stripes make a sailor and the easy way to make sails

stitching sails

When I first started making ships I was doing little handkerchief rolled hems on the sails. They were pretty but drove me crazy and took forever.  When I put together the paper mache ship pattern I wanted something easier and I found it.  It’s super simple and has other benefits too.


I  cut two pieces of fabric for each sail (not usually the same fabric – I like the front and back  to be different  – even just subtly),  pin them right sides together and stitch around – leaving one little section open. Trim the excess off the corners,  turn it right side out,  press and stitch closed.  I add a whip or blanket stitch around the edge and  layers of patches and lace.  You can click here to download the sail pattern below if you’d like to give it a try.


This method is much quicker than the tiny hems and makes a very tidy sail.  Also the double fabric helps the sails hold their shape when you fill them with wind.

paper mache ship

I’m making an owl to captain the ship I’m working on  and used my favorite piece of antique ticking for his front.  Putting a horizontal stripe on an owl transforms him instantly into a gentleman sailor.  The owl below is the medium size from the little owl pattern.

gentleman sailor owl

And ticking stripes are nice for sailing mice too.

sailor mouse


  1. Hi, Ann. I want to make your sail boat, but on a larger scale for my mantel or above it. (My husband just built us a faux fireplace!) I live on Guam and love beachy-island themes. I also love to sew and create so this is going to be fun! Any suggestions for making your sail boat larger, 20-30″ long?

  2. Ann – you are the most generous of artists!! I’m making some small mice and think a sail boat would be just the thing. LOVE your creativity!!

  3. hello! will you be listing your newer rat pattern anytime soon? he looks adorable! your work is genius!

  4. I, too, love your blog. Just wanted to say that I LOVE the caption you chose for the previous post–the ‘cha cha cha.’ It makes me smile and I will take the image of your dapper dancing rat with me through the day! Thank you for the inspiration you send forth!

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