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      Abbreviated rules   07/28/2017

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wristwister

Do your own upholstry they said. It'll be fun they said.

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How hard can it be, right? Only 10 cushions down below to upholster. Pick up some fabric and piping, fire up the ol' sewing machine, and go for it!

 

The first cushion looks like absolute crap. I'll probably chuck it and do it again.

 

The second cushion is marginally acceptable, feeling pretty good about that one.

 

I completely botched up the third cushion last night. Tossed it in the trash.

 

... and early on I realized my old machine wasn't up to the task so I spent some bucks on a more suitable machine.

 

But I must say, the ladies down at the fabric store are getting a real kick out of me. A clueless man walks in and they kind of gather around and trip over each other trying to help me.

 

Any of you do your own upholstery? After you finished the boat, did you toss the machine and say "fuck that, never again!".

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Myself and my parents did ours, probably 12-15 cushions, then decided to do a main cover, then a bimini, then a dodger... Conveniently started a canvas business after that. Lots of careful measuring and patience did it for us, with some help from SailRite.

 

Our machine is still going today, and has done some more heavy duty jobs (new corners on headsails, leathering, a few new boltropes)

 

HW

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my experience with a sewing machine is that it's easy to make stuff that looks like you made it yourself.., but hard to make stuff that looks like it was made by a pro

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Agree with 7070. The sail rite machine I have is satisfying on small projects, but the bigger machines used by the pros, plus their work tables and experience, result in a better product in my experience. I like making sheet bags and the like, but I've wasted a fair amount of expensive fabric on larger projects. Sail rite is a good outfit with some really useful videos and stuff. I have the patience to write checks, not to do complex angled corners of a berth cushion with piping.

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my experience with a sewing machine is that it's easy to make stuff that looks like you made it yourself.., but hard to make stuff that looks like it was made by a pro

 

I have learned a whole lot ... about buying sewing machines.

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Contact Sailmaker's Supply as an alternate:

 

http://www.sailmakerssupply.com

 

Try making cushions without piping first. They're more comfortable, and the piping traps dirt. I never understood why people like that shit.

 

Use a stapler to hold the fabric together, as you would do a pin

Don't do 90' corners, make them more of a curve. Clip the seam allowance with relief notches so the fabric 'turns'

Make cushion foam a little larger than the cushion cover, so it's overstuffed, and not wrinkly

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Max, sounds like you've been there done that. Staples, that's brilliant, much quicker than pins.

 

I'm doing piping mainly because the white piping looks real cool against the navy blue fabric, and it's pretty good at hiding some of my shoddy workmanship. But yes, it's a pain.

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Piping, especially in a contrasting colour, usually highlights errors in workmanship.

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Years ago after snagging a good bit of Ultrasuede at cost, my wife and I decided that we would replace the original cushions ourselves. Our friends who sold us the material, are in the business and are sailors said "Don't be stupid. Hire a pro."

 

They gave us the connection to a local Annapolis seamstress (who wrote a book on the subject) and a month later we had all new cushions.

 

Smartest move we made.

 

We still use the Sailrite to make sailcovers and sheet-bags. Which is about the limit...

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How is the Ultrasuede wearing? Do you like it?

 

I hate sewing on land, I don't think I would enjoy it anymore as a boat project. Handsewing covers on longer passages I could see.

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I worked as an upholster in a beaty shop furniture plant as a teen, stapled covers on shampoo chairs and dryer seats by the hundreds. Drawing on that experience, I cut out sheets of 5mm luan about 2-3" smaller than my cushions. Folded the material over and stapled it like a damn dining chair seat. Did envelope folds at the corners. Trimmed the excess cloth with a razor knife.

Vee berth, 2 setees and two 1/4 berths took a couple of hours. Not a stitch in the whole damn boat.

People would shit when I lifted the cushions to show them.

