RSS Feed

The Dragon Lidy

Dot has always been a crafty person. And she always goes at it with full gusto. From painting to knitting to sewing to chair upholstery…..and now car seats.

This latest adventure started after Alex bought his 1976 Chevy C10 truck with destroyed seats. We also started watching Fast & Loud – about a crazy Texan who builds hot rods, and gets his seats made by a Taiwanese Lady.  Not to be outdone, “I can fix that seat”,  said Dot, just buy me this industrial sewing machine with a Walking Foot.

Oh, Dot was born in the year of the Dragon, and Lidy is cockney for a high-class Lady……hence Dragon Lidy

And, that’s pronounced “Lie Dee”, roll your tongue around it!

Advertisements

Wing Chair

Posted on

I used the wing chair to nurse baby #3 and #4. Needless to say, the covers were pretty grungy. I stripped the old coverings about 10 years ago. Four years ago one of our daughters chose fabric and I promised her I would restart the project. I actually did the decking of the chair soon after and then full stop. Nothing got done.

this was how it looked like for several years.

this was how it looked like for several years.

Well, she got engaged, got married about two and a half years ago, and thanksgiving 2015, she announced that they were expecting. I now have a deadline, a nursing chair for the nursery! Still, I procrastinated until about three weeks ago.

It was slow going at first, trying to decide whether I should keep the foam padding and old cotton batting, ooh decisions decision. I decided my new grand baby is not going to inhale any dust or yuckiness from the old padding so off they went. Stripped everything off the wing and the back and most of the arm rest.
I also re watched the series of videos that MJ Amsden had put up on you tube. Armed with the fresh information, I relearned how to use the pneumatic stapler, and searched for all the tools that I had stashed somewhere in the barn.

 

Prepping the back rest

 

The chair decking, like I said was done a few years ago. So I started off with the back rest. I was supposed to use horsehair but found out that it is very expensive, so I used polyester batting. On top of that I layered with cotton batting.

 

 

 

I cut enough fabric to cover the back rest and just pulled and stapled. I had kept all of the old cover fabrics thinking I might need it to make a pattern but from the videos, I just needed to cut enough fabric to pull to the back

photo 3

I moved to the arm rests and the wings, again, a layer of polyester and then layers of cotton. Same procedure, place the cover fabric, pull and staple, working on the arm rests, then the wings.

Covering with the fabric and stapling is the easy part and went pretty fast. The picture shows the outside wing, back and sides below the arm rests. This is where the ‘work begins’!

I tackled the outside wing. I stuff the opening with batting, then burlap was stretched and stapled. On top of the burlap, I placed cotton. I sewed welting or piping and that was stapled all around the perimeter. Below the piping, I stapled cardboard strips to strengthened the welting. Then a piece of cover fabric is placed over the cotton and hand sewn to the welting. So really, the welting serves as an anchor  to the cover fabric, using blind stitching.

photo 5

I moved to the side below the arm rest. Same process, filling any openings with poly batting, burlap and cotton and then cover fabric. The cover fabric was stapled under the arm rest, a cardboard strip was stapled to strengthen the whole length. Hand stitching the front edge while the back edge was stapled to the back.

Almost there! I moved to the back, stretched burlap. Made more welting and stapled all around the back edges and stapled cardboard strips. Cover fabric was blind stitched all around. The longest process is the hand stitching. The original chair covers were attached with metal strips with very sharp nails and hammered in to hold the cover fabrics but the video showed me this method and I much preferred it. Those sharp nails looked vicious and I am sure they will hurt me.

When I got to this stage I was pretty pleased with myself. The whole process took me about two to three weeks, not working on it everyday, of course.  I was thinking to myself “how come I waited ten years over?!”

To finish off the bottom of the chair, I stapled welting all around and then I stapled a black dust cover. David (my husband) put the legs back on. The chair looked pretty good! And to think that he was going to take it to the dump!

