The 'Stuff I Build' thread. Or...the 'Why I don't have a build thread', thread.

Discussion in 'OEM and Custom Interiors' started by sewlow, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. sewlow

    sewlow Bitchin' Stitchin'

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    O.K., I've been on the forum for 2.5 years now, & I still don't have a build thread for either of my trucks.
    I bought & started the mods on my '98 before GMT400.com even existed. I've had that truck coming up to 9 years. At the time, recording the mods wasn't a priority. I took the truck in the direction I did simply for my own enjoyment. I figured that the finished project would stand on it's own merits. The truck has gone through various stages since I've owned it. It's still far from being done. More stuff is gonna be happening to it soon enough, in the form of an LS 6.0/4L80e w/EFILive swap. I'm gonna re-do the interior, too! Those builds I will record!
    The '97 has no build thread. It will. I've just been lazy on that!
    My personal projects tend to be slow builds. Why? It's a time management thing. I'm self-employed, & I do a lot of work on other people's projects. Sometimes I just don't have the time or the initiative to go work on my vehicles after working long stupid hours on someone else's. So, the only time that has been spent on the '97 has been maintenance. It's my DD. Got some ideas for some mods, but they'll have to wait a bit.
    The '98 has been sitting for a few years with a dead 4.3. The LS swap is gonna be such a big difference! From maybe 150hp to a butt-clenching 400hp+! Giddyup!

    In the meantime...here's some of the reasons (excuses?) I've been so slack in even starting the threads on my trucks. Call it a journal of the projects I do for others, or a brag book! Whatever! Lol!
    I've been doing upholstery since (cough!) September of 1979! In that time I've not only done auto interiors. I've hemmed jeans, fixed purses, tents, & bags for everything from windsurfers, to a whole Freightliner reefer, to boat tops & interiors! Kitchen chairs & nooks, antique chairs & couches, tonneau covers, & all the way to being lead-hand in a shop that did custom interiors in corporate jets.
    Mostly this is to keep from whoring up other member's threads, & a place I can continually post projects as they are completed.
    A lot of these pix have been posted on the forum before, but the are scattered throughout various threads. The ones I'm posting now, are the ones that I have on Photobucket. I'll add some that haven't been posted before as I find them in my computer. My open-pit filing system is not always the most efficient!
    This is gonna be pic heavy.

    This first project is the restoration of a front seat for a '59 Ford Retractable. 'Restoration' is the operative word, as I just don't 'recover' seats. I go through the whole seat. Nothing worse than having new seat skins, & a week later the track stops working. Or the owner is sitting 6" too low because of broken seat springs. I've got the seat already torn down, so might as well go through it all while the seat is on the bench. Besides, it's like building a house. If the foundation is questionable, how can the rest of the build be anything else but?
    I'll show most of the project from start to finish. I say 'most' because I don't have pix of any of the spring/frame work. Taking pix of broken springs is a PITA! What I do to those is not always apparent in pix.

    This is what I am starting with. This seat has been done before, as are most of the projects I work on. By the time they are this old, the interior has been done at least once, if not more times. And they are NOT always right. Some of these projects require a bunch of research to find out what is 'right'. Of course, I'm referring to 'restorations', where the interior has to be as the factory did it. I like to work within those confines. One of the best compliments that I ever had was from one of my Sis's friends that I did a resto in a '70 Camaro for.
    He said that it looked brand new, as it should. Like I'd never worked on it! Perfect! That's the way it should be.

    This has obviously been done before. And not very well! The black lines are mine & they show how badly this seat really was done. The lines show the seams that are 'supposed' to line up with the pleats. Just how can people do such shoddy work like this & expect to get paid for it, too!

    59Retractable002_zps8b9380d3.jpg

    59Retractable003_zps4bab52b0.jpg

    This is how I mark out the seat panels before I tear it apart. It's my own kinda code that I've developed over the years, which no-one else but myself would understand. It works for me, & I know exactly what's what at a glance. The arrows show the direction the vinyl has to go. Vinyl stretches one way, & not the other. The way the stretch goes is important when it comes to fit. Having the stretch go up & down helps to maintain the straightness of the seams.

    59Retractable004_zps0dc3850e.jpg

    Here's the parts marked & the cover torn down, ready to be laid out on the new material & cut-out. This process also includes line-up marks to I'll use when assembling the cover pieces.

    59Retractable005_zpsc9f327b6.jpg

    Laying out the new material using the old piece as a pattern. Any flaws in the pattern will be addressed before I cut out the new piece.

    59Retractable006_zpsa8aec831.jpg

    I always use the passenger side as the pattern. It gets way less use & is usually in better shape. To make the driver side, or in the case of buckets, the whole driver seat, is made by making a mirror image of the passenger side.

