Voila - a new seat bottom from 1/2" plywood - the original was 3/8" (but also fell apart)
restored seat pan
cutting seat bottom from 2" foam to fit.
making my own seat pattern to fit the foam - later decided that tracing the old aftermarket seat cover would work better. The original has some tight curves in the welting - which really aren't necessary.
An MGA seat kit. 6 yards of premium vinyl.
Doing the "tuck and roll" for making the pleats
here you can see the muslin is marked at 1.5" divisions and sewn to the excess material on the vinyl seam allowance from the 2" wide front pleats. Pocket later filled with 1/2" foam strips.
tuck and roll finished viewed from the top for the seat bottom.
tuck adn roll finished veiwed from the bottom
Make piping (welting) by wrapping a 1.25" strip of vinyl around a length of cotton clothesline and stitching up - you'll need a zipper foot or welting foot to do it, though.
use a roller/cutter wheel like this to cut the vinyl - you'll be glad you got one!
a plywood jig to cut the vinyl strips to width and length
seat bottom sides contstructed - took a little license here with the design - the original was so far gone I had to guess a bit. Worked fine.
detail of welting sewn to seat bottom side panels. Note notches anywhere you have to make a tight radius.
Zipper foot for the machine to sew welting. This one is too cheesy though - buy a beefy one from Singer (got a good one at Joanne's fabrics). This machine (a modern basic Singer) is too wimpy to really sew through 4+ layers of vinyl so I switched my old standby Montgomery Wards machine from the late 40's (or maybe early 50's - can't remember now).
backside of seat bottom sides showing double stitching to make the vertical seam...like on Levi's
seat bottom side sewn to top - 4 layers of vinyl and one of muslin to sew through - and six layers at each side of each pleat. Go slow and turn the machine by hand vs. using the pedal at these areas.
I missed while sewing - need to go back and fix this. The stictches should have been right through the stitches on the piping.
rusty seat frame
more rusty seat frame
Three layers of seat covers - all falling apart. The original was black leather with red piping - but too far gone to make patterns from.
car color on part, and seat color - good combo, IMHO
Love this sewing machine. Get one like it for $30 at a yard sale and tell your wife it's yours, but she can borrow it if she asks nicely.
zipper foot being used as a piping foot. Sits off to one size of the seam being sewn and is adjustable. Get the heaviest duty one you can - this one is too flimsy, but I got a Singer foot which was very nice.
finishedseat bottom - I still need to redo the sewing for the piping here though
double piping detail for seat sides - you can see I missed here too - this time going too far into the welting. This is why I started sewing it with the piping side up vs. the later pic showing the black side up.
back of seam double stitched on seat back side pieces
finished double piping for seat sides - I made the seam across here upside down for both seats - oh well. The fold should be aimed down, not up.
restored pass side seat back with muslin "envelope" covering the horsehair padding and a new cardboard back hot glued onto the frame
sewing the double piping to the 1" wide (finished width - leave 3/8 to 1/2" per side for seam allowance) seat sides. This is actually wrong - it's better sot sew from the other side and let the foot run against the welting - stitch through the same seam as you used to make the welting to begin with.
Layout lines for tuck and roll on muslin.
pattern for seat back - flip over for passengers side. I cut this out and traced it onto the assembled vinyl pieces, then cut them out to the (outer) line. The line at the bottom middle is the stopping point for the foam pieces.
laying out the lines on the muslin for the tuck and roll. These are 1.5" wide, and the vinyl is 2" wide, creating the pockets.
finished sewing on seatback. The pleats should probably have been 2.5" each to match the original early MGA's - looking at some pics it seems my outsides are a bit too wide...? Looks OK though.
Hooray - two finished seat backs - left and right mirror images.
fold the foam over the end of the yardstick to stuff into the pockets - unfold it once it's in place with the end of the yardstick or skewer
a "stuffing sock" with a yardstick - wrap muslin around the foam and the yardstick and it is easier to slide into the pockets. I ended up not using it in favor of just folding 2" of the foam over then end of the ruler - which was faster.
skewer to poke foam into place
using a skewer to poke the foam into position after stuffing
Test fit of seat back
test fit of seat back showing construction
2mm ply rear panels cut out
2mm ply rear interior panels covered with vinyl - spray adhesive and fabric glue
Old seat, new seat! The armrest came out well, though I think it is "supposed" to be less tall at the rear...Mine is 3" at the rear and 4" at the front. I have seen some pics that look like maybe 2" at the rear is more original (not that I care).
cutting the foam for the seat base
foam in the metal pan wrapped in muslin
seat back wrapped in batting prior to slipping the cover over (cover is underneath in this shot) - overlapped parts are attached with spray adhesive.
cutting seat bottom foam - the ONLY way to do it! Get a $9 carving knife at Wal-Mart if you don't have one and you don't want to get caught using your wife's
seat foam ready to be covered
this is the piece that wraps around the ramp in the front - doesn't have to be this fancy.
Just noticed here that I cut the angle on the forward piece the wrong way!
Add batting to the valley created by the two pieces of foam.
bottom wrapped in batting ready to be covered (sitting on the cover, sorry about that - it's just happened to be when I decided to take the photo)
bottom stapled on!
batting stapled ready for cover.
upper seat back cut out of a large piece of picture matting board (AC Moore craft store - $7)
back all wrapped up. Batting is glued with spray adhesive. I then ran another strip about 4" wide up around the circumference to better pad the frame as well.
the whole thing came out pretty well, I think! The padded front rail is not thick enough front to back - doesn't line up well with the door rails. I should have doubled up on the padding there.