The MGA With An Attitude

Photos and notes for this seat construction session are supplied by Jim Mail in New Hampshire. One look at the retail price of new leather seat covers was enough to make him think about making his own. These photos and notes follow his progress. Let's see how much money he can save through sweat equity.

I have started the job of making my own seats - and it really is (so far) a job you can DIY if you have a sewing machine. So far it's going pretty well, though I haven't got a finished seat yet to show for it. Maybe I've already made a mess of it and just don't know it yet - but I am hoping that there won't be any major uh-oh's. The material that I bought is really terrific, and the pattern here is not all that tough to copy. Making the piping was kind of cool...but you need an edging foot for your machine.

It is my first auto upholstery job - though I have recovered furniture, made cushions, and so forth in the past. Not my first time using a sewing machine. But, the point is that this is not hard to do for the average car owner and I think more folks should try it. I had never done pleating or a "tuck and roll" before, but found some good web links with clear instructions, and Barney sent me a sketch of his seat's construction as well. If you need a machine, you are usually better off buying a used machine at a yard sale - older is better (all steel vs. plastic for sewing heavier materials) and you only need to use a straight stitch, so one that doesn't zigzag is fine. You can buy a second hand machine for $30 that would cost you over $300 new. Don't buy a new machine for less than $100 - it will be junk. Old machines by Singer, Montgomery Wards, or one of many other manufacturers are all very good.

It costs over a $1000 US to buy a Moss interior, which is a HUGE chunk of my budget that could better be spent on fenders (not something I can readily make). The local hot rod shop upholstery guy in my hometown actually purchases the Moss kits - but he charges $75/hour for his time. I got the time...

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