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I was looking at doing it in our C-27. Not sure if I give enough of a shit to do it. For the foam - there are relatively inexpensive (read cheapo Chinese) smartfoam matresses that might serve the purpose, and BTW that stuff is a joy to sleep on. A 6" smartfoam in the firm grade (even if it isn't the toughest foam in the world) sprayed with an anti-mildew treatment seems like it'd hold up. I'm sure cutting smartfoam is a real joy too...

 

Just asking myself if I care enough to put myself through that, or, if I'm feeling that masochistic, if I shouldn't just pull out the checkbook, because putting $2500 of new cushions on a boat that cost me $2500 would scratch the S&M itch for a while.

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electric turkey carving knife makes quick work of cutting foam

 

the plasma cutter of the upholstery world!

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Wife, ergo seamstress, killed two electric knives cutting foam. I then found a cheap foam cutter on eBay, something like EZE Foam Saw. Was not that much. She'll be building a new mattress here before long so I'll let you know how it goes

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I worked as an upholster in a beaty shop furniture plant as a teen, stapled covers on shampoo chairs and dryer seats by the hundreds. Drawing on that experience, I cut out sheets of 5mm luan about 2-3" smaller than my cushions. Folded the material over and stapled it like a damn dining chair seat. Did envelope folds at the corners. Trimmed the excess cloth with a razor knife.

Vee berth, 2 setees and two 1/4 berths took a couple of hours. Not a stitch in the whole damn boat.

People would shit when I lifted the cushions to show them.

I've done a little bit of cushion and canvas work, came out ok, but your solution for non-sewers is brilliant.

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The 2nd attempt at cushion # 3 came out very nice. A decent walking foot machine with the right foot attachments makes all the difference in the world (got a screaming good deal on one on Craigslist). Now on to those V-berth cushions, a bit more complicated ...

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Dex, I am doing the exact same thing now, with the stapled wooden backer. One cushion finished. The front and back look great, but those folded corners look like a bag of shit. How exactly did you fold yours? Mine look like an xmas present wrapped by a 4 year old with no thumbs.

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Dex, I am doing the exact same thing now, with the stapled wooden backer. One cushion finished. The front and back look great, but those folded corners look like a bag of shit. How exactly did you fold yours? Mine look like an xmas present wrapped by a 4 year old with no thumbs.

 

do corners last

pull the cloth over the corner on bias and shoot 1 staple sort of like they did here

original_Janell-Beals-Recovered-Dining-C

 

then you do your folds and end up with the vertical gap right on the corner like this

 

09-dining-chairs.jpg

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My H-Boat cushions were shot when I bought her. I could have fucked up a lot of expensive fabric and foam and ended up with horrible cushions, but I decided to save money, so I got new, professionally made cushions. It's not a big boat so it wasn't a huge sum. I saved money and and countless hours of anger and frustration, and have nice cushions (with no piping). :D

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Be afraid Sierra, be very afraid!

 

Actually, find yourself some cheap upholstery fabric, watch the SailRite videos, and go for it. Be prepared to bungle up your first couple attempts and toss them in the trash (hence the CHEAP fabric). A few cold beers next to the sewing machine seems to make things go smoother.

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Be afraid Sierra, be very afraid!

 

Actually, find yourself some cheap upholstery fabric, watch the SailRite videos, and go for it. Be prepared to bungle up your first couple attempts and toss them in the trash (hence the CHEAP fabric). A few cold beers next to the sewing machine seems to make things go smoother.

 

Until you knock them over and swamp your machine. You really need a beer hat to sew effectively.

 

product_main.jpg

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True Ish.

 

The emasculating humiliation of walking into a "fabric store" and speaking that language made my balls shrink to mere plum size. A real sailor shouldn't know what "piping" is. It's only because I'm cheap that I stooped to that level.

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Most upholstery shops, not to mention sailmakers I've been in were run by men. I think it's a little like cooking that way - at home it's "women's work" but commercially it's men's work.

