How to Reinforce a Hole in Sunbrella®
Reinforcing a hole in Sunbrella® fabric is a useful trick when crafting a number of DIY projects. This is a common practice when reinforcing marine projects, such as dinghy chaps, but could be necessary in residential applications such as awnings. If you have a piece of hardware or rope that needs to pass through Sunbrella fabric, or you need a small access hole, chances are you’ll want to create a quality seal that will last for years to come. Installing binding on an inside curve can be difficult, so instead we’ll be sandwiching our Sunbrella fabric between two pieces of Shelter-Rite® vinyl for a securely reinforced hole. This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to properly accomplish this.
Shelter-Rite is our preferred material for reinforcing Sunbrella as it’s tough as nails, and does not unravel or add bulk. This fabric is an incredibly durable, waterproof vinyl-coated polyester fabric with a matte finish on one side. It is specifically designed for high performance and flexibility on applications where high tear strength, high tensile strength, high adhesion and exceptional weather resistance are the main necessities. Shelter-Rite is perfect for chafe protection — protecting and reinforcing worn or stressed areas, much like our example. The hole we chose to reinforce is on a dinghy chap, so the protective qualities of Shelter-Rite come in handy in this situation.
Step One: Start with two squares of Shelter-Rite material that are 2 inches larger (both length and width) than the hole you would like to reinforce. We will be using the Clear Acrylic Ruler 6” x 24” (#102400) and the Grease Marking Pencil Yellow (#111002) to accomplish this. Shelter-Rite has a dull (matte) side and a shiny side, and you can use either side, but we chose to have the dull side facing us.
Step Two: Using your ruler and pencil, you will need to place one piece of Shelter-Rite under the hole in the Sunbrella and trace around the edges so that the dimensions of your hole are copied onto the piece of vinyl. Repeat this for your second piece of Shelter-Rite. Now you can cut out the traced shape from both pieces of Shelter-Rite.
Step Three: Depending on how large you’d like your reinforced piece to be, measure outside the hole of the Shelter-Rite on all sides and mark it with a pencil before cutting. For our project, we chose to measure 1-1/2 inches on all sides before cutting out our completed Shelter-Rite piece. For perfect circles, the Sailrite® Canvas Patterning Ruler (#107040) works perfectly! Do this for both of your Shelter-Rite pieces.
Step Four: Baste a patch on each side of the material, matching up the holes in the Shelter-Rite with the hole in your Sunbrella. We utilized Seamstick 3/8" Basting Tape for Canvas (#129).
Step Five: Sew about 1/8” inside the outer perimeter of the patch and about 1/8” from the inner perimeter of the hole. You can utilize Sailrite® Lifetime Thread (#107128) (formerly Profilen®) or Thread Natural V‑92 Polyester UV (#106386) for this part of the process. Now, your reinforced hole should be complete!