Sewing for Beginners: How I Made Waxed Canvas Window Covers For My Camper
When Eric Hockman couldn’t find truck-topper window covers for sale, he hacked his own. Here, he shows us how to do it.
Two years ago, my mom gave me a sewing machine for my birthday. I had asked for one so I could learn how to sew and add another tool and skillset to the arsenal. The machine patiently sat preserved in its box for the first year or so as life changes unfolded, leading to my significant other, Donna, and I uprooting ourselves from the Front Range and moving to the Western Slope. Once we moved into our now-current place, I finally had an appropriate spot to set the machine up, so I pulled it out of its box and set the shiny new machine on a table in our little studio space. Fast forward another eleven months and the machine still remained untouched, collecting dust as it sat on the table waiting to be threaded and run once and for all.
Back in 2015, I came up with an idea that was spawned from sleeping in the bed of my pickup truck while temporarily living in southern California. I had a topper with lightly tinted windows but no window covers for privacy, which often instilled insecurity that I might get called out, or worse—towed away while sleeping—for boondocking along the bougie streets of Laguna Beach. So, once I returned to Colorado I went to the drawing board to come up with a solution. I wanted window covers that were durable, easily adjustable to allow the sliding windows in my topper to vent, and as low profile as possible so as to not take up much space while installed or stowed away.
I searched the web to see what other people were doing but nothing struck me as the right fit for what I wanted. So, I came up with my own design, which utilized duck canvas and snaps to secure the covers precisely around the edges of the window frames in my topper. I didn’t know how to sew at the time, so I enlisted the help of my mom and got to work on making the templates out of cardboard, then gathering the supplies I needed from the local fabric and hardware stores.
Version one of the canvas window covers turned out great with the help of my mom, but eventually I sold that topper and found a raised one to provide more headroom in the bed of the truck. So went the window covers to the new owner and I was faced with needing to create version two of the time-tested design. Over the course of a week and a half, fiddling with my new sewing machine, remembering how my mom pinned and ironed the fabric, and retracing the same steps I took to make the first covers, I dove into the project with an eager appetite to recreate my original design. The new ones are nearly identical to V1, but this time I decided to take them a step further by applying wax for added protection against the sun, moisture, and grime. Here’s the step-by-step DIY for you to feast your eyes on, and dare I say, have a go at making your own bespoke window covers.