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Upholstery Class

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by uncle johnny, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Since my job is no longer, retraining is an option for me, So I was wondering if anyone knows of any automotive upholstery classes.


  2. stillkruzn
    Joined: Apr 10, 2007
    Posts: 981

    from Conway, AR

    Check with local fabric stores... there used to be one here that offered a class...
  3. WyoTech has an auto trim course. A word of warning though, if your wanting to make a good living, look for something else. I have been doing it all my adult career(46yrs old), am one of less than a dozen in Kansas City producing at my level, and still only make 30k a year. That said, if your interested in it as a means of doing something you may actually like for a living, give it a shot.

    One more bit of advice. If you do take a course, don't expect to be hired as a fully trained trimmer upon graduating. I have worked with a number of guy's that graduated a course, and none of them really knew enough to just turn them loose on a job. In my opinion, it is a trade that cant be taught well in a school setting. Take the course, and then find an apprentice position. That's when the real learning will begin.
    vince89 likes this.
  4. skipstitch
    Joined: Oct 7, 2001
    Posts: 1,176



  5. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,730


    Sid Chavers has made some instructional videos about automotive upholstery. I've never watched them, but he does amazing work:
  6. I have a few of Sids videos, well with the money. Also there is a place that rents technical videos online, look there. As for the money part,, check with shops in your location, because here, upholsterers are turning down work and make more then 30k.
  7. I would dig ditches before moving to California.
  8. stichbitch
    Joined: Jun 12, 2007
    Posts: 126


    True statement Trimmer Len.

    The only place left around here that has a course is St Croix Prison, so if you want to get locked up. I got lucky and landed at a tech school the last 3 years they had the program, I took every class they had.

    When school was done I got a full time job at a parts place and did upholstery on the side till I was able to go off on my own. I am having a blast working for myself and not doing too shabby. It is alot of work and can be hard on your body, but if you think you have the work ethic and drive, go for it.

  9. unclescooby
    Joined: Jul 5, 2004
    Posts: 4,954

    from indy

    Jennie, I dig your work. I'm pretty lucky to have Dave Martinez in my back yard but I haven't had a chance to get my seat done yet. Fatlucky did some buckets for me a couple years ago and they were amazing too. I'd love to learn but with talent like you guys out there, I just don't see the point. I'd rather do the things I can do and then pay you for a quality job on the stuff I can't do.
  10. Sixcarb
    Joined: Mar 5, 2004
    Posts: 1,503

    from North NJ

    Find a shop that will be willing to let you work for free, start by making panels and helping clean the shop and work up to cutting and stitching, also keep your eyes out for a sew machine you can get and put at home and practice practice practice, you can hit local shops and pick up scrap material for next to nothing to practice on. I'm not sure with ulphostery schools but I know some of the schools that train for automotive industry put out some people that can't even change a spark plug so you may be better off putting your money elsewhere.
  11. thanks everybody for the replies. i've been looking for some kind of school that would teach auto upholstery, but couldn't find any. i didn't know if i was looking in the right places or there wasn't any.
    looks like i'll get some of sids videos and try that route

    thanks johnny
  12. octane
    Joined: May 8, 2006
    Posts: 339

    from Virginia

    I took a basic sewing class at a local fabric shop and made seat covers as my "class project" instead of a dress like everyone else in the class. I'm still not much of a seamster, but I learned a lot and have some halfway decent looking...thought probably not terribly durable seat covers to show for it!
  13. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,922


    I took a tour though the Wyo tech facility a few years ago and was pretty well impressed with the upholstry class. At that time ir ran for 3 month sessions and they are 8 hours a day. Their classes aren't cheap and they don't want you taking on part time jobs like the Arizona tech schools do. link here.

    As Trimmer Len said, it isn't the easiest way to make a living and I will add like most everything else, your location may have a big factor in that. And as he said figure on spending a few years as an apprentice too.
  14. Parts
    Joined: Jul 15, 2005
    Posts: 20


    I do part time sewing machine repair. Family has been in the business for 22 yrs. If you have any questions about machines or where to get parts PM me. If we help each other things get a lot simpler.
  15. VSC
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 1

    from Ohio

  16. Problem with most of those tech school is you have to do a bunch of other automotive stuff fist that you probably are not interested in and would be a waste of your money. I would try to find a shop and do an apprenticeship thing and make sure you do a good job so they can hire you afterwards.
  17. 51 mercules
    Joined: Nov 29, 2008
    Posts: 3,115

