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Need to learn Auto Upholstery, sources please

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Lancer, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. Lancer
    Joined: Jan 11, 2004
    Posts: 1,275

    Lancer
    Member

    Okay, so I have a few car projects, dont we all, and my wife is wanting to learn how to do auto upholstery. She is a very good seamstress and can make just about anything one could wear. Now she wants to broaden her skills.

    I am looking for books, videos etc. so she/we can see how things are done. I know she can learn by trial and error but that can get real expensive.

    We have checked the local Junior College and they do offer one class on furniture upholstery. Not sure how much that would apply to cars.

    We have already gotten all the books on the subject from the local library.

    Videos would be great, are there any out there on the subject??

    We do have a good sewing machine that can handle the thicker materials, so we've got that covered.

    Any good sources or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Lance
     
  2. Sounds like she's ready to start the basics. Go get some material and get to stitching.
     
  3. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    pasadenahotrod
    Member
    from Texas

    Furniture upholstery class is the first step to the auto upholstery world.
    Take the class, learn, learn, learn. Move on to auto upholstery class, then make some good money doing sofas, and chairs, and enjoy the auto work for your own pelasure.
     
  4. gr8ness13
    Joined: Aug 28, 2008
    Posts: 405

    gr8ness13
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Hey Lance i checked on the junior college program it seems like it would cover the basics... i thought about taking it after i finish here...i have a couple of buddies that have that have some knowledge i pick there brain all i can..
     

  5. Pir8Darryl
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,488

    Pir8Darryl
    Member

    I started back when I had a young family and no money. The drivers seat in my toyota was a disaster. Bought a few yards of blue jean denim from wally world for like $1.99 a yard, borrowed my Mom's sewing machine, and carefully took apart the old seat cover, duplicated it, sewed it up, and installed it.

    A week later, I had done the whole interior, including headliner and door panels in blue jean denim

    A month later, I had done 2 of my friends cars, and made a nice little profit.

    A couple months after that, I quit my sucky job and did car interiors full time for most of the used car lots here in town
     
    MIKE STEWART likes this.
  6. daddio211
    Joined: Aug 26, 2008
    Posts: 5,999

    daddio211
    Member

    Ron Mangus has a INCREDIBLE book out! Start there, you won't regret it!
     
  7. gillgonzalez
    Joined: Oct 9, 2005
    Posts: 359

    gillgonzalez
    Member
    from San Diego

    Theres lots of great info in the HAMB upholstery group here-

    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/group.php?groupid=174&pp=20

    Sid Chavers has the best videos ever for sale on his website- He has 3 total but the site only says 2.

    http://www.sidchaverscompany.com/video/video.html

    Ron Mangus has a carpets video

    http://www.ronmangusinteriors.com/products/index.php?cPath=22&osCsid=b7j0m1l2tib3s71madmhgkpu40

    And 3 books that you MUST own are.

    The Automotive Upholstery Handbook by Don Taylor
    Custom Auto Interiors by Ron Mangus and Don Taylor
    How to Restore and Customize Auto Upholstery and Interiors by Dennis W. Parks
     
  8. jakesbackyard
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 756

    jakesbackyard
    Member
    from ND
    1. Upholstery

    Everything Gill said times 2. Lots of good info in the HAMB uph social group and Sid Chavers tapes are great. You didn't say what type of sewing machine you are working with, but you should look into an upholstery machine. Good luck - it's a dying art.
     
  9. brady1929
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 8,579

    brady1929
    Member

    i am gonna try to do my own, too.
     
  10. JeffreyJames
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 16,612

    JeffreyJames
    Member
    from SUGAR CITY

    My wife signed up for a Upholstery class after I got her a Consew Machine a couple months ago. I am really hoping that she loves it once she get's into it whether it's auto or furniture.

    The Sid Chavers vid looks cool.
     
  11. Sphynx
    Joined: Jan 31, 2009
    Posts: 1,142

    Sphynx
    Member
    from Central Fl

    I have a Pfaff 1245 industrial sewing machine its really a nice piece its an older one but low hours from my investigation consews and pfaffs are the best to own , I am in Florida so if anyone needs material down my way I have a lead on some really good supliers , and thanks for posting this I really am very interested in upholstery and anything that can help me is appreciated .
     
  12. kustomkat
    Joined: Sep 4, 2006
    Posts: 554

    kustomkat
    Member

    I took a class at my local junior college when I did my 53 many moons ago. Basically I learned that I will never be an upholstery guy. It's time to re-do it again, but it has worked well for the last 18 years or so..
     
  13. Johnny1290
    Joined: Apr 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,834

    Johnny1290
    Member

    One of the local joann fabrics has classes at their store, I think it's pretty common. This one happens to be by someone that rents the space from them. It was pretty cheap, like $75 for 4 classes or something. There's also several local places that teach. Just do a search on the net or craigslist for classes and you'll start to find them. Good luck.
     
  14. zippeay
    Joined: Aug 7, 2006
    Posts: 334

    zippeay
    Member
    from Hooper, Ut

    If she doesn't have an upholstery grade sewing machine she will have problems sewing up covers. You can find some nice used machines on ebay or craigslist. If she can sew clothes she can do this. There are a lot of things to learn but it just take practice and patients. Good luck
     
  15. czuch
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 2,688

    czuch
    Member
    from vail az

    I have some sewing that I need done too. I never thought about douing my own interior,till now. I have 2 big 50's industrial Singers that my Mom left me with a quilting machine. I looked on C/L for sewing classes like you said and there was one third down. This could be doable.
    Thanks
     
  16. HP books has one called "Auto Upholstery & Interiors" by Bruce Caldwell, number 1265.
     
  17. Lancer
    Joined: Jan 11, 2004
    Posts: 1,275

    Lancer
    Member

    Thank you guys for the excellent information!!!

