Hot Rod Forum banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have tried making a few covers for my seats, they are Recaro bucket seats with large bolsters, when making the bolster covers they always have a tendency to pucker.
I am wondering if this has to do with the way the material is fed by the machine? I have be using the wrong type of machine to start with, I know that.
I am thinking the walking foot might have been pulling the material unevenly which would cause the puckers. Will the compound feed eliminate or reduce the puckers?
Or am I doing something else wrong that is causing it to pucker?
What I have done is: made relief cuts along the curves, left approx. 3/8" seam allowance, sewed pieces together, when top-stitching I pulled the material open like a book and did my top-stitch, after stitching I removed any extra material from the edge of the seam on the inside of cover.
A few pics of the way they turned out, these are the very first pieces I have done, and my first attempt at sewing, have made a few more and they get better as I go.
First pics is with vinyl second is with leather.

I did try and search for "pucker and puckering" didn't find much, does that mean it usually isn't much of a problem?



 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,735 Posts
Yes, the sewing machine had a little bit to do with the puckering. I would try it again with the compound walking foot machine. Remember, all you are trying to do is let the machine feed both layers through itself. All you need to do is guide the layers with as little tugging and pulling on your part as is possible. Another reason for the puckering is what I call "tired foam syndrome". Over the years, the foam loses some of its strength to push back on the fabric. You may need to add some more foam over the top of what is already there. I like to use 1/4" or 1/2" sew foam and glue it on with the foam side next to the old foam. Look at the headrests in this thread starting at post # 21 and you'll see what I mean: CLICK HERE
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
These bolsters are prone to the covers wearing away, because the bolsters are so large, then the foam slowly gets destroyed. So I did buy new foam for the 4 bolsters.
What I am wondering is if I made the pattern from the old covers and they were stretched, would my pattern be a little large?
Will try again when I get my new machine, went with the Consew 226, the Sewquiet 4000 motor and a new table. Should have it by Monday.
Thanks again Dan you are a Great help to a newbie......
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,735 Posts
Yes, your pattern could be a little large (but that's way better than being too small), or the new foam could be a little small or of the wrong density (stiffness) to fill out the bolsters. If I were you, I'd leave the pattern alone until you were sure which one of those is causing the problem.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,735 Posts
If you make the seat covers correctly in the first place, you won't ever need a steamer, or a heat gun, or anything else to make them look right. What do you do if the seat covers are leather? You never want to heat or steam leather or make it wet in any way. Part of the skill of making the seat covers is knowing what is wrong with them and how to fix them if they don't turn out right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
not EVERYONE is a super skilled sewer....for leather we use a steinel heat gun...turned to about 10...do circular motions on and off the leather not getting it too hot...then wipe it off with cleaner and a cooling plate...then wipe it down with cleaner....
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,735 Posts
I'm sorry if I upset you. No, not everyone is a super skilled sewer, nor does everyone have the knack for sewing. Hiding behind a heat gun or a steamer instead of trying to improve sewing skills is not the way to learn in my opinion. This is my profession, I take it very seriously and I take pride in doing the best work I can possibly do. I want everyone to want to do the best they can. Wrinkles and puckering are not acceptable, and the sooner a novice sewer learns to figure out what they did wrong, the sooner they will get good at what they're doing. That's why I try to explain the process of cutting and sewing in as much detail as possible,..... to help novice sewers get it done right with as few disasters as possible.

Why on earth would you need to heat leather? Leather is the most forgiving thing to work with there is. Heating it or steaming it can ruin it.
 

