How to Reupholster a Pontoon Helm Seat

Item # X-HT-300453

As the final part of our Pontoon Upholstery Series, we’re going to be showing you how to completely reupholster a pontoon helm chair using top-quality vinyl and supplies from Sailrite®. Although outwardly this may seem like a daunting project, we make it manageable by breaking it down into a step-by-step tutorial that’s easy to follow. Allow our project specialists to guide you through this complete revamp! Stay tuned to learn how to remove the old vinyl and foam, add new foam, pattern and cut new vinyl and upholster your helm seat.

Because our pontoon helm chair was in rough shape, we ended up having to completely remove the old foam and vinyl from it. If your foam looks like it’s still in good shape, you may not need to remove it. And perhaps your vinyl is still functioning but you’d simply like a more modern look. No worries! Our detailed tutorial will still be useful to you in these situations, so you can skip around the video to find what part best applies to you.

For our new vinyl upholstery, we’ve chosen to use Sunbrella® Horizon. Available in two distinct patterns and a variety of colors, this product captures the performance and style that Sunbrella is known for in an exceptional indoor/outdoor engineered synthetic leather. The four-way stretch capabilities of this waterproof vinyl make it ideal for contouring and tailoring. You won’t have to worry about it sagging or puddling after excessive use! Sunbrella Horizon's proprietary top coat ensures mold/mildew resistance and bacterial stain resistance to protect against bacterial pinking. And it features the best-in-industry five-year limited warranty in the rare case that it should fail.

The other great thing about Sunbrella Horizon is its color-matching capabilities. This fabric was designed to perfectly match Sunbrella® Marine Grade and Sunbrella® Upholstery fabrics of the same name, so it’s easy to create a cohesive look on your boat. You can also utilize Sunbrella Horizon for home, RV and outdoor living upholstery, cushions and home décor applications. It’s just that high performing!

Take a look at our detailed video tutorial if you’re ready to transform your old helm seat from drab to fab. Sailrite has all the tools, supplies and fabric to make it happen! And if you ever need us, our customer support staff is available via phone, email or the chat function on our website.

Video Chapters:

  • Removing Old Vinyl – 0:40 min
  • Cutting & Gluing Foam – 5:35 min
  • Patterning Helm Chair – 23:10 min
  • Cutting 4-Way Stretch Vinyl to Size – 40:27 min
  • Sewing Vinyl – 50:08 min
  • Sewing Channeling in Vinyl – 55:23 min
  • Joining Back & Top Banding – 1:03:12 min
  • Joining Inside Back to Top Banding – 1:11:31 min
  • Stapling Cover on Helm Chair – 1:15:30 min
  • Making a Dura Snap – 1:28:43 min
  • Pattering Seat – 1:30:38 min
  • Making Piping – 1:38:55 min
  • Sewing Boxing to Seat – 1:41:23 min
  • Sewing Knee-Rise & Seat – 1:45:39 min
  • Stapling Vinyl to Backer Board 1:59:45 min
  • Using Steam to Remove Wrinkles – 2:17:07 min
  • Materials List – 2:18:50 min

Materials List:

  • Medium Density Polyurethane Antimicrobial Foam (Medium) 3” - (#183M2480)
  • Medium Density Polyurethane Antimicrobial Foam (Medium) 1” - (#181M4880)
  • Foam Lock Spray Adhesive 12 oz - (#120464)
  • 21 Gauge 3/8" (10mm) Staples 10,000/Box (Stainless Steel) - (#8010SS)
  • Dura‑Skrim® Patterning Material 74" - Item (#103134)
  • Sunbrella® Horizon Capriccio Burgundy 54" Vinyl Fabric - (#10200-0015)
  • Fabric Backed 1/2" Sew Foam 58" - (#121507)
  • Sunbrella® Horizon Capriccio Vellum 54" Vinyl Fabric - (#10200-0004)
  • Thread V‑92 Natural Polyester UV 4oz (1,350Yds) - (#106386)
  • Cushion Wrap Silk Film 54" - (#103933)
  • Dura Snap Upholstery Button Forms #30 (3/4") - (#121603)
  • DOT® Snap Fastener Screw Stud 5/8" (Nickel/Stainless) - (#333110)
  • Top Notch® 9 Tan 60" Fabric - (#120451)
  • Foam Piping/Welting Cord 5/32" (50') - (#105599)
  • Seamstick 1/4" Basting Tape for Canvas & Upholstery (36Yds) - (#122065)
  • Cushion Underlining Beige 54" Fabric - (#103934)

Tools List:

  • Staple Lifter - (#120037)
  • Tape Measure 120 Inch - (#102986)
  • Sailrite® Blade Foam Saw V2 with Carrying Case - (#121244)
  • Gingher® Scissors Right Hand Lightweight 8" - (#101017)
  • Sailrite®Long Nose Upholstery Staple Gun - (#121411)
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" - (#102400)
  • Sailrite® Ultrafeed® LSZ‑1 PLUS Walking Foot Sewing Machine - (#300602)
  • Sailrite® Ultrafeed® Collapsible Sewing Table - (#104821)
  • Deluxe 5 1/2" Magnetic Sewing Guide - (#103597)
  • Thread Clipper "Kuroha" - (#121908)
  • Scribe‑All® Water Soluble White Marking Pencil - (#120681)
  • C.S. Osborne W‑1 Hand Press - (#121274)
  • W‑1 Hand Press Button Cover Die & Hole Cutter (Heavy) #30 (3/4”) - (#121602)
  • Cording Foot Set for Ultrafeed® LSZ‑1 (For Larger Welting) - (#104854)
  • Drill & Bits, Razor Knife, Pliers, Tape Measure, Marker, Pencil, Office Stapler