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Old 04-05-2004, 12:11 PM
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Question Seat upholstery/sewing advice

I'm upholstering some bucket seats out of a Fiero - the kind with the speakers in the headrests. I'm going with two-tone leather and I want to gather the leather for the center panels between the bolsters. Here's a crude sketch, looking at the seat back as if you'd just opened the passenger side door:



The part that's got me stumped is that the centers have a small boxing on the sides in between the center and the bolster. It seems to me that if I just sew in a panel that's wider than the original for the gathered look, the boxing is just going to be "flapping in the breeze". Should I account for the extra width of the boxing on the width of the new gathered panel and eliminate the boxing?

And one more question. Before I start by cutting each panel twice, once for the leather and once for the sewfoam underneath, is there a better way? Should I be cementing the foam to the back of the leather before I cut? Not all of the panels from the original seat cover I took apart for a pattern had sewfoam on them.

Sorry for the long message and thanks in advance for any tips.

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Old 04-05-2004, 08:50 PM
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I like to back all of the material with sewfoam. No matter what the seat had, I use 1/2" thick where your butt and back touch, and 1/4" on the sides and back.

I cut out my leather patterns first, then glue the leather pieces to a big piece of sew foam. Then trim the excess foam off to the exact edge of the leather. This will generate a little bit more scrap, but it is alot quicker. From a business standpoint, it is cheaper to waste a little foam than spend more time cutting out foam.

The boxing they have there is for a reason, I wouldnt try to take it out, you will get a wrinkle or pucker somewhere.

When cutting the gathered pieces, you should do the exact opposite as I listed above. Cut the sew foam exactly the size of the pattern, and cut an oversized piece of leather. Then lightly spray the foam and leather with glue/adhesive. When applying the two together, gather the leather up. You dont want a permanent bond to the foam, just a temporary hold until you sew the seat together. Its not an exact science, once you have the wrinkled/gathered piece on the foam, trim the excess leather to the edge of the foam. You should have your gathered piece ready for final sewing.
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Old 04-06-2004, 03:30 PM
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Before you get too far with your project,you might want to check out Mr. Mike's (mrmikes.com). He offers a wide variety of replacement upholstery kits for the Fiero that come with bolster foam, hog rings,pliers,spray adhesive and a fully instructional vidio/DVD. He also has downloadable instructions for replacing your speakers. I read about 25 reviews on Fiero bulletin boards before I committted and did not find a single bad review.

I just recovered my 84/85 Fiero seats in my Model A-these are the ones,like yours, with the speakers in the headrests. I bought the speakers from Crutchfield and the kit from Mr. Mike. His covers are leather on the wear areas and vinyl on the sides and I was impressed with the workmanship. The vidio shows it step by step and it took me about 3 hours total. I spent about $470 including shipping and having the speaker holes put in. This is about half of what my local upholstery shops wanted. I have a before/after picture if you want to see how it came out. Good luck on your seats.
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Old 04-06-2004, 11:10 PM
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Kristkustoms, thanks for the info. The only parts with no foam are the headrest and side boxing on the base so it sounds in line with what you said about back and butt surfaces. Your method for trimming the foam afterwards makes a lot of sense - in addition to the points you mentioned, you don't have to worry about nap or grain direction on foam or work around bullet holes and scars. Once again, I appreciate your expert feedback.

5window, thanks for the info. I've been on Mr. Mikes site and it was this site that partly brought about my question. If you look closely, the boxing I'm referring to isn't on those seats. My thought was that it was either a shortcut taken (not to impune Mr. Mikes work, I've never heard anything but rave reviews, either) or that it was something done because the material used is leather whichis thicker than the original cloth. Here's a picture of my cloth seats (I've darkened the seam to that boxing):



And Mr Mikes seats:

I couldn't find a shot that showed the lack of boxing, but you can see the boxing is missing from the front of the base of the seat as well. The result is still a beautiful seat, but missing some of the detail.

You're right, I'm not going to save any money on this by doing it myself - my local shop wants $250 per seat for labor alone (I supply the leather). I also have a custom dash, console, door panels, etc. that need to be covered in the same color/grain. I bought three hides of top grain finished leather to take care of this. Haven't had the nerve to cut into them yet so I've been sewing a practice seat cover out of cloth.


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Old 04-07-2004, 03:08 AM
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Yo -- it's pretty easy to see, without that boxing, that Mr. Mike's seatbacks are "humped" ... whereas your cloth seat, with the boxing, is not bulged in the middle (humped); it's flat across.

If you take that cloth seat apart at the seams, you'll have usefull patterns to use.

Alan
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Old 04-07-2004, 07:00 AM
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Thinking about it more, I believe Fiero seats have "pillows" sewn into the seat covers. Where the boxing is, there is a 1" or thicker piece of foam sewn into the cover. It looks like Mr. Mikes just eliminates that "pillow" in the seat cover.
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Old 04-07-2004, 07:41 AM
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That particular area on the seat back ,on the original covers, has a formed foam pad, kind of a lumbar support,sewn into the cover. Mr. Mike has you cut this area out, and glue it to the seat before recovering it. The foam is still there, just not quite in the same detail. My seats now have horizontal pleats,like the Corvette seats, down the center, so the detail change is not as obvious.

I have a back-up copy of the instructional video if it would help with your project. Send me a PM with your address and I'll send it over to you.
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by kristkustoms
Thinking about it more, I believe Fiero seats have "pillows" sewn into the seat covers. Where the boxing is, there is a 1" or thicker piece of foam sewn into the cover.
Yep, exactly. So I guess if I want to keep those pillows, I need the boxing. Now that I think of it more, I think the vertical tension of the gathered panel will keep the boxing in place.

Thanks again for all the input, guys!
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Old 04-10-2004, 03:53 PM
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Reworked Fiero seats
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Old 04-10-2004, 03:58 PM
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Reworked Fiero seats 2

Quote:
Originally posted by Stinkin_V8
Yep, exactly. So I guess if I want to keep those pillows, I need the boxing. Now that I think of it more, I think the vertical tension of the gathered panel will keep the boxing in place.

Thanks again for all the input, guys!
I cut them out glued them to the seat added little more foam then made my own cover. Oooooo yea cut the headreast off. I hate headrest in a old car!!
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Old 04-11-2004, 03:30 PM
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WOW!! Those seats look awesome, Hot Rod Up!!!
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Old 04-11-2004, 04:31 PM
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Ooooh-weee! They sure DO!!

*NICE* job, Hot Rod Up!

Alan
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Old 04-15-2004, 08:42 AM
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Here's the seat back.

I attached a 1/4'' wood to the back pulled the cover around and stapled it. Then made a panel to cover.
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Old 04-15-2004, 10:30 AM
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Man, that sure looks beautiful!

It's kinda hard to see what's going on tho' ... is that the *bottom* of the seat, lifted up?? Do you have a wider shot - one taken from a further distance?

Alan
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Old 04-15-2004, 10:51 AM
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Rest Back.

Looking down the seat when it's leaned up.
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