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I worked as an upholster in a beaty shop furniture plant as a teen, stapled covers on shampoo chairs and dryer seats by the hundreds. Drawing on that experience, I cut out sheets of 5mm luan about 2-3" smaller than my cushions. Folded the material over and stapled it like a damn dining chair seat. Did envelope folds at the corners. Trimmed the excess cloth with a razor knife.

Vee berth, 2 setees and two 1/4 berths took a couple of hours. Not a stitch in the whole damn boat.

People would shit when I lifted the cushions to show them.

 

Dex-

 

Do you have problems with condensation or moisture ruining the luan surface or rusting out the staples?

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Dex - when you do those corners do you just fold it neatly or do you cut some (partial) darts to cut down on the bulkiness?

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Dex - when you do those corners do you just fold it neatly or do you cut some (partial) darts to cut down on the bulkiness?

monel staples

 

sold boat when upholstery job was 6-7 years old. Luan looked a little "funny" in a few spots but no rot.

 

my setees had a fid along the edge so the bulk at the corners didn't really show even though the cushions didn't sit super flat. if bulk was a major issue, a batten down the edge to jack the rest of the cushion a few mm might help.

 

I did this with super cheap industrial remnant fabric that I was willing to throw out if it went pear shaped.

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Most upholstery shops, not to mention sailmakers I've been in were run by men. I think it's a little like cooking that way - at home it's "women's work" but commercially it's men's work.

 

Thanks for pointing that out Jon. We were starting to sound like a bunch of gay fashion designers in this thread.

 

... although I am doing this "at home", so I guess I'm doing "woman's work".

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BTW, bull city, I bought upholstery in the bull city at scrap exchange when it was still downtown.

Dang, you are cheap! I saw some old Yachting magazines there.

 

The Scrap X is about to move into its third home.

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Dex - when you do those corners do you just fold it neatly or do you cut some (partial) darts to cut down on the bulkiness?

monel staples

 

sold boat when upholstery job was 6-7 years old. Luan looked a little "funny" in a few spots but no rot.

 

my setees had a fid along the edge so the bulk at the corners didn't really show even though the cushions didn't sit super flat. if bulk was a major issue, a batten down the edge to jack the rest of the cushion a few mm might help.

 

I did this with super cheap industrial remnant fabric that I was willing to throw out if it went pear shaped.

Dex, can we try again? ;)

 

just work the extra cloth bulk in a little bit with each staple like a pleated skirt kilt.

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Good you made that change for clarity - my hands always went UNDER pleated skirts. :D

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A side benefit of having everything set up downstairs for this upholstery project is the ability to take on other little projects. Last night I whipped up a nice BBQ cover and outboard cover. Say, that sail cover is starting to look a little shabby ...

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Being able to sew your own marine canvas would be one of the best money saving skills one could have. A friend wanted a couple of side extension panels for his dodger - about 2' X 3' each and was quoted more that $2K. Over $500 for a sail cover that one could make in a couple or three hours?

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My wife said "Those look great! I bet you could do that for a living!" Two problems with that:

 

1. I do NOT want to sew for 8 hours a day

 

2. Last I checked, seamstresses don't drive Ferraris

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There are too many people who don't know how to sew, nor have a clue of the costs or hard work involved, and who are too chinchy to pay the prices that canvas houses charge.

 

So wristwister is right: seamstresses don't drive Ferraris.

 

 

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The one who quoted my friend $2K for a couple of small flat panels drives a Navigator.

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We've got Ultrasuede for our saloon cushions. Plain beige which my wife finds boring but it's bulletproof. We live aboard and it's 7 years old now. Still looks almost brand new (except a few tiny weeny epoxy drips that wife points out...)

 

On our last boat, also living aboard we went through 3 cushion covers in saloon in 8 years. Settees take a lot of wear when they are your only "furniture" for sitting around on. It's very costly but my mom gave the material to us and we paid her pro upholstery guy for the labour.

