You Can Make an Easy Hatch Cover

Hatch covers add a nice protective layer to your expensive overhead hatches.  They keep out sun or star light and might even help a bit deterring a little leak.  Lexan polycarbonate windows are expensive and can be damaged if not cared for.  A cover is a good way to help preserve these windows.  Unfortunately,  we seem to lose one or two covers a season to a bad storm or rotting shock cord.  You can make an easy hatch cover in just a few hours.


Hatch Cover

I remade an old hatch cover previously and wrote about how I did it and resources I used here.  This blog is about making a hatch cover from scratch.  I’ve included the sizes I used  for our hatches.  You can adapt your hatch cover easily based on these sizes and proportions.  Check the width, length, hinge sizes, and side depth.  You can do a mock-up or paper pattern to test the size needed before you cut your canvas fabric.  I keep one or two pre-cut knowing that I’ll have to make another one soon!

How to Make a Hatch Cover


 ¾ – 1 yard Sunbrella or canvas

UV resistant thread (V92)

Shock cord (1/4″) and crimps


Preparation for 18×13″ hatch cover:

     1.   Cut main piece 20 x 14″ rounding the corners using a cup to create the curve if you   wish.  This measurement allows for 1/2” seams and the length needed to accommodate the hinges.  Adjust as needed.

     2.  Cut two side pieces 4 1/2 x 14″.  Sides will be 3” wide when finished.

     3.  Cut two side pieces 4 1/2 x 20″.



  1. Hot knife all edges.
  2. Finish each short end 1/2″ on the side pieces.

  3. Mark and stitch a 1” hem on one long end of a long side piece with a long length of shock cord (enough to go all the way around plus several inches) inside the hem.  At the end of a long side piece start the hem of a short piece around the shock cord.  Repeat alternating with the other long then short pieces.  You’ll have the long shock cord with the four side pieces around it.  This alleviates having to push the shock cord through the hem afterwards.

    Making the side hem with shock cord installed
    Making the side hem with shock cord installed
  4. Mark middles of each side on the main and side pieces with washable pencil or pins so you can align the sides to the main cover piece.

  5. Staple, clip or pin the four sides on the main piece at middle and quarters.

  6. Stitch a ½” side seam rounding the corners attaching the sides to the main piece.

  7. Optional – Double stitch or top stitch or the seam. Be aware that top stitching will wear out by the sun’s UV rays.

  8. Try on the hatch cover.  Tighten the shock cord and mark where to cut it.  Crimp shock cord by adding hog rings with pliers on the shock cord overlapping the ends by about 1″.

Stitching the seam around a corner


20 ½ x 20 ½” Hatch

Cut 1 main  22 ½ x 21 ½ “

Cut 2 sides 4 ½ x 21 ½”

Cut 2 sides 4 ½ x 22 ½”

10 x 10″ Hatch

Cut 1 main 13 x 11″

Cut 2 sides 4 1/2 x 13″

Cut 2 sides 4 1/2 x 11″

12 x 6 1/2″ Hatch

Cut 1 main 14 x 7 1/2″

Cut 2 sides 4 1/2 x 14″

Cut 2 sides 4 1/2 x 7 1/2″



— Troubadour – Linda has a very good set of instructional pictures.

Hatch covers
Hatch covers

— Sailrite – has a video

— Julie Gifford’s book has several options for a more tailored hatch cover

— Lisa Carr’s book has good details

Do you have other tips for making hatch covers?

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