Jerry jugs for diesel or gasoline sit on deck on many cruising boats, especially those crossing oceans. However the plastic needs protection from the hot sun so covers are pretty important for long-term longevity. But let me admit I hate doing jerry jug covers. They are fussy with cut-outs and shaped areas for the spouts and are not decorative, simply utilitarian. I did a series of them for Phoenix (our previous boat) and I guess they went with Phoenix. Jon has been pushing me to do three more for the jugs we have.
After some experimentation I ended up with a two part cover – a bottom part that is simply a large rectanglar cylinder and a top part shaped with darts. After the basic cover was made I cut holes to reveal the top and side handles. Many jerry jugs have only one handle, but these have two. I protected the edges of the holes and the bottom hem with bias tape. It took some more experimentation to figure out how small I could make the holes and still edge them with the bias tape. I used Sunbrella for durability.
If you think you have exactly the same jugs that I have, you can use the measurements below. Or measure your jugs and make your own adjustments. Note that as the jugs sit and get warm in the sun they swell outward so be sure to allow a loose fit 2-3″ larger around than the jug. The idea is that these covers should drop onto the jugs, not be wrestled on.
Size of Jugs: 15″ x 8″ wide by 19″ tall
Cut size of Sunbrella: 45×16 (body) and 22×13 (top)
- Mark a line 1″ up from the long (bottom) edge. Create a 1/2″ hem by folding the edge up to the line. Seam-stick, staple, or fold with a seam creaser tool.
- Sew the bottom hem along the marked, long side.
- Fold the body piece in half along the long side.
- Sew a half inch seam along the 16″ edge making a tube.
- Mark the centers of each side of the top piece.
- On the two long side mark the corners at 7 1/2″ either side of the center mark – the long sides will be 15″ between the marks
- On the two short sides mark the corners at 3 1/2″ either side of the center mark – the short sides will be 7″ between the marks.
Sew the pieces together (Lazy Women’s Darts)
Now you will sew the top to the bottom with four seams, one for each side of the jug. When you are done the top piece will be attached with extra material sticking out at the four corners – these will become the darts. Trust me.
Tape, pin or staple RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER in the following manner:
- Position one of the short sides of the top piece so that the center mark aligns with the seam of the body piece. Sew this 7″ edge with a 1/2″ seam. There will be quite a lot of material left not sewed down (this will become a dart)
- Go to the adjacent long side of the top piece and position the mark you made immediately next to edge you just sewed on, ignoring the fold of top material left over. Repeat for all four seams. You will sew a 7″ side, 15″ side, 7″ side, 15″ side, each side touching at the corners and leaving a big corner piece sticking out. (see drawing above)
- Poke the four remaining corner pieces to the wrong side. Sew each dart from the corner made by joining the body piece and the top piece up at an angle to form the dart. The short ends should finish up with the darts about 3″ apart at the top.
- Trim the excess material of the darts.
Optional: Make Holes and Trim
It is not essential to make holes where the handles are, but it does make them easier to pick up and move (without removing the cover) and to secure on deck with rope. If you are edging with bias tape note that the smallest hole I’ve been able to edge neatly is an oval about 4″ long and 3″ tall. Not a rectangle – the corners are just too difficult. You might want to make a pattern in this shape so that all your holes are the same size.
I strongly recommend using a bias tape binder for this step, it makes it possible if you only have two hands. If you have 4 or 5 hands, go for it without the tool! Sailrite has a nice bias tape binder that swings out of the way when you don’t need it. It is for 3/4″ bias tape. There is an instructional video on using the binder on YouTube or the Sailrite site. I used 3/4″ Sunbrella bias tape in light grey.
- Put the completed cover on the jug and, using your hole pattern mark a shape on each side of each handle, trying to keep the holes aligned with one another.
- Cut out the holes.
- Cut bias binding long enough to go around the holes plus an extra 4-6″.
- Using a bias binder sew the bias tape to the edges of the holes. Go slowly, this is a little tricky.
- You may also want to bind the bottom edge of the cover as I did.
I hope these were helpful instructions. Let me know your results in the comments below! Or share your methods for more good ideas for our readers.