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Old 10-06-2008, 01:53 PM
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Tuck and roll tutorial

I have always wanted to do a tutorial on tuck and roll techniques, and finally have some time to do it.

Tuck and roll is simply an upholstery technique to create vertical, angled, or horizontal "rolls", or "channels" in an upholstered carriage or auto seat. The first part of this tutorial will deal with the original concept and methods. The reason this first method was used is because the original carriage makers did not have latex or polyurethane foam at their disposal. If they did, I guarantee they would have used it, and not filled their channels with cotton, horsehair, kapok, or any other filling material which has been used. Yes, I've heard all the stories about tuck and roll interiors done in Mexico filled with everything under the sun, and I'm sure that some of those stories are true. The one I don't believe has some interiors filled with (hopefully) dried manure. Anyway, here is how tuck and roll was originally done.

First, you need a piece of backing material. The old timers used canvas. For this demonstration, I am using a synthetic product called Versare. The reason I chose it is because it is thin, strong, will hold stitching, and does not stretch. The backing should not stretch, or the rolls could end up being all over the place. If the tuck and roll is going to be just inserts and not all the way across, it is much easier to make the inserts first and fit them to the seat, rather than trying to fit the inserts to the rest of the seat. The next step is to decide how wide the channels should be. These are 3" wide, so I left some extra material at each end, and drew lines 3" apart and perpendicular to the top and bottom edge of the Versare. Once I knew how wide and long the whole area of channeling was going to be, I cut a piece of fabric, in this case soft, pliable black vinyl, wider and longer than the area of channeling. Then I drew a perpendicular line on the back of the vinyl, folded the vinyl at that line and sewed it down to the backing material 1/4" to the left of the line on the backing material. The next step is to decide how thick you want the channels to be. I chose 1" thick foam. Then you need to determine how much vinyl goes between each of the lines on the backing. I put a 3" wide piece of 1235 1" foam down on the backing, and folded the vinyl over the top and down to the backing. Then I marked the vinyl accordingly, and came up with 4 1/4". So.........for every 3" channel, it will take 4 1/4" of vinyl. I then marked the back of the vinyl 4 1/4" and drew perpendicular lines for each corresponding channel.
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Old 10-06-2008, 02:11 PM
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Now that all the lines are drawn on the backing material and the vinyl, all I have to do is keep sewing the lines on the inside of the vinyl down to the backing all the way across. So..., in effect, you are "tucking" and "rolling" from one side to the other, hence the name. If it's easier for you to draw another line 1/4" to the left of the folding line to guide you while you sew, by all means do that. I did that on two of the lines to show you what I'm talking about. Once all the channels are sewed, they need to be filled. I drew out my 3" wide lines on a piece of 1235 1" thick foam. Then I cut the excess off the foam until the piece is the right length. It works better to bevel the end of the foam so that you don't have so much thickness to sew through. Before I cut the individual pieces, I beveled the foam at the top and the bottom all the way across, and then cut the individual 3" strips.
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Old 10-06-2008, 02:33 PM
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Next, each one of the channels needs to be filled. This can be tricky and time consuming, especially if the channels are 30" long top to bottom. These are only 18", so they're not that bad.
In the old days, the upholsterer would use piping tins to do their filling. These are about 30" long pairs of "U" shaped strips of metal that come in different widths. One side was filled with cotton or whatever, and the other half of the piping tin set was put over the other half and then both were shoved through the channels. The filling material was then held in place and the piping tins were removed, hopefully leaving the filling material in the channel. What I'm going to do with my 3" wide 1" thick foam strips is tape two 1 1/2" wide yardsticks together about 22" down, slide a piece of foam in between the yardsticks and tape the other end shut. Then I will spray the edges of the foam with silicone spray and shove the whole thing through the channel. Once the assembly is out the other side, I open up the yardsticks, hold onto the end of the foam, and pull the yardsticks back out the other side. Naturally, it would be better if the yardsticks were wider, but this worked out O.K. Now that all the channels are filled, I stapled the assembly down to my workbench so you can see how it would look stretched over a seat. You can see that this creates a channel that has a lot of depth to it, which is not easy to do sewing your material to sew foam.
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Old 10-06-2008, 02:48 PM
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Let's talk about the pros and cons of doing it this way. The pros are that you can create a lot more depth than you can with sew foam, and you can't see the stitching on the top side. If you like the look, and can get it done right, it looks super on a car seat.

The cons are that this is tedious, time consuming work, and you are limited pretty much to straight lines only, whether they are horizontal, vertical, or angled. Narrower channels are a lot more difficult.

There are other methods that you can use to get very close to the look of authentic tuck and roll without doing it this way, and I will discuss these and show you how they're done in my next posts.
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:02 AM
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Yes, you could use 1/2" sew foam, in fact that will work just fine. Here's a link to buy foam on line: CLICK HERE This is 2627, not 1235. The first two numbers (26) refer to quality. The higher this number the better the foam. The last two numbers (27) refer to density, or how soft or firm the foam is. The higher these two numbers are, the firmer the foam is. Just get something close to 35 density and it will work fine.
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Old 10-20-2011, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinpilot001
I really like this info. love to learn this . Id also like to know the other available options for the same effects?? Thanx,matt
Like I said in the beginning, the whole idea of tuck and roll is to get more depth for the pleats. This can't be done with pre-made pleated fabric, or by sewing through sew foam. You get the pleats that way, but no depth.

The other ways to do this and get depth is to sew individual sections and then sew the sections together. This is very time consuming, but easier than the first method. Another way to do it is to glue the foam to the backing material, score the foam all the way through the width you want the pleats, and then sew in the fabric.
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