How to Make a 4-Bow Bimini Top

Item # X-HT-300198

If you find you need protection from the sun, rain and spray while boating, a bimini is a great choice for your vessel. A bimini top made with Sunbrella® Marine Grade Fabric is durable enough to combat these elements and serve as a lasting addition to your boat. In this video tutorial we will show you patterning on the frame, sewing, installing a backstay slit, sewing zippered pockets and more. By the end of this project, you will have a custom, high-performance bimini top!

Our 4-bow bimini top.

Before you can get started on the bimini top, you’ll need a bimini frame to pattern on. If you need a new bimini frame, Sailrite carries 2-, 3- and 4- bow frame kits in both stainless steel and aluminum. If you have a new Bimini Frame Kit and want to learn how to assemble it, be sure to first watch the “How to Build a 4-Bow Bimini Frame” video (300197XHT). It’s crucial to understand what size of bimini frame you’re working with because the number of bows in the frame must match the number of bows in the Bimini Skin Kit. This bimini kit will fit on a frame with a maximum width of 106 inches and a maximum fore and aft spread of 126 inches.

If you find that our Bimini Skin Kits are missing something essential to your unique project, just let us know and we would be happy to customize a kit for you! Our Bimini Skin Kits are great for replacing the fabric top on an existing bimini frame or it can be paired with one of Sailrite’s Bimini Frame Kits to build a new bimini from start to finish. Choose from Standard Color or Premium Color Skin Kits to ensure that you will have a professional-looking bimini durable enough to last season after season.

A Bimini Frame Kit and Bimini Skin Kit together from Sailrite gives you the great opportunity to customize everything from the material of the frame to the color of the canvas. Our frame kits come with all the hardware and supplies needed to assemble and install the bimini frame, while a paired skin kit includes the fabric and supplies needed to sew the bimini top.

Go ahead and get sewing, we’d love to see the finished product when you’re done!

Video Chapters:

  • Prepping for Patterning – 1:40 min.
  • Patterning Bimini Top – 9:35 min.
  • Adding Seam Allowance to Pattern - 16:33 min.
  • Transferring Pattern to Fabric & Cutting – 18:23 min.
  • Patterning Aft & Forward Pockets – 21:46 min.
  • Making the Hang Down Tails & Facing – 31:07 min.
  • Making Intermediate Pockets – 33:30 min.
  • Binding Sleeve Pockets – 36:35 min.
  • Sewing Zipper to Intermediate Pockets – 40:28 min.
  • Joining the Panels – 43:03 min.
  • Prepping for Backstay Slit (optional) – 1:03:02 min.
  • Prepping Tails– 1:06:27 min.
  • Sewing Forward Tail & Pocket – 1:08:26 min.
  • Sewing Aft & Tail Pockets – 1:14:43 min.
  • Sewing Facing on Sides – 1:26:17 min.
  • Sewing Aft & Forward Pocket Zippers to Top – 1:31:06 min.
  • Sewing Intermediate Zippers to Top– 1:43:28 min.
  • Installing Backstay Slit (optional) – 1:47:20 min.
  • Trimming Tails – 2:05:50 min.
  • Binding Bimini Perimeter – 2:06:30 min.
  • Installing Strap Eyes – 2:10:47 min.
  • Installing Bimini Top on Bows – 2:15:00 min.
  • Materials List – 2:17:15 min.

Materials List:

  • Sunbrella® Webbing 1’’ Natural- Item #144404*
  • YKK® Double Side Release Buckle Black 1”- Item #102485*
  • Filament Strapping Tape 3/4”- Item #5643*
  • Seamstick 3/8” Basting Tape for Canvas- Item #129*
  • Dura Skrim Patterning Material- Item #103134*
  • Sunbrella® Marine Grade 60” Fabric- we used Navy- Item #6026-000*
  • Leech Line Dacron 1/16” White- Item #21206
  • Sunbrella Acrylic Binding 1”- we used Navy- Item #327100*
  • Thread V-92 Polyester* or Sailrite® PTFE Lifetime Thread (an upgrade)
  • YKK® Finished Zipper #10 White Single Pull (Vislon)- Item #104887*
  • Rivet Stainless Steel 5/32" (for Marine Fittings)- Item #121165**
  • Strap Eye Stainless Steel- Item #28221**
  • Fast Eye Snap Hook Stainless Steel 1”- Item #100532*
  • YKK® Loop Loc Plastic Black 1’’- Item #104426*
  • Webbing Slider Stainless Steel 1’’- Item #28207*
  • YKK® Zipper #10 Stainless Steel Top Stop (Vision)- Item #100207*

*Included in Bimini Skin Kits

** Included in Bimini Frame Kits

Tools List:

  • Gingher® Scissors Right Handed- Item #19104
  • Spring Clamp- Item #50211
  • Soapstone Fabric Marking Pencil White- Item #102766
  • Sailrite® Edge Hotknife Package (110V)- Item #103800
  • Tape Measure 120 inch- Item #102986
  • Sailrite® Canvas Patterning Ruler- Item #107040
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6’’ x 24’’- Item #102400
  • Sailrite® 1’’ Swing-Away Straight Binder- Item #100103
  • Sailrite® Fabricator® Sewing Machine, Table & Workhorse™ Servo Motor- Item #400500
  • Multi Use Pins 1 1/2" - Item #102985
  • Grease Marking Pencil Yellow - Item #111002
  • Drill Steady Tubing Tool- Item #100967
  • Seam Ripper Deluxe - Item #18104
  • Professional Heavy Duty Rivet Tool- Item #103520
  • Deluxe 5 1/2’’ Magnetic Sewing Guide- Item #103597
  • Tape Measure, Marker, Straight Edge, Curved Flexible Ruler, Dill Bit 1/8", Drill Bit #20

Materials for Each Backstay Slit:

  • YKK® Finished Zipper #10 Single Pull (Vislon, Locking) - Item # 104887 or 104830 (desired length, per slit)
  • YKK® Zipper Slider #10 Vislon Single Pull (Locking) - Item # 28216 or 100033 (one per slit)
  • Vinyl Fabric Strip 3" Wide - we used Shelter Rite Tape - Item #104223 (desired length plus 6" per slit) Naugahyde Vinyl can also be used.
  • For Each Additional Backstay Slit Add (for pocket / sleeve): YKK® Finished Zipper #10 Single Pull (Vislon, Locking) - Item # 104887 or 104830