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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-04-2013 09:27 AM
vinyldude hello, Smithkustoms, 72 started learning Feb. 2013 learned a lot from DAN and this forum. was donated a consew 226r great machine, touchy throttle. brought 3 sets of 60s used car seats. for practice, new padding new vinyl made many mistakes But after 3 sets and many mistakes did my 64 falcon upholstery and rug. still learning from Dan , thanks DAN
08-04-2013 06:45 AM
Rexter This is a very enlightening thread. I am so looking forward to getting my meat hooks into this.
Dan you need to get hot on them videos I'll be getting those when you put them out.
01-13-2010 12:22 PM
Coodeville As long as your working is all that counts. This country is in big trouble right now.
01-12-2010 09:31 PM
DanTwoLakes I was figuring 250 days at $250 a day which would be $62,500. I did the math a little too quickly I guess. If you multiply $250 times 550 (which is what I did) it comes out to $137,500.
01-12-2010 08:45 PM
welder4956
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTwoLakes
If I make $250 a day doing small repairs, I will gross $137,500 a year.
Umm, ... I think your math is off just a little...

If you work 365 days a year, with no off days, and earn $250 per day it adds up to $91,250. Still nothing to sneeze at by the way...

I think upholstery work would be a whole lot more enjoyable than an hourly job once you developed the skills to do good work. I used to help my wife at her clothing alterations shop by doing the embroidery machine work and really enjoyed it over my regular job.
01-12-2010 08:12 AM
timothale
household machine

I did my first upholstery work on a Davis foot treddle machine my mother bought in the 20's She used it to make quilts. It had a walking needle. She bought another one and gave it to me. I knew a machine salesman who was trying to make a sale and the lady asked if it would sew vinyl. When vinyl is face down it usually won't feed very well. He laid a thin sheet of tissue gift wrap paper down and said he didn't want to scratch the surface of the new machine . the tissue allowed the material to easily slide and feed. after the lady bought the machine he told her it would work a lot better to use the tissue when doing vinyl and it would be easy to remove from the finished job.
01-11-2010 12:15 PM
benchracer1 I to am becoming self taught. A few years back I bought an old kenmore 120 machine. I spent alot of time on the road and was stuck in a hotel frequently. I bought a book and some material and worked though chapter by chapter. I found this website and read everything I could. Dan and the guys on this sight have been a huge help. I found a consew 226 on craigslist for 200 bucks and had it tuned up. i have done a couple of cars worth of seat covers, a headliner and some carpet. I have been doing the work for family and freinds at no charge except materials just to get experience. They have turned out pretty well. I think that a good grasp of measuring and working from centers is a big advantage. EXTREME patience also necesary. A small household machine is good for getting the basic stitches down and seeing if you like it before spending bunches of money
01-07-2010 12:23 PM
Coodeville
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTwoLakes
It will never become a lost art because there are no machines that will ever be able to do it. There will never be any machines that can do repairs. There will be, at some point, less capable people doing it, and therefore, at some point, repairs and specialty work done by someone who really knows what they are doing would be able to name their own price. There will never be anyone at a large company to do the small things that most people want done. I would rather do 10 $25 repairs a day than larger jobs. If I make $250 a day doing small repairs, I will gross $137,500 a year.
Sounds very similiar to my business.
01-06-2010 07:45 PM
DanTwoLakes It will never become a lost art because there are no machines that will ever be able to do it. There will never be any machines that can do repairs. There will be, at some point, less capable people doing it, and therefore, at some point, repairs and specialty work done by someone who really knows what they are doing would be able to name their own price. There will never be anyone at a large company to do the small things that most people want done. I would rather do 10 $25 repairs a day than larger jobs. If I make $250 a day doing small repairs, I will gross $137,500 a year.
01-06-2010 06:10 PM
Coodeville I can see upholstery becoming a lost art. With all of the cheap labor available today to produce new products - it looks like its going to become a lost craft.
01-05-2010 10:35 AM
Wantabe Here's the way i learned. To do just basic automotive upholstery. First buy a good machine. Unless you want to be a sewing machine repair tech. Because then you'll have to learn two trades at once. I made the mistake of getting an old machine at first and it just didn't work out well. I spent about 3k total on tools. I used everyone at least once. Next i started to practice on any and everything i could find. Asking Dan many questions as i was working. Before i started i read everything that Dan has posted for about the last year. So many hours of reading. Found a few video's on youtube that helped. But i learned the most from Dan and hands on. I'm not a craftsmen like Dan, but i can do basic automotive interiors with out a problem. You'll need to be a very patient person, have some common sense and buy some extra material. If you give it 100% of your effort, attention and don't piss Dan off . Then you'll succeed. Dan Thanks for all you have done. For everyone on this site and especially me...