    59Retractable007_zps377e3b7e.jpg

    Here you can see why the arrows are important.

    59Retractable008_zpsdaf3094f.jpg

    New pieces cut out. They are for both sides of the seat. The new parts stay with the originals until time to sew them up. I keep everything pertaining to the seat until the job is finished & delivered to the customer. During the project, I'll refer back to the old ones continuously.

    59Retractable009_zps21c44cdd.jpg

    59Retractable011_zpsec38fd69.jpg

    New sub-assemblies sewn. The backs, bands & the faces, less the inserts.

    59Retractable012_zps8a1c0307.jpg

    An explanation of the numbers in the following pic.
    1st pleat=2.5"
    then...pleats=1.5", 7X.
    Followed by another 2.5" pleat.
    18" wide.

    59Retractable013_zps5ce53574.jpg

    Inserts laid out.

    59Retractable014_zps84035a71.jpg

    The inserts get 1/2" poly-foam.

    59Retractable015_zpsf9157132.jpg

    Inserts/foam laid out on the backing material. This will hold the stitching on the backside & gives the inserts the dimensional feel.

    59Retractable016_zpsaec4841f.jpg

    The backing material gets tacked to the foam with a light dusting of glue. This about the only time I'll use canned glue.

    59Retractable017_zps128c5d18.jpg

    Inserts sewn.

    59Retractable018_zps708afcb8.jpg

    The shape of the new insert after being corrected from the originals.

    59Fordretractinle003_zps5504098d.jpg

    The progression.

    59Fordretractinle004_zpseca7394d.jpg

    Old & new.

    59Fordretractinle005_zpscf5af065.jpg

    Inserts being sewn to the outer face parts.

    59Fordretractinle006_zps243d00bd.jpg

    Seams lined up with the pleats.

    59Fordretractinle007_zpsf55c7cf0.jpg

    This is how I make sure that my line-up marks are perfectly aligned.

    59Fordretractinle008_zps9f1f3bc2.jpg

    Faces & bands completed. Plus the back pieces too.

    59Fordretractinle009_zpseb26115a.jpg

    Passenger backrest cover sewn & installed onto the frame. This is the initial fitting. With some finessing & some heat, the cover with fit better. There'll be no more wrinkles.

    59Fordretractinle010_zpsafb9755e.jpg

    The cushion. Again, the initial fitting.

    59Fordretractinle015_zpsb6aa2720.jpg

    The completed seat. Check that inside top corner of the passenger seat & compare it to the previous pic of the initial fit.

    59Fordretractinle016_zps539ecff0.jpg

    So that's a basic overview of a seat restoration. Most of my projects follow the same basic procedure.
    The following pix are of some of my other projects.
    I don't always take pix of the whole process. Mostly before & after. I get concentrating on a job & don't always remember to take 'em.

    Dodge truck seat.

    Dodgetruckseat001_zpse58ba6ab.jpg

    Dodgetruckseat002_zpseb1b0650.jpg

    Dodgetruckseat003_zps4cb494d0.jpg

    Dodgetruckseat004_zps95934428.jpg

    The new bottom is not as shiny as the old original backrest due to the fact that the cushion has not been coated in armour-all. (yet! I have no control over what some people do to their seats once they leave my shop!)

    Dodgetruckseat005_zps0437d8a0.jpg

    '57 Retractable. Headliner, seats, carpets, trunk & trunk storage cover.

    57Retractable-Dwightsseats366_zps565e416b.jpg

    retractabletrunk295_zps22f62204.jpg

    retractabletrunk300_zps15035081.jpg

    retractabletrunk303_zps57c2c426.jpg

    retractabletrunk297_zps5520a9f2.jpg

    Seats for a square body Chevy truck. I learned this stitch from a leather clothing maker.
    My part of this project truck has been put on hold till the dash is installed & all the wiring is completed.

    57Retractable-Dwightsseats358_zpsd9963094.jpg

    57Retractable-Dwightsseats359_zps37b7facd.jpg

    I do a fair amount of convertible tops. 90% of all the tops are pre-made. For the cost of the raw material, I can buy a complete top already made. I have made them from scratch, though, when a pre-made top is unavailable.

    '57 T-Bird Top.

    Grafitti123_zps7c7c2622.jpg

    Grafitti126_zpsc4df34e9.jpg

    57T-Birdtop197_zps2e840f49.jpg

    57T-Birdtop195_zpse0c0df42.jpg

    57T-Birdtop194_zps2690a1ae.jpg

    The 'Hammer-on' binding not installed yet. That's what covers the staples.

    57T-Birdtop193_zpsb959c01f.jpg

    57T-Birdtop192_zps810a0ff1.jpg

    I've got more, but Photobucket has decided to start giving me a bad time. Wait for 'em!
     
