But because the old center panel had to continue in service until the new one was fabricated, the forward and aft panels had to be properly located. In other words, because I did this work in sections instead of all at once, the new roof duplicated the old completely...
Because the old center panel fit perfectly, rather than pattern the center panel with DuraSkrim I chose to simply roll out some Sunbrella and trace the outline of the old center onto it. The size is not terribly critical; instead it is the zipper placement that is crucial. That being the case, I did a lot of measuring and annotating on the old center panel:
Again, placement of the zippers is what controls the fit here. So I measured outside-tooth to outside-tooth at perhaps a dozen stations along the old panel. Then, when applying the zippers to the new panel, I duplicated the station locations and ensured that the zippers conformed to the measurements.
I have learned thru this project that zipper position in a lengthwise direction is also critical, especially when there are pairs spanning the length. To make this work out properly, I followed these steps:
- Locate the centers of both the old and new panels by folding in half, and mark them.
- Install the old center panel, and transfer the center markings to the forward and aft panels.
- Work on one edge at a time, I started with the aft edge. Install one of the new zipper halves to the aft panel zipper.
- Hold up the new panel, matching the center marks.
- While continuing to hold the panel in place (you may need help here), make match marks on the new zipper half and the center panel an inch or three away from the center.
- Remove the new zipper half from the aft panel.
- Position the new zipper half on the new panel using SeamStick basting tape, matching up the match marks. Note: at this point, with no other reference it is not possible to exactly locate the zipper width-wise. Instead, using another new zipper half on the opposite edge, simply ensure that zipper placement will allow both zippers to fall approximately equally on the fabric. Exact spacing at the measurement stations will be established when the opposite zipper half is installed.
- After sewing the first zipper half, take the panel out to the cockpit again and zip it up. Install another new zipper half on the other aft panel zipper.
- Pull the panel firm athwartship, and make match marks on the new zipper half.
- Following the steps above, install the second zipper half.
- When establishing the position of the first zipper half, match up the centerline marks as before. But this time, slide the panel a little port and starboard, watching for wrinkles to form and dissipate. You are looking for that placement where there are no wrinkles - it may fall when the centerlines are not quite matched up. Match mark the zipper half and the new panel.
- When sticking the zippers in place with SeamStick, be very, very careful to get the outside-tooth to outside-tooth spacing at the measurement stations the same as on the old panel.
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