Today, May 13, I made the cushion covers for the seat and last but not least, I made two small cushions, one small rectangle for the small of the back and a bigger rectangle cushion to lay the baby on while my daughter nurses him.

 

 

 

Job #3 Saab Convertible seats

Now, we’re moving to the big league!  Fancy seats with motors and heated bum sections. Dot will explain:

Our friend Donna wanted her Saab seats reupholstered and asked if I would like to have a go at it. I said I would give it a try and she said she wanted to do it in leather. I thought to myself ..leather..hmmm I have only made two sets of seats both using vinyl. How hard can it be, after all I have my trusted walking foot sewing machine. So I said should be easy after the long bench seats I did.

First you undo this screw

First you undo this screw

Well, Dave brought the seats home and I stared in horror at the mechanisms and wires. What have we gotten ourselves into!

Then undo this ine

Then undo this ine

Undo the elastic fastener for the seat back and remember where all the wires go

Undo the elastic fastener for the seat back and remember where all the wires go

Remember those wires

Remember those wires

The yllow plug placement was noteworthy and required its own picture (we have to put this back together!)

The yellow plug placement was noteworthy and required its own picture (we have to put this back together!)

This steel plate is held onto the seat chassis with 2 big bolts and 2 small screws. The seat top is held on by plastic rails.

This steel plate is held onto the seat chassis with 2 big bolts and 2 small screws. The seat top is held on by plastic rails.

The cover is held onto the bottom wire frame with hog rings that have to be cut away

The cover is held onto the bottom wire frame with hog rings that have to be cut away

Another hog ring

Another hog ring

Wires in the seat covering that are fastened with the hog rings

Wires in the seat covering that are fastened with the hog rings

______The handbook calls the wire “listing”. I have to remember to sew these pieces of white nylon fabric. This is what attaches the cover to the foam. I will reuse these.

Rear cover opened - remember to put the grey piece back later.

Rear cover opened – remember to put the grey piece back later.

Unhook the bottom springs (2) from the seat back

Unhook the bottom springs (2) from the seat back

______You need brute strength to unhook the springs. I only cut and sew ..here’s hoping Dave can put these baby together later!

Remove this spring and the one on the opposite side.

Remove this spring and the one on the opposite side.

You don't have to remove the backing wire frame held by 4 springs (1 shown)

You don’t have to remove the backing wire frame held by 4 springs (1 shown)

Cut hog rings holding the rear wire frame to the cover wire frame

Cut hog rings holding the rear wire frame to the cover wire frame

You don't have to remove these 3 S clips, but underneath them ar 3 more hog rings going through the seat that have to be cut. These were extremely hard to get at- & even harder to re-install (these took ~ 10 mins out & 30 mins in)

You don’t have to remove these 3 S clips, but underneath them ar 3 more hog rings going through the seat that have to be cut. These were extremely hard to get at- & even harder to re-install (these took ~ 10 mins out & 30 mins in)

______Like I said, brute strength is a requirement in seat installations.

Padding comes off the seat frame

Padding comes off the seat frame

Naked seat frame

Naked seat frame

Final 3 hog rings to cut

Final 3 hog rings to cut

Seat bottom

Seat bottom

______Ahh, I guess I take over from here. The driver side seat cover is pretty much destroyed, so Dave had to dismantle the passenger side seat bottom so I could make an accurate template.

Taking apart the seat mechanisms took Dave two hours!

separated seat bottom

separated seat bottom

I unpicked the stitching from the old covers and traced the different sections onto paper, pressing the seams down while I traced.

nuts, bolts, springs etc that hold a seat together - did you remember where they all go?

nuts, bolts, springs etc that hold a seat together – did you remember where they all go?

Even so, later on Dave would ask me where is that “s”clip .We are missing one!

seat cushion

sea cushion

steel frame

steel frame

The foam is attached to the cover by the listing wire and hog rings and then placed on top of this metal frame. It is then screwed onto the chassis. The cover will then be wrapped around the metal frame edges by plastic retainers that required pushing and tugging and brute strength.

