So I have been tackling all sorts of boat projects on Spindrift. For those of you who have sailed with me on Spindrift you will know that I am not overly keen on the off-white cushion fabric inside the boat. It is still in great shape, but unfortunately it shows every little mark and stain. Captain Cracker Jack finds the cushions comfortable though, so that’s nice.

Here is Captain Cracker Jack modeling the off-white cushions…
The issue…

So, I started researching making new covers for the cushions. Yikes! Let’s just say my cheap Scottish side kicked in and there was no way I was going to invest the money and time needed for that job! I have fiberglassing, welding, and engine repairs to do! If you are interested in making your own cushions, however, Sailrite has some amazing videos and articles. There is also a great FaceBook group called Sewing On Boats.

The solution…

Then, my hubby suggested that I dye the fabric. Hmm. He could be on to something here. So I started researching fabric dyes. At this point I still had no idea what type of fabric the covers were made of. It was that typical 80s, scratchy fabric. Super durable, but not the most comfortable to sit or sleep on (hence the essential sheets and sleeping bags for overnighters…). Anyway, I brought the fabric to a few seamstresses and we could not figure it out. However, in the end I took a leap of faith and I settled for trying Rit Dye More in Midnight Navy.

Now the fabric needs to be in a giant pot of almost boiling water anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, stirring constantly. You measure the amount of dye based on the weight of dry fabric. Alright. Seems simple enough.

The outcome…

My first cushion was the small v-berth cushion. I used half a bottle and boiled the fabric for exactly 30 minutes. The colour was BEAUTIFUL! I was so pumped that I ordered 3 more bottles immediately and drove to Castlegar Fabricland to buy what they had left in stock. Smurfs are awesome!

Now the other cushions are larger and different shapes so I had to start guestimating as to the weights and times for how much dye to use, and how long to soak if for. I have now dyed 6 cushions with various hues of midnight blue…. Sigh.


Overall, I am quite happy with how they have turned out. It has only cost be about $150 to update all of my cushions so I think that’s a win so far. As for durability and fading, I will have to see how the summer progresses. However, if I get a couple of years out of these cushions I will be very happy. Cracker Jack has enjoyed testing and flattening them back out for me. The fabric shrinks slightly, but so far I have managed to cram the foam back in and stretch it back out. Hopefully they still fit well in the boat! I’ll put up finished photos when Spindrift is all back together! Happy crafting!

Captain Penny


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