·
jkrestoration
Joined
·
23 Posts
Dan,
First off I have to agree with you about the steamer. I started without a steamer for about a year. I was instructed by a friend with years of upholstery experience to learn without one so its not a crutch. A steamer will make a poor upholsterer a good one but it will also make a good upholsterer great. As for heating or wetting leather...this is also something that makes a great upholsterer. The guy I refered to above was one of the top upholsterers in St. Louis in the 60s and 70s and when he made a leather seat cover he always turned it inside out and sprayed the inside with water...not soaking it but just a light mist to where the hide just starts to change color. Why would he do this you ask...leather stretches when its wet and shrinks as it dries producing a much nicer fit. This is not a crutch in my opinion but more of a knowledge attained thru years of experience. As for heating leather with a heatgun. Its kind of the same principal...the heat shrinks the leather making it conform to the foam better. It works very well when replacing a panel in a seat and the surrounding panels have stretched from use. As for the work pictured...bravo! It takes alot of practice to turn out the kind of work Dan of any other professional upholsterer turns out but don't be ashamed of your accomplishment. On the leather one try working the sewn edge with your fingers...folding the back and front together at the seam and stretching it around at the seam. This may take out some of the puckering. Or add a strip of foam around the edge under the seam. Like I said it takes practice to learn what works and what dosen't. I haven't been on here in a while but may hang out here some to help some of the newer guys and gals if possible.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,735 Posts
First of all, while I respect your opinion, steaming vinyl, leather, and ultraleather only makes it wet. No company in the business of providing upholstery leather would recommend steaming it or heating it or wetting it. Steaming the newer synthetic fabrics is a waste of time, because the newer fabrics won't shrink unless they have some cotton content in them. A steamer does not make a good upholsterer great, attention to detail, experience, the best quality materials, and practice do. If you want to use a steamer or a heat gun, by all means do so, but I prefer to do it right in the first place.

Secondly, I was not criticizing anyone's work, I was asked to comment on why there was puckering in the bolster, and I gave my best answer as to what may have happened and suggestions on how to fix it. Perhaps if you had read the entire thread instead of just the last two posts, you would have known that.
 

·
jkrestoration
Joined
·
23 Posts
you are ABSOLUTELY right dan...i did read the thread and i also was just trying to help a person with tricks to help...but from looking at some of the other threads your name is just about on all of them....maybe ill search for another website with a little less ego...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,735 Posts
You can call it ego if you like.........I call it quality workmanship. When I see people trying to pass along what I think is well intentioned bad advice, I say so. I think suggesting to "always" use a steamer or heat gun is bad advice. I think it is especially bad advice when working with leather. If a seat cover won't go on right or looks bad, there is a reason. I suggest finding the reason and correcting it instead of looking for a quick fix. There is too little craftsmanship and attention to detail left in everything these days. This web site should be about craftsmanship, whether it is seat covers, paint jobs, or engine repair. I think that people who come here looking for answers are looking for just that. "Good enough" shouldn't be good enough. If you think attention to detail and not resorting to shortcuts are wrong, you are welcome to do things however you wish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I did find the cause of the puckering....
As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I bought new foam for the bolsters.
After making a few covers and always having the same results. I compared the new foam to the original foam, even though they are Recaro foam, they are a different shape, more pointed and not as thick.

I switched back to the original foams and the covers fit much better with very little puckering. Still some slight puckers, even though I hate to see any pucker I might have to live with them, will need more leather as it is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
A few things I am wondering about.
The original covers had all the extra material trimmed off the seam after the pieces were sewn together and top-stitched. Would that make a difference?

There were no relief cuts on the original covers.
Would making relief cuts around the edge of the curves help?

Dan I agree with you, there are very few trades left were people actually take any pride in their work, and the workmanship is just not there, like it should be. Everyone is after the almighty dollar. That is the reason for me doing my own seats. In the end it will cost me more then having someone else do them, but would I have been satisfied with their attention to detail and the quality of their work? I doubt it.

I tried to get some bolster covers made a few years back. The first set they made looked like crap so I took them back and told them exactly that. They did them a second time and they didn�t look any better and this was from a Professional upholstery shop. So I asked for a refund. I did eventually find someone to do them, it was a little backyard shop where the guy worked out of his basement and they turned out great.

I always thought upholstery was a particularly hard thing to do and learn, but had never given it a try, till now. I enjoy what I have been doing and making mistakes along the way is just part of the learning. Each cover I do turns out better and gets a little easier to do. I am sure the tips and tricks will come as I progress.

There is something to be said for the gratification, the sense of accomplishment and the customization that can be achieved by doing something yourself.
 

