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Old 04-14-2012, 11:34 AM
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Convertible top restitching

Not really a hot rod, but my daily driver has a canvas top.

The piping around the window, and the same on the sides (forms a sort of drip rail) are coming loose in a few spots.

I examined them and there are no tears, it just seems the OEM thread disintegrated. Doesn't seem like the material has shrunk - I think I can get it right back where it was if I could stitch it back together.

Founds some posts to use polyester thread, and have found a source for that, but these areas are at most a few inches long - it's a huge job to get the top off the frame and reinstall it to use a machine, if I even had one.

Seems this would be the type of repair for which hand stitching would be appropriate. I'm pretty sure I can even reuse the old holes and just rethread it.

Am I nuts? I don't mind if it's tedious, but I don't really know if there's a type of stitch that I should use and what sort of needle and thread size. I expect it would be a good idea to extend the repair a little past the problem areas until I connect with solid thread again.

Any advice?

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Old 04-14-2012, 12:53 PM
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You can hand stitch your top and get it almost as good as machine sewed if you take your time and are careful to go through the original holes in the fabric. You will need polyester thread the same size as the original which will probably be size 138. The only other thing you will need is a small curved needle, and an infinite amount of patience. Sew up and and down every other hole like in the pictures, and when you get far enough to repair the open area, reverse directions and sew opposite of the way you sewed the first time. Make sure you start and stop from underneath to hide the ends of the repair. The only other thing to remember is to not sew through your thread. I used great big twine and a large needle for this example. Regular stitching looks like the other two rows.
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Old 04-14-2012, 01:09 PM
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Wow! Thank you for taking the time to make up that demo and photograph it.

That's exactly the information I needed. For better or worse, patience and attention to detail are part of my character. Sometimes it's a curse, especially if you ask my wife.

Just a few questions if you don't mind...

To start, do I just tie a knot at the end of the thread so it doesn't pull through on the first stitch, or do I make a single stitch and tie that as a loop to start off? Or is there another method I should use?

Similarly, what's the best way to tie off the end when I'm done?

Is it best to do a repair area with one continuous thread back and forth or doesn't that matter?
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Old 04-14-2012, 01:16 PM
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When you start from underneath, just leave a long piece of thread. When you get back to that piece of thread , tie a square knot with the two ends you will have. Sorry anbout that, I thought I posted the picture of the square knot, but I didn't.

Yes, use one continuous piece of thread to make each repair.

You'll need a 4" 17 gauge curved needle from an upholstery supply place. CLICK HERE
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:11 PM
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Just love learning cool tricks like that. This forum continually reminds me how much I don't know.
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:23 PM
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Thanks again, DanTwoLakes.
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