    Exactly what I was looking for, the HAMB Rocks!
     
  18. Johnny1290
    Joined: Apr 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,834

    Johnny1290
    Member

    I've got the 3 books gil recommends, and they're a real must have IMHO.

    Another resource is renting videos at smartflix.com

    They have a bunch. I really appreciate seeing someone actually doing stuff. It's the next best thing to taking a class.

    There's this one guy that has a video called sunvisors and flames or something like that. The guy is really really cool and fun to watch. I'm going to rent all his videos, his one on equipment and tools and shop setup was especially good for a novice like me. He's got a website and you can rent directly from him for the same price as smartflix.
     
  19. Lancer
    Joined: Jan 11, 2004
    Posts: 1,275

    Lancer
    Member

    What is the link to his site?
     
  20. daddio211
    Joined: Aug 26, 2008
    Posts: 5,999

    daddio211
    Member

    What qualifies a "good" sewing machine? I'd really love to learn too, but have no clue what I'm looking at! I know there are 100's of manufacturers, and each has different lines. How can a complete beginner like me know that I'm looking at something capable of doing a car interior?

    I'm pretty sure if it says "My Little Pony" or "My First Sewing Machine" or "Learn to Sew with Barbie" its not for me. I don't know for sure, I'm just sayin'...
     
  21. Johnny1290
    Joined: Apr 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,834

    Johnny1290
    Member

    OK I found it. Here's the guy's website. Take it from me he's great.

    link

    Oh and for the machines, if you search this has been answered 100 times. Basically you want one with a walking foot, and reverse if you can afford it. A true industrial will have a head unit and motor, they're separate, the motor is big and attached to the table underneath the table top.

    Stick to the brand names and you can't really go wrong. Consew, Pfaff, Juki, Singer, are all good machines. A Singer 111W is the first machine I bought, because it was affordable, I paid $250 I think. Then I bought my Pfaff.

    Just a heads up people on ebay list just about any machine as being a walking foot or industrial, even when they aren't. Do your research on the web before you purchase and verify what a seller tells you to be true. There's a lot of people with no scruples selling machines on craigslist. Who knew?
     
  22. Sphynx
    Joined: Jan 31, 2009
    Posts: 1,142

    Sphynx
    Member
    from Central Fl

    I bought a Pfaff 1245 off craigslist it was an older machine late 70s model I wasnt interested in the new ones they are made in China now with lots of plastic parts the older ones are made in Germany and are really good tough I paid $1500 for it and really glad I went that route.
     

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  23. gillgonzalez
    Joined: Oct 9, 2005
    Posts: 359

    gillgonzalez
    Member
    from San Diego

    That book sucks. Dont bother.
     
  24. daddio211
    Joined: Aug 26, 2008
    Posts: 5,999

    daddio211
    Member


    Thanks guys. I tend to buy the best I can afford so I can learn with the "right stuff", rather than learning, then having to re-learn when I get good equipment. I'm not ready to pull the trigger yet, but would like to know so I can educate myself until I'm ready.
     
  25. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    Whoah!!! I'm getting into that dreaded "semi-retirement" stage. I don't want to be out of the loop, and I need some income. YOU GUYS are providing info, so a guy can BENEFIT other rodders/restorers and stay in that loop! KEEP UP THE GOOD INPUT!
     
  26. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    I DO need to add: One of the REASONS I would like to learn this CRAFT is (besides doing my own, of course), I have my mother's 1890s-era White sewing machine. It's the OLD treddle-type machine, and they did a GREAT job for thier day.

    When my mom taught a bored young boy (me) how to sew back in the '50s/'60s, I was impressed that (if you didn't FORCE things) the foot and hand manipulations yo can do with one of thiese old machines is AWESOME!

    Go slow, and it doesn't seem to matter how tough the stuff you're trying to stich thourgh is!

    I look forward to hearing MORE on this great HAMB thread. Thanks for posting the question!
     
  27. Johnny1290
    Joined: Apr 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,834

    Johnny1290
    Member

    I'm just a beginner, only had a machine(s) 4 or 5 months maybe. The Singer was fine, it was just laborious in that it didn't have a knee lift or reverse. If you know what you're doing these are probably not that big a deal, but I found a big bobbin pfaff 545 for cheap($450 maybe? they're usuall around $700+ here in LA) and I absolutely love it. It's just a great piece of machinery and a real joy to use. I spent more time untangling thread, etc, with the Singer than I did sewing. That could have been due to a worn out machine? or just a bobbin that kept spinning when you came to a stop, I dunno, but that stuff is frustrating for a beginner.

    Now I understand why people suggest using a real walking foot industrial to do an interior. You maybe *can* do it with something smaller/less powerful, but a beginner like me needs all the help he can get. Fighting with mechanical sewing machine gremlins plus trying to figure out all the measuring and seams and whatnot, well it's no wonder people get frustrated and just chuck it all.
     
  28. Martino
    Joined: Nov 26, 2010
    Posts: 245

    Martino
    Member

    I just got a Singer 111w113 industrial machine. Gonna try my luck at it
     
    G-son likes this.

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