This site will hopefully help you sew your own vintage looking awning for your old trailer. If sewing is not your thing, or you are intimated by the thought of sewing an awning, I offer custom awnings. Check out my webpage:
I’ve had a few inquiries into how I sewed my own awning for my Compact. I made mine for under $50 (Hey! The $50 Awning Job!) and have written down a tutorial. It helps if you can get the awning fabric on sale. I didn’t buy the Sunbrella fabric but rather used a nice awning canvas purchased at JoAnn fabric. They frequently have 50% off coupons which makes a good savings when the fabric is $15-$20/yard and you need 7 plus yards of it). Also, make sure you use a high quality and sturdy thread for the job. I sewed this just using my cheap $150 Singer so you don’t need a heavy duty machine.
Measure the width of your awning rail. I made my awning two inches shorter than the awning rail so I could whittle down wine corks to plug up the ends to keep the awning in the rail during high wind weather.
Determine how far out in front of your trailer you want your awning to go. I chose 8 feet and have been quite happy with that but I have seen much longer ones for sale. I think it depends on the size of your trailer and how much shade you want. The 8 feet works perfect for my little Shasta compact.
Cut your fabric to the measurements you’ve decided, making sure to leave seam width allowances. Since my fabric wasn’t wide enough to make the width I had to use two lengths of 8 feet each and sew them together in the middle. Example: My awning rail was 84 inches wide. My fabric was only 50″ wide. I cut two 8 foot long pieces at 42 inches wide each and sewed them together with a middle seam using 1/2″ seam allowance.
Sew the middle seam using a french seam (where you sew it once wrong sides together 1/4”, then flip the fabric around so the right sides are together. Then encase the seam by sewing another seam, but right sides together 1/2″). Here’s a website that gives good directions for this:
Cut the scalloped skirt I cut mine 8” long (the hanging down part) and the length of the awning (8 feet). Fabricate two of these–one for each side. Then cut one more to go along the front of the awning..whatever width you have chosen. You may have to join pieces like mentioned above (french seam) to make the width and lengths needed. I made sure that my stripes were vertical on all 3 sides as this was the way vintage ones were made. For the scallop edges I found a plate with a diameter of 8 inches and traced the half-round scallops along the bottom edge of the skirt. I’m kind of a perfectionist so I fussed around with the plate until I was sure I would have a complete scallop at each corner edge (where the sides meet the front). Note: The more shallow the scallop the easier it is to sew the binding tape on. If you trace a sharp inner curve this will be more difficult to stitch the binding. Think of a sound wave — more like a line of S’s rather than a line of B’s (laid sideways).
Bind the scallop skirt: Using white (or whatever color you like) seam binding tape (double fold bias tape 1/2”) and using a zig zag stitch stitch the binding tape to the scalloped edge of the skirt starting at the upper back edge (the edge that will be next to the trailer) . Do not apply the binding tape to the front corner sides of the skirt. These are the edges of the skirt that will meet up in the front to form the side and front corners. So, for the front skirt you won’t sew the binding up the outside edges of the skirt but will start at the beginning of the curved scalloped. You will stitch the seam binding on the corners after you sew the corner seams together. This I had to fuss around a bit to figure out how to do it, and I came up with this. I’m sure if you figure out a better way it would work too!
Stitch the front skirt onto the front of the awning with wrong sides together and using 1/4” seam allowance. Next encase this seam with seam binding tape and sew it using a large zig zag stitch. This gives you a double seam and I think adds more strength to the awning.
Stitch each side of the skirt to the sides of the awning in same manner as front (1/4” seam). Stitch the two corner seams together using 1/4” seam allowance). Now sew on the seam binding tape using a large zig zag stitch starting at the back (trailer end) of the seam and wrapping the tape around the front corner seam ending at the front lower edge of the corner of the awning. Again, if you fuss around and find a better way to do this…all the better!
Sew on the Keder awning bead. I have been purchasing and sewing on the Keder awning bead to use as the attachment to the trailer. This stuff is life- and time-saving!
I have doubled over my fabric on the edge where I sew the Rope-Tape. Then I sew 2 seams to hold the Rope-Tape to the edge of the awning.
Lastly, set in place two grommets as close to the front corner edges as possible. Make sure these grommet holes are large enough to accommodate the awning poles you have chosen, but not too large that the poles swim in them. (I sewed in two squares to reinforce each corner edge before I placed the grommets.) I purchased the grommets and tools at my local fabric store and they were pretty inexpensive and easy to affix. If your awning is wider than 7 feet you may consider putting a third grommet toward the center. It is easy to do at this stage and that way you have a third anchor point if you need it.
I went to Wal Mart and bought the telescoping Coleman tent poles, but I’ve read on the forum that these aren’t as strong as others available. I couldn’t beat the price ($10 each) and since my trailer and awning is fairly small they work ok. But I can see the advantage to having stronger poles–especially in windy times! I once had to get up at 1 am to rescue my awning which had loosed itself and was hanging half off the rail. Cabela’s also offers telescoping tent poles:
Hope this helps and isn’t too confusing. I’m not stellar at giving directions or instructions so with luck I haven’t forgotten a step! I am willing to answer any questions anyone may have. Just e-mail me.
(theawninglady at gmail dot com)
Here are a few pictures of awnings I have made for customers: