Making a cloth sail is easy. follow the steps.
This shows how to make a loose footed square rigged sail. The techniques can be applied to any type of sail. Due to the different processes and amount of tools required, the instruction will be shown in 3 phases.
About this creation
Phase 1: paper mock-up, Step 1: Get this stuff: Boat model, various rods of your choice, ruler, pencil/pen, graph paper, scissors/exacto knife
Phase 1, step 2. Put your mast together. For a loose footed square rig sail it looks like this. If you want a different kind of rig, figure it out.
Here are some measurements of 1/8" diameter rods with the longest sail that will reasonably fit on that rod.
A true heretic gets some 1/8" diameter ABS rod from a hobby store for custom sails.
Phase 1, step 3. draw the sail on graph paper. I approve.
Phase 1, Step 4. cut it out. Fit it on your model. I approve.
Phase 2: Make the sail. Step 1: Get this stuff: Your model. woven fabric. DO NOT GET KNIT! a pine board. push pins. finishing nails 1/16" in diameter. hammer. ruler. scissors. pen/pencil. clear nail polish. Note: do not let wet nail polish touch ABS for any reason, ever.
Phase 2, step 2. tack down your woven fabric. do it tightly. make sure you can get to the selvage edge. Make sure the threads in the weave are square, not pulled on an angle to each other.
Phase 2, step 3. measure out a rectangle the same size as the paper one you did earlier. Measure twice, draw once. You should use pencil. I used pen so you can see it in the photos.
Phase 2, step 4. From the selvage edge, measure 1/8" in from the edge and 1/8" in from each side. Make dots at these two measurements. Then make a series of dots spaces 1/2" apart. Also make dots at the two other corners that are 1/8" in from each line.
Phase 2, step 5. drive in finishing nails where you made dots. These will make holes for string.
Phase 2, step 6. go outside. Using nail polish, paint a generous line along the lines you make for the edge of the sail and around all the finishing nails. let it dry. This seals the weave and keeps the fabric from unraveling.
When the nail polish dries, take out the nails and the tacks. Cut out the sail. If your holes are looking frayed, push a pushpin through and work it around a bit. You may want to paint some more nail polish around the holes to make doubly sure they don't fray.
Phase 3: rigging the sail. step 1. get this stuff: your model. nail polish. embroidery thread or any thick thread that looks like miniature rope. scissors. Note: any time you cut thread, coat the end with nail polish, work it into the thread, and let it dry before using it.
Phase 3, Step 2. Tie lengths of thread through the holes as shown. Make slip knots. Pull them tight but not too tight. The knot may rip through the fabric. trim the excess off and coat the knot with nail polish to stop it from coming undone.
Phase 3, step 3. Cut a length of string about 12" long. make a slip knot in one end. Secure it to the end of the boom that has the lance handle. Pass the string through the corner hole in the top of the sail. Then continue making the string spiral around the mast and through the holes in the sail. At the other end of the mast, wrap the string around itself a few times, then secure it somewhere.