Give your home a nautical makeover with surprisingly chic sailcloth.

By Elizabeth Raines Beeler
June 06, 2008
Kindra Clineff

While decorating her husband's restaurant, Cheryl Hackett-Galvinvisited a sail loft and discovered stockpiles of old sails.Inspired to introduce people to the extraordinary fabric, sheteamed with sailmaker Dolph Gabeler to design custom awnings, tableskirts, lamp shades, dodgers, handbags, cushions, pillows, windowtreatments, bed skirts, artwork, and even clothing. "I hated thethought of them being cast aside," she says. "They're fine textileswith incredible handwork, just like quilts. Every sail has a storyto tell, from each stitch sewn by its creator to the incrediblejourney traveled. No two are alike."

Cheryl notes that the fabric's neutral color and ivory stitchingmake it easily adaptable to home decor. The eco- and cost-friendlymaterial also wears well, which makes it particularly versatile."Recycled sailcloths are made from Egyptian cotton and Dacron, sothey're suitable for indoor or outdoor use," she says.

For those who want to try working with sailcloth at home, Cherylrecommends purchasing vintage cotton or lightweight Dacron sailsfound in marine consignment shops. Depending on variables such assize, make, age, and condition, sails cost anywhere from $250 to$1,000. After devising a pattern, use a sailmaker's needle toeasily penetrate the thick cloth and a sailmaker's palm to protectyour hand from the needle. Want the look without the labor? Checkout