:

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Then you take the individual pieces and fit them into an open space in the zipper teeth near the end of the zipper like this:

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This will stop the pull from coming off the zipper.
Amazingly it fit like a glove! I still have to affix the center bow pockets and put in the mast view window but that is another day. Not a bad job for the first attempt at canvas.

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