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Anyone had a go at upholstering, doesn't look that hard?


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Seriously though, after missing out on a couple of original interiors (ebay) I'm now starting to look into redoing the interior myself. Looking at videos on YouTube and sewing with a machine really doesn't look that difficult and the prices professionals charge for upholstery is ridiculous. So what you recon, learn how to upholster myself, would save a massive amount of cash and I would have the freedom to tweek the style myself?

Edited by CharlieCroker
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I had my Gen1 honda insight retrimmed a few years ago. I thought about doing the same then and did a fair amount of research on it... I went full leather at the time - in fact leather everything - and the skill required shouldn't be under estimated.

 

I'm sure it's not too hard if you know the tricks of the trade, a bit like plastering I guess, however the amount of material you will need to redo work and the time this would take might make it prohibitive unless you want to develop this skill which would be very satisfying I think...

 

You will certainly need an industrial machine to get through the different layers of material and a lot of space to cut the patterns out of the material.

 

My insight cost me £4500 but seats were only £650 at the time - all the other fidly bits ate cash (headlining, door cards, carpets trimmed in leather, dashboard etc). The guy that did my car was also doing a Supra which, I have to say, was a masterpeice with lots of stiching which had to be done by hand, and this cost the owner £15,000! - he had put a 5 litre v8 into it and was rumoured to have spent £50K and it still was not finished!!! So it can definately save you money.

 

On a related note my wife has just brought an industrial sewing machine for £200 since we are building our own sofa's - these are more forgiving since you can just staple excess material out of the way and this creates tension in the right places but the pattern still needs to be right. There is no way to do this on car interiors so the pattern needs to be spot on complete with piping... I watch in amazment as my wife runs something up with piles of material all around her and it seems like witchcraft when something in 3 dimensions comes out of it all!

:scared:

I guess it's just not my thing  but I would love to see your results if you do it

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Bloody hell, are you trying to scare me off! Undoubtedly though there is a massive amount of skill involved that I concur, but looking at it logically each piece of the elites interior can be, from what I can see, seperated into sections. From what I can tell the front seat headrests and door cards look to be the most difficult to get right. However if I were to make a template for each piece and then make a basic cloth prototype, which gets fitted to see where the faults are I recon it could be done.

Thing is I've been thinking about learning this trade for a long while I'm fed up of over the top quotes and then finding something you don't like. I've seen a few other guys on other car forums do it and there results have been amazing. I think it's one of those things were you just havecto dive in and see where you pop up!

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Thing is I've been thinking about learning this trade for a long while I'm fed up of over the top quotes 

 

I think it would be a great skill but to get the finish it will be a lot of work. You may then find the quotes are not all that over the top. 

 

I was going to do my head lining. My mum used to be a seamstress for a firm making shirts and trousers. When I showed her the area around the clock she said it would have been a nightmare. Nick Fulcher said he would help me do it myself. In the end I  opted to let him do it. It cost me about £320.00 plus vat with the sun visors. I thought it was a bit steep but I found the job just fitting quite difficult and in hindsight with the visors was a good price.

 

Buddsy

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"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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  • Gold FFM

Dave Freeman and his missus did his SE. total novices, and it looks really good.

British Fart to Florida, Nude to New York, Dunce to Denmark, Numpty to Newfoundland.  And Shitfaced Silly Sod to Sweden.

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If you want to do leather, you need a skiver to thin the leather on the edges. You can get a machine but there about a grand, or you can use a skiving knife, but these take practice. Leather blunts the blades very quickly. So you need to sharpen the blade a lot on an oil stone. You could pick up a singer sewing machine from a charity shop quite cheap.

If you want leather Martrim do hides at about £80 a half hide, this is automotive hide.

I make books for a living so use leather a lot.

Chris

Amateurs built the Ark

Professionals built the Titanic

"I haven't ridden in cars pulled by cows before" "Bullocks, Mr.Belcher" "No, I haven't, honestly"

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Cheers guys, not got leather in mind for my interior instead I was thinking of doing vinyl sides with cloth center panel seats. I've just been watching some more videos on YouTube and there is a hell of a lot of skill involved however it's more of a case of working out what pattern works best, in other words it's all in the preperation the actual stiching doesn't seem (pardon the pun) to take that long and pipping looks difficult. What a skill to have under your belt though, would open up all sorts of possibilities.

