How to Make an Extension Panel Between Dodger & Bimini

Item # X-HT-300386

Adding an extension or connector panel between your dodger and bimini provides your entire crew with even greater protection from the elements. In our comprehensive video tutorial, we’ll be covering patterning, adding zippers to the dodger and bimini, and making a protective cover flap for the zipper sewn to the dodger. Lastly, we’ll show you how to sew up the connector or extension panel with facing, binding and zippers. Let’s get started!

The panel we’ll be creating will zip to both the dodger and bimini and is made out of Sunbrella® Marine Grade fabric, and for good reason. Sunbrella is well-known in the boating world for their solution-dyed acrylic fabric, which boasts an impressive resistance to water, mold, mildew, stains and fading. When you make your extension panel out of Sunbrella Marine Grade Fabric, you can rest assured that you’re creating a lasting addition for your boat that will protect your crew season after season. Choosing the same Sunbrella Marine Grade fabric for your bimini, dodger and extension panel is a simple way to add a professional, cohesive look to your boat.

Don’t have a dodger or bimini yet? Check out the Sailrite® bimini and dodger kits by selecting the “Kits” category at the top of our website. There you’ll find that our bimini and dodger frame kits include all of the hardware and components needed to assemble and install a quality frame on your boat. And once that’s complete, our bimini and dodger skin kits feature your choice of Sunbrella Marine Grade fabric and the supplies needed to sew your bimini or dodger to the frame. We've included a few of the helpful tutorials for this process in the "More Helpful How-Tos" section on the right side of this page.

If you already have a dodger and a bimini, follow along with the step-by-step video below as we walk you through how to build a proper extension panel, including how to install covered zippers that connect the dodger to the tail of the bimini. The covered zippers are an important touch, as a zipper that is protected from the sun and the elements will function better in the long run. Here at Sailrite, we only offer the highest quality zippers for all our marine projects — the YKK® VISLON® zippers we're using for this project are highly resistant to corrosion. And to sew everything together, we’ve chosen the Ultrafeed® LSZ Sewing Machine, which powers through thick marine assemblies with ease.

How did your final extension panel turn out? Do you have any comments or questions? Let us know below or feel free to contact a member of our support staff via phone, email or the chat function on our website. We’d be more than happy to assist you!

Video Chapters:

  • Pattern & Placement of Zippers on Dodger & Bimini – 1:10 min.
  • Sewing Zippers to Bimini Tail – 5:43 min.
  • Making a Protective Zipper Cover for Dodger – 12:58 min.
  • Sewing Zipper & Cover on Dodger – 22:45 min.
  • Patterning Bimini’s Forward Edge – 37:15 min.
  • Measuring for Extension – 39:57 min.
  • Adding Additional Width to Fabric (if required) – 42:49 min.
  • Patterning Extension Fabric – 49:27 min.
  • Adding Facing on Sides – 55:18 min.
  • Sewing Binding on Sides – 1:05:39 min.
  • Sewing Zippers on Extension – 1:10:24 min.
  • Installing Extension 1:18:24 min.
  • Materials List – 1:20:17 min.

Materials List:

  • Dura-Skrim® Patterning Material 74" - Item #122463
  • YKK® Finished Zipper #10 Single Pull (VISLON®) (2 each) - Item #104887
  • Seamstick 3/8" Basting Tape for Canvas (1 each) - Item #129
  • Sunbrella® Marine Grade 60” or 46“ Fabric - We used Jockey Red (5 yards) - Item #6003-0000
  • Sunbrella® Acrylic Bias Binding Tape 1” (30 feet) - Item #331
  • YKK® Finished Zipper #10 Double Pull (VISLON®) (1 each) - Item #104934
  • Shelter-Rite® 61" Fabric (3 yards) - Item #112011
  • Thread Tex 90 Polyester or Sailrite® PTFE Lifetime Thread

Tools List:

  • Spring Clamp - Item #50211
  • Chalk Pencil Cartridge Set - Item #121669
  • Gingher® Scissors Lightweight 8" - Item #101017
  • Tape Measure 120 Inch - Item #102986
  • Sailrite® Ultrafeed® LSZ Walking Foot Sewing Machine - Item #300600
  • Ultrafeed® Industrial Sewing Table - item #120934
  • Sailrite® Edge Hotknife Package - Item #103800
  • Sailrite® Canvas Patterning Ruler - Item #107040
  • Sailrite® 1" Swing Away Binder - Item #100103
  • Sailrite® Battery Operated Thread Burner - Item #122432
  • Deluxe 5 1/2" Magnetic Sewing Guide - Item #103597
  • Scribe-All® Marking Pencil for Vinyl Black - Item #120682
  • Marker, Pencil, Tape Measures, Straightedge