Windscreen Instructions

Materials Needed for One Windscreen

_____ 5 yards of 45" 50/50 poly/cotton fabric, RED

_____ 5 yards of 45" 50/50 poly/cotton fabric, BLACK

_____ 10 feet (120") of lightweight flat nylon webbing

_____ Matching thread

_____ Machine sewing needle for woven fabric

_____ Walking foot (optional -- only the most avid sewers have them.)

Choosing the Fabric

When you go shopping, you will be looking for a nicely woven, medium weight fabric in a 50/50 poly cotton blend that will not fade from sun exposure. (100% cotton fades badly.) We have used these various fabrics in the past: poly/cotton sheeting, broadcloth, sportswear sheeting and heavy weight batiste. Different fabric stores will label this type of fabric with different names -- as long as the fabric is plain weave, medium weight or sheet weight and is 50/50 polyester/cotton, it is suitable for windscreen construction.

As far as choosing colors, black is always black, but be sure to choose a true red (more of a blood color) and avoid orange-y reds if at all possible.

Constructing the Windscreen

Black fabric

Take your black fabric (5 yd. X 45in.). Cut (or snip and tear) a 27 in. lengthwise piece off the yardage -- this will be the top half of the windscreen. The remaining 18 in. x 5 yd. piece is going to be used for side ties.\

Take the 18 in. width and cut it in half widthwise, then cut (or snip and tear) two (2) 4 in. x 2½ yd. strips. Fold each of the strips in half lengthwise and sew them shut. You now have two (2) tubes, 2½ yards in length. Cut each tube in half, making four (4) pieces 4" x 45". Turn the tubes right side out and tuck in the raw edges. Stitch all the tube ends shut, and set the side ties aside. (SEE DIAGRAM)


Take the nylon webbing and cut it into twenty (20) 6" long pieces. Using a lighter or candle, melt the ends of the nylon pieces so that they will not fray. These will be the top tabs of the windscreen. Set the top tabs aside.

Set out the remaining black panel, 27" x 5 yd. Decide which edge of the panel will be the top, and fold the top edge over one inch, then one inch again to form a triple layer hem (for strength). Stitch closed. Now the top tabs can be attached to the panel.

Lay out the black panel. Starting about 4 inches from the short (side) edge, place the tabs along the 1" hem, spacing them approximately 8" to 10" apart along the fabric. Temporarily pin each in place. When you are happy with the placement, you will almost be ready to stitch.

Go back, and starting with the first tab, unpin it and fold it in half to form a loop. Sandwich the hem between the two tab ends so that the loop extends about 2½" to 3" above the panel hem. Align carefully. Make sure before stitching that the tab ends DO NOT extend down past the hem onto the single layer of fabric. If the tabs are erroneously sewn onto the thinner fabric, the stress will cause serious ripping! Re-pin the tab carefully, then sew a boxed "X", stitching down both tab ends onto the hem. (SEE DIAGRAM) Repeat this for the remaining tabs, making sure that there are four inches at both ends of the panel. Set the black panel with tabs aside.

Red Fabric

Take your 5 yd. x 45" red fabric and measure, then sew, a one inch, triple-layer hem lengthwise along the long edge of the panel. This will form the bottom edge of the windscreen.

The Joining

Take the two panels (red and black) and, making sure that the top and bottom hems will be facing the same direction, sew the two unhemmed edges together using a flat-felled seam. For those of you unfamiliar with a flat-felled seam, see the instructions at the end of these directions). Please remember to change your bobbin thread to match the color of the panel that will be underneath the seam as you sew.

Now, turn over the side edges of the joined panels (now referred to as the windscreen) to form a one inch triple layer hem on both sides. Sew the hems, beginning with the red sections, using red thread. Stop at the juncture of the two panels and switch to black thread. Continue stitching to the end, squaring the corners as much as possible.

The Ties and Finishing Touches

Take the four set-aside tubes of black fabric. These are to be used as side ties for the windscreen. These ties will be placed on the sides of the windscreen, two on each side, six to eight inches from the top and bottom, respectively. (Yes, a black tie will be on the red bottom -- it’s okay.)

Take one tie and fold it in half. Measure down approximately six to eight inches on a side and slip the folded tie over the side edge of the windscreen so that the windscreen edge lies flush in the fold of the tie with the tie ends facing in toward the center of the windscreen. (SEE DIAGRAM) Make sure your machine is threaded for black. Following the side hem stitch line, sew down the straight line to initially attach the tie. THEN, flip the tie back on itself, the ends facing away from the center of the windscreen. Now stitch a boxed "X" through all five layers, making sure to stitch the tie down within the hemmed area only. Repeat for the other three ties.

Make sure that your windscreen looks like the example. If you’d like, take an indelible ink marker and sign your name in the corner so everyone will know you made it. You’re done! Thank you!


How to Sew a Flat-Felled Seam

When sewing a normal seam, you match up the edges of the fabric and sew. For a flat-felled seam, ‘mismatch’ the edges so that one edge is sticking out about ½" beyond the other edge. (SEE DIAGRAM) When stitching together, the seam allowance will be 1/4" for the lower edge; it will be 3/4" for the upper edge. After stitching the seam, fold the 3/4" allowance back over the 1/4" seam allowance, tucking the smaller seam allowance inside. Stitch as closely as possible to the fold in the seam allowance. All the raw edges will be tucked inside, and you will have what looks like a blue jeans seam.