T@b 320 Window Awning Tutorial

The following tutorial is for three window awnings for the T@b 400 trailer: front, side, and rear.  Please note, the rear window awning is challenging to put on and remove, so consider that before spending the time and money to make that awning.

What do you need:

You will need the following notions to make a set of awnings. I have provided links to products that can work to give you an idea of what you are looking for. 

Full disclosure:  I am an Amazon affiliate, which means I receive a tiny commission if you purchase an item with Amazon through one of these links. 

However, the links are primarly there to help you understand what I recommend you use and I have provided both names and links to other suppliers where I do not receive any compensation, so the choice of supplier is totally up to you. 

Fabric selection:

Outdoor fabric is typically 54" wide. The front awning for the T@b 400 requires a 57" cut for the width. To achieve this you can:
    1. Piece fabric together to achieve the desired width, OR
    2. Use a multi-directional fabric; typically, this would be a geometric or floral patterned fabric. Such fabric would support cutting the front awning from the 'length' of fabric and the side awning cut from the 'width', with both awnings appearing the same when on the trailer. This second approach will create a more professional finish. The following image illustrates a few examples of multi-directional fabrics.

Fabric requirements:

The fabric requirements are for each fabric. (e.g., if it says 2 yards are required, 2 yards of the patterned and 2 yards of the lining fabric are needed).

  • The fabric requirement for the set of 3 awnings is 4 yards of outdoor fabric with a 54" width.
  • The requirement for two awnings (the front and side) is 2 1/2 yards.
    • TIP: 
      • A large-scale, obvious pattern may require additional fabric to be properly centered on the awning.

Fabric cutting:

The following illustration reflects:

  • How a multi-directional fabric creates the same pattern on the awnings, irrespective of whether they are cut vertically or horizontally.  The arrows in the image indicate the TOP of each of the awnings.
  • The drawing also reflects how the fabric is cut so that the design is centered on each awning; typically, horizontal centering is more critical than vertical.
    • Use a yardstick or other straight edge to support marking the dimensions shown in Table 1.
      • TIP
        • With a geometric pattern, the easiest way to center the awning is to place a pin on the fabric where you wish to have the center of the awning.  Divide the width of the awning by 2 and measure that distance out to each side and mark.
        • For example, the break between the floral motifs is the center for the side awning shown below (at the tip of the arrow). Mark this with a pin.
        • The width for the side awning is 43", so measure 21 1/2" (43 divided by 2) in each direction from the pin and mark.
        • This will land you on the same part of the design for each end. Double-check your math by measuring from one mark to the other, and this should be your original awning width of 43".
  • The awnings can be cut from the fabric in any order. It will be easier to start with the side awning, as it is the smallest and best to learn with.

 

Creating the buckle strap:

  • Use a flame to burn both ends of each piece of polypropylene webbing to prevent it from unraveling. Be prepared to blow it out as it heats up.
  • Using this video, for guidance, apply the tri-glide to the piece of 3/4" poly webbing that has the * next to it in Table 2. Follow the instructions for the red webbing on the video; however, instead of installing a D ring, install one piece of the 3/4" plastic buckle. You can stop watching the video at the D ring install. Sew the remaining piece of the buckle to one end of the remaining part of 3/4" poly strapping.
  • Fasten the buckle to create one long strap.

    Fabricating the side awning

    • Cut one piece of each patterned and lining fabric for each awning with dimensions listed in Table 1 (e.g., 43"W x 26"T for the side awning).
    • Hems—the tutorial for the hems can be found here.
    • On the wrong side of the patterned piece of fabric, use an erasable marker and mark a small dot where the corner straps (a) 4 dots, buckle strap (b) 2 dots, and elastic strap (c) 2 dots, are positioned in Image #2. The instructions for where to place these dots for each piece are in Table 1 under the last 3 columns labeled Markings
        • TIPS:
          • (b) is measured from the top of the awning, and buckle strap should be placed right-side-up when it is placed between the two pieces of fabric.
          • (c) is measured from the bottom. If you have added an angle or scallops to the hem, note that the distance from the bottom for (c) is from the ORIGINAL size, NOT after you have cut away fabric for the hem treatment.

      Assembling the Awning:

      • Place the patterned and lining fabrics, WRONG sides together, with the patterned piece on top, and the markings made in the last step visible.
      • Place the straps/elastic BETWEEN the two pieces of fabric at the appropriate marks.
        • TIPs: 
          • Place the corner and buckle straps first (reminder it should be placed right side up),
          • Double-pin the buckle strap to hold it in place,
          • Pin around the awning and place the elastic piece last, as once in place, the awning will no longer lay flat on the table.
      • A 10-12" section will need to be left open on the top to turn the awning right-side-out after stitching—mark the beginning and end of this section before stitching the awning fabrics together.
          • Stitch around the perimeter of the awning, (leaving the opening at the top) using a 1/2" seam allowance.
            • TIP:
              • If you do not have a 1/2" mark on your sewing machine, measure 1/2" from your needle and use a 2" piece of blue painters tape to clearly mark it on the plate on your machine.
          • Clip seams where appropriate (e.g. trim corners & clip between scallops).
          • Turn the awning right side out. Be careful using anything sharp to push the corners out, it is very likely to go through the fabric. Use the eraser end of a pencil or something small like that with a dull end. 
          • Iron
            • TIP:
              • Be very careful here. If using a polyester fabric, make sure the iron temperature is low enough not to melt the fabric.  Use the fabric scraps to test the iron on until confident there is no issue.
          • Pin the top closed, iron, and then, starting at the top with the opening first, stitch around the perimeter of the awning at 1/4".  This will create the finished look for the awning.

      TIP: watching the video on the scallops may be beneficial even if not making scallops as it gives tips on other things like trimming and ironing. 

      Fit the awning on your trailer and move on to the next one! The above steps are repeatable for each awning.

      Back awning variation:

      The reason the awning on the back window is difficult to install is because it is difficult to get the corners loops up to the top of the window.  I would encourage you to take a step stool out to the rear of the trailer and try to reach the top corners of the window, before proceeding with making the full rear awning.

      When I was making these awnings, I did a rear window variation for several clients by shortening the awning, essentially making it 42" x 30". This allowed the awning to be easily installed, it wouldn't flap around in the wind and provided privacy for 3/4 of the window, just a little bit open at the top. If made this way, fabrics are cut at 42" x 30" and the buckle strap (b) at the top would be installed 8" from the top, instead of the 22" listed in Table 1.