This page follows on from the previous re-trimming page and covers re-trimming the seats only. To do this I bought a single cow hide from ebay for £25 and set about stripping the old seats, unpicking the stitching, cutting out the shapes and then (getting the wife) to sew them back together. Once done the job is simple to put them back on the refurbished frames. It takes much patience and quite a bit of rework, but with care it doesn't look too bad. Not a professional job I grant you but far better than the before look I am sure you'll agree, and as this is my car for learning skills I am happy.

So here's the picture story:


The state of the leather of the seat before refurbishment

Remove Seats and Trim

Firstly you will need to remove the seats from the car. This is done by undoing the four locknuts from under the car and lifting out the seats. Simple really when you know how. Some people say they have problems with holding the hex inside the seat rail in the car, but this wasn't an issue for me, I just wedged one of my smaller spanners in the gap and hey presto.

Next remove the plastic trim to the side of the seat. This is easily broken and they are like hens teeth to obtain these days so don't lose them. They are held on by a single screw in the middle.

Split Seat

Now you have access to the seat tilt mechanism undo the nuts on both sides (2 on each) and remove the bolts from the mechanism. The seats will then split in two, back rest and seat base. Also pull the head rest up and out of the backrest. Some may require this to be done later as they are held captive inside the seat, but mine came out with application of a slight bit of forward pressure to bet the stopper ( a nodule of metal) beyond the catch.
Un-hook the springs and remove circular clips

Now move to the seat base. There are 4 circular clips and 2 square (ish) clips on the seat base that hold the material onto the metal work. Remove these with pliers and a screwdriver taking care to retain them as you'll need them again.

Next unhook the 11 hooks (four down each side and 3 towards the back) that come through the seat foam from the material and pull the material down into shape by hooking over the central wire support section . You can see 7 in this picture, the most obvious being just below the bend in the seat adjuster lever. They are circled in red where they are or were.

Remove staples and clips

Now remove all the staples using pliers and also untie the "draw string" for the seat cover from the support. You can now remove the leather and vinyl from the seat base

Seat Base stripped

This is what you are left with. The hooks referred to 2 steps above are clearly visible in the seat cover here.
Under Wiring Springs.

This was sound so has not been replaced, the passenger seat isn't so the center cross wires will be replaced with a piece of chicken wire
Head Rest

To strip the head rest apart all you need to do is undo the 2 screws on the black trim over and remove the trim. Then remove the staples holding the material into the metal and wood section in the picture.

Next pull the metal and wood section out of the foam insert and material cover.

Finally push hand into material cover and squeeze foam together and remove. You'll be left with the bits shown.

Stripping the Back Rest 1

Un pop the retaining poppers shown here and flip up the flap
Stripping the Back Rest 2

remove all visible staples to free lower section of material
Stripping the Back Rest 3

You'll now see two metal clips that need to be unhooked at the lower end. When unhooked get your hand up inside and also unhook them at the top if you can if you can't then start rolling the material up the seat until you get to the position in the next step
Stripping the Back Rest 4

If not already done unhook the top hooks and pull through the central retaining strip. This is a piece of plastic that is sewn to the leather cover and runs horizontally behind the foam to "pull in" the backrest material at the top of the fluted section. It just pulls (carefully) through the foam.

Once free then the material can be pulled off the top of the seat back

Leather Parts of the Back Rest

Unpicking the leather section of seat back leaves you with the following bits and the back and skirt sections (which I reused)
Finished Seat Base

Next cut all the shapes you need for each section from new leather and carefully sew into the positions from which you unpicked them. I reused the skirts and backs and hence sewed the new sections into these as well. Just take your time and expect to unpick and repeat things a few times until you are happy with the effect and outcome. TAKE YOUR TIME HERE IT WILL PAY OFF

Instructions on how to do some of the more intricate sections are below

Finished Head Rest

Making a Ribbed Section 1

To make a ribbed section cut the leather to the size of the old section (make slightly smaller to allow for minor stretch in use).

Cut foam to the required thickness (2 x 5mm thick foam is what I used) so that there is at least a 5cm overlap all round

Cut a piece of scrap material of the same size as the foam

Create a sandwich - leather, foam, material

Making a Ribbed Section 2

Next sew down one side seam to hold everything together

Now mark using tailors chalk where you want the ribs to go and any cross stitching

Next stitch the ribs moving from one side of the material to the other. If you do a cross line first then the material will go out of alignment - THIS IS IMPORTANT

Once all ribs have been sewn sew one end seam. and follow this with any other cross seams again WORK FROM ONE END TO THE OTHER

Cut off the excess

All the Back Rest Bits in Position for Sewing

Self explanatory really
Lower Side Cuts - By Hinges

Make sure you mark the exact position of these with regards to the lower seam as if out of position then they will not fold correctly over the foam behind the hinge and under the seat side
Fitting the Restrain Plastic

This bit can only be sewn by hand and needs to be attached in line with the seam at the center of the back rest running horizontally across the central section. It goes behind the foam and holds in the upper horizontal seam to form the bucket shape.
Front Section Fully Assembled

Once all sewn together turn the leather section inside out and check for fit over foam. Once done then sew into the vinyl back section. If you are retaining the beading (I didn't as mine was damaged) then you need to use a zipper foot on the sewing machine to get the stitches as close to the beading as possible and prevent the seam pulling apart to reveal the stitching (this tip works for all seams containing a beading piece)
Finished Back

Once sewn together then carefully put the covering on the back of the seat. To do this partially roll the covering up and fit the upper sections of the retaining hooks to the seat's sprung frame. Then push the plastic retainer through. Next roll the covering into position and fit the lower hooks to the seat sprung position. When in place push and pull the cover until properly fitted and central. Tuck the side skirts up under the edges on both sides (above the hinges) and pull the side leather behind the hinges (both sides) and across the seat back and cut where necessary to make a neat fit.

Next pull the lower section round the bottom of the seat and stretch to get a good tight fit. The side pieces and lower piece should now cover the holes where the trim clips go. Make holes in the leather where they cover the holes.

Once in position fold over the cardboard reinforced flap and insert the trim push studs. This will hold the leather in position and taut. Take your time here and get a good fit as it will pay dividends. Finally tuck away all the loose flaps and bits of leather. Re-assemble the seat and re-fit the plastic trim

Finished Article

Self explanatory really


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