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July 24, 2012

My Vintage Volkswagen Westfalia – Progress Report #1

By Andrea

We’ve gone full steam ahead, and work has definitely begun on our Westfalia!  I’ve got an update on what I’ve been doing to the interior, and some lessons I’ve learned along the way.

These are the fabrics I am going to be working with for the interior.  From left to right – red upholstery vinyl, a red upholstery fabric with blue and green threads running through, Happy Campers by American Jane panel, and coordinating print.  I love these retro camping prints, and thought they would be perfect to base the colour scheme around.

You may recall from my post two weeks ago how the interior originally looked.  It’s definitely looking quite different now, as we’ve pulled everything out so I can start the reupholstery work, and get ready for replacing the linoleum on the floor.

You may also remember the ugly 80s upholstery that the seats were covered in.  In addition to really not being my taste, the fabric itself had definitely seen better days.  This fabric was a foam backed fabric, that is really intended more so for drapery purposes.  The foam backing is meant to replace drapery lining.  On these seats, though, the foam backing was starting to break down in many spots, and the fabric was just disintegrating.

You can see here how badly the fabric on this piece was breaking down.  My initial plan was to carefully remove this fabric and use it as pattern pieces for my new upholstery, but this didn’t work out for me.  There were many more areas that were just as broken down as this one, and even the pieces that weren’t as broken down initially were crumbling in my hands and shedding gross bits of dried out rubber backing and itchy fibers everywhere.  Yuck.  So, anyone out there who was possibly considering upholstering  with this kind of fabric – don’t.  You’ll just regret it later!

You can see some of the disintegrating backing in this shot.  You can also see the surprising discovery that I made – the original upholstery was still underneath!  And it wasn’t bad looking!  I realize that not everyone likes harvest gold, but I kinda do.  It also turned out that the original upholstery actually was in pretty decent shape.  With a good steam cleaning, it probably would have looked quite good!  I now wish I had checked to see what was underneath before picking a colour scheme and buying fabric for this.  I assumed the old upholstery was in bad shape, and that’s why it was recovered, but I guess not!

Here’s the back of the bench seat that folds down into a bed in it’s original upholstery state.  In much better shape than I thought it would be!

That’s the end of the first progress report – come back in two weeks when I will give you a sneak peek at the new upholstery, and give you a bit of a tutorial on how I did it.

 

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8 Responses to My Vintage Volkswagen Westfalia – Progress Report #1

  1. Andrea Reply

    July 24, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Your Westfalia posts fill me with such nostalgia. I had a 76 bus, but not Westfalia. Good luck on the restoration!

    • Andrea Reply

      July 24, 2012 at 11:49 am

      Thanks, Andrea! (Nice name, by the way!) I am glad my posts are bringing back memories for you 🙂

  2. Sara In AZ Reply

    July 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Wow, that is amazing the original upholstery is still there and in decent shape! I like the Harvest Gold too! That is too bad you did not know it was there before, but I guess now that you know it is there you could change up the look down the road if you wanted to. I think the fabrics you chose are super awesome though and I know the camper is going to look rad! I can’t wait to see!!!

    • Andrea Reply

      July 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm

      That’s kind of what I was thinking, Sara, especially with Ella being little – spills, etc are bound to happen. If at some point down the road this upholstery that I am doing becomes too worn or stained, the original is protected underneath!

  3. RetroRuth Reply

    July 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    How exciting!!! I actually love it, and how wonderful to have another original detail!

    • Andrea Reply

      July 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      I am glad to know I am not the only person who likes harvest gold around here, heh! 🙂

  4. sablemable Reply

    July 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Andreaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!! I like Harvest Gold, too, LOL, even though I got sick of that and avocado during its heyday.

    Great color choices! Natch, they are from Sew What, eh?

  5. Pingback: My Vintage Volkswagen Westfalia – Progress Report #2 | No Pattern Required

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