I have read and reread the installation instructions for my Cartouche 26 roadster top. I have searched the forum and studied the - May 7th post on this same topic. I have viewed/reviewed the installation video. My best conclusion is that
1) the long top straps are set at 12 inches from the center of the front and rear bows (inside edge of strap placed on the 12 inch mark)
2) the inside edge of the bow pad (front and rear) is set 2 inches from the outside edge of the long strap
All this said, using these assumptions, these photos show where the bow pad will sit on the rear and front bows. Edges of the pad are highlighted with chalk for clarity. Does this look correct? On the rear not a lot of pad lays on the curved portion of the top iron. At the front bow the "outside edge of the pad" IS NOT "even with the outside edge of the front bow" as per the instructions. My inclination is to follow the instructions and forget about placing the pad 2 inches from the long strap on the front bow as some instructions advise. Does the rear bow pad location look to be correct?
Should be OK, here are some photos of a finished restored '26 runabout, might help your job
You will be trimming the padding away at the front and rear bow surface some, as you don't want lumps there.
Your rear pad location should be more in the curve (toward the outside of the car), and the front pad location should also end in the side curve of the front bow.
Hard to explain. The front pad should come down on the outside of the front bow on the vertical surface, about halfway down the width of the bow.
You probably need to move the pad at the rear down about two inches, and the front over three inches, guesses from pictures.
The goal is to pad the curves of the bows. The attached picture shows a pad on the top of a 20's Dodge, but should give you an idea.
Also, I see you're using tacks, so take the padding and straps out of the pads, and temporarily tack them in place without those things inside. Get rid of the clamps, you use big tacks not driven in all the way, that way you can move and adjust as needed. You can't install it all at once, fabric first, internal straps next, pad,, then close. Pad should be feathered to front and rear bows so there's no padding under tack strips.
David - thanks for your comments. My feeling was that the pad should be moved as you advised. The instructions that came with the top are very poor. I used the clamps only to hold the pad in place for the photos. Have been using a staple gun for most of the installation. The tacks were used years ago when I started but never finished putting on the top.
The pad installation sequence you provided agrees with the instructions I have. However, if you don't tack through the padding, what do you do at the center bow? Do I tack only the pad and the jute straps to the center bow then lay in the padding (which in this kit is just cotton) then stitch the flaps closed?
Any other photos or measurements re installation of bow pads?
Jim are there any auto upholstery shops near you? They may help you. It might even be worth it to have them do the work.