How to Make Lee Cloths

Item # X-HT-200654

A lee cloth is a great piece of equipment to keep on board your boat. During long passages or rough seas it’s often best to sleep in the center of your boat in the main cabin (or saloon). However, with the heeling of a monohull, you want to make sure that you’re snug and secure in your berth, even when you end up on the high side. This is where a lee cloth becomes your best friend. A lee cloth is a piece of fabric that acts like a safety net to keep a sailor in his or her bunk. We’re going to take a closer look at lee cloth designs and show you how to make one.

Lee cloth on our Islander 37 sailboat.

Making a lee cloth is a simple sewing project, but it does require some critical thinking when it comes to attaching it to your boat. This is going to be slightly different for everyone depending on the setup of your boat and which berth your lee cloth is for. In the video, you will see that we created a webbing strap for each upper corner of our lee cloth and attached it to the woodwork in our Islander 37 sailboat. Another common attachment method is to use line to secure the lee cloth to strap eyes or handrails above the berth.

For the fabric choice on this lee cloth, we chose to use a Phifertex® Mesh fabric to allow for airflow. In a tight bunk, it can be nice to use a fabric that breathes well for more comfortable sleeping, but really you can use any strong fabric like Cotton Duck, soft trampoline mesh, Sunbrella or polyester bag mesh.

Storage pocket on lee cloth.

As an optional addition to your lee cloth you could add storage pockets to the outside to hold small electronics, glasses or other small necessities. We’ll outline a couple different pocket methods for you in the video.

In this video you will learn how to pattern, make pockets, add binding, make straps and install your lee cloth.

Video Chapters:

  • Patterning – 0:37 min.
  • Making Pockets – 1:50 min.
  • Finishing Lee Cloth – 4:51 min.
  • Making Straps – 7:50 min.
  • Installing – 10:34 min.
  • Materials List – 12:12 min.

Materials List:

  • Fabric (we used Phifertex® Vinyl Mesh Sand #416)
  • V-92 Polyester Thread
  • Sunbrella® 2" Facing (we used Linen #102471)
  • #2 spur grommets #26316
  • 1" polypropylene webbing
  • 1" Stainless Steel Fast Eye Snap Hook #100532
  • 1" Side Release Buckle #3711
  • Stainless Steel Strap Eye #28221
  • Polyurethane Foam with Fabric Backing 1/2" #105431 (optional for padded pocket)
  • Sunbrella® Acrylic 1" Bias Binding (optional for pocket trim)

Have you made a lee cloth before? Do you have any tips on attachment methods or design? Share them in our comments!