For the back hoe seats, the metal frame had a full metal back instead of a hole like this Saab one. It was a bear to hook the listing to the metal frame for the back hoe.

Seat chassis with motors, wires etc

Seat chassis with motors, wires etc

Seat back covering -inside out

Seat back covering -inside out

For the seat back, we only replaced the front part which is shown inside out. We kept the back covers because it looked in good condition – that part with the two holes for the headrest.

Foam seat back padding

Foam seat back padding

Seat back rear showing the fidly bits

Seat back rear showing the fidly bits

I'm not taking the second seat apart as I'll use it as a reference to re-assemble the first one

I’m not taking the second seat apart as I’ll use it as a reference to re-assemble the first one

Good idea to keep one as a sample.

Dot making the component templates

Dot making the component templates

Trace trace trace…as accurate as possible.

Marking out templates

Marking out templates

more templates

more templates

that was a big cow

that was a big cow

Hey, you calling me a big fat cow??!! I thought you loved me…just kidding.
Yes, holy cow, I have never seen such big hide before!

Small brown cow

Small brown cow

Marking out with template

Marking out with template

Foam padding stitched to leather being trimmed

Foam padding stitched to leather being trimmed

We decided not to spray glue the leather pieces onto the scrim (foam). We checked the old covers and they were just sewn around the edges and that’s what I did. I roughly cut the foam, sew close to the edges and then trim them.

These 5 pieces will make a seat back

These 5 pieces will make a seat back

We suggested that it would look nice to have two tone leather seat covers.

Trimming

Trimming

Partially sewn seat back

Partially sewn seat back

last panel sewing

last panel sewing

Focus

Focus

Without this heavy duty walking foot sewing machine it would be impossible to sew double layer foam and leather pieces.

This foots walking

This foots walking

finishing off

finishing off

Foam side after stitching together

Foam side after stitching together

Sew the front to the back - not so easy

Sew the front to the back – not so easy

____After I attached the new front covers to the backing (old cover), I had to do a row of top stitching and that was pretty challenging.

Get is on that naked seat back

Get it on that naked seat back

Lots of tugging and grunting and pulling to put the covers back onto the seat back.

All dressed up.

All dressed up.

Putting in hog rings on the seatbottom

Putting in hog rings on the seatbottom

hog ringing

hog ringing

Checking the Metal frame positioning

Checking the Metal frame positioning

Loading a hog ring

Loading a hog ring

Hog ring that seat

Hog ring that seat

Squeezing in a hog ring

Squeezing in a hog ring

_________The plastic retainer that attached the cover to the edge of the metal frame is the dark piece near Dave’s hand. We saved this piece from the old covers.

Seat bottom covered

Seat bottom covered

And the front

And the front

Screw it back onto the frame

Screw it back onto the frame

Back & bottom come together

Back & bottom come together

Comfy chair

Comfy chair

Looking good

Looking good

Before and after

Before and after

_____________________________________

HOPE THE CUSTOMER IS HAPPY WITH HER SEATS!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Job #2 Jude’s Backhoe Seat

The second job was to cover the seat from Jude’s Backhoe.

Dot will explain below………

Foam

Seat bottom. Not a stitch of the old vinyl was left.

My friend was impressed with the job I had done on the Chevy truck bench seats, so she asked if I would cover her husband’s back hoe seat. She said it is very bad. I went over to have a look and Jude, her husband said there is nothing wrong with the seat. I assumed my friend was just fussy and that she just wanted a new cover for the seat. We went to the tractor to take a look and I just about fell over backwards! The covers of the seat and the back rest were non existent!
Rodents had taken bites out of the bare foam and I was wondering if I really wanted to touch these seats!! Notice the holes in the foam that I will have to fill up. “See?” said my friend and I said “These are horrible , how can your husband said there are fine?”

The back of the seat.

The back of the seat.

