How to Install a No-Leak Curved Zipper in a Vinyl Window

Item # X-HT-300531

Your boat's enclosure can get hot and stuffy. Installing a roll-up window in your clear vinyl material is a great way to bring cooling airflow and much-needed air circulation into your enclosure. Not only will we show you how to install a roll-up window in your boat vinyl, but our design also solves a big complaint that we hear from customers. We get a lot of questions asking how to solve the issue of curved zippers leaking water into their enclosures. Our design solves this issue in a clever way and produces a sleek, professional-looking roll-up window. Let's dive in!

Learn how to install a waterproof roll-up window in a marine enclosure.

Sewing a curved zipper into a clear vinyl window in a marine enclosure is not a difficult project, but how do you waterproof the zipper? Well, we had no immediate answer for this common question. So we went to the drawing board! After six prototypes, our DIY video team figured out a great solution for leaky marine curved zippers. In fact, we’re so proud of our design that we named it — The Fully Dressed Curved Zipper in a Vinyl Window.

The trick to a water-resistant curved zipper (commonly known in the marine world as a smiley window), is adding a protective double-layer of a water-resistant marine canvas over the zipper plaque. In our video, we used Sunbrella® Marine Grade. This curved flap is sewn to the outside of the window and keeps water from reaching your zipper. The curved fabric barrier also lies flat for a beautiful, pleasing look. That’s why we call our design “Fully Dressed.”

When sewing window material, it's very important to check your tension since the needle will leave permanent holes in your window. Before starting your project, we recommend checking your tension with some scrap window material and binding.

Watch the video below to learn how to install a curved zipper in your marine window that won’t leak!

Video Chapters:

  • Intro - 0:00 min.
  • Cutting & Marking Clear Vinyl Window Material - 1:28 min.
  • Basting & Sewing Inside Half of Zipper - 7:03 min.
  • Basting & Sewing Outside Half of Zipper - 13:18 min.
  • Applying Binding on Zipper Half - 19:34 min.
  • Basting, Binding & Patterning Zipper Flange - 25:14 min.
  • Assembling & Sewing Zipper Flange - 31:32 min.
  • Basting & Sewing Zipper Flange & Binding - 39:28 min.
  • Cutting Slit in Clear Vinyl Window - 45:33 min.
  • Adding Zipper Sliders - 47:35 min.
  • Discussion of Facings & Zippers - 50:10 min.
  • Tools & Materials List - 51:39 min.

Materials List:

  • Strataglass™ 30 Gauge Vinyl Window Material 54" x 110" Clear #791123
  • YKK® #10 Black Continuous Zipper Chain (Coil Chain) #102215
  • Seamstick 1/4" Basting Tape for Canvas & Upholstery (50 yds.) #104167
  • Thread V-92 Polyester or Lifetime PTFE Thread from Sailrite®
  • YKK® #10 Black Double Non-Locking Metal Zipper Pull (Coil Chain) #103071
  • Sunbrella® Acrylic Bias Binding Tape Black 3/4" #29138
  • Seamstick 3/8" Basting Tape for Canvas (50 yds.) #129
  • Dura-Skrim® Patterning Material 74" #103134
  • Sunbrella® Marine Grade 4608-0000 Black 46" Fabric #4608-0000

Tools List:

  • Scribe-All® Black Marking Pencil for Vinyl #121977
  • Professional Stainless Steel 10" Scissors #123615
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" #102400
  • 3M™ Specialty Adhesive Remover 32 oz. (Quart) #108984
  • Protect-It™ Gray 63" Fabric #122679
  • Sailrite® Ultrafeed® LSZ-1 PREMIUM Sewing Machine With WorkerB® Power Pack (110V) #311603
  • Sailrite® Ultrafeed® Industrial Sewing Table #120934
  • Scribe-All® Water Soluble White Marking Pencil #120681
  • Deluxe 5-1/2" Magnetic Sewing Guide #103597
  • Seam Ripper Deluxe #18104
  • T-Square, Marker, Tape Measure, Iron

Thanks for watching! We hope this video taught you some new tricks for sewing a curved zipper in a marine window enclosure. What did you think of this DIY? Share your thoughts in the comments below!