A Junior Seamless Sailor Sews a BBQ Cover

During a recent wind storm, the Captain woke to say he left the canvas barbeque cover out on the aft deck after barbequing our favorite rosemary pork loin. Cover presumed gone. Oops.  New BBQ cover needed.  He suggested that it sounded like an opportunity for him to learn how to sew.  Since we were laid up for a day or so at anchor till the blustery 25 knot winds passed, it seemed like as good a time as any to have a teachable moment.  Fortunately we stock a few yards of Sunbrella on board and at the ready.

wpid-20141101_132602.jpgThe Captain came up with the measurements and plan. A round base with sides and a casing at the top.  Nothing fancy. The design was presented at Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and Critical Design Review (CDR) level reviews* and ultimately approved by the Seamless Sailor. He chalked out a pattern on the fabric, used the hot knife to cut out and finish the edges.  A lesson on setting up and threading the Sailrite and how to sew a seam followed. (Note to Junior Seamless Sailors: calling a “seam” a “hem” is the same as calling a “jib sheet” a “rope”.)  He did very well, but considering we were working off the generator for the machine power and we didn’t want to run it all day, I took over finishing the project (Award Fee 90%). How did “his” project turn into “my” project?! Cover tested. Completed. Overall, a good start to the Captain’s sewing career earning a passing grade.  He admitted that he found it “fun.”

*Note: non-understandable terms meant for the Captain’s former Naval Shipmates.

The following day as he was putting away the charcoal BBQ in preparation for getting underway, I heard shuffling in the aft lazerette. Then the distinctive six rap signal (think: da, danna, da, da…da, da) on the deck indicating I was needed topside pronto.  I pop up the companionway to see him holding the old cover in his hand and a sheepish look on his face.  “Ahh, I did remember to put the BBQ cover away before the winds came…”







Cover for Magnum Rail-Mounted BBQ


– About one yard of Sunbrella or similar outdoor canvas fabric

– About 3-4 yards of thin line or cord

Time:  About 2-3 hours

Cost:  Less than $20


– Measure base, circumference and height.  Transfer the measurements to canvas.  For the round base, we used a piece of string half the length long and chalk pencil to create the circle.  Not unlike a winch cover, you can use Pi to calculate the circumference needed.

– For the side we took the height needed plus 1” for the seam and 2” for a top casing.  The width we divided in half so that we would had two seams.  You can make the sides come up as high as you want.  We left it a bit open.

– Since there is a nut at the bottom of the BBQ. we sewed some extra fabric to the base so there would be a thicker section in the middle so the screw wouldn’t cut through the base.

– Sew the side seams leaving 1.5” open at the top. We allowed for 1” seams. Sew the casing by turning under 2”.  Leave openings at the seams by turning under the edges of the seam left unsewn at an angle for a finished edge to the opening.  Sew the base to the sides right sides together by matching chalk points struck at quarters around the base and at the halfway point on the each side.  This seam you just need to finesse taking some tucks as you go.  You can use clips or staples to set it up before you sew. You can test fit at this point. (To be honest my base seam wasn’t that pretty, but it is functional.)  Clip the seam to allow it to lay nicely.

– Insert each of the drawstrings in the casings to use to gather the top casing.  Alternatively, you could insert the drawstrings before you sew the casing and carefully avoiding stitching them when you sew the casing. We’d tied knots in the ends, but you could also use one small line and add a barrel lock.

2 thoughts on “A Junior Seamless Sailor Sews a BBQ Cover

    1. Thanks, Cheryl. Only thing better would be if he added a splash of mud and said he retrieved it! But he didn’t have to walk the plank over this. -Annette

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