After buying a new tender, Robert suggested I make boat chaps to help protect the inflatable tubes. Having no clue what chaps were, I ‘googled’ this and found a very helpful video on YouTube. And I mostly followed the video with a few changes to do what worked for me. I thought I’d share some pics with you to show how to make boat chaps – my way!
I bought some light-weight clear vinyl from Bunnings to make the pattern. I made sure I wrote on the pieces which side was which and I used the convention of a red marker for port side. I flipped most of the side pieces to pattern the starboard side. After creating the pattern pieces, I then worked out how much material I needed. The sunbrella (burgundy) material is 60″ wide. I thought I’d need about 4.5m so rounded up to 5m. Turned out I probably could have bought 4m, so have spare for another project.
Mostly, I used my industrial machine but the electric hot knife came in very handy. I used this for cutting all the sunbrella so that it sealed the edges and it won’t fray. I also picked up an old tile to cut on, which made it easy and avoided burning any surfaces or wooden boards (that I used previously).
The BEST thing I bought was a double-sided sticky tape to help stick the pieces together while sewing them and avoided the need for pins.
Cutting out pattern and checking, re-checking, and checking again
There’s a saying I’m sure you’ve all heard, measure twice, cut once. I probably measured a few more times than twice!!
I cut out the pattern pieces on our bed, which provided a reasonable surface that was a pretty good height so I didn’t hurt my back. I then checked before I started reinforcing all the cutouts. I continued this as I progressed, to ensure I could correct any errors before I’d gone too far with the chaps.
Sewing a piece at a time!
I decided to make the pieces for the corresponding sides, reinforce them, and then assemble as I went. Unlike in the video, I had to attach the bow piece to the sides before I could do some of the cutouts. These cutouts for bits that need to go through the fabric also means that it sits better over the tubes.
Sewing and reinforcing
I did all my sewing in the galley as the bench is a good height to stand at. It also meant I could feed the material over the bench into the saloon.
It’s important to reinforce around the cutouts, required for handles, oars, seat, etc. I used a white vinyl for this. In some places I had cut the holes a little too large, but I adjusted with the vinyl, so you’ll never know where I made mistakes!
Finished boat chaps
After joining all the pieces I sewed a strip of vinyl around where the rub rails are, to help add further reinforcement. I then did the hems and also added the rope that is tightened to help hold the chaps in place. Also, the idea is these remain on the boat even in the water to help protect from UV rays.
I’m thrilled with how these turned out. I think that the chaps will protect the tender for a long time.