• Simplifying complex upholstery designs

    Published On: May 1, 2024Categories: Interiors & Upholstery, Projects

    This 32-foot Fountain project completed in 2010 remains one of the author's favorite designs to date. How does a company go from simple box cushions to complex designs? It is not as hard as you might think. Our shop, Paul’s Custom Canvas Inc., was opened in 1979 by my father, Paul Charpentier. Like most fabricators, [...]

  • How to eliminate vertical darts

    Published On: March 1, 2024Categories: Interiors & Upholstery, Projects

    It’s possible to create canvas covers that appear almost seamless. Fitting with one piece of fabric and without vertical darts achieves an elegant look and saves time. Every canvas maker has a “thing” that bugs them. For me, it’s vertical darts. Whether they are on a cockpit cover along the curved windshield or around the [...]

  • Advanced sewing tips and techniques

    Published On: January 1, 2024Categories: Interiors & Upholstery, Projects

    Small, unflashy and even invisible techniques can create “aha” moments that help you achieve your desired results, such as how to find the corners on a cushion. Sewing has always been a part of my life. It’s second nature to me, much like playing music or singing is for others. And as with playing music [...]

  • Boat interior upholstery techniques

    Published On: August 31, 2023Categories: Interiors & Upholstery, Projects

    You’ve undoubtedly heard someone say, “Just let the next guys worry about it,” which usually means the product they’re sending out will be nearly impossible for the “next guys” to work on or repair. Boatman Marine Canvas works on all sorts of lake boats that are 38 feet and smaller. Time after time we find [...]

  • Growing your small shop

    Published On: July 1, 2023Categories: Interiors & Upholstery, Projects

    Once the shop acquired enough tools for each sewing station to have a complete set, a color-coding system was implemented to keep track. Every shop is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all solution for growing your business. Yet you can facilitate positive change at any stage by following some basic principles and taking some simple [...]

  • Choosing the right fabrics

    Published On: May 1, 2023Categories: Interiors & Upholstery, Projects

    Selecting breathable, woven, acrylic fabrics helps keep the boat dry and allows for ventilation. This is especially useful with a dark-colored fabric. There are many suppliers of fabrics in the marine industry. Upon researching just one of our suppliers, I discovered more than 4,000 fabrics, spanning 11 application categories, and each fabric was uniquely created [...]

  • The wonderful (confusing) world of foam

    Published On: March 1, 2023Categories: Interiors & Upholstery, Projects

    The couch, chairs and window cornices of this 2005 Lazzara 80’ were reupholstered by former Northcoast Marine Specialties students Adam and Gail Gabriel of Land and Sea Upholstery in Willoughby, Ohio. The marine industry needs foam, and a lot of it, as do a hundred other industries that provide comfort and support. From exercise equipment [...]

  • Tricky client design challenges

    Published On: January 1, 2023Categories: Interiors & Upholstery, Projects

    Photo 1. A photo of the original boat interior of a 70-foot Hatteras. The clients initially wanted to replicate the color and pattern of these Wayfair pillows in the main salon; something that proved especially challenging. For most fabricators, long-term success doesn’t come from the easy jobs, but from the challenging projects. Using two case [...]

  • Tools and tips for better cushions

    Published On: September 1, 2022Categories: Interiors & Upholstery, Projects

    At Custom Marine Canvas, we are always looking for ways to improve our work. After 38 years, we’re still finding new ways to do things. In this article, we share some of our favorite tools and tips for improving your cushions. Photo 1. This clever jig clamps to the table edge to help get zipper [...]

  • Adjusting to a bigger shop

    Published On: July 1, 2022Categories: Interiors & Upholstery, Projects

    Space was no longer a constraint in the new 7,500-square-foot building, but the larger shop presented other challenges. Now spread out across three floors, with the primary sewing area located on the third floor, employee communication challenges were immediately evident. In 2019, I moved Chicago Marine Canvas into a new 2,500-square-foot space, and by the [...]