1 2
coll9947
coll9947 New Reader
9/19/10 1:41 p.m.

Scored a pair of CRX seats... but they're in the same bad shape that my originals are. However, they were free, so I'm thinking I should try my hand at reupholstering them myself. Any internet gems y'all have come across for upholstery guides/tips/how-to's?

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
9/19/10 1:59 p.m.

I did my Truck:

Here's the how-to: Take old seat out. Take old seat cover off. Take old seat cover apart at every seam. Label old pieces. Lay old pieces over new material (I used Spanish leather, $230/whole cow, delivered) on back side. Trace old piece as a pattern. Cut out. Sew together. Reinstall to seat, put seat back in vehicle. DONE.

I used my grandmother's hand crank Singer sewing machine, which she got new around 1926. It sounded just like a Honduh as I was sewing. I used a denim needle and upholstery thread. A regular sewing machine would probably work OK too, but with the hand crank or a foot crank type, you have better control of the stitch.

coll9947
coll9947 New Reader
9/19/10 2:58 p.m.

Nicely done, and thanks for the guide! Did you redo the foam as well? I'm hoping to add some lumbar support in the process.

44Dwarf
44Dwarf HalfDork
9/19/10 3:45 p.m.

HP books has a nice book at barnes and noble. some day i'll get around to trying it myself.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
9/19/10 4:01 p.m.

I should have taken a Before pic. The foam was showing through the large holes in the original cover. I took some egg crate mattress and cut out 2 pieces the size of the seat, one for the bottom and one for the top. I just put them over the original foam and put the new covers over them. The egg crate is the wavy pattern you see in the pic coming through. It isn't really noticeable now after a few months. I also went over the coils in the back and fixed up any broken parts. The seats "sit" a whole lot better now.

porksboy
porksboy Dork
9/19/10 6:45 p.m.

Good doctor pray tell,what did you use to take the old covers apart? I haven't had good luck with a purpose made seam cutter.

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 Dork
9/19/10 7:54 p.m.

I did the interior in my Opel GT. Pretty much what the good Dr said. Except I traced it out on poster board as templates. Made left and right easy, all I had to do was flip over the template. Plus most of the original interior vinyl was in bad shape anyway. I used a razorblade to cut the stitches (seams) apart. I also have an industrial sewing machine. Helps when going through a couple layers or more (such as beading in the seams). Have a friend that does interiors as a hobby and he taught me. Go slow and patience is the key with interiors. interior shot

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
9/19/10 7:58 p.m.

I used a seam splitter like from the sewing store, or a knife. Just go slow and be careful. But then, I've taken people apart too, so I have a lot of experience.

erohslc
erohslc Reader
9/19/10 7:59 p.m.

You can use some of the same tools as carbon fiber/fiberglass. The 'pizza cutter' and a cutting pad work well, easier to drive than a razor or Xacto. Go to the fabric section at WalMart, a craft shop, or a sewing store.

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
9/19/10 8:07 p.m.

Found out over the years that denser foam makes a more comfortable seat. You can use the less dense stuff to 'build up' a seat, just put it under the more dense stuff.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
9/19/10 8:37 p.m.

Some good sewing scissors work well on the material. Even the leather I used was no match for a high quality sewing scissors.

Woody
Woody SuperDork
9/19/10 9:05 p.m.

Here's what I know about DIY upholstery:

Buy Hog Ring Pliers.

I've done a few small jobs where I've either re-used the old rings or used cable ties. But recently, I did a foamectomy on a Miata seat. In the middle of removing dozens of old hog rings, I stopped, went to eBay and bought a pair of hog ring pliers along with a bag of 2000 rings. They cost a bit more than I had wanted to spend (maybe $39 with shipping) but I was amazed at how easy they made the job. It was as if the tool was made for upholstery work.

Hog ring pliers are one of those tools that I had heard and thought about for 25 years, but never bought. I should have gotten them a long time ago. I no longer fear upholstery work.

Photobucket

porksboy
porksboy Dork
9/19/10 9:23 p.m.

Ive done ready made reupholstery before, Hog ring pliers make all the difference in the world. Dont skimp and buy cheap ones. I have sewn garments, bags, pillows, etc. Ive even done cross stitch and quilting by hand. Hey Im a moder man. Ive not sewn anything heavier than denim. I realy want to give it a try. Any reccomendations for vinyl to use for a first attempt? What about welting or beading in at the seams, where do I get that? My local notions stores are all old ladies that think satin is the ONLY material worth working in.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
9/20/10 8:23 a.m.