    Oldblue98, Bob L and SCOTTYINWV like this.
  2. sewlow

    sewlow Bitchin' Stitchin'

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    A couple of projects for me.
    A hand-stitched leather covered shift knob for the '98.

    Shifterstitching1.jpg

    The seats & console in my '98.
    Before.

    CaddyseatsADtruck6.jpg

    CaddyseatsADtruck7.jpg

    Leather shift boot.

    Shifterboots.jpg

    After.
    There are 5 different vinyls in these. Red, red perforated, grey, grey perforated, & graphite for the piping.
    The console is vinyl covered, NOT dyed!

    CaddyseatsADtruck18.jpg

    CaddyseatsADtruck16.jpg

    Bike seats. (Not mine!)

    BlackChoppers41.jpg

    BlackChoppers42.jpg

    BlackChoppers32.jpg

    BlackChoppers35.jpg

    Pic045.jpg

    Check the 'fade' on the piping. Done with an air brush before being sewn into the seat.

    Pic043.jpg

    '35 Ford coupe hot-rod dash. I have the rest of the interior build pix somewhere. I'll post 'em when I find 'em!

    35FordcuopeHotRod16.jpg

    35FordcuopeHotRod18.jpg

    35FordcoupeHotRod68.jpg
     
    Bob L likes this.
  3. sewlow

    sewlow Bitchin' Stitchin'

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    Complete interior for a custom '56 F-100. 392 Hemi powered! This is the fourth of 5 interiors I've done for this customer.
    This is the original seat. Used to look like it came from a school bus. This is where the experience of aircraft interiors comes into play. Without that background, I never could of turned the seat into this.

    PC010027.jpg

    The headliner. From scratch! There is no patterns for stuff like this. I make it up as I go along!

    P3010112.jpg

    What's under the hood.

    CopyofP3010115.jpg

    Check the 5th. line from the bottom.

    CopyofP3010116.jpg

    CopyofP3010117.jpg

    http://www.gmt400.com/forum/showthread.php?13283-Almost-Famous&highlight=famous
     
    Bob L likes this.
  4. Half Assed

    Half Assed WINNERS NEVER LIFT

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    damn nice work bud :D
     
  5. sewlow

    sewlow Bitchin' Stitchin'

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    Thanks! I'll be posting some more tonight.
     
  6. FastOrange

    FastOrange OBSless

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    Sewlew i have said this before, and i will say this again, you do amazing work! i gotta find the time to come down and hang out with you again!

    Have you done any 1st gen Camaro's?
     
  7. sewlow

    sewlow Bitchin' Stitchin'

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    1st gen Camaro's have so much interior stuff available that, unless it's custom, it's best to buy a kit. Most are very good 'reproductions'. Most wouldn't see a difference between an original & a repro.
    But, say for example, put 3, '55 Chevy's side by side, & from 10' I'll tell you which interior is original, which one is the kit, & which one has the restored interior.
    The original will have 'The Look'. That original fit, & shape. The odd production line flaw. (Quality was not job 1!) There's just something about an original interior that looks right. Slight mis-alignments here & there.
    Closer up, things like the feel. Not only the touchy-feely thing, but things like the tensions of the springs & how it feels to sit in the seat. Unless they're being replaced with brand new springs, for that vehicle, that 'feel' is very hard to reproduce. I can get it close, but a lot of the times, it's the customer that decides how he wants it. Hard as a rock (!) or antique couch cushy!
    The repro vinyls & fabrics are not made exactly the same. They feel thinner. The grain may be oh so close, but just not quite right.
    The kit will look & feel a bit cheap. Production line flaws. And I've seen some pretty bad ones, including just plain old crappy patterns. A kit is only as good as the install, too. There's more to just throwing the covers on the frames, no matter what the magazines & T.V. shows have to say about that!
    A restoration is usually an over-restoration. It's perfect! No flaws. The shape is perfect. More so than the factory's. The materials are of a way better quality. Seams & panels align exactly. The fit & finish IS job #1!
    So it's up to the customer. Most are happy with a kit. Nothing wrong with that. Depends on the customer & what he's gonna use it for. Saturday night special, long-haul driver, or a concour's show trailer queen?
     
  8. SCOTTYINWV

    SCOTTYINWV si vis pacem, para bellum

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    About time man! :deal:





    Great work man!
     
  9. aarolar

    aarolar I'm Awesome

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    So what does it cost to do work like that, I have been thinking about getting my seats done in my truck down the line.
     
  10. RyanMerrick

    RyanMerrick 8 Lug

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    Gorgeous work, you obviously put time and care into it.

    I replaced my Mustang's convertible top myself but now I'm hoping to redo all the seats (a bit more challenging I know...). Any suggestions on where to buy materials like leather or cloth for seats? I've found some pricey options online, just curious if you recommend any place in particular.
     

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