Posts > News, Sewing, How To > July 2, 2015

How to: Make a Windbreak

As soon as the sun comes out, our thoughts turn to the garden, and often at this time of year, we get asked for ‘outdoor’ fabric.

For garden parties and barbecues we stock PVC tablecloth fabric all year round, but it’s outdoor upholstery, awnings and deck chairs that we want to cater for as well so….

We recently took delivery of this PU coated canvas, which not only looks fantastic but feels really strong and durable.

We were thinking about what to make with it when a friend requested instructions on how to make a windbreak as good ones were sooooo expensive to buy.

So, here’s what you will need to make a 90cms by 3m double-sided, strong windbreak with a carry strap

6m of pu coated canvas, scissors, tape measure and 4 broom handles from your local DIY store (we got extra strong versions)

Trim the whole length of 6m of fabric down to 110cms wide – (don’t discard the trimmed fabric as it will be used to make the carry strap later). 110cms is the finished height of 90 cms plus two generous 10cms seam allowances.

IMG 5401Place the two 110cms ends wrong sides together, matching raw edges and stripes and sew them together 1.5cms from edge.

(Usually, plain seams are formed by placing right sides together, but for extra strength and a professional finish, we are making a Machine and Fell seam here).

 

IMG 5402IMG 5403Press the seam allowances open to ensure a crisp finish.

Trim one side of the 1.5cm seam allowance down to 0.5cms, then fold the longer seam allowance over the trimmed one and pin in place.

 

IMG 5408IMG 5406Now edge-stitch along the folded side.

Its a lot of fabric and this canvas is  pretty bulky stuff so make sure you are using a long stitch length and a sharp machine needle size 14 – 16.

 

IMG 5409IMG 5405IMG 5407Ta-dah! you have formed a  machine and fell seam which should look pretty smart.

 

So, we now have a continuous, wide loop of 6m fabric. Fold under the generous 10cms top and base hems, press and stitch down with several rows of top stitching. Now lay the 6m hemmed fabric flat wrong sides together to form the 3m x 90cms wind break.

Measure the broom handle diameter (ours was approx 9.5cms). We made our pockets just tight enough (10cms) to ensure that the broom handles didn’t slide out too easily

IMG 5910IMG 5908IMG 5919Sew vertical pockets for the broom handles at either end and at 2 equal distances apart through the middle to form 3 panels approx 1m wide.

IMG 5915IMG 5918IMG 5920Slide in the broom handles to check they fit and the double-sided windbreak is now ready to use.

 

IMG 5916IMG 5921As this windbreak is not exactly light-weight to lug around we used the trimmed fabric from earlier to make a useful and simple carry strap.

Roll up up the finished windbreak and measure the diameter of the whole rolled up windbreak including the broom handles.

 

IMG 5922Cut 2 strips to go around the rolled up diameter and one long strip approx 1m to 1.5m 50 long to form shoulder strap.

I considered using velcro for the loop section but decided that a sewn loop might be stronger and less likely to come open under strain from the weight.

 

IMG 5923IMG 5926IMG 5928Make two slide-on loops, this time joining the fabric using a plain seam.

Press seam open.

 

Remove the table from the arm of your machine to topstitch the slide-on loop.

 

IMG 5929IMG 5930

IMG 5943Check the slide on loop fits, before progressing. Now make a long shoulder strap, and pin each end to the centre of each loop.

 

IMG 5946 IMG 5947IMG 5944Use top-stitching for both strength and for the ‘right’ look, join the strap ends to the slide-on loop

 

 

 

We used a lot of fabric for this windbreak as we really wanted to enjoy the fabric from both sides, but you could adapt this to be a to be single sided break or make it longer.

For a pretty, garden version, you could make it in cotton canvas with canes.

 

IMG 5962IMG 5963…so all in the name of testing the fabric and design, we went to the beach all day -here’s how the finished windbreak looks in situ….

(it was a tough job but someone had to do it!)

 

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