I’ve been dreaming of a furniture project that would involve a sturdy recycled textile, and I was struggling to come up with the right fabric source; everything seemed too familiar and not interesting enough. So I was thrilled to see this amazing restaurant decor project from Jennifer Jako at Fix Studio, in which they used old sails to create chair slipcovers and curtain dividers for the interior. The results are stunning! I love the graphic impact of the sail numbers, and the red cording adds the perfect punch of bright color. This is great DIY inspiration, and I am going to follow her advice for sourcing sails like these. Awesome job, Jennifer! — Kate
“After” images by Dina Avila
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Basic Steps: We were creating a nautical, fresh feel for an interior and decided to recycle used sails from a local marine supply. Used sails can be purchased through local listings, or if you’re lucky, you might be able to find an old one for free from a local marina. You want to select medium-weight sails like a genoa or jib, not a main sail (too heavy) or spinnaker (too light). We looked for ones with numbers or pretty contrast stitching. We found an “86” and featured that on a curtain.
We used an industrial sewing machine with the heavier weight cloth, but you could get away with a regular sewing machine with sturdy needles and some patience. At the bottom of the chair-back slip covers, we added grommets and looped colored rope through.
For the curtains we used the existing D-ring on the corner of one sail and added sewn-in D-rings on the corners so they could be tied back. Laces were sewn on the top to roll up and tie off the curtains like a tent window. Grommets can be added as a way to hang them and for additional interest along the edges.
We’re so excited about sails, we’re going to use them next as a giant divider curtain in our new studio that has 16’ ceilings! Creative reuse is the ultimate in sustainability — recycled sails equal a beautiful look without the cost to the environment or your pocket. — Jennifer