How to Upholster a Boat Helm Seat

Item # X-HT-300648

You're the captain of your vessel, and you deserve to sit on a beautifully upholstered chair when driving your boat. If your helm seat, also known as a captain's chair, is in need of a refresh, you've come to the right place. Sailrite stocks all the fabric, tools and supplies you need to upholster your boat. We also provide free how-to video content so you can DIY with confidence. In today's tutorial, we'll show you how to reupholster a helm seat on a speedboat, making it look brand-new.

Learn how to upholster a captain chair

The first step of any boat seat upholstery project is to remove the old fabric and evaluate your foam. Sometimes the foam can be reused, and if yours is in good shape and has not bottomed out you can do so. If you need to replace your foam, we recommend CushionRite™ seating foam. This line of high-quality upholstery foam comes in several sheet sizes, thicknesses and firmness ratings. We recommend CushionRite Standard Antimicrobial Foam for boat upholstery, and it's available in several firmnesses for your personal comfort and support needs.

A helm seat has a lot of curve and shape to it, but there's no need to be intimidated. Our detailed video tutorial walks you through every step of the DIY process – from patterning and cutting to sewing and assembly. We don't leave anything out. Even if you're new to sewing you'll be able to follow along and upholster your own boat helm seat. You'll be truly amazed at what you can do with Sailrite supplies and how-to content.

Are you ready to tackle this helm seat refresh? Watch the video below to jump into this rewarding DIY boat upholstery project. After you've watched this video, be sure to catch the rest of the videos in our Speedboat Makeover Series. We're redoing a used Malibu speedboat with new upholstery, flooring and hull liner. You won't want to miss any of the videos in this exciting DIY series.

Video Chapters:

  • Removing Old Fabric & Evaluating Foam – 0:48 min.
  • Patterning & Cutting Inner Side’s Foam – 5:38 min.
  • Applying Sew Foam to Helm Seat – 7:38 min.
  • Applying Foam & Trimming Sew Foam – 11:58 min.
  • Patterning Helm Seat for Fabric – 14:30 min.
  • Cutting Vinyl Fabric – 26:18 min.
  • Sewing Vinyl Fabric – 29:27 min.
  • Fitting Cover on Helm Seat – 34:06 min.
  • Cutting Foam for Backrest – 47:12 min.
  • Cutting Vinyl Fabric for Backrest – 49:45 min.
  • Quilting Vinyl Fabric – 51:35 min.
  • Creating & Sewing Fabric Pull – 54:10 min.
  • Trimming to Size & Sewing Boxing – 56:55 min.
  • Installing Cover on Backrest – 1:02:45 min.
  • Materials & Tools List – 1:12:53 min.

Materials List:

  • Super 88 Spray Adhesive 13 oz. #123287
  • Dura-Skrim® Patterning Material 74" #103134
  • Shelter-Rite® Grey 61" Fabric #112015
  • Fabric Backed Sew Foam 58" #124306
  • 3M™ General Trim Spray Adhesive 18.1 oz. #73211
  • CushionRite™ Standard Antimicrobial Foam (Medium) #124231
  • 3M™ Super 77™ Spray Adhesive Low VOC 18 oz. #636100
  • EverSoft™ Indoor/Outdoor Teak 54" Vinyl Fabric #122218
  • Polyester V-92 Thread from Sailrite
  • Cushion Wrap Silk Film 54" #103933
  • 21 Gauge 3/8" (10mm) Staples 5,000/Box (Stainless Steel) # 58010SS
  • CushionRite™ Standard Antimicrobial Foam (Soft) #124216
  • EverSoft™ Indoor/Outdoor Black 54" Vinyl Fabric #122217
  • Top Notch® 9 Silver Gray 60" Fabric #120450
  • EverSoft™ Vinyl Welting / Piping Black #122597
  • Boat Blanket Black 72" Fabric #100113

Tools List:

  • Staple Lifter #120037
  • Gingher® Scissors Right Hand Lightweight 8" #101017
  • Sailrite® Short Nose Upholstery Staple Gun #121410
  • Sailrite® Blade Foam Saw V2 with Carrying Case (110V) #121244
  • Sailrite® Deluxe Fabricator® Sewing Machine Package (110V) #400600
  • Deluxe 5-1/2" Magnetic Sewing Guide #103597
  • McLube™ Sailkote 8 oz. #120679
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" #102400
  • Sailrite® Long Nose Upholstery Staple Gun #121411
  • Chalk Pen White #123131
  • Flexible Curve 20" With Ruler #123117
  • Scribe-All® Black Marking Pencil for Vinyl #121977
  • Cording Foot Set 1/4" for Fabricator® #400414
  • Left Edge Guide Foot Set 4mm for Sailrite® Fabricator® #400111
  • Drill, Marker, Razor, Electric Kitchen Knife