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Making A New Seat Cover For A Lawn Tractor

recovering a lawn tractor seat seat cover upholstery

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#31 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 07, 2016 - 08:31 PM

Joining The Back Filler And The Two Lower Side Pieces

 

The next step is to join the back filler piece and the two lower side pieces to each other.  These can be clamped, stapled, sewn and then the staples removed.  Make sure that the short side of the filler piece  is oriented correctly with the lower side pieces and that the left and right lower side pieces will be correctly positioned when sewn – the top of each side piece should be up and the filler should come away from them at a right angle where they join as shown in Pictures 1 and 4.

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1 Filler Sewn To Lower Side Pieces.jpg
  • 2 CLose Up Of Stitching.jpg
  • 3 Filler Side Of Stitching.jpg
  • 4 What Filler ANd Lower SIde Will Look Like When Joined To Cover.jpg

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#32 toppop52 ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2016 - 08:42 AM

Just an FYI and I'll leave you alone as you obviously don't need any help;

Middle section = Insert

Side Piece = filler panel

Lower pieces = boxing

 You already know about welt cord.

That welt is nice and tight so I take it you have a welt foot for your machine?


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#33 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2016 - 10:08 AM

Thanks for the proper names for the pieces - always good to call things by their correct name.  I was giving the pieces generic names to try and keep things simpler for the reader.

 

Yes I was lucky and the machine came with a set of cording feet which are a big help.  The Raymond machine did not have any cording or zipper feet so I made a type of zipper foot that allowed me to sew some pieces together with cording but it was a struggle as the material was almost too thick to feed underneath the presser foot.  I have also used the sewing awl to sew the seams that have the cording with the help of a few paper clamps to keep the pieces aligned. 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1 Phaff Cording Feet.jpg
  • 2 Phaff Cording Feet On Machine.jpg
  • 3 Homade Zipper Foot For Raymond.jpg
  • 4 Homemade Zipper Foot For Raymond.jpg
  • 5 Homemade Zipper Foot For Raymond.jpg
  • 6 Sewing Cording WIth Sewing Awl.jpg
  • 7 Sewing Cording Seam With Sewing Awl.jpg

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#34 tiretrx OFFLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2016 - 10:26 AM

Fascinating thread! Thanks for taking the time to share.


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#35 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2016 - 10:54 AM

Sewing The Lower Edges Of The Rear Piece

 

Since the joining of the rear filler piece and the side boxings (lower side pieces) will require me changing the presser feet out for cording feet I am going to sew the lower edges of the rear piece before I do the change as the rear piece is attached to the rear filler using a welt (cording) sandwiched in between.  The vinyl material can be tricky to hold where it is folded over while positioning it in the machine  so I use a couple of paper clamps to help me as shown in the pictures. The two lower sides are sewn one at a time and then the lower flap is folded over to create a tunnel where the pull rope can be fed through once all the sewing is done.    

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1 Rear Panel Lower Right Side  Folded And Sewn.jpg
  • 2 Finished SIde View.jpg
  • 3 Edge Folded At Line And Clamped.jpg
  • 4 Second Clamp Added.jpg
  • 5 First Clamp Repositioned.jpg
  • 6 Clamped Under Presser Foot And Aligned To Start Sewing.jpg
  • 7 Starting To Sew And Locking Stitch.jpg
  • 8 Seam Sewn.jpg
  • 9 End Of Seam Stitch Locked.jpg
  • 10 Lower Side Edges Sewn.jpg
  • 11 Starting To Sew Rope Pull.jpg
  • 12 Locking Stitch.jpg
  • 13 Locking Stitch At Other End.jpg
  • 14 Tunnel For Rope Created.jpg
  • 15 Lower Edges Sewn.jpg
  • 16 Finished Side View.jpg
  • 17 Finished Side View.jpg

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#36 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2016 - 06:55 PM

Joining The Back Filler And Side Pieces To The Main Section - Piping

 