·
jkrestoration
Joined
·
23 Posts
You know what Dan...the reason I stopped looking at the interior section of this site is for one reason...you! I had no idea that the job of a moderator was to belittle everyones opinion on how something is done. EVERY post I have ever put on here has been responded to by you with some sort of attack towards how I... and for that matter, anybody elses way of doing things except yours. The last time I was on here I thought I saw you were retiring from this site so I figured maybe I would see some other opinions about work. As far as work goes I would put my work up against yours anyday. I know I do great work so your childish comments mean nothing to me but to the other people on here that may be starting off you should be ashamed of the way you discourage them with your comments towards their work and how they do things. Aren't these sites supposed to help people and encourage them with suggestions on how to do things better? You should keep an open mind towards changes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,925 Posts
jkrestorationllc said:
...but from looking at some of the other threads your name is just about on all of them....maybe ill search for another website with a little less ego...
There is a good reason Dan's name is on just about every interior thread. Because he's a first rate upholsterer AND he is willing to share his experience with everyone who comes here, be they newbie or seasoned veteran.

He doesn't answer our questions to boost his ego, he can get all the ego boosting he needs just by listening to his customers' praise. No, he answers our questions and provides us with his tutorials because he is a true artist and craftsman who thrives on seeing others learn and grow. He believes in sharing his craft, not hiding it away as some clever secret.

So my hat is off to Dan for each and every post with his name on it. I only wish there were even MORE.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,735 Posts
Very well said. These bolsters are top stitched, with gradual curves in certain areas and tighter curves in other areas. You could make some "V" cuts in the areas that have the tight turns before top stitching, and trimming the excess after the top stitching is done would be a good idea there too, but on the other areas it would not be necessary.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,735 Posts
jkrestorationllc said:
You know what Dan...the reason I stopped looking at the interior section of this site is for one reason...you! I had no idea that the job of a moderator was to belittle everyones opinion on how something is done. EVERY post I have ever put on here has been responded to by you with some sort of attack towards how I... and for that matter, anybody elses way of doing things except yours. The last time I was on here I thought I saw you were retiring from this site so I figured maybe I would see some other opinions about work. As far as work goes I would put my work up against yours anyday. I know I do great work so your childish comments mean nothing to me but to the other people on here that may be starting off you should be ashamed of the way you discourage them with your comments towards their work and how they do things. Aren't these sites supposed to help people and encourage them with suggestions on how to do things better? You should keep an open mind towards changes.

Just because I disagree with you doesn't make me childish. I'm not trying to be a jerk or a know -it-all, I'm trying to give beginning upholsterers and sewers the best, most fool-proof ways of doing things I can think of. All of my methods and techniques have been gleaned from 36 years of doing the best work possible, and are tried and true. I stake my reputation on all of them. As far as your work goes, I've never seen you post a picture of anything you've ever done, so there's no way to know how good you are. I post pictures of a lot of my work when it is something new or a little unusual and I promise you that none of my seat covers have ever had a heat gun or a steamer anywhere near them.

As far as change goes, I consider every new product or technique I come across. I always have and always will change and recommend change to others when I find a better product or a better technique.

The last time you were on here you recommended soaking down carpet and seat covers to clean them, and I disagreed with you. Am I not entitled to my opinion, and did my opinions not make sense? Once again, having a different opinion than yours does not make me childish, it just means I have a different opinion. I have disagreed with you without calling you names and if anyone else wants to follow your methods, they are welcome to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,925 Posts
jkrestorationllc said:
... but to the other people on here that may be starting off you should be ashamed of the way you discourage them with your comments towards their work and how they do things.
Excuse me? But for the record can you name even one member "starting off" with upholstery whom Dan has discouraged? By your own admission, you don't frequent the upholstery forum. So your opinions regarding ANYONE on this forum are suspect at best, and most of all your opinions regarding Dan TwoLakes.

If you did frequent this forum you would find dozens, perhaps hundreds, of HR.Com members who have not just benefited from Dan's tutelage, but are willing to say time and time again in their posts how much help he has truly been to them. My quick search inputting YOUR user name, "jkrestorationllc", turns up not one single post where a member says you have been of the slightest help or assistance. If anyone should be ashamed, it is an inactive member (you have a grand total of 12 posts since you joined) who steps forward to attack one of our boards proven leaders who is here day in and day out to provide help and assistance.

Indeed you may be a top notch upholsterer. But around here we gauge a member by the quality of the work we see them do, their willingness to help others, and the manner in which they conduct their business here. We do NOT judge them as to whether they are always right or always wrong. But rather, by the strength of their arguments, the rationality of their thinking, and the civility with which they make their case.

These are the traits which make a guy like Dan TwoLakes such a valuable asset to this site. And when the day is done, they are the reason you will find yourself in a minority of one if you insist on continuing your disparaging remarks.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top