Projects: Constructing a winter cover
A quality custom winter cover costs anywhere from 2200-4000. The price of an industrial sewing machine and material to do the job yourself runs around 1500. The price of my labor, based upon my current paycheck divided by hours worked per week, comes out to about 5.50/hr (welcome to the world of education). Figure my labor at about 40hrs, which includes all the bustle and wasted energy that typically accompanies amateur workmanship, and that puts the labor at 220. Add it all up and you've got a do-it-yourself winter cover for 1720. Was it worth it? I think so. Plus, the sewing machine can be used for other projects, further amortizing the expense - a dodger and drifter, thus far.
On the old site I included the whopping multi-page writeup of the construction process. For the sake of brevity, that writeup has been omitted but is available here (or will be). Suffice it to say that I ended up using approximately 48 yards of Surlast Navy Weave fabric, 1500 yards of V-92 thread, and several feet of nylon webbing. Here are some pictures of the finished product.
A little of the sewing machine action. The machine is a Sailrite LSZ-1. The machine has worked flawlessly for three canvas projects thus far. My biggest complaint is the small bobbin size; I often run out of thread in the middle of a long run of stitches.