Introduction: Making a Burgee Cover for Your Boat

A burgee cover is a simple project that can dress up your boat with minimal effort or expense.  This burgee is hanging out in the wind and getting beat up by the sun and wind.  A cover will keep it pretty to show at the beach or club.

I made it at TechShop, with their state of the art equipment.  You can think of TechShop like a fitness club, but with tools and equipment instead of exercise equipment. It is sort of like a Kinko's for makers, or a Xerox PARC for the rest of us.

Their website is

Step 1: Sizing

Our finished cover is going to be 16" long with a finished diameter of 3".

Here I'm using SeaSprae, a light weight polyester fabric.  It shows marks and stitches well, but it not the fabric I'd use to build a burgee cover.  Normally, I'd use Sunbrella, but it's harder to photograph.

Ordinarily, I would not make all these marks on the material.  It works well here to show what I'm doing, as well as to show the inside vs the outside.  All marks here on the on the inside.

Step 2: A Bit of Math Gives Us Cut Sizes

The finished length is 16", and we will have a 1/2" seam allowance at each end.  16 + 1/2 + 1/2 = 17"  long.

The finished diameter is 3", times 3.14 = 9 1/2", plus a 1/2" seam allowance on each edge = 9 1/2 + 1/2 + 1/2 = 10 1/2" wide.

Step 3: Layout

Using a square, lay out the cut lines.

Step 4: Cut

Cut out the piece.  It's good to cut inside the lines, but not needed.

Step 5: Fold the Bottom Edge

We are going to hem the bottom (open end) of the burgee cover 1/2". 

Fold the bottom edge 1/2"  "inside to inside" and staple or pin into place.  Creasing the fold will make things a bit easier to sew, but I didn't crease it.

Step 6: To the Sewing Machine!

Step 7: Starting to Sew

First, sew near the fold.  DON'T sew over the staples.  Alongside is OK, or remove the staples when they are just in front of the presser foot.

Step 8: More Sewing

Remove any remaining staples, and sew near the edge of them hem.  I used a heavier thread than the machine was set up to use, and didn't take the time to carefully re-adjust the machine, so the thread tension is a little too tight here.

You can sew the strap on now, or wait until later.  I waited.

Step 9: Cut & Melt Strap

Cut the strap about 10" long, and melt the ends so it doesn't unravel.  (I used a hot knife, but most people don't have access.  A CAREFULLY applied lighter will work nicely, too.)

Step 10: Fold & Staple

Next we fold our cover in half, with the finished (outside) sides together.

Step 11: Sew on the Strap

Sew on the strap along both lines of stitching, and be sure to backstitch.

Step 12: Sew Together

Sew with a 1/2" seam allowance along the one end and edge that need to be sewn.  Be sure to backstitch both the start and end points.

Step 13: Turn

The fun part is turning the cover right side out.

Step 14: Check Strap for Length

If I had my boat nearby, I'd check the strap for length by putting the cover over my burgee. 

Step 15: Cut to Strap to Length and Install Snaps

Cut the strap with enough length to give yourself about a 1" loop and about 1/2" past where the snap will be installed.  Any canvas shop can install the snap for you for a minimal charge.  Marine supply and hardware stores also sell small snap kits.  (If there is a canvas shop in your area, it's far easier to have them install the snap.  I charge $1.00 for each of the 2 snaps needed.)

If you want to check out TechShop, their website is

Step 16: All Done!

Here is the finished cover installed on the boat.  Much neater!