Danny Thomas and recovering seat cushions..... - Fiberglass RV
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Old 10-20-2016, 08:04 PM   #1
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Name: john
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Danny Thomas and recovering seat cushions.....

I suspect many of you are old enough to remember the old Danny Thomas show. He was famous for his "spittakes".

Danny would take a sip of coffee, one of the kids on Make Room for Daddy would say something outrageous, and out would come the coffee.

I had one of those moments today in an upholstery shop. I asked for an estimate to recover the dinette cushions in my Compact Jr.

Lucky for the lady I left the coffee in the car, the estimate was $1,400. That's almost as much as what I paid for the trailer!

No criticism of the shop, they have lots of overhead to cover. But that figure didn't even include new foam.

So then I went to the health club and got on the treadmill. Nice treadmills, each feature a monitor that lets you watch tv or surf the internet. I went to youtube and searched for "simple golf swings".

Sadly, there is no such thing. So then I searched for "simple rv cushion recovering" and found this video:




Boy, that does look easy, with nice results. So I came home and pulled the covering off one of my cushions. A previous owner did a respectable job, folding material similar to the video but didn't use the board. He or she used fabric adhesive.

It's held up well but the cushions are pretty soiled. Well when I pulled off the material a fair amount of foam remained on the material. So I might want to start with new foam.

I found this on Amazon and was drawn to it because it is exactly the size of my cushions:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RC0IAJY/ref=dra_a_cs_ss_hn_xx_P1250_1000?tag=dradisplay-20&ascsubtag=06fe75bd8d461e1640a28786e6d7a7b7_S


I don't know anything about foam or density and wonder if this is a good choice for sitting/sleeping. Any advice is appreciated!
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Old 10-21-2016, 07:41 AM   #2
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The staples on the bottom can scratch the bench underneath. If it's plywood it may not matter, but if it's fiberglass, it probably does.

A simple dust cover glued or whip-stitched to the back would solve that problem.

Not sure about the foam density, but there was a discussion a while back about Scamp cushions being too hard, and some recommendations came out in the ensuing discussion. A search might turn it up.
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Old 10-21-2016, 07:45 AM   #3
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I didn't like the staple technigue. However if you buy extra material, you can do a 'Christmas package wrap' with the fabric around the cushion, and then use safety pins to hold it on the back. I have not had any problems with the pins scratching, probably because the material and foam are soft.
I also didn't like how stiff the wood backer made the overall cushion (in addition to me having to buy and cut all that wood). Try wrapping one up and see how you like it
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Old 10-21-2016, 09:58 AM   #4
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staple gun for cushions

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Originally Posted by Pam Garlow View Post
I didn't like the staple technigue. However if you buy extra material, you can do a 'Christmas package wrap' with the fabric around the cushion, and then use safety pins to hold it on the back. I have not had any problems with the pins scratching, probably because the material and foam are soft.
I also didn't like how stiff the wood backer made the overall cushion (in addition to me having to buy and cut all that wood). Try wrapping one up and see how you like it
I did the exact thing on my Burro cushions in the rear which I slept on for 4 months last winter in AZ. I used some 1/8" lauan I had left over from a project and I think 1/4" staples. I put Gorilla Tape over the staples but even then they rubbed thru tape with all my nighttime restlessness.

My seat covers I made out of cedar also so they got marked up some. Experimenting is fun though and I have no one to grumble at me for making a "mistake". Don't know what I'll try in the future but I'm a frugal guy so it will be cost effective one way or another.

Did buy 30 dollars of material at Walmart so I will get a couple of years out of them.
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Old 10-21-2016, 11:08 AM   #5
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Hi. I recently had new cushions made for Hampster the Campster. The original were a bit tattered and too short. The foam is from The Foam Factory, 5 inch and 2 rolls 36 wide was $210. The vinyl is 30+ Oz. Marine grade from The FabricGuru @ $10 yd. I bought 12, but I have a lot left over. Shop down the street charged me $400 for 8 hours labor. Zippered on 3 sides and a fine job. I will be adding a Costco mattress topper to cover the seam between the cushions. The total is about $750 or so. I consider it a bargain.
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Old 10-21-2016, 11:13 AM   #6
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You can also find local seamstresses on Craigslist under services...see what they have to say. I can pretty much guarantee they won't charge you $1400. We got our new foam at IKEA, bought a queen foam mattress in the AS IS section and after careful planning, cut 'er up. 7" thick! (Actually, a bit too thick.) (Cost: $200--after we checked with two local foam shops who wanted somethign like $3,000 for new foam--NUTS!)


