Sitting in the cool shade of a giant leafy tree is one of summer’s idle pleasures. No trees in sight? We have a portable solution: an easy-to-make shade sail. The perfect cover for a blistering deck, an exposed sandbox or a rooftop garden.
* 15 yards of outdoor fabric (our fabric was 58" wide)
* 1 yard of contrasting fabric for corner detail (optional) nylon or polyester outdoor twist thread
* 3 #2 or #3 grommets
* 25' of nylon rope (optional)
* Various fasteners (depending on how you attach your sail)
* 12' of 3/16" galvanized chain (optional)
* Sewing machine with a denim needle
* Chalk line
* Measuring tape
**WHAT IT COST**
* Outdoor fabric ($36 per yard) - $576
* Thread - $5
* Grommet kit - $15
* Chalk line - $10
* Hooks - $6
* Chain ($1.50 per foot) - $18
* rope ($1.25 per foot) - $32
Total - $662
*Note*: Total will vary depending on the fabric and fasteners used.
**Cutting the sail**
1. Cut 15 yards of fabric into three equal pieces, 180" in length.
2. Sew the selvage edges (180" lengths) together with 1/2" seams. Press seams to one side and topstitch to strengthen.
3. Lay the fabric out flat and fold in half with right sides together. Make sure the two seams lie on top of each other.
4. From the bottom corner measure up 172" along the folded edge and mark. Hold the chalk line at the top mark and stretch diagonally to the bottom corner. Snap a chalk line to create a cutline for
the triangular shape.
5. Cut along the chalk line and open up the fabric.
6. Create a 1" double hem on all three sides of your sail.
7. To make the corner reinforcements for the grommets, place a corner of the shade sail on a piece of cardboard. Mark a line on the cardboard 6" from the tip of the sail down each side; create a triangle shape by joining the two end points. Add a 1/2" seam allowance on each side of the cardboard triangle; cut out. Using the cardboard template, cut six triangles from your leftover fabric (or use contrasting fabric as we did).
8. With right sides together, sew two triangle pieces together along two sides. Trim excess seam allowance. Turn the triangle inside out and press. Fold the fabric at the open end of the triangle under 1/2" and press flat. Repeat for the other two corners.
9. Slide the triangular envelope over the corners of the shade sail. Make sure the tips of the sail are laying flat inside the envelope and aren’t folded or bunched. Topstitch around the three edges of the triangle envelope, making sure to sew the edges of the shade sail at the same time.
10. Add the grommets to the sail corners by following the grommet kit’s instructions or have a local boating shop or upholsterer insert the grommets for you.
**Raising the sail**
11. We rested a chain in the crook of a tree and attached a rope to the chain with a carabiner. The rope was then fastened to the sail with a turnbuckle to control the tension.
**Tip**: Co-ordinating cushions made with leftover fabric will elevate the style and comfort quotient in any garden.