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joebob37 01-21-2013 10:36 AM

Rolls & pleats
Hi Guys;
What a great forum! I'm restoring a 1936 Riley Kestrel, & am now on the interiour, & having great difficulties on the seats. I'm using a singer 111, that works well. I'm sewing the pleats & stuffing them the old fasioned way on the front bucket seats. All went ok till I sewed the welt cord on. I sewed the welt cord around & across the ends of the stuffed pleats first, then the boxing. When done, the welt had wrinkles & looked terible. I used a wider cording foot to sew the cord on first (to stagger the runs), then a smaller one of the proper size for the final pass. Dont know why I got a wavy cord, the only thing I can think of, is I pulled the pleats slightly when sewing across them, so thinking I would prevent a shortness on the width. I can get pics, I think if needed. Any info welcome. Thanks in advance

Coodeville 01-21-2013 11:32 AM

Any pictures ? That would help a lot.

DanTwoLakes 01-21-2013 12:09 PM

What are you using, leather, vinyl,cloth? Number one, use the correct welt foot right from the start, and simply lay the welt onto the seat cover and sew it down without pulling, stretching, tugging etc. Yes, pictures would be great.

joebob37 01-21-2013 04:02 PM

Rolls & pleats
5 Attachment(s)
Hi Guys;
Thanks for the previous advice. Here are some pics. The material is vinyl & leather. The pleated cover is leather sewed to a leather boxing, then sewed to a vinyl back w/ welt cord between. Also there's a pic of the original seat thats done perfectly. I also glued a strip of 1/2" foam to the boxing to pack it out in hopes of smoothing out the bead, but did'nt help much. I used two types of welt cord, one was premoulded, & one was made from vinyl, both were wavy. Dan; you mentioned using the proper size welt cord foot, I did'nt do that cuz I didnt want to risk cutting the material by doing 2 passes over each other. The final pass was w/ the proper size foot, nomsayin? This is an extremly complex & difficult job for an amature. I sure hope I hav'nt gotten over my head on this one.

Coodeville 01-21-2013 06:01 PM

The only way to learn is by jumping in and watching things go wrong. You get the best education like that.

DanTwoLakes 01-22-2013 06:50 AM

This would be a very complex and difficult job for a professional. Your biggest problem is that your seat cover is too big for the frame it's going on. The reason for that is that your leather is probably very soft and stretchy, and you didn't account for that when you made your pattern. Is this a traditional tuck and roll where the seams between the pleats don't show? What material did you use for the backing the pleats are sewed to? What are you filling the pleats with? What were the pleats filled with originally, Kapok?

I understand your reason for using the two different feet, what I'm telling you is your logic is flawed, but that's only based on 40 years of experience.

joebob37 01-22-2013 08:12 AM

Rolls & pleats
Dan;, Many thanks for your info.I made the pleats the traditional way. The backing on one cover was denim, it was'nt stretchable, & the second attempt was w/ a flanel material. I filled the pleats w/ dacron, a much lighter material than original which was a denser cotton. I took the measurements from the original cover & the welt seems to fall in the proper place, it dosent appear to be too big. I made 3 sets of piping tins of different widths & a sock to fit the end. If I made the dacron too dense, it was difficult if not impossible to shove it in. I cant imagine how they did it originally in 1936, the cotton was packed in there solidly. Thinking about it, when I sewed the welt to the cover after it was stuffed & sewing across the pleats, it was very hard to keep the toe of the welt cord even w/ the edge of the cover over all that thickness, & that may be part of the reason for the wavyness. I know it's not easy w/o seeing it, but you do a fine job Re. sewing the welt cord, are you saying it's OK to sew over the same stitch line more than once?

joebob37 01-22-2013 08:21 AM

Rolls & pleats
If the cover is indeed too big could the seat frame be packed a little more?

beachbum jim 01-22-2013 09:25 AM

Like Dan said, this is a very difficult seat to cover. It would be tough without the roll and pleat. From what I can see, the seat cover is not made correctly. The insert is too big and the box or what I call the bolster (right or wrong) doesnt look like it fits the frame. Those seats have a curve to them which makes them even tougher.
I would suggest remaking the box and make sure it fits the seat back with seam allowance. Pin it or tape it in place but make sure it is a snug fit with no wrinkles. Then draw witness marks on the edge of the material where it will meet the roll and pleated insert. If you can transfer the witness marks to the seat frame padding do it. Now place the insert into the seat frame and mark it to fit leaving seam allowances. Transfer the witness marks to the insert. Now carefully sew it together following the witness marks.

