How to Reupholster Bucket Seats on a Classic Car

Item # X-HT-300385

If you have a classic car that you’ve been driven to revamp, or just love automotive upholstery in general, Sailrite® is your one-stop shop for supplies and instructions. In this comprehensive tutorial, we’ll show you how to completely reupholster the front bucket seats on a classic ’46 Plymouth. Follow along as we disassemble the old seats and use the old fabric to make new patterns on premium upholstery vinyl. We’ll then explain how to sew them up and reinstall the newly made covers on the foam and frame of the seat. With our help, you’ll own the road with professional-looking automotive upholstery!

To remodel the Plymouth, we partnered with Kenny Sims from Sims Upholstery to share some useful tips and tricks with us throughout the video. Kenny begins by marking the old front seats of the Plymouth for patterning, using a marker to indicate where the seams will be, where each piece goes, the new color of the fabric you intend to use (if you’re doing a two-toned seat like ours) and so on. Before you begin tearing things apart, it’s often helpful to take photos of the original seats, carefully capturing every unique aspect of its construction for future reference. Then you can begin disassembling the chair, following along with the video.

Whether you’re looking to remodel the upholstery of your car, RV, ATV or golf cart, Sailrite has all the fabric, tools, supplies and instructions necessary in one convenient location. It’s easy to shop for well-known automotive upholstery fabrics that will withstand the test of time. We chose Morbern® Seabrook and Naugahyde® Universal seating vinyl fabric for this upholstery project, as they both promise impressive abrasion, fade and stain resistance, not to mention they’re completely waterproof and available in numerous vibrant colors.

A note on vinyl stretch factor: Construction vinyls like Morbern and Naugahyde have about the same amount of stretch on the running length and cross width, but they have more stretch on the bias. If you choose to pattern along the bias it will take more fabric, and we chose not to for this project. Instead of a construction vinyl, you could use a four-way stretch vinyl like EverSoft™ or Sunbrella® Horizon®, which have more consistent stretch and are a great choice for automotive upholstery. With a four-way stretch vinyl, you do not have to worry about panel orientation.

To sew the thick layers of vinyl, our go-to machine is the Sailrite® Fabricator®. This industrial straight stitch machine has a compound walking foot and Workhorse® Servo Motor for ultimate slow speed precision when tackling your toughest assemblies.

If you’re interested in completely remodeling the interior of your classic car, check out the other videos in this series, “How to a Reupholster Classic Car Center Console” (300384XHT) and “How to Reupholster a Classic Car Back Seat” (300378XHT). After you’ve finished, share with us in the comments how your project turned out! We’d love to see photos and hear about your sewing experience.

Video Chapters:

  • Marking Old Seat for Patterning 0:40 min
  • Removing Old Cover – 2:44 min
  • Creating Patterns from Old Cover – 6:49 min
  • Patterning New Fabric – 18:43 min
  • Adding Sew Foam to Fabric – 36:12 min
  • Sewing Pattern’s Perimeter – 39:59 min
  • Making Fabric Pulls – 42:46 min
  • Sewing Pulls & Pleats – 47:29 min
  • Sewing Seat Bottom Panels Together – 50:37 min
  • Sewing Seat Back Panels Together – 1:05:10 min
  • Securing Closure Flap – 1:17:42 min
  • Embedded Hook & Loop Fabric Pull – 1:19:55 min
  • Fitting Seat Bottom – 1:29:12 min
  • Fitting Seat Back – 1:46:31 min
  • Using Steamer for Wrinkles – 1:59:01 min
  • Materials List – 2:02:54 min

Materials List:

  • Marine Vinyl Fabric – we used Morbern® Seabrook #105971 & Naugahyde® Universal #100618
  • Fabric Backed Sew Foam 58" #124306
  • Thread from Sailrite Nylon or Polyester #20235
  • Top Notch® 9 Silver Gray 60" Fabric #120450
  • Seamstick 3/8" Basting Tape for Canvas #129
  • Vinyl Welting/Piping from Sailrite - We used Morbern Seabrook #120140
  • Hog Rings for Upholstery - Sharp Point #121880
  • Foam Piping/Welting Cord 5/32" #1055
  • Nylon White Loop 1" #471100
  • Nylon White Hook 1" #467100
  • Glue Sticks Hot Melt Acrylic #102210
  • Automotive Upholstery J Style Seat Clips 26" #121919
  • 3M™ Dual Lock - Not Sold at Sailrite

Tools List:

  • Gingher® 8" Scissors Right Handed #19104
  • Rotary Cutter 28mm #139900
  • Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat 24" x 36" #120257
  • Foam Lock Spray Adhesive 12oz #120464
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" #102400
  • Sailrite® Fabricator® Sewing Machine, Table & Workhorse® Servo Motor (110V) #400500
  • Surebonder® HE 750 Professional High Temp Glue Gun #103684
  • Hog Ring Pliers #100950
  • Professional Revolving Hole Punch #100050
  • Marker, Yardstick, Wire Cutters, Pen, Duct Tape, Dremel Tool, Steel Wire Wheel Brushes for Rotary Tool