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July 12, 2013

My Vintage Volkswagen Westfalia – A Tutorial: Sewing Your Own And Replacing Your Pop Top Tent (Part 2)

By Andrea

So, last Wednesday I covered the removal of the old pop top tent, and sewing of the new one. In this post, I am going to cover the install.

First off – my helpful tip. Make sure when you are getting ready to attach your tent, put it behind the support arms before you start. This will make your life a lot easier. The support arms of which I speak:


Now, in regards to the brittle trim. Because we were on a bit of a time constraint, we needed to find something suitable from the hardware store. We decided upon this vinyl trim, that’s usually glued on to walls instead of baseboards.


This stuff is about 4″ wide, however Darren fed it through the table saw to cut it, with good, straight results. Here it is in comparison to the old trim.


Time to start attaching the tent! I found it far easier to first tack the tent directly to the pop-top with a few staples, and then attach the new trim with the million staple method. Here’s the new trim!


After that, time to attach it to the bottom. This is where the extra 4″ comes in handy. Simply pull the tent to the desired taught ness, and then poke a hole with an awl, and screw the trim in over the top of the fabric. It will look like this:


After you’ve attached all of the trim, take a nice, sharp exacto knife, and while pulling on the fabric slightly, go around and trim off the excess. The raw edge will be hidden under your metal trim.


Your tent’s now installed! One additional thing I did – because the canvas I used was just regular canvas, and not tent canvas, I used this Thompsons’s Fabric Seal to waterproof it. If it’s really pouring, we’re probably going to put the top down anyway, but this should help in lighter rain.


And now, here’s my finished tent! I am so excited with how this turned out, it’s really going to look fantastic with the red and white paint job we have planned!


Stay tuned for the reveal of how my interior turned out! Any questions, let me know in the comments below.

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11 Responses to My Vintage Volkswagen Westfalia – A Tutorial: Sewing Your Own And Replacing Your Pop Top Tent (Part 2)

  1. thatmidcenturyfella Reply

    July 12, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Looks great! It’s the best of both worlds: vintage vehicle and camping!

    • Andrea Reply

      July 14, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      Thanks! It really is the best of both worlds for sure, it was fantastic to camp in this weekend!

  2. Sara In AZ Reply

    July 12, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    AH-MAZING!!!! You are a sewing genius girl….it look fabulous!!!

    • Andrea Reply

      July 14, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      Thanks, Sara! I am super pleased with how it came out!

  3. Christine Reply

    July 25, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Thanks for taking the time to document and share this. I, like you, just read through thesamba.com on this subject. Your pics during the construction will be a big help when I get started on replacing the one on my 84. Paying $300+ for one of these seems crazy to me. Great job!

    • Andrea Reply

      July 25, 2013 at 10:13 pm

      Thanks, Christine! I couldn’t see paying over $300 for a new one, either, it’s definitely worth a go. If you have any questions along the way I would be happy to help as well – I am guessing tent construction/attachment isn’t to terribly different between a ’73 and an ’84.

  4. Robin Reply

    October 13, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Did you sew the one seam by hand after you got it behind the support arms or did you remove the support arms? I’m too nervous to take anything apart so I’m thinking about just sewing it up by hand once I get it around the arms.

  5. Kristan Reply

    July 22, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    How did you attach the forward brackets to the top? Did you use the half square gizmo that cups around the wood or did you through bolt it through the fiberglass.

  6. Tom Clark Reply

    October 28, 2015 at 7:11 am

    That camper reproduction is amazing. You are wicked talented. My wife and I just bought a 73 westy and wanted to make our own top as well. Only problem was the top was pretty badly shreaded. You would happen to have dimensions on the canvas to sew your own. My mother in law will be in town in a week and the baby lock will be in motion!

    Thanks, Tom

  7. Amanda Reply

    October 10, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    What did you use to make the window?

  8. Serena Johnston Reply

    September 24, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Great work! I’m in the process of not replacing but building a tent to fit the same style vw roof. Can I ask what were the dimensions of your tent?

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