Boat & Sewing

“Boating & Sewing” may seem like an unusual title, but for me it is something I do. We are currently heading out for a couple of weeks of summer boating, so I thought this might be an appropriate time to chat a little bit about sewing on a boat.

Last summer we spent four months boating in SE Alaska. Our boat is a perfect size boat for two people, but small when it comes to living on it for four months and doing extended cruising. But then, there are those that go around the world in boats smaller than ours. Our boat is a 34′ Wilbur, a lobster hull from Maine. I love our boat, but the size certainly limits what type of projects I can bring on board. I primarily work on hand quilting projects. For our short boating trip this summer, I’ve brought an english paper piecing project with me.

Our first stop on this trip is in Dana Point, which is where we are now. Tomorrow we’ll arrive in Long Beach, where I’ll get to go to the International Quilt Show for a couple of days. Afterwards, we’ll spend a time on our boat in Catalina, where we’ll do some scuba diving and I’ll find time quilting and reading. During this time I’ll only post every couple of days, as my access to the internet will be limited.

Back to life on a boat…..

In our little boat we sleep in a bed that called a “V-berth”. The head of the bed is slightly larger than a king size bed and the foot of the bed is about the size of a twin. As you can probably imagine, regular sheets and blankets don’t work really that well on this shape of a bed. There are companies that specialize in making customized linens, but I prefer to create something on my own. My challenge is I’ve only heard about customized linens and have never seen them, nor seen a pattern. While I’ve tried several things, over the years, what I created last year seems to work quite well.

I took a king size mattress pad and cut the corners off of one side and sewed them to the other end to match the size of our mattress. Then, I sewed two flat sheets together at the foot. On the bottom side of one of the sheets I sewed fabric to create a pocket for the foot of the mattress pad and each of the corners at the head of the mattress pad. I now can quickly tuck the mattress pad into these pockets to hold the sheets down. You see, a V-berth bed isn’t designed to make it easy to tuck in regular sheets and have them stay there. I can also now roll up my mattress pad and sheets quickly, if we need to get into the storage locker under the V-berth bed.

Just before we headed out on our cruising last summer I decided to make a quilt for our bed. I used the split 9 patch design and used scraps from my stash. I didn’t have enough time to have a long arm quilter quilt it for me, so I did some wide meandering to quilt it. It isn’t a beautiful quilt, but it really kept us warm while we cruised in SE Alaska last summer.

I’d like to make another quilt for the boat, but I’ll definitely take more time planning it and trying to focus less on functionality and more on creativity. Still, we do enjoy having this quilt on board with us.


2 thoughts on “Boat & Sewing”

  1. Sounds like an amazing trip! I hope you enjoy yourselves.Isn’t it great to be able to sew, and make something work out to the dimensions you want?! I don’t imagine it would be easy to find linens for a bed like that!


  2. I just came across your blog while I was searching for information for making a quilt for a V-berth. I have never quilted before and I want to collect materials this summer to sew over the next winter. Do you have any advice for me? I was thinking about taking an old sheet and cutting it to size of the V-berth. That way I would have a pattern for the final product since we will not be by the boat in the winter. Any suggestions would be helpful.Greetings from north of the Arctic Circle.Barbra Donachy


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