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2005-2009 S197 Appearance Section For all appearance mods to the 2005-2009 S197's

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Old 08-23-2010, 05:42 AM   #1
Menace
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Default How to: Custom Auto Upholstery?

I'm the kind of guy that enjoys learning, and working on my own things. In the perfect world I would be a jack of all trades, but for many reasons in the past I haven't had the time or desire to learn such trades. I am also in the military, so going to UTI or Wyotech is out of the question but if anyone on here knows some tips or suggestions to learning how to do such a project it would be enlightening. Not interested in starting my own shop, just doing my own work.

What really inspired me was DSV Customs, though they are more interested in Camaro's and Corvettes to entertain us Mustang owners with little more than their Sema teasers and then leave us hanging when we show interest in their parts.

In the end if I could learn the skills and techniques to do something truly of my own design and custom, I think I would be happier and would have saved probably thousands of dollars.

Thanks guys,
Kal
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:42 AM   #2
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There are a lot of DIY threads here that cover a whole range of what one can do with their Mustangs. TacoBill is highly regarded as the DIY-er on this forum, among others. Use the search feature and type "custom auto upholstery" and see what that turns out. Hope this aids you in what you're looking for.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:10 AM   #3
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Still no luck. Even looking through the yellow pages for auto upholsters is coming up slim to none. This is possibly a dying art, which only hurts us more because prices go through the roof on custom work like this. I just want to get the basics, have an understanding, and through trial and error hopefully achieve the results I'm looking for.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:30 AM   #4
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Still no luck. Even looking through the yellow pages for auto upholsters is coming up slim to none. This is possibly a dying art, which only hurts us more because prices go through the roof on custom work like this. I just want to get the basics, have an understanding, and through trial and error hopefully achieve the results I'm looking for.
It is a dying art for sure.
Not a lot of money in it because it's labor intensive to make it look good.
Companies like Katzkin sell seat covers for killer prices, like $800 or so.
An upholstery shop will pay around $500 for a hide, you do the math...
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:43 AM   #5
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Hey Pascal, I was searching out of curiosity for "Premium Quality Auto leather" and I found one site that listed it at $11 sq/ft. Said about 35-40 sq/ft to do a car. (No car specific) So figure 55 sq/ft + 80 S&H = 685. This is for more than just the seats of course. I get where you are going with this, but in the end I think it would be an interesting DIY project.

It would be nice if I could just learn from a shop or something, but I can't find any except for in CA. Job kinda makes it impossible to travel/go to some school and again I just want to get a good grasp of what I am doing. You know, how to make proper measurements, how to do good stitches, what needles and machines are best for what application, etc. Maybe show me some tips and techniques to get a truly custom feel and job.

DSV like I said really opened my eyes, but their availability and questionable pricing makes me want to just do it myself.

We will see. I know there are people like yourself who have some amazing talents and might possibly point me or guide me in the direction of where I want to go. Worth a try.

PS as soon as I get a garage... the pony is getting a fresh paint with a gt-500 front end and possibly a steeda cowl hood. How do you think a black metallic or pearl or something would look?
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:31 PM   #6
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So how do seat covers work exactly? Do they remove the existing leather from the seat?
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:08 PM   #7
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We will see. I know there are people like yourself who have some amazing talents and might possibly point me or guide me in the direction of where I want to go. Worth a try.

PS as soon as I get a garage... the pony is getting a fresh paint with a gt-500 front end and possibly a steeda cowl hood. How do you think a black metallic or pearl or something would look?
First, thanks for the compliments.

Black metallic would look good on a Stang...
That's what I used for black out accents on my car.
It's a 2000 Jag color called "Anthracite", it has very fine green and purple grits in the metallic. Looks great in the sun.

I used to work in an upholstery shop in the early 90s...
Unfortunately, I never got to get any time behind the sewing machine.
I did learn everything else though.
You can't improvise sewing, you need to put your share of hours to have a consistent stitch pattern with the machine. Especially with the French style stitching like you'll find on the outer edges of our Mustang seat covers etc...
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:18 PM   #8
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So how do seat covers work exactly? Do they remove the existing leather from the seat?
The leather is stitched with a 1/2" thick lair of foam and a piece of cloth on the bottom to keep it all together.
So, you have 3 lairs of material sewed together: leather, light foam and cloth.
This makes the seat cover, that you then, put over the thick seat foams and the frame.
It is secured on the bottom of each seat halves with upholstery C clips.
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:40 PM   #9
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Well, I think the important thing is that we keep trying and never give up or surrender on something we want just because it's "too hard" ... Or else we'll never get anything accomplished.

See, I didn't even know about stitching leather to foam, and a cloth backing. I was under the impression we stitched the leather to the leather and dragged it over the foam. See, learning something new already.

As far as practice, I completely understand. Though I probably can't even do a straight stitch on a machine let alone anything else because I haven't ever done it. No clue of what type of machine you would even need, something for small projects like this... If I got pretty good / decent at it then it might turn into something more simply because I enjoyed doing it but not sure.
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Old 08-25-2010, 06:46 AM   #10
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You'll definitely need an industrial type of sewing machine.
Your Momma light weight that she has in the spare room won't cut it!
You have to go through a lot of thickness when you sew everything together.
Like the seat inserts, the needle has to go through two lairs of materials (leather, foam backing, twice).

Good brands are of course Singer, Pfaff (not sure if sold in the US) and Juki.
If you're serious about that, I recommend the Juki (model DDL 8700).
Retails around $600 and is more user friendly to beginners.

Have fun.
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Old 08-25-2010, 06:46 AM
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