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What Tools Do I Need to Sew Canvas for Boating Projects

What Tools Do I Need to Sew Canvas for Boating Projects

What Tools Do I Need to Sew Canvas for Boating Projects

Before you start diving into do-it-yourself canvas sewing work on your boat- you need to make sure you have all the right tools for the job. You are going to need a heavy duty sewing machine, some thick needles, some thread, a good pair of scissors, and material. 

You don’t need to be alarmed and go buy a $1,200 dollar sewing machine. A simple walking foot sewing machine with a built in motor will do.

We recommend our TuffSew Straight Stitch 9” heavy duty walking foot sewing machine for all of your sewing projects. There are two different size TuffSew Straight Stitch machines. One has a 7” gate the other has a 9” gate. The gate is essentially the amount of horizontal working space from the left edge of the sewing machine to middle base of the machine. 

We strongly encourage you to use a machine with a longer 9” base-it will certainly make things easier on your when sewing canvas. To learn more about this sewing machine, please click on the video below:
Let’s get to material. You have primarily 2 choices at this point. You can go with the standard in the industry “Sunbrella” which is acrylic – or natural canvas. We do recommend using Sunbrella however the price is 2-3 times higher than natural canvas.

Next on to the recommended thread! If you are new to sewing it’s important to use the same color thread as your material. You certainly don’t want to show off your errors. Light colored thread on top of dark material does look fancy- if you are up for the challenge. 

The type of thread you want to use is polyester based 69 or 92 weight. A simple google search will place in on websites where you can order all different colored threads for your particular project.

Needles and the correct sewing machine are next and the most important topic on this article. The following hypothetical situation happens daily… So you are excited….let’s say you bought your Sunbrella material, bought a great pair of new scissors, and bought your brand new 69 colored thread. 

You wake up early one Saturday and take out your regular household sewing machine and needles. You start to sew…but the needle not only won’t penetrate ¼” thickness of material, and the needle starts bending and then they keeps breaking. DON’T PANIC! It’s not you.

You just need to realize you are not using the correct sewing machine and needle. You need to use a 135×17 needle size 22. These needles are like nails and will penetrate up to 3/8” thickness of canvas. 

You also need a walking foot industrial style sewing machine to hook these needles into. Once you have the right sewing machine and needles….your sewing project will come alive.

It’s important to find a heavy duty walking foot sewing machine for sewing canvas. Click to learn the other benefits to using the TuffSew Walking Foot Portable Industrial Sewing Machine.

As always, if you have any further questions- please don’t hesitate to email me at I get back to all emails within 24 hours.
-The TuffSew Team-

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