Upholstery fabric: cheap options? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-04-2016, 07:11 PM   #1
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Name: Sylvio
Trailer: 1975 Boler
Posts: 193
Upholstery fabric: cheap options?

We're about to paint... That means that Aunt Cereal is starting to look into fabric to recover the Boler's cushions. The stores she looked at today were selling stuff for almost 25$ a meter! Yikes! Am I too stingy or is that a lot?

Anyway, any reasonable suggestions will be considered.

Saw some awesome camping, hunting and fishing fabric on Kijiji, but my wife said a definite no... I'm getting past the stage where I can make all decisions. I'll have to negociate about the look! Further comments at this point might get me in trouble.

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Old 03-04-2016, 09:37 PM   #2
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Name: Mary
Trailer: Escape 21; (formerly Casita LD 17 & 16)
Posts: 9,088
When I was looking for fabric for our Escape, I kept seeing things I liked that were $75 US/yard. So, when I finally found The One, for about $15, I was ecstatic. So, yes, $25/meter is a little high, but you could do much, much worse. And if you really like the fabric, if it's good quality and will last, it might be well worth it.

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Old 03-04-2016, 09:54 PM   #3
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Name: Charlie Y
Trailer: Escape 21 - Felicity
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Biggie in a trailer is fading due to sun. Sunbrella is one manufacturer - there are others, but none of them are cheap. Depends on how you want the stuff to last.
Charlie Y

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Old 03-05-2016, 08:37 AM   #4
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Name: Robert
Trailer: Surf-Side
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I have discovered over my years of sewing that cheap material is often a great disappointment. Upholstering is a big job and you don't want to have to do it again in a couple of years. Better fabric is often also easier to work with. However, I am frugal by nature so often look in the bargain area or for stores that sell factory roll ends or the like. The search is part of the fun -- so have fun!
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Old 03-05-2016, 08:53 AM   #5
Name: Morgan
Trailer: Scamp 16
Posts: 45

After I got out of the marine upholstery business and continued sewing as a hobby, I started buying goods from sailrite.com
They may or may not be the cheapest, but they are a top notch company to deal with. Also, they have some fantastic videos on how to sew just about everything. Not just marine stuff, but lots of other things as well. Unlike many Youtube instructional videos, these are very well done. They can also help choosing fabrics that will work for your application.
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Old 03-05-2016, 08:53 AM   #6
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Name: Alan
Trailer: 2000 17' Casita Freedom Deluxe...Tow vehicle 2015 Toyota Tacoma Dble Cab V6 Prerunner
Posts: 647
Not sure if this is an option where you live, but when we needed to reupholster our scamp we visited our local adult education school where they teach upholstery classes
They had a student looking for a project ....
We jumped at her offer to do all the cushion ( free of labor charge) with a donation to the school and we provided the material ( the school had an arrangement with some local fabric shops)
We did visit the fabric district in los angeles picked out a sumbrella material that will not fade in the sun
We bought her some addl fabric
She did all the cushions / curtains and even made a porta potty cover
Believe me when i saw it was the best job i've ever seen
And the class is still talking about thr one and only time they reupholstered a toilet

It might just be worth a call
Only cost us material / large pan if lasagna for her and a nice donation to the school

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Old 03-05-2016, 09:24 AM   #7
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Trailer: 13 ft Compact II
Posts: 393
I personally don't think Sunbrella is a necessity for cushions. The amount of UV interior cushions will be exposed to is not comparable to exterior use.

I'm not sure if you have Walmart there, but they have uphostery fabrics at very reasonable prices. Not a huge selection, but worth seeing if there's something you both could agree on.

Also, Ebay is a good place for fabric. I found my pop-top fabric there, as well as the wall fabric, so I'd look there as well.

For curtains, I got already made black-out curtains from Walmart and re-hemmed them to fit the short windows of the trailer. Many stores have these black-out curtains.

Good luck!

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Old 03-05-2016, 09:26 AM   #8
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Name: Sylvio
Trailer: 1975 Boler
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Thanks for all the ideas! We're planning on just tacking the fabric to the cushions in order to see whether we'll keep the old cushions and recover them or replace the foam AND the covers.
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Old 03-05-2016, 09:50 AM   #9
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Name: Zach
Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
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Yeah definitely test out the cushions. Different people like a different firmness. I'm lucky enough to have a friend who does professional upholstery, and she worked on my last camper. Her parents had bought a Mercedes camper a few years back, and she redid their cushions and upholstery. The foam was way too firm for them.

