Upholstery XII

Upholstery XII: More Seating

Last time, I talked about how to make the center of the seat cushion pull in to copy the originals. I snapped this picture of the original seat cushion to show how it was constructed. The arrows point to the muslin straps (beige straps) that were sewn into the leather cover, and where they are anchored to the metal frame using hog rings and a plastic cord.

The length of the this muslin was predetermined because there was a certain level of production at the Pininfarina factory, and they knew exactly how much the leather would need to be pulled to achieve the look they wanted. With old foam, some new padding, and new leather seat covers, using the same method gives me no room for adjustment. Frank showed me a technique that would allow us to adjust the tension so the seat cushion depression would be perfect.

Attaching this thin rope to the leather seat cover with a wire the thickness of a coat hanger, the rope can be tightened and loosened to our liking. This tension is what adjusts the height of the center section of the seat. When everything is adjusted to the right look and feel, everything will be locked in place.

I was pretty happy with the tension I have here, so it’s close to locking everything in place.

Before I commit, I wanted to work on some other portions of the cover. Frank showed me another trick that hides a small detail that I would have never seen if he hadn’t pointed it out to me. The arrow shows a slight seam from the many layers of leather sewn together to make this edge. There are four thickness of leather which include the top and side pieces, and the sandwiched piece that holds the cording. The line of the this seem will show through the single layer of leather, so Frank showed me what I needed to do to hide it.

I pulled the side piece of leather up, and carefully glued a thin layer of foam to the edge of the seam on the back side of the cover!

Now the edge seam disappears, and we’re one step closer to award winning leather upholstery!

Taking a break from the front seats (I ran out of rope), I decided to start taking apart the back seats to fit the new cover. Amazingly enough, the backing board, and supports seem to be in good shape, so I’ll be able to reuse them. The foam, on the other hand, will need some work. I haven’t decided what type of foam to use back here because it’s much thinner than the cushions up front. I guess I won’t make that decision until I get the whole cover off (Man there are a bunch of staples!).

Here’s an interesting thing to take note. The welting along the back seat is vinyl. In fact much of the this welting in the interior is vinyl, but I will be using leather. Pininfarina may have bought spools of ready made welting to match the Connolly, but it’s not so easy for us today. Using the same leather for my welting and seat covers insures an exact match without having to look far.

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