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Is the brand Ultrasuede, Zonker? There are a couple types out there and I always like the way it looks. Seems to get rave reviews for longevity too.

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as the French Resistance girl said, 'you will do this only once.' The Ultrasuede, that is. U'suede is good stuff. I've got an IKEA couch with some flavor of Ultrasuede and the cushion covers are outlasting the couch frames and the foam stuffing. Washes well, too.

 

What is also pretty good is 'Sunbrella Furniture Fabric.' This stuff has a softer hand than the marine awning material and is more resistant to abrasion. I think SFF has a 5-year warranty as opposed to the 10-year of regular Sunbrella, but the regular Sunbrella will not last as long when fabricated into cushions (abrasion). Sunbrella Marine fabric is dismal at abrasion resistance, as most anyone with a sacrificial jib edge can tell you. And even though you can get Sunbrella to warrant the fabric, nobody in their right mind would warrant a re-fabrication labor charge because abrasion is normal for furniture.

 

Our salon cushions are of SFF and they are holding up well, wash well, feel nice to sit on. Madame has fabricated a set of hatch covers of SFF with regular Sunbrella quilted to the tops. The SFF with its softer hand draws up more tightly to the curves of the hatch, and aren't fading any differentially to the awning fabric after almost two years

 

 

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Since this has transitioned to fabrics. Has anyone looked into using the stretch fabric used for couch covers? We have these because of kids and the way they fit the couch you would not know it was covered. While my stapled to backer board cushions look OK the corners are where it falls down a bit. That unsewn fold in the corner is never gonna look like a real bit of upholstry with the thick fabric I used. With the stretch fabric, I think it might just come out a hell of a lot better.

 

Since I do not have enough of the white pleather nonsense That I used for the setee covers, I may just give this a shot with the quarterberth and v berth cushions. V berth was actually designed with vinyl stapled to backer boards mounted on a stainless tube frame so no more weight will be added to the boat in that area anyway.

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While on the subject, Ikea mattresses are perfect for sette cushion replacement foam.

 

They are foam with two layers the softer 1 inch layer being egg crate foam inverted (bumps on inside glued to the other layer). These are absolutely comfortable and cheap. In the "seconds" area of the store there is usually at least one mattress. I bought a queen sized mattress for $60. New I think the mattress is about $120. Cut in half it was exactly the correct width for setee cushions on my 37 footer. The length was about 2 inches shorter than optimal but that can be filled in with batting at each end or an appropriately sized offcut from your old cushions to make up the small bit of extra foam required.

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While on the subject, Ikea mattresses are perfect for sette cushion replacement foam.

 

Ikea "as is" room is one of my favorite places, I always go there first.

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How is the Ultrasuede wearing? Do you like it?

 

Hey vjm,

 

Just getting back to this thread. My answer is that it is wearing extremely well. Of course, that may be due to the fact that the cushions have been in our attic for that last four years while I do a complete refit of our boat. :wacko:

 

We love the material and before taking it off the boat we used it for many years. Still looks good and wears well. Friends of ours bought a new, high-end 43' boat to live on and decided to use some sort of Sunbrella fabric for the cushions. For it's wear factor apparently. But they ended up regretting the decision because it just felt rough.

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Thanks! Ultrasuede always feels so plushy that it seems like it should wear poorly. Everyone I know says it lasts forever and I have seen 8 year old Ultrasuede that looked new. I think I am sold on it.

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I did everything in the attached photo. A second hand Sailrite machine and a couple of Don Casey books are some of the best money spent on the boat. Have not tried cushions yet. Have a different boat now and just took delivery of a dozen yards of Sunbrella. Starting on a new main cover wheel cover and lifeline cushions. Should keep me busy for a while.

 

post-54774-0-80488600-1459176065_thumb.jpg

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Thanks! Ultrasuede always feels so plushy that it seems like it should wear poorly. Everyone I know says it lasts forever and I have seen 8 year old Ultrasuede that looked new. I think I am sold on it.

