How to Restore Your Topside Canvas Using Marine Vinyl Fabric

When it comes time to restore your topside canvas, the smart choice is to use marine vinyl fabric. It’s 100% waterproof and resistant to sun damage, mold, and abrasion.

It’s a project that requires a good bit of preparation and a little bit of sewing skills, but it does wonders for the look and function of your boat. Here’s what you need to do.

Steps to Restoring Your Topside Canvas with Marine Grade Vinyl

Set Up

You first start by assembling the tools you’ll need to get the job done. Thick marine vinyl canvas calls for a heavy-weight sewing machine with heavy-weight thread, so the one you use at home probably isn’t up to the task. A sturdy walking foot sewing machine will get the job done. It’s also important to select the correct sized needle, because overly large ones will leave holes in the fabric where water can seep in, while undersized needles are prone to breaking when working with heavy-duty marine vinyl.

Other tools for the restoration project include a large work space, a soapstone pencil for fabric cut and fold lines, a framer’s square, a permanent marker, a seam ripper, and quality fabric scissors. Don’t forget that you’ll need a wide variety of snap fasteners and grommets with the correct sizes of die sets and hole punches.

Get Ready

There are many types of marine vinyl fabrics out there, so be sure to work with a knowledgeable supplier to get the types you need for your specific project. To know how much vinyl you’ll need for the project, measure the length and width of your topside canvas. When ordering, it’s a good idea to get 10-20% more than you think you’ll need to allow for mistakes and calculations. You can use your existing topside canvas as a template for the restoration project, which will ensure you get the correct dimensions when you cut the vinyl.

Key Steps for Using Marine Vinyl Fabric to Restore Your Topside Canvas

Get Sewing

There are multiple YouTube videos, DVDs, and printable instructions that will give sewing directions for your restoration projects. The bulk of your time will be spent designing, laying out fabric, cutting, and assembling, with only a small portion of your time devoted to the actual sewing. Double sided tape works well to hold material in place, making sure everything stays in alignment.

Don’t Forget to Fit

A careful approach to measurement and pattern making generally leads to a finished product with precise dimensions, but it’s always valuable to pause at intermediate points to ensure a good fit. This can be done both during assembly and sewing, allowing the opportunity to adjust as needed.

With a little preparation and practice, you’ll be well on your way to restoring your topside canvas. All Vinyl Fabrics carries a wide selection of marine vinyl fabrics, in multiple colors to match your deck theme. Give us a call today to find the perfect vinyl fabric for your needs.

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