I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t think I’d really care what our sailboat looked like, as long as it worked and was safe. That’s still true in part – I want a boat that’s safe above anything else – but I think you do start to develop a bit of a love for your boat and want to take pride in how it looks. Especially as you start to see all these fancy, expensive boats that never seem to have even the smallest of scratches on their beautifully polished hulls!
Hot Chocolate is old and ‘well worn’. She’s never going to look like some of these other flashy sailboats we see whizzing past, and especially not while we own her and are trying to get by on our monthly budget! Early on last season I decided that there was one thing we could do to improve the way she looked without breaking the bank. Fender covers! How wrong I was!
These tiny bits of material cost a ridiculous amount! Especially I was convinced it wouldn’t be long until they were as stained as our old but fully functional fenders. I decided there must be a cheaper solution, and you’ll be happy to know there is!
Cheap DIY Fender Covers: Overview
- Buy XXL jogging bottoms in your preferred colour.
- Slip a fender into a jogging bottom leg.
- Cut the leg ‘to size’.
- Grab a piece of string, elastic or cord and sew it into the top of the material so it’s able to pull tight and tie.
- Repeat with the bottom of the material if it isn’t already elasticated!
It really is as easy as that! Below is each step in detail and a few extra tips I’ve found handy along the way.
Buy A Pair Of Jogging Bottoms
I’ve tried this with two different types of jogging bottoms. The first were a £7 navy blue pair from Amazon. I bought extra, extra large in the hope that these would fit over my ‘fattest’ fenders, but to be honest they were a little too small and the perfect size to cover my slimmer ones. The trouble was that although they were advertised as wide leg, they tapered in at the bottom because of the elasticated ‘cuff’.
These would still be my first choice. They were long enough to make two cheap fender covers (one from each leg) and I still had a pair of baggy shorts left over to use for boat work!
Next I tried cut off jogging bottoms I found for £5 in the local Lidl. I thought these would be the perfect length and they were wider so they fit my biggest fenders easily. The trouble was that they were slightly short, meaning I had to sew up the crotch part at the top and creating a bit of a wrinkle!
Top Tip: By far the best choice is jogging bottoms with an elasticated bottom, as it will make life easier when it comes to the sewing.
Fit Them To Your Fender
Next you need to ‘dress’ your fender! It might take a bit of tugging to make them slip through the leg. Pull them all the way down to the bottom if you have an elasticated cuff and then snip off about an inch higher than where you want them to end.
Pin The Top Of Your Cheap Fender Covers
Create a ‘loop’ all the way around the top of the material for your drawstring to sit. It’s easiest if you pin the drawstring inside the loop and sew it in, but you can of course thread it through once it’s sewn! This is the stage to make any final adjustments to the height of the material, making sure it fits your fender properly.
If you don’t have an elasticated bottom then you’ll need to repeat this stage for the bottom on the material.
I don’t have a sewing machine so I just sewed this by hand. It didn’t take too long at all but probably isn’t as neat or as strong as doing it by machine. It’s going to all scrunched up at the top of your fender so I wouldn’t worry too much about neatness!
Your Brand New Cheap Fender Cover!
And there you have it! Slide the material over the fender, tie the drawstring and admire your brand new cheap fender cover! You can wash them as often as you like and so far mine have been pretty hard wearing. I imagine it won’t last as long as ones you can buy from the shops, but for £2.50 and 10 minutes of your time it really doesn’t matter too much!