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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 06-16-2007, 01:34 PM
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O.K. We are going to finish up the seat back today. After sewing the front of the seat back together, we sew the perimeter welt all the way around. You will need a welt foot on your sewing machine for this task. I prefer a 1/4" welt foot to sew 5/32" and 4/32" welt cord. To figure out what size welt foot you need, add 3/32" to 1/8" to the diameter size of the welt cord you're sewing, and use the closest welt foot size. I have welt feet from 1/4" all the way up to 3/4" for windlace. Fold the welt in half and find the center of it. Place the center of the welt on the center of the seat front and walk it back to the starting point. You should have about 8 -10" extra. Mark your starting point on the welt and sew the welt all the way around to the other end, being careful to take a 1/2" seam as you go. This does not have to be extermely precise. You should be reasonably close to the center as you pass it, and have pretty much the same amount of welt extra on the far end as you did on the starting end. After the welt is sewed on, sew the top banding together on each end with the side bands and topstitch the seams. Then we have to sew the two short pieces of "J" channel onto the side bands. Then begin sewing the band assembly to the perimeter welt from the starting point all the way around to the other side, being careful to match up your witness marks and notches as you go. The secret to sewing is to lay the two pieces one on top of the other and let the machine pull the work through as it sews. The less you stretch either layer, the better your seams will turn out. After you sew the band assembly on, you're almost done. The only thing left is to sew a listing for a wire around the band assembly. I like to slip the seat cover onto the frame at this point to see if I need to adjust anything. If the top seems loose, I will sew a wider seam while sewing the listing on. You might have to adjust the "J" channel or the bottom listing also. This seat fit fine, just the way it was. The third picture shows the finished sewn seat back. The last picture shows the listing I buy by the roll. You can cut your own listings out of typar (like Tyvek house wrap) or Versare, a softer version of typar, but it's easier for me to just use the pre-made stuff. It's 3" wide and already folded in half.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 06-16-2007 at 01:55 PM.
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 06-16-2007, 01:42 PM
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This is about as easy a seat there is to put back together. All we have to do is put the wires back in the listings, slip the cover over the foam, attach the "J" channel on each side, and hog ring the top and bottom to the frame. I like to use angled hog ring pliers, but that's a personal preference. You might like straight pliers. The rubber band is there to provide tension to hold a hog ring in place. That way I have both hands free to pull until I need to use the pliers. Here's your finished seat back. Monday or Tuesday I'll start on the bottom seat. I ran out of sew foam, so I'll need to order more which will take a day or two. This whole process took about an hour. You will probably take longer to do the sewing. The total so far is 1 1/2 yards of sew foam $15.00, 3/4 of a yard of fabric, $10.00, 1 1/2 yards of vinyl, $35.00, welt cord and thread, about $5.00. Total $65.00 plus labor. If you have questions, now's the time to ask.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 06-16-2007 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 06-17-2007, 12:05 AM
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Dan,
Since you asked for questions here is a real basic one. what is the purpose of sew foam. I have a 56 Chevy pick up and the seat upholstery does not have any foam on the back of it. I will be trying to do my own work in the near future and I am trying to get as much pre-work information as I can. Thanks David
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Old 06-17-2007, 03:23 AM
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What a great question! The main job of sew foam is it's there to hold stitching. Most seats have an insert which is stitched, and in order to keep all the areas of the seat looking the same, sew foam is used under all the parts. It also provides support to the fabric. I have seen sew foam in the insert area with just plain fabric on the bolster areas. Perfectly O.K. to do it that way, as is not using sew foam at all if there's no stitching to hold, but the bolster areas were badly worn and the insert area wasn't. I have some pictures of the repair of that particular seat which I'll post tomorrow. The biggest problem with straight fabric right over the seat foam is that the fabric backing grips the foam and causes premature wear to the fabric. The backing on the sew foam allows it to slip a little against the foam on the seat. (When I use the word fabric, I mean cloth, vinyl, leather, suede, ultraleather, ultrasuede, or whatever is on your seat.)

Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 06-17-2007 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 06-17-2007, 08:42 AM
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Here is the seat I was talking about. I had to replace the top of the lower seat, and it had sew foam in the middle to hold the stitch lines, but no sew foam in the bolster areas. When I made the new parts, I sewed the bolster areas to sew foam as well. This makes a better, longer wearing seat. It also needed some minor foam repair. To make the foam repair, I took my 12 " foam saw and cut out a rectangular section. Then I cut a block of 2265 extra firm foam and glued it into the opening with blue K-Spray foam blue. (foam has a numbering system. The first two numbers, in this case 22, are the quality of the foam, and the last two, 65, is the density. The higher the first number the better the foam is, the higher the second number is the firmer it is. 20 is considered soft, 35 is medium, 45 is firm, 65 is extra firm, 80 is extra hard.) Then I shaped the foam to match the seat. If I hadn't sewed the bolster areas to sew foam, this foam repair may have shown through a single layer of fabric. This way there was no way it would show through.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 06-17-2007 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 06-26-2007, 03:43 PM
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bottom of truck seat