I am using a red piping sandwiched in between the seam the same as the original cover had – it gives the join a finished look and protects the thread as the seat is used.  Piping can also be referred to as welting or cording and can be purchased by the foot or it can also be made from the same material as the cover wrapped and sewn around a small cord, rope or round plastic bead.  In this case I am using a premade piping and as  a result I will be using cording feet which are designed to hold the cording and the pieces being joined as the needle sews them together.  A lot of regular sewing machines will not work for this step as the combination of the thickness of the two pieces of vinyl (four where any seam joins are) and the cording will be too much to allow it to pass under the presser foot.  Even if it will pass under the presser foot you may still experience needle breakage or thread breaking as the needle may not lift high to clear the material before the material is moved ahead under the presser foot.  In this case I would recommend using some paper clamps to hold the pieces together (or stapling the pieces together) and sewing them with a sewing awl.  You may choose not to use a piping for your cover to keep the material thin enough to use a sewing machine - it will still work and function but it won't look quite the same as the original cover did.  An easy way to determine how much piping you require is to simply walk it along the outside edge of the seam until you get to the other end - I usually add about two inches to the length in case I slipped a little somewhere.  If you are in doubt walk it around the edge again - better to double check than have a piece of cording that is too short.  Once you have cut off the cording fold it in half and mark the centre point with a grease pencil on the flat sides - this mark will be used to align the cording when you begin to sew the pieces together.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1 Roll Of Piping.jpg
  • 2 Piping Close Up.jpg
  • 3 Walking Piping Around Outside Edge.jpg
  • 4 Walking Piping Around Outside Edge.jpg
  • 5 Piping Feet For Sewing Machine.jpg
  • 6 Piping Feet Installed On Sewing Machine.jpg
  • 7 Piping Feet Installed On Sewing Machine.jpg

Edited by 29 Chev, January 08, 2016 - 06:56 PM.

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#37 637Yeoman OFFLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2016 - 07:21 PM

Joining The Back Filler And Side Pieces To The Main Section - Piping

 

I am using a red piping sandwiched in between the seam the same as the original cover had – it gives the join a finished look and protects the thread as the seat is used.  Piping can also be referred to as welting or cording and can be purchased by the foot or it can also be made from the same material as the cover wrapped and sewn around a small cord, rope or round plastic bead.  In this case I am using a premade piping and as  a result I will be using cording feet which are designed to hold the cording and the pieces being joined as the needle sews them together.  A lot of regular sewing machines will not work for this step as the combination of the thickness of the two pieces of vinyl (four where any seam joins are) and the cording will be too much to allow it to pass under the presser foot.  Even if it will pass under the presser foot you may still experience needle breakage or thread breaking as the needle may not lift high to clear the material before the material is moved ahead under the presser foot.  In this case I would recommend using some paper clamps to hold the pieces together (or stapling the pieces together) and sewing them with a sewing awl.  You may choose not to use a piping for your cover to keep the material thin enough to use a sewing machine - it will still work and function but it won't look quite the same as the original cover did.  An easy way to determine how much piping you require is to simply walk it along the outside edge of the seam until you get to the other end - I usually add about two inches to the length in case I slipped a little somewhere.  If you are in doubt walk it around the edge again - better to double check than have a piece of cording that is too short.  Once you have cut off the cording fold it in half and mark the centre point with a grease pencil on the flat sides - this mark will be used to align the cording when you begin to sew the pieces together.

You've got some serious talent!