The back rest was torn and tattered. Instead of using the old vinyl for a pattern, I will have to measure and trace the foam itself.
Seat Bottom

I bought some black vinyl but because I did not have the original sides to the seat, I messed up and ran out of black. I asked if I could use the orange instead. I jokingly told Jude that it will make you snow plow or back hoe faster if you have the orange in it. I unpicked whatever was left of the side vinyl from the back rest and guessed what the pattern should be and fortunately it fitted.

The new cover was attached to the metal base by listing or wire slipped through a bit of muslin that is sewn into the back of the cover. Unfortunatel I id not take a photo of it. It was very difficult to attach. We had to use long crochet hooks to hook the wire to clip on the metal base.

But before the cover was attached to the metal base, I had to sew the plastic retainers onto the vinyl. When I went to Mill End store they told me to get the newer snap in retainers. No sewing required. I purchased several yards but unfortunately, when Dave (my husband) helped to attach the covers onto the metal base with the snap in retainers, it did not hold and instead made holes in the vinyl! Dave said to reuse the old retainers but unfortunately, I had thrashed it and the garbage men had whisked it away! SO lesson learned..do not throw any old fixings away until the job is done!!

Fortunately,the tattered back rest still had the sewn in retainers so i unpicked that and sewed it to the bottom cover and we attached the whole cover and foam to the metal base. Whew, thank goodness it worked.

Almost done

Almost done

So the back rest is almost done. Since we used the sew in retainer from the back rest on the bottom seat, we had to figure out how to attach the cover and foam to the metal frame. Dave decided that we use grommets applied to the orange vinyl and used nylon rope to hold the whole back rest in.

The completed seats in the cab of the back hoe.

The completed seats in the cab of the back hoe.

We attached the back rest and seat in the cab of the back hoe, just in time for Jude to use the back hoe as a snow plow because we had a big snow storm the next day!

Just a note: the original seats had cloth center and vinyl sides . The new covers are vinyl with scrim underlay.

Job #1 Chevy C10 bench seat

The C10 truck seat was in very bad shape , so Dot volunteered to re-upholster. It was a lot of work over several weeks.

The Old Seat

The Old Seat

First new section getting marked up

First new section getting marked up

Welding the broken seat frame

Welding the broken seat frame

Sewing the piping with a walking foot machine

Sewing the piping with a walking foot machine

Filling the holes with foam

Filling the holes with foam

Batting cover

Batting cover

Stuffing…

Stuffing…

Putting in the hog rings

Putting in the hog rings

Almost ready

Almost ready

Seat bottom sewed up

Seat bottom sewed up

Alex likes it

Alex likes it

Cleaned out cab, ready for seat

Cleaned out cab, ready for seat

Seat fitting

Seat fitting

Seat bottom in

Seat bottom in

Seat installed

Seat installed

Dot will add some words later to explain what she’s doing here…..

When Alex sat on this bench seat, he tended to slide out of the door! When we took it apart we found out that the spring was broken and half the padding was gone some fat ass must have been sitting on it!

Years ago, I had bought Auto Upholstery Handbook by Don Taylor and so I referred to it to get started. We bought the Walking Foot sewing machine, some vinyl – gray and orange per our son’s request – and 1/2 inch thick scrim or foam, and got going.

Dave sprayed the vinyl and foam using a spray adhesive meant for foam and vinyl and measured and cut, leaving 2 or 3 inches extra for the pleats. It was a learning process throughout. I sewed the gray parts first, then the welting, and then joined the orange part.

We took apart the covers so I could trace the sides of the seat. Sewing the long bench seat was a bit  of a challenge because of the length so Dave had to hold and maneuver it while I sewed and sewed. The sides were pretty curvy to make it fit just right, so don’t throw the pieces, you need that for patterns.

I had to buy a piping foot to sew the piping or the welting on.It was so easy with that foot on!

As you can see, Dave repaired and welded the springs and hog ringed the covers back on. When it was all on, we were pretty amazed at what we had done! Pretty awesome!