    51 mercules

    Try a community college or adult education.I took a couple of semesters at a community college before the budget cuts here in California killed the class.Ron(The Stitcher)Mangus was the instructor and his assistant was Craig Hopkins(Kiwi Kustom Upholstery).I learned a lot from these guys,but there is no way I know enough to make a living doing it.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2010
  18. Po-Lock-N-Load
    Joined: Jul 26, 2008
    Posts: 7

    from South FL

    You could always pick up a few books on upholstery, scrounge for scraps at your local crafts store, grab a used sewing machine, and teach yourself.
  19. Brickster
    Joined: Nov 23, 2003
    Posts: 1,131


    At wyotech you can take the Upholstery class only if you pay cash. They are called contract students and cannot pay with schools loans.
  20. redlinetoys
    Joined: May 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,302

    from Midwest

    Met both of these guys at the Hot Rod and Performance show in Indy yesterday. One is geared more towards custom sound system installation and the other seems to be more geared toward custom door panels etc (not so much seat cover work...), however, they had some NEAT tools and both offer INSTRUCTION CLASSES.

    I'll bet either one could also help you find upholstery classes as well.

    Check it out.
  21. zoobchop
    Joined: Mar 26, 2010
    Posts: 4

    from ohio

    27 years in the marine end of upholstery. I BOUGHT ( don't borrow them, Sid is one of us he need your money too. Besides you will refer to them hundreds of times in your new career? LOL) Sid Chavers are the BEST information I have ever seen. If You get really good you will have more NEW BEST FRIENDS than JESSEY has tattooed bitches. All you will get out of it is the HEPIES ,than your momma won't even kiss you. Get a REAL job. You will never make any money at this shit,and the ego trip aint worth the price of entrance.


    PS I have a sewing machine for sale.
  22. My 2 cents is stay away from Marine work..Damn rotted wood and water soaked foam sucks,,Plus most of the installation screws are all rust.
  23. I don't like boats, I don't use boats, I don't want to work on boats. But, it does not matter how many times I say it, someone will still ask. It always start with "I know you don't like boats, but..........NO, your boat seat is NOT different! It came out of a boat, didn't it?
  24. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,968


    There's more money in marine upholstery.
  25. MudLover
    Joined: Mar 26, 2010
    Posts: 10


    I went to Wyo Tech for the upholstery class...The class itself was fantastic as was the teacher. I got to work on some pretty awesome projects (66 vette buckets, carpet in a 9 door Checker, drop top on some misc. rust bucket late 60's Chev, my Cudas panels and carpet). The class is set up kinda like a job. 8 hours a day for 3 months. Most people had to take a "core class" first so they would spend 6 months in autobody/paint or mechanical first.
    Great school but crappy students and damn near unbearable town...Seemed like every loser kid with no other options outa HS ended up at the school (and dropped out within' 3 months). I'd say actual car people were in the minority 'til ya got to the street rod class. A revolving door of punk 17yo kids in a small town makes a bad name for a big school.
    If anyone decides to go there do 3 things to make life easier. Change your plates to Wyo plates ASAP (the cops make sport of nailin' "techies" and then you get your name in the paper), get your own place rather then stay in the dorms, and NEVER wear your uniform in town esp. if you're grabbin' a drink after class.

    Weekends in Fort Collins CO is the only thing that allowed me to maintain sanity while there. Greely (sp?) had the best criusin' loop.

    Looked for 6 months for a job in the field and nobody was hiring except one huge subcontractor for Boeing. Hell if I was gonna sit and stitch the same seat 8 hours a day 'til I died. Worked my way up the food chain in body shops instead.
  26. I don't know I have visited the campus and am signed up for the classes in September. I am taking the autobody before I take the street rod class. I don't want to do autobody but have to in order to take the street rod class.
  27. Mitchell, which campus?
  28. MudLover
    Joined: Mar 26, 2010
    Posts: 10


    Pack some really fricken warm clothes dude! And water proof steel toed boots for class. You gotta clean floors every day and stand in toxic water during the paint portion of autobody. You're gonna get swamp foot! Make sure your boots have good traction too. You gotta push your project car to and from the shop (if it doesn't run which it probably won't).

    PM me for more details if ya like. I was there for a good long while...
  29. BEAR
    Joined: Sep 10, 2007
    Posts: 1,310


    look at you local JC
  30. My wife just finished her upholstery class at Wyotech. I have seen a lot of the stuff she has completed in the class and I think she has gotten pretty good at it compared to Day 1 of the class. She is the first one to tell you though that it is really hard and takes A LOT of practice...

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