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August 21, 2012

My Vintage Volkswagen Westfalia – Tutorial For Upholstering Strange Shapes

By Andrea

Things are going fantastically with our Volkswagen (with the exception of some wrong trim that I ordered – ooops!), but instead of just bringing you a progress report, I thought I would bring a tutorial instead – upholstering strange shapes.  This doesn’t just apply to auto upholstery, but can be used any time you have a strange shape you’d like to upholster.

This is the armrest that goes in between the wall and the back bench seat.  It’s also a shape, that at first glance might make you think “how the heck am I going to cover THIS?!?!”  It’s not actually that hard, I swear.

You’ll want to make sure you have a piece of upholstery fabric that allows for plenty of overhang.  I’ve stapled this along the bottom, as this is a part that won’t show when the armrest is installed.

You’re going to start in the usual manner, by stapling each side of the fabric in the centre of the piece.  After that, I worked my way out, however I did not staple right to the top, as this is where we’re going to start accounting for the weird shape.

In order to make a nice, neat corner here, we’re going to need to remove some of the bulk first.  I’ve cut out this notch here to do that.After you’ve removed the bulk, fold into a neat corner and staple as usual.

This rounded piece requires a slit to be cut, which you can see on the left hand side.  Once you’ve cut the slit, you can fold and staple this end down as usual.

On this piece, a notch was already cut out on the right hand corner, and where I am indicating, another slit was cut to free this piece.

Once I had the sides and the bottom stapled, I was ready to complete the top edge.  Be generous with your staples!  You want your fabric to stay in place nice and tight.

Since I had already done the corners when I did the sides, this was smooth sailing, just stapling into place.

An that’s it!  Really, the only differences when upholstering an odd shape is that if you have too much bulk in an area, you may need to cut some out before you staple. And, you may need to cut some slits to free areas to get them to fold into place nicely.

Here’s my finished armrest!

I hope you will find this helpful for any oddball upholstery projects you may have!  If you have any questions, please let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them.




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