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Dusty82 09-24-2007 06:04 PM

The Chevy Truck Bench Seat
Ok, I got the seat out of the truck, and semi-stripped down to take to class tomorrow night. As promised, I started a project journal to chronicle my adventures in upholstering a seat for the first time. I won't say that I'll be doing it myself, because my instructor, Bob, and his assistant, Renee, will be helping me along the way. Bob has given me permission to take pictures in class as long as I don't disrupt things with it, so I'll be sure to take pictures of every step I can possibly take pictures of.

The project journal is here:

I invite your feedback. If anyone has any questions, comments, suggestions, words of warning, pats on the back, or demands for payment, please don't hesitate to post something here or shoot me a PM.

richard stewart 3rd 09-28-2007 08:54 PM

Hi Dusty,
What are your plans after school,
a home based upholstery shop?
My seat repairing skills stop when
I get the seats out.
Good luck, & don't forget the updates,

horvath 09-29-2007 04:11 PM

Hey, Mark

I'm gonna enjoy this project journal -- thanks for posting.

Dusty82 09-30-2007 02:38 PM


Originally Posted by richard stewart 3rd
Hi Dusty,
What are your plans after school,
a home based upholstery shop?
My seat repairing skills stop when
I get the seats out.
Good luck, & don't forget the updates,

I'll be updating the journal today. I had to put new batteries in my camera and finish what I started in school last week. I'm writing up the updates now.

I haven't decided what I'm going to do after school. I'd like to go to work for a shop and learn everything I can while doing this full time, but my skills will dictate that. If I'm not very good at it, I won't get a job doing it - I know that. I'm just beginning, and I need to get a lot more experience before I can even begin to think about full time employment in this field. I need a few years of experience before even considering opening my own shop - although I will admit the thought has crossed my mind.


Originally Posted by horvath
I'm gonna enjoy this project journal -- thanks for posting.

I'm having fun doing it, Alan. My problem is that I tend to ramble, and I find myself wanting to post too much detail, and way, way too many pictures. It's tough to remember that I'm not posting this for people who know absolutely nothing about the subject. As it is, I still find myself instructing more than documenting. I don't mean to - it just comes out that way.

Believe me when I say that I don't meant to appear to be talking down to anyone. I'm doing all of this for the first time, and learning as I go.

home brew 09-30-2007 03:38 PM

I think you are doing a fine job. :thumbup: :thumbup: More detail is better than less. I'd rather wade through too much detail than try to figure it out on my own!

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horvath 09-30-2007 04:42 PM

Ditto that.

Instruction is cool ... it helps the reader to understand what you did and why.

DanTwoLakes 10-01-2007 06:51 AM

You're doing fine , Dusty. Remember this about opening your own shop........almost everybody wants a show quality interior at a bargain basement price. The guys who have the money take their work to the big name shops and don't care about the price.
You are absolutely correct to learn as much as you can before trying to go out on your own.

Dusty82 10-02-2007 06:15 PM

Thanks Dan, Alan, and HB. I'll keep plugging away at it. Tonight we start on the seat foam, and I'll lay out the pattern and start cutting my fabric and vinyl. We'll see how that goes. I probably could have picked another fabric for my first project, but hey... I've always been one to jump into things hip deep, so...

I'm such a beginner at this, opening my own shop is basically nothing more than a pipe dream. I really need some experience under my belt, and the only way I'm going to get it is to get out there and do it. Full time employment in the field is a bit more realistic at this point, so I'm going to shoot for that before I start thinking about anything else.

I really value your opinions, guys, so if you see me about to do something wrong, please say so! If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions at all, please post them. I'm always eager to learn, and I discuss a lot of things I've read here with both Bob & Renee. I can't confirm it, but I think they might be lurkers here - hehehehehehe.

Dusty82 10-08-2007 12:17 PM

Ok, new updates posted. I'll be focusing on sewing pleats and possibly cutting out the seat inserts in class tomorrow. As usual, if anyone has any questions, comments, or threats, please post them here.

Have a good one, y'all!

horvath 10-08-2007 11:32 PM

Cool! This is helpful info, Mark!

John Fehlberg 10-09-2007 06:59 AM

Good Job Dusty, everything looks good so far!

Dusty82 10-14-2007 08:52 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks for the encouraging replies Alan & John! I'm actually having a ball doing this. I got a bit nervous about sewing the pleats, but as you can see by the journal, it really was no problem.

The weekly update to my project journal is almost done. There'll be one more update a bit later today. I didn't have time in class Tuesday to completely finish sewing the pleats in the seat back insert, so I have 5 more lines of stitching to run. Then I'll take pictures of the finished inserts and post the update. Look for it sometime this afternoon.

I did come across another tip in class, however. One of the students was having trouble controlling her machine - jackrabbit starting and such. To cure the problem, Bob went back into his office and came out with some of these little goodies. It's nothing more than a piece of scrap 2" foam, folded over on itself and taped to hold it in that shape, then wedged underneath the treadle of the machine.

I was a bit skeptical as to whether or not it would do anything, so he invited me to try it. I'm now a believer. The foam gave the treadle just enough resistance that it was easier to control how much juice you gave the clutch. It doesn't interfere with the pedal travel, and you can still "floor it," it just smoothes the treadle action out a bit.

I know Alan and I had a few issues with treadle control at first, so I thought I'd pass this along. If you're having problems with the machine wanting to take off on you all at once when you step on the treadle, give it a try.

Also remember to put a smaller pulley and belt on your motor to slow the machine down if you're having machine speed issues. I have a 3 " pulley on my machine, and had a 3 " pulley on the motor. This setup used a 3/8" wide X 43" (3L430) belt. I changed over to a 2" pulley on the motor, and had to get a 3/8" wide X 41" belt (3L410.) I got both the pulley & belt at my local hardware store for less than $20.

horvath 10-14-2007 09:59 AM

That is a cool solution, Mark!

But the *best* solution for me was buying the SewQuiet 3000 motor!!!

DanTwoLakes 10-14-2007 10:25 AM

Dusty: I have been following your project journal, and I have a couple comments. When I sew pleats (channels) in an insert that big, I always start in the middle and go out to one end, and then do the same thing the other way. Yes, that means rolling up the fabric to get it under the machine at first, but starting in the middle and working out seems to keep the pleats very uniform with no chance to bunch in the middle. The second comment is that you can start sewing with the needle up if you hold onto the top and bottom thread while you sew the first couple of stitches. This will keep the thread from bunching up just like turning the hand wheel to put the needle into the fabric as you start sewing will. You're doing fine. Taking your time is the best course of action.

Dusty82 10-14-2007 01:56 PM

Thanks for the positive comments, Alan & Dan! (Oh, and this is still the non-gloating section, Alan - LOL!)

The final updates for this week are posted. I'll remember your tip about starting to pleat from the center then working my way out on large inserts, Dan - I'll certainly be doing a lot more of these. I really hadn't thought about the possibility of the fabric coming loose from the scrim and gathering/bunching in the middle. Maybe I'm just lucky it didn't happen to me this time. I'll remember next time. Do you think I should edit the Project Journal to reflect this?

As far as starting to sew with the needle up by holding onto the threads is concerned, I asked Bob about that when Renee said something to another student about it. He got that wry smile of his on his face and said, "Yeah, you can do it that way if you want to. If you want her to come flying over here in a big hurry, that's the way to do it."

I guess that's a major pet peeve of hers, so, discretion being the better part of valor, I'll keep her happy (and stay on her good side) by starting to sew with the needle in the down position. I DO appreciate the reinforcement though. I knew I was right about this, and it's good to get confirmation from a pro.

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