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#38 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2016 - 07:52 PM

Joining The Back Filler And Boxing (Lower Side Pieces) To The Insert (Main Section)

 

I am going to show the back filler and boxing being sewn to the insert (main section) using the cording feet using an industrial sewing machine.  If your machine does not have cording feet you may try using a zipper foot set up as this will allow the needle to get close to the bead of the cording but you will have to keep a close eye on things as the needle may accidently sew through the bead or get too far away from the bead.  As I stated earlier a sewing awl may also be used but again you will have to be careful of where you are sewing the seam.  The first thing is to align the insert, the back filler with boxing and the piping in the centre at the rear.  I suggest you clamp the piping to one piece, then clamp the other piece to them (make sure that you have the front of the filler attaching to the insert) and reposition the clamps a few times to get everything where you want them as shown in the pictures.  Once they are positioned correctly you can staple them together in the seam allowance to hold them together and remove the clamps.  Place the cording feet on the sewing machine and position the piece so that you are sewing down the right side from the centre making sure the bead of the piping is trapped in the groove of the cording foot.  Begin by locking you stitches and keep the edges of the piping and the two pieces even and work you way across the top to the curve.  As you reach the curve you will notice that the filler and piping want to stay straight so take your time and start into the curve keeping  the edges even at the point where everything enters the presser foot - you will have to pull the material a little bit but do not pull it too much as this will result in puckers.  I would recommend you turn the machine by hand as you do the curve section and any seam joins so that you can control it easily as you sew - this also lets you feel if the needle is jamming where you have a join.  About half way around the curve you will come to the seam join on the insert - this may be too thick for your machine to sew.  If that is the case sew up to the join and back stitch to lock the thread, lift the presser foot and move past the join and release the presser foot and begin sewing again (don't forget to backstitch where you started sewing again).  You can sew the missed section using the sewing awl.  Continue working your way along the curve and down the one side checking to make sure that the edges are even and when you get to the end backstitch to lock the thread and see how close the ends and the fold marks inside the lower boxing match - they should be fairly close as shown in the pictures.  If everything looks good you can flip things over and starting at the top centre you can sew the other side the same way and verify the alignment again.  Once the pieces are sewn to your satisfaction you can remove the two staples at the top centre, give yourself another pat on the back and flip the cover finished side up and admire your handy work. 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1 Piping Clamped To Middle Section (Insert).jpg
  • 2 Getting Rear Filler In Position To Be Clamped.jpg
  • 3 Clamps Repostioined.jpg
  • 4 Pieces Stapled In Seam Allowance.jpg
  • 5 Verifying Centre Marks Line Up.jpg
  • 6 Getting Ready To Start Sewing.jpg
  • 7 The Parts That Are Being Joined.jpg
  • 8 Start At Top Centre And WOrk Down One Side.jpg
  • 9 Starting Into Curve.jpg
  • 10 Coming Up To Seam Joint.jpg
  • 11 Going Over Seam Joint.jpg
  • 12 Past Seam Joint.jpg
  • 13 One Side Sewn.jpg
  • 14 Checking Alignment Of Ends Of Pieces.jpg
  • 15 Alignment Of Outer Edges.jpg
  • 16 How It Looks On The Finished Side.jpg
  • 17 Checking Right Side Fold Alignment Marks.jpg
  • 18 Getting Ready To Sew From Centre Down Left Side.jpg
  • 19 Locking Stitch.jpg
  • 20 Left Side Sewn.jpg
  • 21 Checking Left Side Fold Alignment Marks.jpg
  • 22 Underside View.jpg
  • 23 Finished Side View.jpg
  • 24 Right Joint Alignment.jpg
  • 25 Left Joint Alignemnt.jpg
  • 26 Pleat To Seam Left Side.jpg
  • 27 Pleat To Seam Right.jpg

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#39 toppop52 ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2016 - 08:09 PM

You can also pin the pieces together outside of the seam line, so no holes show. You do great work and are a pretty good teacher, too!

Edited by toppop52, January 08, 2016 - 08:10 PM.

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#40 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 09, 2016 - 02:19 PM

Thanks for the kind words - I hope I am explaining things in enough detail that the reader can understand the steps without boring them to death.

 

Yes you are correct the pieces can be pinned together as well.  I have arthritis in my hands and as a result find the clamps work better for me as I sometimes have to reposition things a few times to get them aligned properly and once positioned I find the stapler does a quick job of temporarily attaching the pieces together while sewing them.