The beading at the seams you make yourself. You can buy string "just the right size" for that, then you fold over a strip of whatever material you're using and sew it all together. I didn't do the beading on my Truck because my sewing needle didn't like going through 4 or more layers.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk Reader
9/20/10 8:39 a.m.

If you look around, you can find beading attachments for the older sewing machines.The attachment allows you to feedthe monofilament and a strip of material intothe machine and it comes out nice and even. I've used my grandmothers old machine (a 1950 vintage Stitchmaster), which works much better than my wife's newer Kenmore. The old machines just seem to have more power to push through heavier materials. The only thing to watch for when using the old upholstery as a pattern, is the old stuff has stretched somewhat over time. New OEM seats are normally sent through an oven to get the vinyl to conform to the seat shape and take out wrinkles. Do a test fit and you may find that you can make your pattern a touch smaller to get a nice tight fit.

triumph5
triumph5 HalfDork
9/20/10 9:29 a.m.

How about replacing a convertible top on a spitfire?--not to hijack the thread. But, OMG, with no garage to keep it in while the top "stretches in the sun" it looks like a nightmare on my '79,

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 Dork
9/20/10 11:28 a.m.

Most fabric stores have a section in the back with vinyl and thick upholstry material. Beading material can be found is the trim section and it's just like what has been said. Cut a strip of vinyl/cloth wide enough, fold over the beading cord and sew, then sew into the seams when sewing two pieces together. Yes 4 layers thick. Which is why I use and industrial machine. Can be picked up cheap on eBay or C-list sometimes. Or do what I did and find a sewing factory moving out of country and buy one of their old ones. Mine is an old Singer w/o reverse which does make lock-stitch a bit more difficult. With a little practice you can learn to make up for the stretching. +100 on the HogRing pliers, worth it in assembly. I've also made covers for outdoor furniture on mine. As for a convertible top. SOL, I wouldn't attempt to make when they are available. A heater inside might be the only option if carefully applied. Or wait till spring.

porksboy
porksboy Dork
9/20/10 6:54 p.m.

What thread do you guys use for the seams?

Keven
Keven New Reader
9/20/10 7:20 p.m.

How can I get a piece of vinyl to conform to this ?

No matter how I stretch, I get wrinkles. Where can I get a super stretchy vinyl?

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
9/20/10 7:21 p.m.
porksboy wrote: What thread do you guys use for the seams?
Dr.Hess said: I used a denim needle and upholstery thread.

That would be UPHOLSTERY THREAD.

porksboy
porksboy Dork
9/20/10 7:24 p.m.
Dr. Hess wrote:
porksboy wrote: What thread do you guys use for the seams?
Dr.Hess said: I used a denim needle and upholstery thread.

That would be UPHOLSTERY THREAD.

DOH! I missed it on my first reading. Maybe I should go back to second grade and learn that this time.

44Dwarf
44Dwarf HalfDork
9/20/10 7:32 p.m.
Keven wrote: How can I get a piece of vinyl to conform to this ? No matter how I stretch, I get wrinkles. Where can I get a super stretchy vinyl?

heat gun and contact cement

Keven
Keven New Reader
9/20/10 7:35 p.m.

Nope and nope, not with this vinyl at least.....unless I am doing it wrong.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn SuperDork
9/20/10 7:43 p.m.

For taking apart the seams, use a regular seam ripper that's available at any sewing goods store:

The upholstery seams probably use a lock stitch, so you'll have to go along the seam cutting each stitch one by one. It's tedious, but something you can do while sitting on the couch watching TV and drinking a beer.

As for the thing in the picture (I can't tell what it is or what the actual shape is), is it a piece of foam or is it something rigid? I had to recover the armrests on my 1961 Bonneville, and to get a good fit around the foam pads I first cut a form out of wood the same shape as the pad. I then used a second piece of wood cut to the same shape to clamp the vinyl down on top of the form, and used a heat gun to soften and stretch the vinyl around the form.

porksboy
porksboy Dork
9/20/10 8:02 p.m.

Heat the vinyl then put it in a vacuum bag and suck it down.

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
jFuBj2oODUOc1Zif1Mji16OVm0NIjxFh