Sewing Marine Canvas: Review of the Speedy Stitcher

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The Speedy Stitcher

Speedy Stitcher
Photo © Tom Lochhaas.

The Speedy Stitcher is a sailor's sewing awl with a heavy needle and thread used for making repairs in marine canvas such as sails, dodgers, and sail covers. The Speed Stitcher turns what otherwise would be a slow, tedious process of hand-sewing into a fast, enjoyable, sturdy repair job.

The heavy waxed thread spools out from a bobbin in the wooden handle and feeds out through a eye in the needle's tip. The handle fits snugly in your hand, allowing an easy application of enough force to pierce many layers of sailcloth or heavy fabric such as Sunbrella.

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Using the Speedy Stitcher

Using Speedy Stitcher
Photo © Tom Lochhaas.

Here the Speedy Stitcher is being used to sew a seam that has ripped out in a sailboat's dodger. It would be almost impossible to stitch together the doubled fabric and heavy plastic of the dodger window by hand or most sewing machines. The Speedy Stitcher makes it easy.

The Speedy Stitcher needle is pushed through always from the same side of the fabric. The thread is carried in the needle's eye through the fabric. Then the needle is pulled halfway back, which forms a loop in the thread on the other side. With your other hand, pass the long, bitter end through this loop, pulling it tight as the needle is withdrawn. Repeat for the next stitch - and the seam all locks together tightly in place and makes beautiful stitching.

This great little device should be aboard every boat carrying sails or any kind of canvas. It takes only a few minutes to make small repairs when you catch a seam giving way or need to sew in a patch.

Available online for about $15. Be sure to order a product that comes with the special heavy thread.

Note: in some cases, you may be able to apply a patch using a fabric adhesive instead of stitches – be sure to use one like this one that adheres well to Sunbrella or other canvas and remains flexible.