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Old 12-28-2006, 08:08 AM   #1
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Step-by-step sewing an awning

Has anyone sewn their own trailer awning?

I'm looking for tips for sewing a vintage awning and window awnings. There are some great threads in this forum on the topic of purchasing a custom-made awning but I've seen nothing on how to sew your own. I'm interested in making a classic vintage awning with a scalloped valance supported by poles.

From the research I've done so far, it looks like the main awning and the front valance is one piece of fabric. I've seen one sewn with three seams:

1) Left side to attach left valance to the main awning
2) Right side to attach right valance to the main awning
3) Seam to sew the rail rope to the awning

It would be great if anyone had photos of the seam details, grommet placement, suggested awning length (not length against the trailer but length out from the trailer).

I'm also interested in any close-up photos or information about the sewing details on window awnings that slide onto the bottom of the open window and snap at the top.
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Old 12-28-2006, 08:32 AM   #2
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Hey Yuki,

Once you get your project underway if you need to use industrial sewing machinery I have it. Would be more than willing to help you put it all together.
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Old 12-28-2006, 11:32 AM   #3
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Yuki -

I'm sure you have read through my posts about our vintage awning we had made by TCT&A.

http://www.airforums.com/forum...gs-5397-3.html (Awning info)

http://www.airforums.com/forum...tml#post242370 (Window Awning info)

While I didn't make the whole main awning from scratch, I did gain some experience by making the matching window awnings myself and I can explain the main awning and can give you some info to help answer some of your questions here:

First off, the Sunbrella fabric is only 46" wide (direction of the stripes) although some solids come in 60” too, so depending on the width of your awning rail, you will most likely have at least one seam in the middle somewhere. On ours, these seams are heat welded, melted together with about an 1" overlap. If I were making my own awning, I would overlap about 1” and stitch both sides of the overlap with a zig-zag stitch. The thread they use is a heavy duty polyester upholstery thread, and I used the same. I did not use my industrial machine, I have one but it needed to be cleaned & serviced so I tried my regular one first and it did fine, it wasn't necessary IMO – but if you have access to one go for it. The scallop trim is a soft, nylon/acrylic edge binding that I zig-zag stitched to the scallops – I ordered it from TCT&A, but I have seen it elsewhere. The professional done non-scalloped edges were all heat cut so they are melted very cleanly, then turned under 1/4” then zig-zagged. Since I don't have a heat cutter, I surged the non-trimmed edges to keep from them from raveling, then turned them under 1/4” and zig-zagged.

The awning projects out from the trailer is 8' which seems about right. Keep in mind that for stability & tautness, the ropes/stakes/poles should be placed to form a 45-degree angle from the top of the pole to the ground. That means that if the poles are 6-7' tall, the stakes go out 6-7' from the edge of the awning – for a total of 15'. So, at some rallies like International where parking is tighter, this can be a bit of a problem. We've never had it be a real issue, but I've always left as much room as possible on that side to allow our neighbor to be able to pass without tripping on our ropes. Sometimes this isn't possible where parking is on a concrete pad as well. We've been know to tie ours to the picnic table or trees if stakes can't be placed...or do without, we don't camp in really hot places on concrete, if at all possible.

The valance is 8” tall and the spacing of the scallops are dependent on the stripe pattern's repeat. The grommets that the poles attach with are about 1” in diameter (the hole is only about 1/4” to 3/8”, just big enough for the poles to poke out) and they are right where the valance ends – about 8-1/2” from the scalloped edge. One thing I would do differently if/when I make my next awning is, on mine, the front edge's valance is a continuation of the top of the awning pieces. I would probably cut and attach the valance on the front edge just like the sides are, but matching the stripes. Yes it's an extra seam, but I think it would give it a crisper look at the front edge – no biggie, just my pickiness.

I also have additional detail pictures I will post from home either tonight or in the next day or so. And can take more if you need them.

Hope this helps...let me know if you need any specific questions answered, or if you want to chat about it PM me and we can set up a time to talk about it via phone ~

Shari
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Old 12-28-2006, 11:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut
I'm sure you have read through my posts about our vintage awning we had made by TCT&A.
Yes, I have seen your thread -- as a matter of fact, it has been my bible for planning my awning project! And, I like your implementation of the window awnings so much I would like to copy that concept for my Bambi II. My goal is to complete the awning project in time for International in 2007. Oh boy, I'm really on the hook now that I have made that disclosure in a public setting!

Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut
I also have additional detail pictures I will post from home either tonight or in the next day or so. And can take more if you need them.

Hope this helps...let me know if you need any specific questions answered, or if you want to chat about it PM me and we can set up a time to talk about it via phone ~
More pictures would be great. Once I get through the planning phase and into the implementation phase, I'm sure I will have more questions. Thanks!

P.S.
What product is used for the awning rope? Is it just a certain thickness cotton rope material?
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Old 12-28-2006, 11:53 AM   #5
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yukionna - The awning I purchased from VTS has a plastic rope edge that the material sews on to the flap that extends from the round part. No material gets slid into the round extrusion on the trailer which makes it real easy to install - sorta glides in. If you can find the material this may help in the overall construction. Mine has several inches - about 8" - on each end as excess - I could trim a small piece off for you to match up. I have been looking for it and believe I have a lead on some - I want to do the same as the construction - even if I hired it out locally - would be less than buying new and I could get the colors I wanted.
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Old 12-28-2006, 11:53 AM   #6
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Wow, sound like real work

Hi Yuki,

Wow, sounds like real work to me. I'd be ordering my vintage looking awning from VintageTrailerSupply.Com (if I had a vintage Airstream, of course).
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Old 12-28-2006, 12:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clancy_boy
yukionna - The awning I purchased from VTS has a plastic rope edge that the material sews on to the flap that extends from the round part. No material gets slid into the round extrusion on the trailer which makes it real easy to install - sorta glides in. If you can find the material this may help in the overall construction. Mine has several inches - about 8" - on each end as excess - I could trim a small piece off for you to match up. I have been looking for it and believe I have a lead on some - I want to do the same as the construction - even if I hired it out locally - would be less than buying new and I could get the colors I wanted.
I believe that the plastic/rubber edge is available at marine sailmakers. I had an awning like that on my pickup camper and it was repaired at a marine canvas place.

Bill
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Old 12-28-2006, 12:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I believe that the plastic/rubber edge is available at marine sailmakers. I had an awning like that on my pickup camper and it was repaired at a marine canvas place.

Bill
Yep, that was one of my sources - actually West Marine. But, since the hurricane - all of those are closed locally and I haven't got to find a place locally that wants to order for me.
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Old 12-28-2006, 01:27 PM   #9
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I'm glad to see some discussion of this. I have some nice outdoor blue and white striped material I bought a couple years ago, but haven't had the guts to try sewing it up yet.

How hard is it to do the grommets for the poles to go through?
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Old 12-28-2006, 02:01 PM   #10
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The grommets are easy Steph! You can buy the tool at just about anywhere, like Home depot. It comes with everything you need and instructions. Same thing with the snaps...different tool, similar installation technique.

Shari

P.S. I have seen the top trim on the VTS awnings, it is nice. If you can find a source for it in the right size I would recommend using that instead of wrapping a cord...the fabric at the rail on ours has gotten dirty. Clancy, if you can confirm a source for it, please post it...I may change mine out before spring.

S~
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Old 12-28-2006, 02:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut
The grommets are easy Steph! You can buy the tool at just about anywhere, like Home depot. It comes with everything you need and instructions. Same thing with the snaps...different tool, similar installation technique.

Shari

P.S. I have seen the top trim on the VTS awnings, it is nice. If you can find a source for it in the right size I would recommend using that instead of wrapping a cord...the fabric at the rail on ours has gotten dirty. Clancy, if you can confirm a source for it, please post it...I may change mine out before spring.

S~
Since buying mine from VTS and forgoing the "ask my Mother-in-Law" method of sewing an awning I have let this slip - I will pursue it now - I want to have this available for the future myself. The company that makes them for VTS may be a source - if they don't mind the few that want to sew them at home. I have to wait to get home - I have their address there.
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Old 12-28-2006, 02:37 PM   #12
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Sailrite Enterprises, Inc. - Item Description Page=

or
MarineTextiles Hardware

This is off white - mine is clear I may need to do more searching. They sell the track and all. I have other sources for aluminum track that looks original.
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