size of fabric needed for Campster Pop top - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-17-2016, 06:30 PM   #1
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
Washington
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size of fabric needed for Campster Pop top

The inside perimeter of the wood to which you attach the fabric on my Campster is as follows

The two longer sides measure 60 inches each
The shorter two sides measure 27 inches each


That totals to 174 inches for the perimeter but you must add at least 1 inch for seam allowance if you only have one seam or 2 inches if you have two seams, so plan on 176 inches of length.

If you only use one seam then you will be buying a lot more fabric than if you construct it with 2 seams. I will be using 2 seams on mine.

If you use 2 seam construction you can get your project cut (just barely long enough) from 2 -1/2 yards of fabric. When you are at the fabric store insist on them having the ends of the fabric square enough to get the full 2 -1/2 yard length out of it. You will need the extra fabric that is left after cutting out the two main panels as you have to cut some flaps that project over the edges of the screen and zipper area to help with the water proofing scheme of the construction.

The height of the fabric for my pop top is 16" which is measured without any fold over for hems as it did not originally have any.

You will also be cutting out some long flap pieces that get overlayed on the exterior to form protective flaps to help keep water from coming through the teeth in the zipper. You will have room to lay those out next to your two main panels.

You should verify the inside perimeter of your pop-top before you purchase any fabric. My Trails West Campster might be slightly different than yours. But this figure should get you in the ball park for figuring out a basic cost planning.
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Old 07-18-2016, 11:41 AM   #2
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Name: K C
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This image shows where I am placing my 2 seams. In the previous posting above this one I mentioned that you don't have to buy but half as much fabric if you use 2 seams instead of 1. I have made my screened openings smaller than the original to increase the strength and stability of the canvas. I like designing in 3D CAD, great tool as you can see it and analyze if that is what your really want. Then I can create 2D measured drawings as well or just have my CAD program open and refer to the model as I layout and fabricate pieces.

There are two long panels each with a long side and a short side and then an extra length goes around the corner so that the seam does not end up in a corner.

The screens overlap the cut line for the zipper by 3/4 inch at each edge.
So the total screen size is 1 1/2" longer and wider than the rectangle you lay out for the zipper cut line.

My CAD model shows using a 5 inch radius for my upper zipper corners. It does need to be a generous radius for the zipper to travel the corners easily. It could be more than 5 inches but I think that is about right for the minimum of the radius. A 10 inch or even a 12 inch dinner plate would make a good template or of course you could draw one with a pencil compass and make a pattern out of cardboard. I will likely use a 6 inch radius as I have a heavy duty zipper and it could use that larger curve. But increasing the radius means I will likely have to add a little filler piece in the placket at those two upper corners to protect the zipper from water infiltration or else as I was already thinking about doing increase the width of the plackets.

When you cut the screens it is important to note when you go to cut screen material that the edge of the screen that will be at the lower end of the panel must have that lower edge placed right against the woven selvedge side edge of the screen material. That edge will not fray which is nice because then you don't have to turn under the edge or worry about those fibers coming unwoven. There is no placket covering along the bottom edge and it is important not to put one there as that allows rain to drain freely off the surface.

It is always important to ask yourself why things were designed in certain ways. In this case the selvedge edge of the screen and lack of placket at the bottom are designed that way to allow water to run off without entering the trailer when the opening is zipped up.

I am not showing the plackets in this posting, I will get to them in a follow up post.
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Old 07-18-2016, 02:41 PM   #3
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Name: Elizabeth
Trailer: TrailsWest
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Velcro vs zippers

A very timely thread...

My pop-top fabric has only two windows on the sides and the windows close with Velcro. The advantage is that you can have square corners since you don't have to worry about the curvature for the zippers.

Unfortunately, the implementation has some problems. I went camping at a ham convention over the weekend. While I was out visiting, a squall came through with strong winds and rain. The bottom edge of the window caught some water so I ended up with a wet spot on one of the cushions. Now I need to figure out how to fix this....
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Old 07-25-2016, 11:22 PM   #4
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth EWA View Post
A very timely thread...

My pop-top fabric has only two windows on the sides and the windows close with Velcro. The advantage is that you can have square corners since you don't have to worry about the curvature for the zippers.

Unfortunately, the implementation has some problems. I went camping at a ham convention over the weekend. While I was out visiting, a squall came through with strong winds and rain. The bottom edge of the window caught some water so I ended up with a wet spot on one of the cushions. Now I need to figure out how to fix this....
I am not worried about the sewing part

I do have the ability to sew zippers on a curve and do upholstery work including experience in sewing items such as tents. Always good to have that strong foundation in sewing skills to pop up out of the of the box when I need it, especially for a pop-top.
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Old 11-02-2016, 07:29 AM   #5
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
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Happy to report that despite having a record breaking Seattle October for the most rain ever my new popup top did not leak. There were many rainy and windy days in the last 2 months when I had the top up so I could do work inside of the Campster. Some days I even forgot to put the top down and it rained all night long with the top up in the open position, the flaps were zipped closed.

I did use a urethane seam sealant on the interior stitching lines of all the seams. The fabric I used came with a urethane coating on the interior side.

The flaps on the exterior side that overlap the zipper seem to be very adequate at keeping water from leaking through the teeth. Also I went with the original design of no seam across the lower edge of that zippered area which means the water was going to flow right on down the outside surface. But there is a stitching line at that location that holds the screen in position. So it is important to use that urethane seam sealer on the interior of the pop up fabric so no water comes in along that row of stitches. The brand I used is "Gear Aid Seam Grip Seam Sealer". I applied it with a small brush and the one ounce tube was enough for the whole job. You can see the interior in the photo below that I took before installing the pop up back onto the roof.
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Old 11-02-2016, 10:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth EWA View Post
A very timely thread...

My pop-top fabric has only two windows on the sides and the windows close with Velcro. The advantage is that you can have square corners since you don't have to worry about the curvature for the zippers.

Unfortunately, the implementation has some problems. I went camping at a ham convention over the weekend. While I was out visiting, a squall came through with strong winds and rain. The bottom edge of the window caught some water so I ended up with a wet spot on one of the cushions. Now I need to figure out how to fix this....
My window covers are also secured with Velcro. I had not thought about sideways rain getting in. I'll have to watch out for that or lower the top when it's rainy.

Karin, you have a fantastic mind and skills. Love following your posts.

Sent from my LG-V495 using Fiberglass RV mobile app
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Old 11-03-2016, 06:24 PM   #7
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Fish View Post
My window covers are also secured with Velcro. I had not thought about sideways rain getting in. I'll have to watch out for that or lower the top when it's rainy.

Karin, you have a fantastic mind and skills. Love following your posts.

Sent from my LG-V495 using Fiberglass RV mobile app
When I take on a renovation task I do take the time try to analyze why things were designed as they were before I leap in and try to improve them.

That is the case on the pop-up fabric construction. They did not put a seam or zipper or even a removable section at that lower edge because it will create leaks there. They did create protective flaps over the zippers because it keeps water from leaking through them.

I did not need to reinvent that wheel, the designers got it right the first time. They took their clue for the design from the makers of tents who have lots of experience at this stuff.
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