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 Having only done my carpets, I can't say how hard full upholstering would be but if I were to redo upholstery again, I would definitely do it myself. Get a second hand machine, some trial leather and start  practicing. 

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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I have messed about with my fabric trim at length, replacing the lost foam backing in a rather dubious way [i'm not recommending that approach to any one :-) ]

 

My feeling is that remaking all fabric seat covers using a decent original set as a template ought not be that bad.   The stretchiness of the nylon fabric should make it much easier to produce a wrinkle-free result, especially around  the curves at the top of the seat / bottom of the headrest.  I suspect doing it in a non-stretchy fabric, like leather, would require a lot more accuracy, as well as much better sewing equipment.

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Ok so I've decided to teach myself this trade (black art) or what ever you want to call it and was wondering what sewing machine would be best, Singer is what I know to be the leading brand so would any of you know which model to look out for?

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Where from, so thats about £700 for the whole interior? I've been quoted that just for two seats! Anyway back to sewing, just been on a 'hotrod' forum and the guys there reckon you need to find a vintage singer sewing machine with most importantly a 'walking foot'. This foot enable you to push through upto 5 layers of material as each stich is held inplace while the cloth/vinyl/leather goes past the head. Apparently the vintage singers are far more robust powerful and can handle thicker threads. So thats what I'll be looking for.

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You can get them in charity shops they always have them about £80

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Amateurs built the Ark

Professionals built the Titanic

"I haven't ridden in cars pulled by cows before" "Bullocks, Mr.Belcher" "No, I haven't, honestly"

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I have a book on the shelf which has a section on interior trim.  It has quite a bit about cutting and stitching  of carpets, seats etc. Might be worth getting a copy if you are doing your own interior. It was published  in 1979 and the isbn no is 0 85147 889 1  there are a few on amazon.

post-1261-0-55238600-1398101893.jpg

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I used headliner fabric when I did the doors, headliner, headliner panels, and rear inserts.  It is a thin synthetic with a 5mm foam backing.  You almost cannot make a mess of it.

 

It doesn't wear well, so doing seats and the like is out.

 

It is however, dead simple, follows curves like a champ, slightly insulates,  and is about as easy to use as upholstery gets.  

 

 

post-15035-0-97386100-1398142968.jpg

 

 

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Charlie,

you don't need a walking foot machine. If you can get one for that price it (or a walking needle machine) would make it easier, but you'll manage without - just make sure your machine will handle the thicker thread size you need for this job.

I did mine in Connolly hide with a walking needle machine and yes, it was a bit of a pig, especially around the clock area as Buddsy said..

Did it about 5 years ago, cost then was c.£550 for all the materials inc foam backing. However, with current YouTube info and this forum, I think you're right to just go for it.

Do a seat first; it's not the easiest part, but includes most of the techniques you'll need and can be refitted to check without gluing into place. Remove the current seat, rip the seam threads and make patterns from tissue paper, making sure to keep the seam depth even. At the end of the day, if you still have to get someone to do a few of the more awkward bits, you'll still have saved a shed load and have the satisfaction of having done it yourself.

Blue Peter moment... Here's one I did earlier (bit of pattern paper still need cleaning off the seams):

IMG_0267_zps8d62dd7f.jpg

OTOH, if you fancy a month long trip to Malta...?

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haha that being said my interior pieces are still not finished and its been over a year but not rushing the upholsterer to get the work done!

 

I think my seats should be ready within a month .. I'll post pics :)

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Vin Taylor

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Bloody hell DaveyT, look great your seats! I'm 100% certain I want to have ago and teach myself at least the basics, so am currently looking for a sewing machine. Personally I think it's all in the preparation much like so many other jobs in auto restoration, the templates have to be spot on so if I have to draw them 1000 times I will.

"Take me to my tailor", Charlie ;-)

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Well, I did the carpets with a standard (semi industrial as most are anyway) machine, no walking foot.

 

BUT if I were to sew £100s worth of leather myself, I would invest in the best machine I could get :-

 

walking foot option

double stitching option

hand operation option for those tight corners - honestly, you dont want to go at 100mph on these

ability to take proper leather needles. 

 

Afterall, you can easily sell it again for probably little loss, P&P only I bet.

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"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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Of course not cheap! Just checked and these machines start at £800 up

 

I would see who sells them on ebay local to you and give them a call direct to see what they have/would recommend.

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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