I was fortunate enough to be raised in a family that has craft. Craft in the sense that building, or weaving has been practiced as a trade to support us. I watched my family, immediate and other wise, build, design, and fabricate all manner of things. Looms, masks, gas powered skate boards, metal foundries, rugs, blankets, houses, boats, sails, electric cars, and solar hot water heaters were all build in or around the house. For better or worse it has left me with the impression that you don't have to be a "professional" to do all kinds of things. I also worked for a local loft for a year before undertaking Pendragon's main.
At the time Pendragon's main was the only sail that I had designed, and the only sail that I had lofted so things turned out very solid, but the final shape is deeper than I wanted. I used the Sail Makers Apprentice for the rules for generating the board seaming that produced the shape, my tall ship experience to tell me how I wanted the sail finished (hand roped, sewn in reef points, webbed corner rings, and my commercial loft time for how to put the thing generally together.
lofting on the floor of Home Port Learning Center during their spring break
Preparing to cut tapers in the luff seams
Its roughly 350 square feet, I think, built out of 8 oz Bainbrige SuperCruise, I hand roped the sail, webbed in all the corner rings, and the reef tack and clews and hand sewn rings. All built on one of SailRites machines, which did really well except the corners where there were 6-8 layers of clothe + the webbing for the rings. I've build about a dozen sails with the little SailRite the smallest about 50 ft^2, and the largest about 650 ft^2, and I have nothing but good things to say if you are mostly doing your own sails. I now use a Pfaff 238 for all my sail projects, and it was worth every penny.
Before trimming the gaff and adjusting the peak halyard pennant.
above-sewing corner patches, which can be a real struggle in heavier cloth
below-hand roping in my friends condo