Working With Sunbrella® Marine Grade & Awning Fabric
If you are new to sewing with Sunbrella® Marine Grade canvas, this video will be a great help. This is an introduction to the fabric and how to handle it. There are a million different ways you can use Sunbrella, but the basics are always the same. In this introductory video, we're going to discuss some basic fundamentals of working with Sunbrella, including marking and cutting the fabric, what stitch length you should use for sewing seams, and which seams work best with Sunbrella. Let's shed some light on this legendary fabric of the marine industry.
First, let's discuss how to cut Sunbrella fabric. There are a number of cutting tools and options available to you. You can use regular scissors or shears to cut Sunbrella; however, the fabric will unravel. Only cut Sunbrella with scissors in your are sewing a double hem. Then the cut edge will be completely hidden from view and won't be at risk of further unraveling. For edges that will be seen, you need to cut Sunbrella with a hotknife. A hotknife seals the fabric as it's cut and is the only way to guarantee the edges won't fray.
Now that we know how to properly cut Sunbrella, let's discuss various marking and patterning techniques. To mark your hem lines and cut lines, use a soapstone pencil. Soapstone pencils mark the fabric very well, leaving a very visible line of your fabric. Soapstone is also very easy to remove with just a wet rag, or the markings will fade eventually from the weather. We don't recommend using a grease pencil because it's very difficult to remove grease from the fabric. Basting tape is essential for keeping your hems folded and in place for sewing. We have a neat trick for keeping the hem folded by scoring the fabric, and we'll show you how to do that in the video.
Once you have your fabric patterned and cut and you're ready to sew, what stitch length should you use? We recommend using the longest stitch length your machine allows. With the Sailrite® Ultrafeed®, that's 6mm. Our Fabricator® Sewing Machine has a stitch length of up to 8mm. The reason we recommend a long stitch length is to help prevent a sewing issue called needle puckering. Every time the needle enters the fabric, it has a tendency to pull the material and make it tighter along the stitch line. So the longer the stitch length, the fewer needle penetrations, thus reducing the amount of needle pucker along your seam. This is especially important when you're sewing very long runs of fabric.
In addition to the topics listed above, we also cover topics like using binding and facing tape, and what kind of thread to sew Sunbrella with. Finally, we discuss maintenance and whether or not you need to wash your fabric assembly before installing it. Enjoy the video below to learn all about Sunbrella and how to sew with it.