I will eventually need to reupholster the seats in my 1923 Touring. I am really impressed with the look of the reupholstered seats people have accomplished using the kits available from the online/catalog suppliers.
I was wondering if anyone has opted to reupholster any of their open or closed cars without one of the kits and, if so, if they'd share pics and explain any tips they learned.
I did my '27 roadster seats myself from scratch about 40 years ago. Kits were expensive and I wasn't rich. I looked at some books and other cars. I'm pretty hardcore do it myself!! Back in 2000 I had my '13 touring done by a local professional in brown leather with a tan Hartz type cloth top. All correct for a Canadian RHD car
My dad MADE and installed all the upholstery on his '17 touring years ago as well as the interior door panels, top and top boot. Absolutely no kits on his car. He used the original upholstery as a pattern. He purchased the material and did the sewing himself. Last spring, he re-did the door panels for the second time. With the exception of the cushion buttons which are leatherette covered instead of painted black metal, he made every effort to be authentic. (He still has the original black, painted buttons.)
More recently, he also made and installed the upholstery himself on his 1900 Waverley Electric using original upholstery for patterns. Diamond and square tufted leather stuffed with horsehair with a layer of cotton between the leather and horsehair, just like the original.
He is entirely self-taught and, in my opinion, quite talented in doing upholstery.
1900 Waverley Electric
I have upholstered several of my cars as well as leaned to paint straighten metal and other tasks I couldn't afford to have done. If nothing else it taught me to appreciate the folks who really know their trade. There is much pride in doing it yourself even if the quality isn't the same. On the other hand you have more time to fix what you don't like than the professionals. Restoration books had some information. Installing kits helped me learn a lot too.
The 4 vinyl seats are my YPC Bus. I used foam padding over custom springs provided by Snyder's to my specs.
The Coupe was an economy job with local fabric on sale. Foam and more Snyder springs.
You are to be commended for trying it yourself.
Wonderful pictures Erik. I wish I had used leather and horsehair.
I took my T to Bob's auto upholstery in Bellingham, MA. He did the front seat and some side panels. not big bucks and I couldn't be happier. He does a lot of antique and hot-rod work.
One of my Model T friends, who is a machinist and very particular, sewed his own upholstery in his '16 runabout. AFAIK, first time he did any upholstery, and it really looks fabulous. He's a very patient person too, and will rework something for days until he's happy with it.
I finished the upholstery of the 1914 runabout. It was the first time I used the Cartouche upholstery. Just the start was hard but after having study the user manual (English, I am Dutch)it was easy. I just took the time needed to do it right.
PS. for the 1926 touring and the 1922 woody I made the upholstery myself.
Talk to Larry Smith. He's in the process of stitching his own leather for his 13 roadster.
I enjoy upholstery work, but so far it has been limited to installing kits, I have yet to step up to sewing my own stuff - maybe someday...
Sewing leather for the seat ps on my old speedster. Found the leather on a sofa I spotted on the curb one day.
The seats in progress of fitting and stuffing with horse hair.
Does anyone remember the story back in the 60's about a fellow who bought a cow. He removed the hide and tanned it himself. Then he dyed it and stitched up upholstery for his old car. I can't remember for sure but it may have been a T. Apparently the dye did not take completely and black came off on his white shirt. I suppose that was taking the do-it-yourself thing too far.
I do think being resourceful and doing what you can is a very rewarding part of the hobby.
Well, in his case I liked the idea that the leather was already worked in after years of use as a sofa. So the seats really looked as if they had been there for years.
Mark, that is a great solution for that tricky corner. It is also nice to see the horsehair in there.
I took an upholstery class: bought springs from MAC auto parts, made the wood base, made my own pattern, and used a regular sewing machine.
Art, Does your wife mind you using her living room as a upholstery shop ? mine even helped me from time to time.looking good . just think, in a few short hours you'll be done. Ken