I assume you don't sew? If you sew at all, take a good long look at how fitted sheets are designed. Just make sure they go under the cushion inches further than an ordinary sheet, and pull that casing elastic tight. You should JUST be able to get it off the mattress, to keep it snug. Or explain that to your seamstress. You know, many older women sew. Maybe a neighbor could help you out? An aunt? A family friend? Our seat cushions are made like extra deep fitted sheets (out of heavier fabric than sheets) and were washed & dried before cutting, so they are washable now.


THEN--every cushion should have an INNER LINER. That is, you use something like a sheet from a garage sale and cover the cushion entirely first, nice and snug, and that stays on over the foam. THEN you make your upholstery covers. This is much easier on the foam, believe me.


Let us know how this goes for you--what you decide. Thanks for the good video!


BEST
Kai
(former seamstress)


(All of the above is IMHO -- YMMV! (Your mileage may vary.)
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Old 10-21-2016, 11:14 AM   #7
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Duane-- LOVE that heavier 100% cotton light upholstery fabric from Walmart! A great value!
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Old 10-21-2016, 11:44 AM   #8
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I took all the covers off the foam in my Scamp and washed them right after I bought the trailer. There was an amazing amount of dirt left behind in the washing machine on both loads it took to wash them. The sofa back/upper bunk cover disintegrated, from sunlight exposure through the front window I suspect. I thought about a local solution but as I had other things coming from Scamp anyway I just added a new brown cover to my order. It does not match, but we are camping not living at the Ritz. A couple of the back covers had some thread bare spots and I simply hand sewed some old blue jean patches on the inside before putting the covers back on the foam. I turn these spots down/back in use and you would never know it. Especially since I now leave the dinette set up as a bed all the time anyway. Maybe my daughter will sew all new covers when she gets the trailer for her own. She has already complained about the curtains, to which I replied "they look fine to me, if you want different then make some".
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Old 10-21-2016, 04:10 PM   #9
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Think of that high price sticker shock as motivation to gain a new skill to add to your set...sewing.

I could run a sewing machine when I was 12 years old. I have no doubt you have learned to use other power tools and that it is what a sewing machine is...a power tool. Just like any other project you measure, mark and get down to it. Get an old shirt, pants or whatever and cut it up and practice sewing seams. It only takes a few feet of stitching to learn how to guide it through accurately.

The Sailrite company has a youtube channel with all the videos you need to teach you how to do a professional quality job making a variety of cushion styles. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=sailrite

As to not having a sewing machine.... Borrow one, or buy one from craigslist and resell it when the job is done. The other day I saw a beautiful vintage, circa 1970's high end, portable, Viking brand sewing machine at the local Goodwill priced at $30.00. Factoring in the prices of things then versus now that machine brand new would today cost about $1,500.00 if not more. They are high quality so age is not an issue.
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Old 10-22-2016, 10:49 AM   #10
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cushions and covers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai in Seattle View Post
You can also find local seamstresses on Craigslist under services...see what they have to say. I can pretty much guarantee they won't charge you $1400. We got our new foam at IKEA, bought a queen foam mattress in the AS IS section and after careful planning, cut 'er up. 7" thick! (Actually, a bit too thick.) (Cost: $200--after we checked with two local foam shops who wanted somethign like $3,000 for new foam--NUTS!)


I assume you don't sew? If you sew at all, take a good long look at how fitted sheets are designed. Just make sure they go under the cushion inches further than an ordinary sheet, and pull that casing elastic tight. You should JUST be able to get it off the mattress, to keep it snug. Or explain that to your seamstress. You know, many older women sew. Maybe a neighbor could help you out? An aunt? A family friend? Our seat cushions are made like extra deep fitted sheets (out of heavier fabric than sheets) and were washed & dried before cutting, so they are washable now.