DanTwoLakes 01-22-2013 09:35 AM


Originally Posted by joebob37 (Post 1637561)
If the cover is indeed too big could the seat frame be packed a little more?

I don't know if that would help. Without seeing this from where you started it's really hard to trouble shoot. This seat probably would have been filled with Kapok, which is a fine, soft, packable material. Duplicating this so that it comes out exactly like the old one with different materials than original is going to be the challenge of your life.

Ideally, no, you don't want to sew over the stitch line on the welt twice, but it's done all the time, and unless you're sewing 8 or 9 stitches to the inch, it shouldn't matter. The idea is to get the welt sewn correctly the first time, not to plan ahead that it won't be sewn right.

The reverse side that you sewed the pleats to should fit the frame exactly. If it's too big, the seat cover will be too big. Also, the seat cover needs to adhere to the curve on the frame better. What did the original seat cover do to hold the curved shape?

joebob37 01-22-2013 11:50 AM

Rolls & pleats
The original cover's boxing, or bolster had a slight curve to it on the side, near the top, which I duplicated. See the pic of the original. I took the pattern from the original backing w/ a 3/8" seam allowance 1- 7/8" pleats w/ a 2-1/4" pleat allowance. It should have fit OK, but like you say,somehow it grew. The major prob is the wavy welt cord. Trying to sew the welt to the cover first across the pleats after they were stuffed is where I think the prob. is. If it could be sewed before stuffing, maybe it would'nt have happened, but then I dont think I could have stuffed the pleats, at least properly I dont remember what kapoc looks like, but I see this is a very dense cotton fill in the pleats, it's probably what the Brits used in 1936. It was packed so tight, I dont know how it could be possibly done, they could'nd have stuffed it in later, so how was it done? I might like to start over again, just need to know as much as possible w/o you guy's seeing it. I'll kook a little closer when I get a chance, maybee they placed the stuffing first, then sewed each pleat, what think?

DanTwoLakes 01-22-2013 02:14 PM

No, they would have sewed all the pleats in and then used piping tins to fill the channels. Kapoc is the same color as cotton, but it is very fine, and would fill up every little nook and cranny. It would almost seem like one piece over time. They used to fill life jackets with it. It's still available. You need to leave the filling back a little bit from the edges where you are sewing the welt on. All you should be sewing through is the backing and the outer layer of leather. Sew a stitch line at the very edges, and then sew another stitch line in 1/4" from that, and then fill it. That will keep the filling material back a little bit and make it easier to sew the welt on.

joebob37 01-23-2013 06:29 AM

Rolls & pleats
Dan; I may have tried sewing before stuffing before, dont rember. When I stuffed the channels, I used dacron, but could'nt pack it tite cuz it would'nt go all the way in before coming off the tins My tins are one flat piece, & one w/ a little curve, & I made a little sock for the end, Would piping tins that would totally enclose the stuffing work? I could make those. That way I could make the stuffing much denser. Any ideas what they should look like?

DanTwoLakes 01-23-2013 07:08 AM

Yes, they look like this : Osborne No. 412-2" Piping or Channeling Tins Click on the picture for a bigger view.

joebob37 01-23-2013 02:30 PM

Rolls & pleats
3 Attachment(s)
I was looking a little closer at the cover, & now see how it was sewn,(see pic). The stuffing is a preformed cotton strip, & I would say pretty hard, & fits in the pleat very tight. I would think this was done on some kind of purpose built machine, & the cotton was put in as it went. I know you would have to see it to believe it. I cant do it the same way, but it was beautifully done. Dan; The piping tins are for a much bigger pleat, (mine are 1-7/8"). I would like to see a section of what it looks like, being a tin knocker before I retired, I could make them. Just thought you guys may like to see other ways.

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