Just like to add. When you get done with your first job. Its very rewarding to step back and look at what you have accomplished. Really makes it all worth it.
01-05-2010 06:22 AM
John(Maynor)Hodgen Hey All,
I was lucky enough to learn sewing from the Federal Goverment!! I was an Aircrew Survival Equipmentman, fancy name for a ParachuteRigger. I was taught to tune up a walking dog sewing machine and to sew so that I could make repairs to chutes and anything else the pilots used as equipment. They taught me how to make parachute bags, suit bags, and then I got into doing motocycle seats and boat covers. Never did any interior work but I believe with my knowledge and a walking dog machine and time I could revive the skills that I once knew. Start out on your Mom's machine with simple cloth and pattern of something like a apron. Get use to how it all works and then move up to bigger projects as your talent progresses. If a boy from th Bayou can be taught anyone can--have faith in yourself and all get busy-- John(Maynor)
01-05-2010 05:57 AM
54merc I learned the family tradition from my mother. She worked for a company that made seat covers for GM, mostly Cadillac. Later she worked at another place that did the interiors for Kenworth and Peterbuilt.

I did my first seat while in high school. It was my dad's 1967 Ford truck. Later(after I got out of the service) I worked at a hot rod shop in Maryland. It was there that I learned a lot of the trade from my employer and a handful of Mexican's who could make anything.
01-05-2010 12:03 AM
Gringo Ditto to everything Dan said. I have tried to train a few people over the years but most thought it was too tedious and time consuming.
01-04-2010 02:58 PM
DanTwoLakes The money is in any type of upholstery. If you're good at it, people will beat a path to your door. I live in a small town of 600 people, so I have to take in whatever comes my way. I do furniture, boats, cars, trucks, snowmobiles, motorcycles, personal watercraft, ATVs, airplanes, cornice board window treatments, you name it. I make straps, put in snaps and grommets, repair or replace zippers, carpet fishing boats and pontoon boats. I repair a lot of ripped boat covers and boat covers with rodent holes. (You'd be surprised what you can charge to repair a hole in a $700 boat cover and still have the owner smiling as he walks out the door.) I do a lot of re-filling of old cushions that have gone out of shape. BTW, I've never advertised and I always have a 6 month backlog of work.

I was lucky, and learned in a furniture factory where I could sew with their equipment and fabric all I wanted. I learned from some of the best sewers, upholsterers, and pattern makers in the business. All upholstery uses basically the same sewing and construction methods, the trick is knowing which method to use, and what raw materials to use to make it as easy on yourself as possible. The other trick is knowing what to do to correct a mistake when you make one.

BTW, good luck trying to intern at an upholstery shop. Why would I want to train you to be my competition? The only way that would happen is if the guy was retiring and was selling you his shop and equipment.

It's really tough to learn from a book. I have read upholstery books that confused the hell out of me, and I've been doing this 37 years. It would be much easier to learn from a video. I want to make some videos that are available for download (for a price) on the internet. I think later this year I will be able to start doing stuff like that.
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