As promised, we are continuing on with the bottom seat for our old Ford pickup.The first pic shows this handsome thing and the line I drew across it, and the vertical line I drew marking where the outside insert will be. We need to make sure that the width of the inserts (the middle 3) are exactly the same on the seat as they are on the back so that they match up vertically. We are going to divide the seat here like the seat back was done. There are a few reasons for this: 1) I like the look of it with the seat matching the back 2) It will make the next step on Dusty's 50's look seat easier 3) I didn't have enough of the insert tweed fabric to go all the way from front to back! The 2nd pic shows that God-awful seam down the center of the front banding. We are going to get rid of that seam completely and make the whole front/side banding in one piece. Yes, we could save some fabric by cutting the banding in 2 or 3 pieces, but the less seams there are to come apart, the better. The third pic shows 1/2 of the front banding. I cut 20" off of the straight end and will just make a pattern of the curved end and add 40" to the middle when I lay it out on the vinyl. The 4th pic shows what I cut off to make my patterns from, and the last pic shows the notes I made as I was taking this apart. Once again, it was sewn with a chain stitch and came right apart. It came off the frame just like the seat back.....a few hog rings on each side and plastic "J" channel front side and back side.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 06-26-2007 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 06-26-2007, 03:52 PM
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The first pic shows my finished patterns. That's all we need, along with some measurements, to cut the seat. This was all taken apart, disassembled, and patterns made just like we did the seat back. The second pic shows something we need to address after we cut the front/side band. The hole that goes over the stud that sticks out of the side of the seat needs to be reinforced, or we'll rip the finished seat putting it back on the frame. The last two pics are of the rust on the bottom of the mounts attached to the frame that Dusty was worried about. We are going to treat the rust with Loctite Extend, which will stop the rust, encapsulate it, and act like primer if we want to paint over it. That's all for today. Next comes the blanks, then the finished inserts, and finally sewing the seat bottom together and putting it back on the frame.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 06-28-2007 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 06-28-2007, 08:56 AM
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I cut out my sew foam blanks and all the fabric for the bottom seat yesterday morning. The bottom seat is put together just like the seat back, so really the only thing we need to be sure of is that the inserts line up between the seat back and the seat bottom. All the assembly instructions are in the first part of this tutorial, so just follow that. Here are some more tips and observations to help you along the way. The first pic shows me gluing the fabric to the sew foam. The reason I took this picture is that the sew foam is gray, and not white. I know somebody is going to ask if the difference in color is of any significance, and the answer is no. At one time, the foam manufacturers tried to come up with a color coding system, but it never caught on. The color of foam means absolutely nothing. I have seen white, pink, blue, green, yellow, black, and gray colored foam, but the only thing that means anything is the number designation for the foam. This sew foam is 1835. The first two numbers are the quality of the foam, I.E. the amount of urethane in the formulation. The more urethane the better the quality and the longer it will last, which is more important on living room furniture than it is for sew foam. The second two numbers indicate how firm the foam is, measured in I.L.D., indent load deflection. Without going into detail, the higher the second set of two numbers are, the firmer the foam. 35 is on the lower end of medium density. The next pic is the chalk I use to mark to draw the lines on the tweed fabric. This is tailor's chalk, not to be confused with tailor's crayon. Crayon makes a better mark, but is next to impossible to get off the fabric. The next pictures show where I violated one of my cardinal rules of sewing, which is always check your bobbin thread before you start sewing lines on inserts. It was not a big deal on cloth, but could be a disaster on vinyl, ultraleather, or leather. The next three pictures show what to do if this happens to you. Oversew the place where the thread ran out about 3 to 4 stitches. Go to the back of the sew foam and pull the other side of the of the thread through to the back. Tie the thread off with a square knot, and cut off the thread leaving about 3/4 of an inch. (You leave the ends long so the flame doesn't go near the foam or fabric) Take a Bic lighter and set the thread on fire. Let it burn like a fuse up to the sew foam. When the flame reaches the foam backing it should extinguish itself, but I just tap it with my finger to make sure it stops.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 06-28-2007 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 06-28-2007, 09:21 AM
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I took these pictures to give you one of my best tips, which is to always leave yourself a way to adjust as you go along with the assembly process. Here's the deal: I know that my finished seat top has to be 61" from side to side. I also know that to match up with the seat back, my center insert has to be 10" after sewing, and my cloth inserts need to be 19 1/4" each after sewing. Therefore, I sewed the center insert and the two cloth inserts together, but didn't sew the left or right end inserts yet. I took that assembly and put the cardboard pattern on the cloth insert to see if I needed to make an adjustment. You can see on the one pic the black mark where I marked the 1" overlap to compensate for the seam allowances. The distance to the center needs to be 30 1/2", so I measured to see if I was on target, and I was. If I was off, and it should not have been by much if I was, I could adjust the two end inserts to compensate and still get the 61" I needed. As it turned out, after I sewed the end inserts and sewed them to the rest of the assembly, I checked my measurement again, and found that they were 1/4" long. I trimmed them both down, the assembly was 61", and then I could sew on the horizontal welt and the front section of the seat. The point is this: By constantly checking my measurements, I can avoid some of the disasters that you can get into with simple adjustments instead of having to tear things all apart, or worse, have to start over. I threw in the last two pictures because I wanted you to know how much I love the new servo motors I got for both my sewing machines. They are the Reliable Sew-Quiet 3000. The best part of these motors is that I can slow the top speed down by turning the selector switch and adjusting the speed knob to the point that, if I want, I can literally sew one stitch at a time. This is extremely useful when sewing curves like you see on the picture of the top of the motorcycle seat, or when sewing sun visors. When you can adjust the top end speed like that,you can sew without thinking about anything except feeding the work through the machine. Not all servo motors have this feature, so check the specs before you upgrade your machine. Tomorrow I'll finish sewing the seat, and then we'll be ready to assemble it.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 06-28-2007 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 06-29-2007, 09:53 AM
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Now we're ready to finish sewing the bottom seat, after which we'll attach it to the frame, and then put the back on to complete the first section of the seat tutorial.
The next step is to sew on the extension at the back of the seat that the "J" channel gets sewed to. Here is another tip for you...in the first picture you see the extension almost completely sewn on, and it is obviously too long. I did not make a mistake in measuring, I intentionally left it too long. Any time you have a part that is just a straight cut like this is, leave it an inch or two long, trim the excess when you get to the end, and you'll always have enough. The next picture shows where I need to cut out for the plastic guard that the seat belt goes through. In the last picture you can see that I cut out part of the extension to use as a template for marking this hole. The 4th pic shows the reinforcement that I glued in to keep the side seat band from ripping when we put the seat back together over the studs that hold the seat back in it's upright position. This piece I glued in with high temp contact adhesive to make sure it never comes loose. The third pic shows the right single upturned foot I used to sew on the "J" channel on both the extension and the side/front banding. Once the extension is sewn on and topstitched, I sew on the perimeter welt, then the side/front banding, and the seat is completely sewed.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 06-29-2007 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 06-29-2007, 10:30 AM
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The next step is to re-attach the seat cover to the frame. This is a simple job, but first I want to pad the back of the metal seat frame so the seat cover does not get cut. I use a material called polyfelt which comes 3/16" thick and 54" wide and is tough but soft and glues on very easily. When we do the final version of this seat, I will pad the entire frame around the bottom. I first attach the rear "J" channel to the frame, then pull the front band down and attach the front "J" channel to the front of the frame. The rest of the attachment is done with a few hog rings to the left and right sides. There you have it, the finished seat bottom without that awful seam in the front.
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Old 06-29-2007, 10:36 AM
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Just to refresh your memories, here is what we started with.
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Old 06-29-2007, 10:45 AM
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And here is the finished seat. You can see why I made such a point of making the inserts for the seat back and the seat bottom exactly the same, they line up perfectly all the way across.

