August 7, 2012My Vintage Volkswagen Westfalia – Progress Report #2
We’ve made tons of progress on our Westfalia, and I am excited to show you all! First, the body:
Believe it or not, this is an improvement! The paint job that was done on this van previously was not the best, and there were a lot of areas where rust was painted over, old paint was peeling, etc. Darren (my husband) is doing a LOT of prepwork to make sure that this van looks fantastic once it’s finally painted.
Meanwhile, I’ve been working away on the upholstery.
I know many people out there think that you need an industrial machine to work on upholstery – assuming your upholstery fabric isn’t super heavy duty, a good vintage machine will definitely do the job! This is a machine that my mom gave me, which belonged to her. My affectionate nickname for it is The Finger Sewer (no, I’ve never actually sewed my finger with it), and it’s the machine I am using for all of the upholstery work. The key is to make sure you’ve got the proper needle for the job. For my upholstery fabric, I am using a size 100 jeans needle, and for the vinyl I am using a size 90 leather needle. If you’re working with vinyl, you’ll definitely want a leather needle.
This is the back mattress cushion, with the crumbling reupholstery removed. Santos is giving it a thorough inspection!
It still had it’s original Do-Not-Remove! tag from the Westfalia Werke in (West) Germany on it!
Here it is after recovering. This was pretty simple to do, as it was just a large rectangular cushion, easy to measure and make a cover for.
I decided to put vinyl on the bottom side, for extra durability, as this part is in contact with the back floor of the van.
Here’s the bench seat back, that I showed you the before of last week, now newly recovered. This was a pretty basic upholstery job, since it was just a big rectangular cushion. The bench seat bottom is basically identical to the top, just slightly wider, so I don’t have a picture of it here.
However, since the back of the backrest is potentially visible, I wanted to do something to cover up the raw edges of the fabric (also to prevent fraying). I simply hot glued on some ribbon trim over the raw edges.
This was easy to do, and neatened it up nicely. This is a technique that can definitely be used any time you want to hide the raw edges in an upholstery project.
Be sure to come back in two weeks, and I’ll show you how to upholster unusual shapes like this one – it’s not as hard as you might think!