Introduction: Volkswagen Bus Campermobile Bench Seat REcovery
This project covers the Rear bench seat only, of our wonderful '79 VW campmobile. It came to us with a nice, durable, green and yellow plaid upholstery. Now we are semi-purists, we want to keep it as original as possible, but still enjoy the heck out of it. So the first thing we did was WASH every thing we could remove and get into the washer. 40 year old dust and ick are not my fav companions. All the upholstery was in very good shape except for the front seats, Which My husband Removed rebuilt and recovered with 'original' OEM fabric (mail order). They Came out beautifully, but I do not cover that here.
Step 1: Get Ready
You will need:
Approx. 4 yards 60 inch wide Fabric. (Shop around, we paid $3.50 a yd. for $37 yd Fabric. Most Fabric stores have a table in the back for home decor fabrics remnants, and when the bolt gets under 10 yds they mark it down, then twice a year that goes on clearance. When you are talking decor fabric, under 10 yards is a remnant.) Oops , sorry my train derailed. ($14)
matching thread ($4)
Staple gun & Staples ( I used 3/8" staples)
Edge binding tape ( this is optional, I wanted things to lay flat and that's not easy all the time, with thick Tapestry types of materials) ($4)
Ruler (mine's name is JON)
Total : ($22 & a weekend of time)
Step 2: First Things First -
Take out the Seats!
Easy really, 8 fasteners on each seat. I found that if you lay the seats out into the bed position, then fold the bottom up over the back (top) bench, you get perfect access to the screws. When that's out, the access to the top seat is from under the seat, ( you have half your body in the tool area, you might want a towel or drop cloth).
mmmm no these areas were not this clean until the seats were out.
Step 3: If You Can Make a Tote Bag, You Can Do This.
Measure your seats, Add 1 inch to each side . I Add an inch, because I wanted room for error. I also want to be able to re-pair a seam in the future if I need to. When I designed my seat covers, I made the font , top and bottom , one continuous piece, the the sides were separate. Then I added 1 inch to each side to be stapled for staple room)
Example: Top seat dimensions - 17"h x 43"w x 3"d
so my fabric cut to front: 27" h x 45" w
side 19" w x 5 " h
Cut Your Fabric to Your measurements.
Step 4: Float Like a Butterfly , Sting Like a Bee
Go to your Corners and come out Boxing; If f you know how to box a corner, you can cruise on.
From here all you need to do is box your corners. Position the side piece in the mid point of the front cover, sew it on. Start you seam inch from the beginning and end the seam 1inch from the end of the fabric.
Iron the seams flat. Where the seam starts and stops is where the corners will end up, check to see if its coming out as you want now, it will save you time later.
Now bring up the flap edge to match the long edge of the main fabric. Line them up and the it will square the end for you. pin it. (If my directions are hazey , sorry. The pic shows it all)
Step 5: Don't Flop the Boat
You will end up with a big floppy boat if you have done it right. The seat should fit in some what snugly, if its too loose, it will wrinkle and pucker. The corners need to line up nicely also. The first one I did came out perfectly the first time, the second took several fittings.
Step 6: Staple Time
Of Course, I have no pics of this at all, But then what is to show?
I Put the seat on the floor upside down, sat on it and Stapled the edges. Pull the Fabric taut as you go , Fold the edge under 1/2" and staple BOTH layers so the Fabric doesn't just unravel . Like any upholstery project, Start in the middle of the piece,staple evenly, working your way around evenly. I guess I mean; if you do something on one side, do the same thing on the other side.
I started on the sides, did them together, then worked the top and bottom at the same time.
As you might have noticed, I did not take off the original fabric. We want to keep things as authentic as possible, preservation and conservation is our main goal.
Step 7: Re-Install
Reinstalling the seats was pretty easy , except for the bottom Bench. It took a while to realize that it had to in an vertical position. It took a bit of oomph to hold it up and put the first 2 screws in. Of course there was probably a better proper way, but all turned out well.