I'm going to take a break until after the 4th of July. All of my spare time right now goes into organizing our local Lions Club 4th of July parade. I wish all of you a safe and happy 4th. When we start up again, we will do Dusty's 50's retro seat.



As always, if you have questions or would like other pictures taken, please just ask.

Anyone who would like these seat covers, send me a private message and for a small donation to Leader Dogs, they're yours. They will fit a 1979 Ford truck seat frame.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 11-07-2007 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:19 AM
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First I have to say............THANKS
This forum section and your post have me final get off my butt and do this upholstery thing..........I have been wanting to do it for 20 years.

I may have missed it but I read this thread over and over.
When doing a cloth insert in the seating area that sews vinyl.....without welt.....but not at the edge of the seat....would you use a flat fell seam sew on the cloth side?....for strength on the cloth.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:42 AM
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If you are sewing the cloth insert to sew foam, and the rest of the vinyl pieces to sew foam as well, the top stitch ( what you call a flat fell seam) isn't needed. Unless the edges of the cloth fabric are becoming unwoven it would not be necessary to top stitch even if it is just a layer of cloth with no sew foam. Most automotive fabric will not come unwoven, so the only real time you would top stitch a cloth insert is for decorative purposes. Look at this thread: CLICK HERE It shows a cloth insert in a leather seat.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 05-27-2009 at 10:48 AM.
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