THEN--every cushion should have an INNER LINER. That is, you use something like a sheet from a garage sale and cover the cushion entirely first, nice and snug, and that stays on over the foam. THEN you make your upholstery covers. This is much easier on the foam, believe me.


Let us know how this goes for you--what you decide. Thanks for the good video!


BEST
Kai
(former seamstress)


(All of the above is IMHO -- YMMV! (Your mileage may vary.)

I had no idea that I should put something over the foam before making my covers. That sounds like a good idea. I would have to pull all of the staples out and redo the cushions but that will allow me to wash the cover material. Sounds like something to do while out west for the winter. I'd have to do it fairly quickly since I may be sleeping on them that very night. Always looking for things to keep me busy though and the park I will be staying at won't mind me doing that I think. Great hosts and owners too. I've found a lot of parks don't like you to work on your trailer at all.

When I took off the original covers that had zippers and washed them twice they continuously shed/fall apart even after dry so I pitched em. I managed to wash all of the foam sections in my washer though (the two big ones each by themselves) with laundry detergent and a little bleach. They were in very good condition for being so old and no disintegration at all with them.

Kai I think I bought 6 yards and didn't have much left over. Pretty sure the material is cotton and seems durable too. Thanks for the old sheet trick for covering the foam.
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Old 10-22-2016, 02:00 PM   #11
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Most welcome!


The video showed him using an inner liner--he said it was very stretchy, so I think he used jersey tee-shirting of some kind. You CAN find 2nd hand sheets made of tee-shirting at 2nd hand stores and yard sales--doesn't matter what color they are.


Normally, if one was remaking the cushion covers exactly the same as original, you'd want to keep the originals even if in very bad shape and take patterns off of them, but since you went with the fold and staple method, obviously, not necessary.


Sounds like good camp hosts! My best to you on this project--I surely do love projects!


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Old 10-23-2016, 04:29 PM   #12
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thanks for all the input.....

appreciate the advice. I'm not too worried about scratching as the cushions sit on squares of plywood but i'll probably put some thin foam between the cushions and the wood.

today I went and bought staples for my staple gun, a small amount of vinyl, a small piece of foam, and some thin plywood.

when I do my cushions i'll need three different sizes so I started with the smallest size, two cushions a foot square.

I had picked up some rags at Menards that I used as the padding suggested in the video linked in my first post. it was like tee shirt material and worked well.

it was really easy to assemble the first pillow. the vinyl is thick but flexible.

I could have made some snips to get squarer corners but I like the way the corners turned out. the vinyl has some texture to it, supposed to look like ostrich skin I think.

i'll use that for the seatback cushions and a solid vinyl for the seat cushions, something like the color of the pictured sofa the finished pillow is sitting on.

again, thanks for the advice!
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Old 10-24-2016, 08:22 AM   #13
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Oh,yes. Beautiful. Thanks for the pictures.


Looks great! And those without photos...sounds great!


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Old 10-24-2016, 12:18 PM   #14
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Hi John,

Nothing to add to the thread, but I loved your Danny Thomas and "simple golf swing" sense of humor!

Take care,

Dean
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Old 10-24-2016, 01:41 PM   #15
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I really like the idea of using the wood backing and the staple gun, with flat fabric. The one drawback is that it's a bit more complicated to remove and launder the fabric.

Although my cushions are still original, here is what I do do to keep them cleaner and save a bit of wear and tear: reversible cotton bath rugs. These come in all colors and sizes, are very inexpensive when on sale, and have a very cozy, lush feeling. I spread these out over the seating areas, add a few pillows, and they look great. You can easily remove the rugs and run them through the laundry, and even easily change out the colors if you're a glamper.
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Old 10-24-2016, 07:18 PM   #16
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Thumbs up Here's stage 2 in cushion recovering....

I went with vinyl so I can clean it with a damp rag. The past covering from a previous owner was permanently affixed cloth with no good way to really get it clean.

The small cushion I covered yesterday had a plywood back. For the bigger cushions today I used a sheet of inexpensive wall paneling, not as rigid as the plywood and it has a better "feel".

My Compact Jr cushions are 6' long. They have to be moved around to access underseat storage and are pretty cumbersome at that length. So I've cut them to 3' lengths.

I'm pretty happy with the way they are turning out, much better than what I had and very inexpensive to do.
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