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Help With Sail Sewing Please

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Here are a couple pictures of my sails. I've painted the emblem on the front already. My first question is, do I sew through the emblem (like the red lines on the left), or do sew just to the edge, and then stop and start again on the other side (like the red lines on the right)? If I sewed through them I would paint over the thread to blend it in.


Second, on the second picture you can see where I've folded over (and glued) the edge of the sail to prevent the thread from fraying. I'm going to fold it over once again and then sew over the folded edge. So basically from the dotted line to the edge of the sail will be half of what it is now. Is this too small a distance? Other sails I've seen it's much larger. There was a line near the edge of the sail and I just took it as the distance I should use. It's too late to change it now since this is my third attempt at the sails and I'm not buying another set.


Thirdly, when sewing the vertical lines do I stop when I hit the horizontal lines near the edge (red lines on the right... second picture), or do I continue to sew straight over the edge of the sail (red lines on the left)? Then I would fold over the remaining part of sew it shut horizontally. Hope this makes sense.





Edited by mkmossop
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I use thermal transfer method for applying decoration on the sails.

Sails should be sewn also within the decoration area.







I second comment and methode of Tadeusz


stitch size as small as possible, and cloth-widths should be acc. to scale requirements of the epoche concerned. Using textile glue for minimal wide folding the sail edges once or twice before sewing them over is OK.

If you desire best optic, sew on a bolt rope and perhaps some reinforcement patches in the sail fastening- and wear areas



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Thank you for the replies. I wish I had an iron on decoration but I don't. I had to paint them on, so hopefully it's ok to sew over. I will be adding some ropes around the edges for sure. Is there a specific stitch to use for fastening the ropes around the edges of the sails?

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In full size practice the Boltrope was sewn with a stitch that went through the canvas of the sail then up through the score of the rope. The next stitch went back into the sail material. Picture the needle coming up out of the rope from one of the crevices between one of the three rope strands. Now the needle goes back down to the sail canvas for the next stitch but it follows the line of the score. When heaved tight it buries itself down in that deep score.I make a big point of explaining where exactly the "thread" goes in order to make clear that YOU CANT SEE THE STITCHES that hold the boltrope to the sail. On a full sized sail you would have to get within inches of the sail to see just a tiny bit of each of the stitches, and even then these tiny visible bits can only be seen on one side of the sail. They would certainly be completely invisible on any ship model.

All this is a long way of me saying "don't sew the boltrope on, use glue".

But I may as well point out that NO sail twine is visible on any sail at a distance greater than a few yards or meters and representing them on a model using real actual stitches with real thread will always look out of scale regardless upon which part of the sail the stitches are made.

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mkmossop, nice job painting that emblem. I think that can be easier than iron on because after you do your sewing, you've already got the right colors matched to do your touchup. 


As JerryTodd points out sewing will be a little out of scale. But then, the printing is probably equally out of scale and I think the sewing stitches will look better. I personally like a tight stitch as it forms a solid line, like the seam of the cloth itself. Use a fine thread. When I have sewn, I'd sewn to the edge of the sail itself. I think I was initially sewing on past it, but then I had to take a needle and pull out the excess stitching back to the edge of the sail.


I agree that adding the reef band and reinforcements can look really nice. It's at that point that I personally glue the fabric and do not sew. The extra layer of fabric is enough to give definition to the feature. Same with the bolt rope. The glued bolt rope looks nice, but a sewn bolt rope tends to stand out a lot more than a glued one. With sails, I think it becomes something of a matter of personal taste and use of artistic license. 



Edited by catopower
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  • 2 weeks later...

So after trying a bunch on my own to sew the sails and not being happy with my work, I took them to a (supposed) professional, and this is what I got back. I'm not happy at all with what she did. I said specifically that I wanted the dotted brown lines to be covered perfectly with the thread, which she didn't do at all. Is this a decent job or are my standards too high?


When I did it myself I had a very tough time to cover the lines perfectly, so I know how hard it is, but I assumed a professional would be able to get it perfect. I think it looks sort of OK from a distance, but up close looks like crap.


If it's really so difficult to cover the dotted lines perfectly then maybe I just won't sew them. I may try to contact another seamstress first though.





Edited by mkmossop
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