She took their "too firm" foam, cut and glued it to fit my camper, and put new upholstery on it. I'll tell you two things: upholstery isn't cheap, and one person's "too firm" is another's "just right"!

I like a firm mattress. Honestly I almost prefer sitting and laying on bare wood to something "too soft". I err on the side of too firm, for my personal comfort.

So trying out those old cushions for a bit before making a decision is a good call.
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Old 03-05-2016, 10:32 AM   #10
Name: Duane
Trailer: trillium
New Brunswick
Posts: 58
Hi as a retired upholsterer I feel you would be better off to consult someone at shop and have them advise you about you needs. The fabric must meet standards for color fastness, fire retardantcy, wear resistance,. These are mostly related to industry standards but they are very important aspects. Someone suggested you only want to do this once and I agree. The foam rubber is also important ,it needs to be firm enough to prevent sagging or changing shape and size, yet soft enough to sleep on comfortably. I hope this may be of some help in your search for what you require.
Good luck and happy camping ! Duane
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Old 03-05-2016, 11:19 AM   #11
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Name: Kathleen (Kai in Seattle)
Trailer: Amerigo FG-16 1973
Posts: 776
We just bought our second bolt of the same print at Walmart--the heavier, all cotton fabric at $6.44 a yard. It washes up like a dream, has good denisty and hand, drapes well over the cushions, seems to have good resilience, and the print was a kind of stripe/check so it's easy to cut and stitch straight. Very imnportant to me.

I'm making covers for two "daybeds," one a twin (full-time bed) and one was a gaucho twin. I'm vacillating between a fitted sheet type cover and a zippered cover. With the 2nd bolt, now I can certainly do zippered covers if I decide that's best.

Zippered cover: Easier to keep neat, harder to sew. Harder to put on, harder to launder/dry clean. Double-sided, but takes more fabric (plus takes a huge zipper,)

Well-fitted "fitted sheet" style: easier to put on. Easier to launder. (we have two pug dogs). Takes less fabric and no zippers. Messier look, though I plan to stitch the corners to fit the mattress and have a drawstring elastic fairly far underneath. Easier to sew. Can carry a spare and replace it quicikly.

The inner foam slides into the cover much better if it, too, has a cover, like something made simply with a 2nd-hand sheet. It's easier on the foam in the long run that way...and if you have a dedicated bed, you may well just use a mattress that's already covered.


A lot of people have mentioned mold forming under their mattresses/cushions due to condensation...something that can be removed and washed or cleaned will be easier should mold form.

We've decided to use some kind of perforated ply under the mattresses for ventilation...if we can't find what we need, Paul will simply drill holes for air circulation.

You can also get "Hypervent Marine" (like a big scrub pad) to go underneath for air circulation. Others have found other solutions, all sound good.

YMMV--best! Wishing you loads of good times.
Semper ubi sub ubi.
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Old 03-05-2016, 01:06 PM   #12
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Trailer: 13 ft Compact II
Posts: 393
'Waterproofing' your Foam Cushions

I think it's been mentioned before, but if you cover the foam cushions with thin plastic ( I used the kind the 'cleaners' use to cover your drycleaning with), then pulling the finished fabric cover over the foam is waaay easier than using no plastic. I left the plastic in there, figuring it will prevent any spilled liquids or perspiration from getting into the foam and molding.

Just my 2 cents.

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Old 03-05-2016, 01:36 PM   #13
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Uhaul
Posts: 219
Look at automotive seating fabric.

Automotive fabric is some of the best fabric available in the world given the intended use. The OEM seating material specifications for color fastness, surface wear and tearing are far better than almost any upholstery grade fabric.

Many times you can find an upholstery outlet that will have over run rolls of material for a great price.

Here is a picture of one of the "Man Cave" chairs I did for the shop/house with part of a roll of 1983-1985 "Camaro" seat fabric that was an available seating material on the optional "Lear Siegler" seats. Bought 2 huge rolls (100 yards) of fabric from a swap meet for a $100.00.

Most important have FUN and only do this project ONCE!
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camaro chair 5.jpg   camaro chair 6.jpg  

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Old 03-05-2016, 01:43 PM   #14
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Name: Frederick / Janis
Trailer: Previously Scamp 13 2002,2016. Scamp 16 on order
Posts: 289
Might order from Eveland's maker of Scamp. Worth a look anyhow.

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