Uphostery - first attempt at recovering a car seat.

Paint, body preparation and modification, interior work and electrical
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Grinder
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Uphostery - first attempt at recovering a car seat.

Post by Grinder » 05 Jan 2019 01:12

I've got a little bit of experience fixing up a couple of antique chairs so I thought I'd try my hand at some automotive upholstery. I bought an industrial sewing machine so I'm kind of commited now :) The plan is to do the interior on the 4dr 510 but thought I'd practice on my daughter's 240SX interior. The seats are BEAT! I can only make them better than what they are and that's not saying much - a piece of duct tape is a vast improvement :)

The 4dr 510 and future upholstery recipient :)
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So lets start with some before pictures. Like I said I can only improve on this :)
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Grinder
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Re: Uphostery - first attempt at recovering a car seat.

Post by Grinder » 05 Jan 2019 01:28

I won't put all the pictures I took here but I'll try and keep it as step by step as possible so you can see the process. Take lots of pictures as you take it apart. Sometimes there is something you need to go back as reference. In this picture you can see where the top stitch was done so that you replicate it when you sew it back together and it lays properly.

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Bottom of the seat - you can see where the hog rings attach the seat cover and hold it in place.

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On furniture you use staples into the frame to hold the fabric in place. On a car seat you use hog rings and wire in a pocket sewn into the cover.
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or a reinforcement of some sort like these plastic sew on strips
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I'm reusing the wires from whats left of the seat covers so I make sure they are labeled. You can make your own of course. It looks like they bend the ends back to keep it from poking through.
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Grinder
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Re: Uphostery - first attempt at recovering a car seat.

Post by Grinder » 05 Jan 2019 01:35

Label and pictures.... if you don't need them no problem but once you're scratching you head it's too late :)
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I tried ironing the leather to make a template but a lot of them have a coating similar to vinyl and it will shrink and pucker so I use weights from my barbells to cold press them as flat as possible. Once that's done I stapled them to some heavy cardboard to make templates.
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Grinder
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Re: Uphostery - first attempt at recovering a car seat.

Post by Grinder » 05 Jan 2019 01:50

Now the fun part - time to get creative. My daughter wants to paint the car powder blue so the theme is mainly black with pink and blue for the interior.

A blank slate. Vinyl on top glued to 1/2" foam then a bottom layer of fabric glued to the other side of the foam to make a vinyl/foam/fabric sandwich. Layout is done in chalk - it doesn't stain and is easily erasable. Just sharpen a stick of chalk on a piece of sandpaper to get a chisel edge to do fine lines.
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I haven't seen this anywhere but I thought I'd try it. Using a bamboo basket weave pattern embossed vinyl and glued diamonds onto the panel with contact cement. You need to be very precise with the cutting so a ruler and Olfa blade works very well.

Before gluing down textured vinyl on base
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Panel sewn. You can see how the 1/2 foam sandwich makes nice pleats in the panel.
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Close up of the diamonds
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Grinder
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Re: Uphostery - first attempt at recovering a car seat.

Post by Grinder » 05 Jan 2019 01:59

So I start watching some YouTube videos so I can try and figure out how to do this and of course I decide to go with a blind stitch because it looks cool. Problem is that it works for one row of diamonds but the material starts to bunch up if you add another set top and bottom.

Layout for blind stitch
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Too much puckering :/
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But a chance to see what the upper panel will look like on the seat
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Do over on the panel. Colour is just washed out with the camera and lighting. There is a problem with the stitch on the bottom RHS diamond which I have since fixed. Added a second row of top stitching.
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Grinder
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Re: Uphostery - first attempt at recovering a car seat.

Post by Grinder » 05 Jan 2019 02:09

Now that I've got the main panel for the back of the seat done I'm going to do the seat. These are the two main panels and the majority of the work. My daughter and I decided on textured stripes to match the diamonds on the seat back. The angles are the same as the diamonds and the pleats will match up to the seat back.

Test layout
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Precision fitment is critical here. Not sure if this is the way to do it but it looks sharp in the end.
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Kind of wrinkly from manhandling around the sewing machine.
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Some close ups to see the stitch work.
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Colour is washed out but more detailed shots.
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Rough idea of the main panels.
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defdes
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Re: Uphostery - first attempt at recovering a car seat.

Post by defdes » 05 Jan 2019 08:32

Nice craft there my man. After this, the 510 should be too difficult.

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Grinder
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Re: Uphostery - first attempt at recovering a car seat.

Post by Grinder » 06 Jan 2019 23:43

Progress on back panel

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Byron510
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Re: Uphostery - first attempt at recovering a car seat.

Post by Byron510 » 07 Jan 2019 06:55

Kurk, thanks for the detailed write up - very cool as few would ever attempt this undertaking.

Are new foam inserts available for these seats, I’m guessing the drivers seat was beyond help in its old condition! Or are you lucky enough that another pass side foam insert work on the drivers side seat?

Keep us posted on the progress, looks great!

Byron
Love people and use things,
because the opposite never works.

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Grinder
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Re: Uphostery - first attempt at recovering a car seat.

Post by Grinder » 10 Jan 2019 23:36

Thanks :) I did go way overboard trying a bunch of different things to see if I could do it. I'll call it Bosozuku style lol.

I found a used seat for $20 but I'm waiting to hear back from the guy. It's about $85 for foam pieces to rebuild the bottom seat piece so I'll try and track down another seat instead. Driver or passenger side should work.
Last edited by Grinder on 10 Jan 2019 23:42, edited 1 time in total.

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Grinder
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Re: Uphostery - first attempt at recovering a car seat.

Post by Grinder » 10 Jan 2019 23:40

Test layout for grommets.
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Installed
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Test fit - hog rings not installed yet
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Grommets with inserts
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Cleaning the glue gun can be a pain. Work smarter - not harder!
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Seat bottom panels starting to go together
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Heinrich
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Re: Uphostery - first attempt at recovering a car seat.

Post by Heinrich » 11 Jan 2019 03:03

well done.
Progress is slow, but it is progress non the less.

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Byron510
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Re: Uphostery - first attempt at recovering a car seat.

Post by Byron510 » 11 Jan 2019 08:21

I love the tape over the gun - I totally get it!

Love the grommets - awesome old school JDM touch.

Keep em coming, great thread.

Byron
Love people and use things,
because the opposite never works.

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VelvetHammer
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Re: Uphostery - first attempt at recovering a car seat.

Post by VelvetHammer » 19 Jan 2019 19:44

Beyond impressive! Great job!

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