 

Our 10-year old Ultrasuede looks like new, except for some sun fading, which surprised me. I didn't think the navy blue would fade...

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Another point about the Ultrasuede that was mentioned by our friends who are in the fabric business and sold it to us; it cleans easily. Always a plus.

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FWIW, in the Hinckley book of boat maintenance they sing the praises of Ultrasuede.

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Sewing Anarchy: Sponsored by Ultrasuede

 

I wonder if the lighter colors are less prone to fading? Love the French Grey so hopefully it is not a fader.

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Sewing Anarchy: Sponsored by Ultrasuede

 

I wonder if the lighter colors are less prone to fading? Love the French Grey so hopefully it is not a fader.

 

To be clear, the only bits that faded were along the top edge of the backrest cushions that are right under a hatch. The rest of the fabric still looks like new.

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I served my apprenticeship in upholstery, primarily auto. They are called auto trimmers, but I will use upholsterer.

Traditionally the auto guys sew their own stuff, the furniture guys do not. I worked for a while for the best cushion coverer in NZ.

Chandler and Pole in Tauranga. Because I can sew quite well, I had no trouble getting a job in a furniture place.

 

But these days I am an unemployed bum, after putting in my 52 years of full time work.

My current machines are an old narrow base Singer, that has a broken drive belt. And a PFAFF from the sail makers shop, that is having problems with the bobbin and timing. So I am using my smaller PFAFF to cover the cushions in my Viking 33.

I am changing from 4 inch foam, to more dense 2 inch foam. With 2 inch, there is no need to angle the edge that goes against the side of the hull.

The more dense the foam, the less extra size it needs to be. If the foam is too big, the cushion will have a hump, too small and the material will form creases.

I do not use piping. It digs into the back of your legs, and requires extra work.

 

Good luck with your sewing adventures. If I was near, I would help you.

 

Unkle Crusty

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If I was near, I would help you.

 

Hey Unkle, you're just up the road ... er, sound from me. Come on down! I'll set you up on my Pfaff and you can finish up the rest of the cushions. Let me know when you're done and I'll buy you a beer!

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Bought myself an old Pfaff 260, started "easy" with the curtons: looking self made..Then the cussions in the front, fake leather. Looks okay from a distance..

ru3ed5.jpg

Then made the outside cussions, starting to look profi, also from upclose..

90bup0.jpg

Sold the Pfaff and just bought a Singer 4423-Heavy Duty in. It`s a commercial machine with a strong motor (100W)

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I hate the cushions on my beneteau - like freakin bricks and I have a bad back. I want to slide them down an inch and put softer foam on them, anyone done that?

 

Unkle Krusty, I would go with a mixture of hard and soft foam

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Hijacking a prior thread....

 

I am starting to think about new covers (or possibly whole new cushions) for my 30-year-old interior.

 

We're talking 13 pieces in the main salon, plus 3-4 more in the v-berth. Foam seems okay, but fabric is 30+ years old and clock is ticking...

 

I have *no* skill, *no* sewing machine and *no* interest in trying to do this myself.

 

Anyone have a recommendation for a shop in the Puget Sound area (I'm in Everett) that would do a good job without bankrupting me?

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my experience with a sewing machine is that it's easy to make stuff that looks like you made it yourself.., but hard to make stuff that looks like it was made by a pro

+100 there. I have three old Pfaff machines (two 130s and a 360). I do ok for "workmenlike" jobs. None of them look absolutely professional, but the things I make are good enough for me. In the middle of sewing a new sail cover from some Ebay purchased sail cover material. . .

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This thread is so funny. Two things:

 

First thing: When I had the canvas shop make the new cushions for my H-Boat, the lady who runs it had some really good advice, such as: don't use piping - it wears poorly and collects dirt. She also suggested splitting the settee/quarter berth cushion to allow easy access to storage underneath, but only because the split was well below where your hips would be.

 

Second thing: Years ago, I did some needlepoint.

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