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#41 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 09, 2016 - 02:30 PM

Adding On The Back Piece

 

The back piece now gets sewn to the rear filler using cording in a similar manner - please note the cording extends down the edge to the bottom of the boxing the same as the original cover.  To get the length of the cording start at one bottom edge of the boxing and walk it around the back edge of the filler to the bottom edge of the other boxing - again I usually add two inches in case I slipped.  Find the centre of the cording and mark it and then clamp and staple the pieces together making sure they are centred and aligned properly.  Start sewing in the centre and work your way down each side (one at a time) until you get to where the back piece goes off on an angle and then continue sewing the cording to the edge of the boxing - don't forget to back stitch to lock the thread when you start and stop.  Again I would recommend that where the curves are to turn the machine by hand so you can control it and maintain the edge alignment.  Once the back is sewn on you can remove the staples and gently roll the cover so the finished side is showing as in Picture 9.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1 Back Piece And Cording Clamped In Place.jpg
  • 2 Clamps Removed After Pieces Stapled Together.jpg
  • 3 Sewn From Centre To Left Boxing.jpg
  • 4 Sewn From Centre To Left Boxing.jpg
  • 5 Sewn From Centre To Left Boxing.jpg
  • 6 Starting To Sew Right Side.jpg
  • 7 Right SIde Sewn To Bottom Of Boxing.jpg
  • 8 Finished Side View.jpg
  • 9 Finished Side View.jpg

Edited by 29 Chev, January 10, 2016 - 02:19 PM.

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#42 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 09, 2016 - 02:50 PM

Sewing The Lower Edge To Form The Rope Tunnel

Have a good look at the cover and if things look good then you can sew the lower edge that forms the rope tunnel.  To do this the first step will be to remove the cording feet from the sewing machine and reinstall the regular presser feet.  I fold the flap over on the alignment mark and clamp it with a couple of clamps while I position the material under the presser foot.  Align the outer edge of the presser foot with the edge of the material and sew around the bottom of the right boxing, across the front and along the left boxing using the fold mark as a guide to make sure the material is folded over in the correct spot - this will form the tunnel that the pull rope goes in.  You may choose to lay the rope in the fold as you sew which is ok and will save you having to pull it through afterwards but I find that it can be cumbersome so I prefer to sew the tunnel first.  Where you go around the corners and over the seam joints at the front I would recommend to turn the machine by hand so you can control things and have a better feel of how the needle is feeding through the thick material.  Again I will point out that a regular machine may not sew over the seam joins as they may be too thick and if that is the case sew up to the join, backstitch to lock the thread, and move past the join area and begin sewing again - you can sew the missed areas using a sewing awl.  Make sure you stay close to the edge as shown where you sew as this will ensure that the tunnel is large enough for the rope to go through.  Try and maintain the edge of the presser foot alignment to the edge as you sew especially around the corners and across the front - this will give you a nice straight seam when you are done sewing.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1 Changin Back To Regular Presser Feet.jpg
  • 2 Right Lower Edge Folded Over And Held With Clamp.jpg
  • 3 Second Clamp Added And First Clamp Removed After Material Is Under Presser Foot.jpg
  • 4 Sewing Along Edge.jpg
  • 5 Sewn Across Front.jpg
  • 6 Sewn Across Front.jpg
  • 7 Finished Side View.jpg
  • 8 Finished Side View.jpg
  • 9 Left Side View.jpg
  • 10 Right Side View.jpg

Edited by 29 Chev, January 09, 2016 - 02:51 PM.

