I have had many requests for a tutorial on the outdoor awnings I create in my campers. Here is the FYI on how I did them.
This is the seam on the roof where the two roof panels come together. There are barely visible screws there where you know there will be wood underneath. In my case when I had this camper gutted I sistered a piece of wood to the existing piece because I knew I was going to do this. If your ceiling is not ripped down inside the chances of catching wood on or right next to this seam are good. You can do a pilot hole first to see if you hit something. Be sure to caulk it after you do.
This is the C Channel that I bought from my trailer guy and we added a full strip of butyl tape to it before installing it on the ceiling with #8 stainless steel screws.
You can see that I butted the C Channel up to the existing seam where I added the support wood underneath. I think it would be possible to install this on top of the seam that is already there if you are unable to add wood from inside.
Once that channel is installed I want to get the measurement for the actual awning length. I placed the end of the tape measure into the channel and tape it in place. This saves on multiple trips up and down the ladder as well as swearing!
Once this is taped on, I place the awning pole in the flag holder and adjust it to where I think I would like the awning to come out to.
I drape the tape measure over the end and get the measurement of what the awning length will be. Let the tape hang down as long as you want the awning to hang over.
Sorry for the blurriness. I took this picture 5 times in 98 degree NJ humidity! You get the idea. Rod pocket will need to be at the 77.5 inch mark.
First thing in any sewing job is starting with a square edge. Measure three times, cut once!! Sewing is like carpentry. Squared things fit!!
Once I had a straight edge across the top I measured the length of the awning added extra inches for the rod pocket on the top and the overhang on the draped end. In this case I cut it at 94 inches.
I then folded the fabric over on itself and cut it at the fold on the top.
I cut the bottom at the 94 inches leaving myself with two 61 x 94 inch pieces. It’s 61 inches here because that just happens to be what this fabric was. Normally most fabrics are 54 inches.
I sewed the two pieces together (right sides together) and then made another seam right over the first one to strengthen it. Resist the urge to sew it a third time. That pokes too many holes in the fabric and actually weakens it.
Once the two pieces were sewn together I pressed open the center seam and sewed it down.
I actually sewed this seam twice on each side; once on the inside and then on the outside of the seam.
The finished width of this particular awning needed to be between 74 and 76 inches. There is room for error here. The trailer is 78 inches wide and I think I cut the C Channel at 76 inches. I left room here to roll the seam over twice for a nice finished edge.
I again sewed these outer seams twice; once on the inside of the rolled over edge and then again just for strength and good measure I did it again on the outer edge.
I folded over the top of the awing by 3/4 inches and then again because I just don’t like raw edges.
I did the extra step here of sewing down the inner seam one more time at the top 12 inches. I do this because once the rod pocket is sewed and you try to insert the rod, it can get hung up on even a little piece of fabric that can fold over. Small step that saves aggravation.
I use threaded 1/2 inch steel rods from Lowes for the inside. I like the way that the threading grips the interior of the fabric but you can use the specific awning material if you want. This costs less than $2 though and does the same thing. In addition to that I don’t have to order it, wait for it and pay shipping. Winning!
I made the awning rod pocket 3/4 inches but folded it over three inches.
I made the rod pocket sleeve from the salvaged fabric that I cut off the sides when I reduced the width. I cut a 10 inch width of fabric and made a tube which I then turned inside out and pressed.
I then sewed the open ends of the tube closed.
I then marked the spot that would be the middle of the rod pocket and marked it with a pin.
I drew a pencil line 10 inches from the bottom all the way across the fabric so that I could use it as a guide to sew the rod pocket down, first across the bottom on the line and then just by smoothing it across I sewed the top of it down. I then added fringe to the overhang.
All of these pipes and couplings were purchased at Lowe’s in the plumbing department. I cut them to the needed lengths.
After figuring out the lengths I needed I secured the poles together with these couplings.
These are the flag poles that I installed on the outside to receive the awning piping. I like these because the angle is adjustable and the water runs through them at the attachment point. I did put butyl tape behind them too. Because I knew I would be adding these I installed added wood from the interior while the walls were off inside. They are fairly close to the edge though so I think you could hit wood with the two outside screws if you are installing after the fact. Once the poles are in, I tighten them with the set screw attached. The hole is for a larger pipe but I did not want that weight. I have had no trouble with the smaller pipe in this tube.
The outdoor kitchen and awning on my 1970 Go Tag Along.
My 1966 Go Tag Along at the Ohio Country Living Fair all set up with the tutorial awning and my kitchen.
From an angle at which you can see how the awning looks set up. It is just great not having those poles and wires that are always tripping people up.
And one more favorite feature of my outdoor kitchen is this solar water bag that I leave on the flag pole and then use to rinse my dishes when I am cleaning up!
I hope this was helpful to the many who asked for a tutorial. If I have left anything out please comment and I will try to answer any questions.
Happy Trails, Janine
And a thankful shout out to my patient husband. He is the sous chef of my trailer kitchens!