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.
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.
And ticking stripes are nice for sailing mice too.