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Slickriffs 08-12-2008 11:01 AM

Not exactly interior-convertible top sewing
I need to stitch a covertible top around the rear window on my work car..a 97 Sebring convertible..Any particular needle and thread I should be using? Convertible top is in nice shape but some stiching has worn out.



Paul M 08-12-2008 02:14 PM

re: convertible top sewing
I once hand sewed a top repair with a embroidery needle & nylon or polyetser thread. I basically used the embroidery needle since it was durable & easy to thread.

DanTwoLakes 08-12-2008 02:43 PM

I would use size 138 polyester thread, which is about as heavy as the average industrial sewing machine can handle comfortably. Size 217 is just a hair too big. Polyester thread stands up to UV rays better, and is better for stitching that is outside a lot.
The largest needle you can use is a size 24. A size 22 needle will work fine. If you have a Singer 111W or a knockoff of it the needle is a 135 x 17. (The first number refers to the metric diameter of the needle's blade between the scarf and the shank, 135 hundredths of a millimeter, and the second is the U.S. designation, 17 thousandths.)

Paul M 08-12-2008 03:02 PM

Cool, an actual convertible top expert
I have a convertible top that I plan on making from scratch. I've located the material, made the pads, located the top cable set ups (along the sides), plastic pcs (along the sides) rear window, pos. front tack strip. etc. I plan on cutting everything myself & having someone else sew it. I've used a old Singer ( non industrial w/ poly thread ) for interior work however, don't feel confident in sewing the long lines on the "Rag" top. What's the actual "overlap" method of sewing the 3 to 4 pieces of material together?

DanTwoLakes 08-12-2008 10:03 PM

You absolutely need an industrial machine to sew your top together. A home machine would really struggle, more with the thickness of the fabric and being able to pull the material through the machine than with the actual sewing. Why would you not want a pre-made top? There is a lot more to a convertible top than just being able to sew the 4 pieces together.

Anyway, there are two ways to sew the top together. One way is to sew the pieces together and top stitch the seams afterward. The other way is to sew the pieces together and glue down the seam allowance underneath instead of sewing it down. This will give you a nicer, cleaner look and eliminate a stitch line and the needle holes.

Slickriffs 08-13-2008 10:41 AM

thanks everyone..Just curious what do you use to glue seams? I bought a german product I learned about here..forget the name thou..


Paul M 08-13-2008 10:49 AM

Re: Convertible top
Ye, I saved a ton of $ by buying a 50 Wayfarer convertible that someone had attempted a 2" chopped top. Needless to say, I had to make my own side window frames, fab my own (one of a kind) 3 dimentinally shaped header & reconfigured all of the brackets. Even if I could find a top for this car, it wouldn't fit the contour. I've had good luck with interiors & have recently pulled off a nice headliner for my 35 coupe. Those headliners are tricky esp the ones that require making your own header bows & include numerous tucks in order to curve around the back to meet the sail pannels. The hours involved will definitely merit buying a new one next time. I've been offered to put this car in a magazine however, have put it off ( refusing to shell out 2k ) for someone else to do it. Since then I've almost completed another car. I appreciate any suggestions. This is a 1950 Wayfarer (small 3 passenger type) only front seats. It's a small top & doesn't require the extra pivot point of full sized convertibles. Anyway, I typed this up twice now. I hope this one goes through. For some reason the photo isn't going through. It's probably larger than jpg format. Later Paul.

Paul M 08-13-2008 10:56 AM

Yep, I'm with Keith on that ?
Any info on this subject is deeply appreciated.

DanTwoLakes 08-13-2008 12:01 PM


Originally Posted by Slickriffs
thanks everyone..Just curious what do you use to glue seams? I bought a german product I learned about here..forget the name thou..


Any good spray grade top and trim adhesive like DAP or 3-M. You can even glue the initial seam with that before you sew it to really make a great, waterproof seam.

stitcher_guy 08-13-2008 09:01 PM

I laid this one out using clear vinyl for pattern so I could see where it makes contact and what might get in the way (89 300ZX. Not a factory option. One of two or three that were custom done by the company). I prefer using the Stayfast over Sailcloth because it stretches nicer.

This owner requested a removeable rear window. Made a collar to hold the plexiglass, and two safety straps.

click on the pic/link

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