Sewing Books & Magazines

Boat Canvas and Sewing Books

Carr, Lisa. Practical Boat Canvas Work.  (1995) – Good tips and instructions.  Examples: pockets, homemade fenders, hatch covers, sea anchor, screens, lee cloths, bimini top and more

Casey, Don.  Canvaswork and Sail Repair. (1991)Anything by Don Casey…he has excellent details and practical tips.  He groups projects by type of construction.

Gifford, Julie. Canvas for Cruisers.  ( – Her website has some good info that’s free and her book is even better.  Tons of details and variations on ways to approach construction.  At 440+ pages, this book has become my “go-to” book.  She’s on S/V Free Radical.

Grant, Jim. The Complete Canvasworkers Guide – How to Outfit Your Boat with Fabric.  (2nd edition 1992) – Probably the bible for Seamless Sailors.  Detailed directions and drawings. Examples:  awnings, bags, biminis, bosun seats, sea anchors, harnesses, winch covers, and flags.  He was the founder of Sailrite.

Lipe, Karen. The Big Book of Boat Canvas: A Complete Guide to Fabric Work on Boats.  (1991) – This is suited for a beginning sewer.  Consider this one if you need the basics though.  She has some older books also.

Rosenow, Frank. Canvas and Rope Craft for the Practical Boat Owner.  (1987) – More traditional approaches to canvas aboard.  He offers descriptions  and nice hand drawings of several bags, odd size cover solutions, awnings, dodgers, splicing and knots, etc.  I always find a useful tip, but I think a beginner would find there isn’t enough detail.

Smith, Hervey Smith. The Marlinspike Sailor.  (1971, first published in 1956) – This is the book if you want the traditional skills.  It includes great details on knots, splicing and whipping line. Originally published in 1956 and has been reprinted several times.


Sewing for Boats Magazine Articles

Good Old Boat – A good selection of sewing for sailors articles. A few available online but many are for sale.  September/October 2012 issue has a practical way to pattern chaps using a plastic shower curtain.

Marine Fabricators Magazine ( – If its good enough for the pros…great how-to articles.

Sailrite Catalog – The catalog actually has a lot of useful information about care of fabrics, which thread to partner with which fabric and tips.


Great Nautical Book Store

Crawford’s Nautical Books of Tilgham Island ( – This place is special.  Crawford is a character and he has all kinds of nautical books.  I found the Rosenow and Smith books there in hard back.  The store is in an old bank on Tilgham Island in the Chesapeake Bay.  It is worth a visit to meet Crawford, see the collection of books and sailing items.

One thought on “Sewing Books & Magazines

Leave a Reply