Sunday, October 13, 2013

Portal Shades for the Berths

On previous trips, we've spent some time pondering how to keep the cabins as cool as possible. The hatches all have built in screens and shades that are connected.  During the heat of the day, it is possible to adjust it so that it is part shade and part screen. Keeping out some of the sun makes it cooler.

But, the side portals didn't have any shades. Newer boats have built it adjustable shades. LUX was not so lucky. During the heat of the day, traveling at just the right angle allows the sun to come in the side portal and nicely heat up the cabin. Too bad we don't travel in really cold weather, right?

Okay- a little truth in writing here-- last year, we left for the Bahamas at the end of October. Until we reached Florida, it was COLD! And the extra heat from the sun was appreciated. But, on most of our trips, a little more cooling in the cabins would be appreciated.

So, we thought about simple fixes that anyone could easily do. Our answer- blackout shades. But, not just any shades. These had to be easy to take on and take off. They had to be machine washable. They had to be easy to store. Here's our solution:
Yes, it does appear to be just a fabric oval. But, it is attached to the portal! And, it has room darkening qualities as well as insulating qualities.

We started with an oval pattern cut to the measurements of the outside of the portal plus the basic 5/8 inch extra for the seam allowance. Using the pattern, we cut one oval of blue cotton fabric, one of flannel, and one of Roc-Lon, a fabric made for lining curtains to give them the room darkening feature. As you can see, we have embroidery sewing machines. So, we put it to work embroidering our logo on the blue fabric. We then backed it with the flannel (spray fabric adhesive came in handy here) and we quilted the two pieces together. Because it already had some adhesive, we just quilted waves underneath LUX!

Then, we put the quilted piece and the Roc-Lon right sides together, and we sewed them leaving an opening to turn the piece right side out. Finally, we stitched around the entire edge to not only close up our opening, but to give a finished look to the whole piece.

Now, it was on to installation. In case you didn't know this about us, we hate putting holes in the boat. Each time a project requires holes, we have long discussions about the actual necessity of the project. So, we didn't want holes for the portal shades. Our answer- sticky back Velcro.

The first step was to figure out where to put the Velcro on the boat. We only needed small pieces to hold up the top, so we installed those pieces between the hinges.

But, the other side of the project was making sure it was easy to install. So, we sewed Velcro all across the top of our shade on the reverse side where the fabric is Roc-Lon.

No matter where you try to attach the shade, you'll have the appropriate amount of hook Velcro. You don't waste time trying to match up little squares of Velcro.

For the sides, we used more Velcro- again the loop portion.

In all cases we used the loop side of the Velcro on the boat. That way, you couldn't accidentally scratch yourself when the shades are not on the portals.

On the back of the shade, there are corresponding pieces of the hook portion of the Velcro on the sides.

The aft cabins also have a smaller portal. Those needed shades as well. For the port cabin, I used an old piece of quilt.

In all cases, the new shades work well. Because they are lined with felt, they give us a little bit of thermal insulation. The Roc-Lon does double duty. It does work as a room darkening shade. And, because we used a cream color, it helps to reflect the sunlight.

The shades really work. And, they are easy to store. Since they are fabric, you can pull them off and roll them up for storage.

Finally, the best thing about this project was that it was done on a shoestring budget. The blue fabric and the flannel fabric were both left over from earlier projects, as was the quilted piece. The Roc-Lon came from the remnant rack at 50% off. You don't need special fabric. You probably have something at home already. For example, we had actually thought about starting with an old thermal backed drape. But, you could also use an old pillow cover. Or how about that fleece blanket you hate? We love finding fun things to use  with our LUX projects!

No comments: