How to Reupholster a Classic Car Center Console

Item # X-HT-300384

For classic car owners, working on and maintaining their cars is part of the joy of owning a vintage beauty. For those with sewing experience, that can even mean doing their own upholstery work. Today, we’re showing you how to reupholster the center console in a 1946 Plymouth. Although we’re reupholstering a Plymouth, these techniques can be used on any similar car’s interior. Even if you’re not an experienced sewer, you’ll be able to tackle this DIY. Let’s get started!

Closeup of the finished center console in our 1946 Plymouth.

The first step in reupholstering a center console is patterning. We used Dura-Skrim® Patterning Material to pattern the shape of our existing console, which is a basic wooden frame, but you could skip the Dura-Skrim and pattern directly onto your new vinyl material — it’s your choice. Next comes cutting the vinyl, patterning and cutting the Sew Foam, sewing the panels together, stapling the vinyl cover to the console frame and more. The upholstery process is simple and straightforward, and we break it down for you into easy-to-understand steps.

You’ll want a top quality vinyl material for your console. We chose Morbern® Seabrook and Naugahyde® Universal for all of the car’s interior upholstery. Both of these vinyl fabrics are mold, mildew and stain resistant. They’re also incredibly abrasion resistant and fade resistant, which means they will retain their durability and color for years. We chose the Sailrite® Fabricator® Sewing Machine to sew our vinyl panels together. This straight stitch, industrial sewing machine powers through thick assemblies with incredible slow speed power and control thanks to the Workhorse® Servo Motor.

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.

Watch the video below to see for yourself how easy this car upholstery project is. We’ve also included a comprehensive list of all the materials and tools you’ll need to tackle this DIY.

This is the second how-to video in our classic car reupholstery series. For these classic car reupholstery videos, we partnered with our friends at Sims Upholstery, a local upholstery shop in Columbia City, Indiana, where Sailrite® is headquartered. Follow along with us as we reupholster a complete classic car interior on a ’46 Plymouth. If you missed our first blog, be sure to check out “How to Reupholster a Classic Car Back Seat” (300378XHT).

Video Chapters:

  • Patterning Console – 0:36 min.
  • Cutting Vinyl Fabric to Size – 3:27 min.
  • Adding Sew Foam – 6:08 min.
  • Sewing Panels Together – 10:23 min.
  • Stapling Cover in Place – 17:44 min.
  • Cutting Openings for Hardware – 28:28 min.
  • Covering Lid – 31:30 min.
  • Materials List – 35:10 min.

Materials List:

  • Dura-Skrim® Patterning Material 74" (#122460)
  • Marine Vinyl Fabric – we used Morbern® Seabrook (#105971) & Naugahyde® Universal (#100618)
  • Fabric Backed 1/4" Sew Foam 58" (#124306)
  • Seamstick 3/8" Basting Tape for Canvas (#129)
  • Thread V-69 or V-92 from Sailrite
  • 21 Gauge 1/4" (6mm) Staples 10,000/Box (Galvanized) (#8006GZ)

Tools List:

  • Sailrite® Fabricator® Sewing Machine, Table & Workhorse® Servo Motor (#400500)
  • Sailrite® Short Nose Upholstery Staple Gun (#121410)
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" (102400)
  • Rotary Cutter 28mm (#139900)
  • Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat 24" x 36" (#120257)
  • Gingher® 8" Scissors Right Handed (#19104)
  • 3M™ Super Trim Spray Adhesive 19oz (#108090)
  • Foam Lock Spray Adhesive 12oz (#120464)
  • Spring Clamp
  • Marker