DIY Cushions - '83 Scamp - Fiberglass RV

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Old 04-02-2019, 08:42 AM   #1
Name: Steph
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 35
DIY Cushions - '83 Scamp


I'm making new cushions for our Scamp. While I actually love the retro vibe of the original plaid, our cushions are shot. The fabric has deteriorated and it's started to rip along certain strands in the weave. And the 36-year-old foam just doesn't do it for this side sleeper.

After researching and poking around these forums this is how I'm going about it. I hope this is helpful to anyone thinking of taking this on.

I'd consider myself to have a moderate amount of sewing experience (I've made a few clothes, curtains, costumes and reupholstered an arm chair). Perhaps more important than sewing expertise is a firm grasp of how things go together and the ability to think in 3D--especially if you are going to be using a fabric with any sort of direction or pattern. It's a bit like backing up a trailer. You have to see it with your mind, not your eyes. Also, have appropriate expectations. I am not a professional. I'm not expecting professional results. I'm not spending a bazillion dollars and I'm using a unique fabric that I love. That makes it worth it to me.

I bought an all-metal sewing machine off of Craigslist. It's from 1967 and works like an absolute dream. Could my modern (read: plastic) Singer have handled this job? Maybe but I really wanted to get a heavier-duty machine anyway.

I measured the original cushions. They are a little crushed so I did my best and added a little room for error. For the covers I measured top panel, bottom panel, sidewall (around) with and and without zipper. Don't forget the fabric hinge on the dinette "booth backs". Then I added seam allowances where appropriate--I'm using a 5/16". These measurements were great for determining roughly how much foam, fabric, zippers, etc I needed. From here I check and adjust as I go.

I bought a 6" foam mattress off of Amazon: Best Price Memory Foam Mattress. It's 1" of memory foam laminated to 5" of high density foam. A queen size is big enough to get the dinette set out of. I bought 4" foam for the bunks from Foam Factory. I got a Full size mattress that I will cut down for the three pieces needed.

I left the original dinette cushions in their covers and placed them on top of the bare mattress where I traced their outlines+1/2" with sharpie. When in doubt I made the outlines bigger than I thought was needed. I cut along the lines using an electric carving knife. It was tough to keep the cuts perpendicular. I did my best and then adjusted by drawing an additional outline on the bottom of the foam and used the edge of our picnic table to guide the bottom of the knife while I followed the top line from above. I "dry fitted" the hunks of foam in the dinette and made small, incremental adjustments until I had a very snug but not buckled fit. I made the fit very snug because it is recommended to cut foam 1/4" larger than needed due to compression once it's in the cover.

I found some amazing, high-quality upholstery fabric on a site called I paid $9.95/yd for woven upholstery fabric by Dwell Studio for Robert Allen. I found it elsewhere for $44/yd(!)

I laid out the pieces I would need on my computer to see how much of a 54" roll I would need. At this point you have to take pattern and direction of the fabric into consideration. I decided to turn the pattern sideways for my bunks to make my life easier. Aesthetically, it didn't bother me. I finished my layout and added 2 yards just in case. I ended up buying 18yds total.

The pattern I picked basically has a 1/16" grid running through it. This made cutting so easy! I picked a thread and cut along it getting straight lines every time. If you pick a solid be ready to spend a lot of time measuring and cutting.

I am not putting piping on my cushions. First off, making piping is very time consuming (I despise cutting fabric on the bias). Secondly, I personally find it uncomfortable to sleep on all those mini-speed bumps piping create when you push the cushions together to form a mattress.

I bought 13-1/2 yards of upholstery zipper from Joann's with a coupon. This has honestly been the trickiest part. The zipper pulls are very soft causing the window to warp. When the window is too large it won't push the teeth together all the way. So, I've had to bend it back with pliers. I've learned that if I flip the tab up and grab the pull from both sides while I zip, the even pressure prevents warping. The sharp upholstery zipper teeth attack my hand as I zip but luckily I only plan on zipping these babies once!

I've finished the dinette set and am currently waiting on my next shipment of foam to get started on the bunks. I'm probably going to cover the underside of the top bunk with vinyl just like they do at the factory but we'll see. I don't want the fabric to get worn out rubbing against the plank that supports the whole thing but sewing vinyl just doesn't seem like fun either. Maybe I'll wrap the board in batting or fiberfill? We'll see.

There's a billion ways to do this. I hope my ramblings have some tips you may find useful just as I have found other posts to be.
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The Big Egg
1983 13' Scamp
Easy Does It
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Old 04-02-2019, 09:40 AM   #2
Biasdr's Avatar
Name: Bruce
Trailer: Burro
Posts: 53
As an ol bachelor who doesn't sew, I simply cut plywood and stapled fabric to make 3 cushions for my converted bunk-to-dinette. I look at your pictures and I’m awed and humbled. Beautiful work.

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Old 04-02-2019, 12:14 PM   #3
Name: Steph
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 35
Thanks Bruce! Plywood + staple gun sounds like a great way to get it done fast! I hope you're enjoying your dinette.
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Old 04-02-2019, 02:13 PM   #4
Senior Member
Name: Daniel
Trailer: '82 Burro 13'
Northern VA
Posts: 214
I like the pattern. I'd like to replace all my cushions. I haven't looked at fabric for the camper yet but looking at for the cushions. Already have a machine to put it all together.

Thanks for sharing. That'll last you a long time.
1982 13' Burro
Burro Renovation
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Old 04-05-2019, 04:25 AM   #5
Junior Member
Name: Anne
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 5
Beautiful work! And great instructions. I enjoyed reading this. I have tried to re-upholster a chair-it’s quite a piece of engineering.
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Old 04-05-2019, 05:52 AM   #6
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Name: theresa
Trailer: Outback (by Trillium) 2004
New Brunswick
Posts: 1,453
Steph---Hi! As an experienced sewist (funny, we used to call ourselves sewers until someone realized that that word can also be pronounced sue-er, lol) I think your explanations and step-by-step instructions are very well done and surely will be helpful to anyone, experienced or not, in making new cushion covers. Great job!!
The final result also looks terrific and good choice on the fabric! Kind of has a denim-y look to it..I like it.

And lastly, what have you got in mind for fabric for curtains? Post some photos, please, once you are all done----we would love to see the final result.

Happy sewing!

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