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#43 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 09, 2016 - 06:50 PM

Pulling The Rope Through The Tunnel

 

Now the rope (also known as a drawstring or pull cord) that holds the cover on can be pulled through the tunnel.  For this task I use a piece of mechanics wire about 16" long with a hook on one end (snake wire) as shown in the pictures.  I put two small slits on the inside of the cover at the locations shown in the pictures using a razor blade as these allow the rope to only have to be pulled one third of the way at a time.  Be careful that you do not cut yourself or the outer edge of the cover when you are cutting the slits.  Start at the first slit and feed the wire through to the left rear corner - you can tape around the hook with masking tape if you are having problems with it catching either when you are feeding it through or pulling the rope back through.  For the rope I find a 1/8" awning cord works well for the job -here is a link to the one I use https://www.homehard...Ntt=awning rope .  Once the wire is snaked through hook it to the wire and gently pull it through the tunnel.  Once pulled through pull out a bit more than you need to go to the second slit and feed the wire through from the second slit to the first slit, hook and pull the rope through from the first slit to the second slit.  Once through pull out a bit more rope than you need to go to the right rear corner, feed the wire from the right rear corner to the second slit and hook the rope to the wire and pull it through.  Once this is done you can feed the wire through the loop at the back and pull the rope through it.   Leave about 14" extra and cut the rope and tie the ends together with a knot  so they will not pull back through the cover leaving lots of slack in the rope so that the cover can be spread at the bottom when you install it on the seat over the padding.  

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1 Slit In Cover To Feed Snake Wire Through.jpg
  • 2 Snake Wire Fed Through Hole.jpg
  • 3 Snake Wire With Hook On End.jpg
  • 4 Rope In Hook On Snake Wire.jpg
  • 5 Rope Pulled Through To Slit.jpg
  • 6 Snake Wire Fed Across Front.jpg
  • 7 Rope Pulled Across.jpg
  • 8 Snake Wire Fed Through Right Side To Second Slit.jpg
  • 9 Loop Of Rope.jpg
  • 10 Rope Pulled Through Right Side.jpg
  • 11 Rope Fed Through Back Pull With Extra - Tie Knott So It Does Not Come Out During Cover Installation.jpg

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#44 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 09, 2016 - 07:17 PM

Reusing The Old Foam Padding - Yes Or No?

 

You have now sewn up you new cover - give yourself a standing ovation and admire what you have done.   Your first temptation will be to attach it to your seat reusing the original foam - I would strongly recommend for the cost of new padding that you invest in it for a number of reasons.  On this seat the original cover was bonded to the foam where the pleated section was so you will have to pull the foam off of the original cover which will probably damage it.  The padding is the same age as the seat cover and as a result is probably in the same condition - it will work but it does not fit and look quite right.  Imagine that you are building a new house on crumbling cement walls - not a good plan for something you want to look good and last.  You have invested your time and money into making a new cover - don't skimp on the foundation.  The same can be said about the seat pan - clean it up, repair any rust or other problems and make it look like new - you will be glad you did.  To emphasize my point I have removed the original foam and placed the new cover over the used padding - here are pictures of what it looks like along with a picture of the original cover before we started.  The new cover looks better but still doesn't just look quite right in my opinion.  Fortunately the seat pan is in very good condition but I am still going to give it a new coat of paint and get new padding to make it look like it should.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2 Bolens 850 Seat Front.jpg
  • 1 Orignal Rebonded Foam Glued To Cover.jpg
  • 2 Original Cover WIth Foam.jpg
  • 3 Original Foam Separated From Cover On Seat Pan.jpg
  • 4 New Cover Over Old Foam.jpg
  • 5 New Cover Over Old Foam.jpg
  • 6 New Cover Over Old Foam.jpg
  • 7 New Cover Over Old Foam.jpg
  • 8 New Cover With A Bit Of Hand Pressure On Insert.jpg

Edited by 29 Chev, January 09, 2016 - 07:17 PM.

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#45 toppop52 ONLINE  

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Posted January 09, 2016 - 08:55 PM

I misunderstood you, I also staple them most times, pin when it's large heavy stuff that can pull the hand staples out.
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