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Your recommendations for lowback seat covers for '62 Benz


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I am seeking pre-made seat covers that slip over my current low-back, non-headrest seats in my '62 Mercedes-Benz 220se coupe. Sheepskins are the traditional way to go on a vintage Benz but I don't totally love the way they look, but may end up going that route if nothing else viable pops up. What I'd like to hear are the options you folks have found for slip-on covers that specifically fit these older style seats. I am including a pic to show what the seat shape is like in these cars, clearly this is not my vehicle as these are in perfect condition, I found these online. The only real guidance is I don't want anything thin like those stretchable polyester covers. I'd prefer cloth, MB-Tex style vinyl, a combo, tweed, who knows, maybe even something with plaid down the center like the earlier cars.

 

For those who like to know all the details... my interior is great aside from the split leather seating surfaces (they are too far gone to save, missing large portions of leather) so I don't plan to redo the entire interior, but if I just do the seats they will not match at all with the new material contrasting to the "survivor" interior. While I patiently search for some original seats in the right color to replace mine with, I want to use slip on seat covers.

 

111front775.jpg

 

Edited by MarrsCars (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Akstraw said:

Your local trim shop can do this for you.

 

I considered that but figured the slip covers would cost the same as actual seat covers, but maybe that's not the case. I'll pop by a local shop and see what they say. Please send any other suggestions in the meantime, much appreciated!

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You can sew them yourself. It's not hard. See if you can find a book on making upholstery and slip covers at the library or there may be something online. You have your choice of materials and colors unlike the sometimes gaudy and flimsy ones they sell.

 

I have a set of those seats in a light tan color. Unfortunately they have been stored in a leaky barn for 30 years and are probably ruined.

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14 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

You can sew them yourself. It's not hard. See if you can find a book on making upholstery and slip covers at the library or there may be something online. You have your choice of materials and colors unlike the sometimes gaudy and flimsy ones they sell.

 

I have a set of those seats in a light tan color. Unfortunately they have been stored in a leaky barn for 30 years and are probably ruined.

 

I rather like this idea! I haven't sewn since our Home Economics class in high school (do they still have those?) but that pillowcase turned out ok. lol 

Seriously tho, this would be a fun project and help me learn something new along the way. I do all manner of art in various mediums so I think I could teach myself this skill. As you said, research would be necessary, there's surely a lot to learn such as I would need to use proper thread so when it's all done it does't just fall apart. I may very well consider this. The money spent on covers could go towards a sewing machine instead. Thanks!

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14 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

I have a set of those seats in a light tan color. Unfortunately they have been stored in a leaky barn for 30 years and are probably ruined.

 

Whatever their condition, don't toss them, soon enough even the seat frames will be valuable. If you have the individual rear seats, which indicates "sport" seats all around, those are much more rare. If you have the very early head rests attached, not the two post style like modern ones, but the large roll type with huge chrome side mounts, those can be $1,000 apiece or more. 

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Seat covers are very easy to make and they are made out of material that is easily handled by a home sewing machine. My brother trained as an upholsterer, I helped him set up his shop and helped do the work too. Upholstery is a skilled trade but not as hard as bodywork or rebuilding an engine. For some reason everyone shys away from upholstery work but it's not that difficult to do a simple job like seat covers.

 

For your car corduroy would make a good choice. It is durable, warm in winter and cool in summer and has suitable look. There are lots of fabrics, you don't have to confine yourself to upholstery fabrics. Have some colors in mind and see what they have at the fabric store. It doesn't take much material, maybe 4 or 5 yards to do both front and back seats @ under $10 a yard.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Here's a couple of videos of a fellow making his own seat covers for his Karman Ghia. He is very much an amateur. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRMjtylmBN0

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xWejqJsznI

 

Also there is a company called sailrite which sell specialized sewing machines and has lots of how-to videos. They have a good video showing how to make a motorcycle seat, and lots others.

 

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=sailrite

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CamnznmHZDA&t=290s Pikup truck seat cover, Sailrite

 

Here's a fellow who is a professional and has posted lots of how-to videos -

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI7FK9iA3nY

 

If you're willing to do it yourself, that's great, more power to you.

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You mention using the right thread, use nylon thread and it will last forever. Cotton thread is ok for indoor use but tends to fail in cars and boats. But, it takes  a few years. Probably not a big concern for seat covers.

 

Mike the video you posted was for complete new upholstery not just seat covers.

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@mike6024 Wow, thank you! I will go through these this evening, thanks much!

 

@Rusty_OToole  I'm getting excited for this project now, I have taught myself basic bodywork, painting, mechanicals, etc., so this will be a welcome addition to my amateur rebuilding skills. I appreciate you taking the time. 

 

 

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There are some good videos on Youtube about making custom fitted seat covers, here is one.

 

Some valuable pointers here. Notice how he uses clear plastic to make patterns. When he goes to mark them out, he folds the pattern in half symmetrically. This makes both sides identical in spite of being drawn freehand. The wheel he uses to mark the pattern is a standard upholsterer's tool, covered in pins to puncture the pattern. Then you dab with a chalk bag and chalk goes thru the holes to mark the back of the material. Notice also he leaves a 1/2" extra for sewing. Lots of good info here.

 

 

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On 4/3/2017 at 5:24 PM, Rusty_OToole said:

Here is another description.

https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/how-to-make-a-cover-for-your-car-seat-by-elan-mcafee

 

There is nothing special about these, I found them with a 5 minute search. Another nice thing is the material is cheap so even if you mess up it doesn't cost much to have another go.

As expected I am really enjoying learning all about this process. I tend to study for a long time so I have all the tools and info needed, but I don't mind. I would probably find workarounds for the chalking, maybe carbon paper or even a similar tool for marking indentations in leather, but that's all part of the fun too, making your own path when needed and as you say, making mistakes along the way to learn from. 

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You can buy the tools cheaply at any upholstery supply store or sewing store. There should be several in Portland, let your fingers do the walking lol. You don't need to reinvent the wheel. They have been making seat covers for hundreds of years and have pretty well worked out the details.

 

I don't know what you mean by indentations in the leather. I thought you were making seat covers of cloth? Did you change your mind and decide to reupholster the seats in leather? If so I would caution you strongly against it.

 

Later.... I looked at the video again, he wasn't puncturing the plastic he was cutting it with a pizza cutter. You could do the same with scissors only not as fast. He didn't use chalk either just a pencil.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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I agree, there's no "magic" to upholstery, just patience and using a few of the correct tools and techniques.

 

That said, I absolutely cringe when I hear someone say "Here's what I bought at the local fabric store, it was so cheap compared to other materials being offered" or some variation of this......

 

Fabric bought at a fabric store is, as a rule, NOT suitable for automotive upholstery.  First, it's not UV resistant, so many colors will fade in the sun.  Second, sitting in your car is different than sitting in a chair.  You sit up and down on a chair, you slide in and out of a car.  A LOT of normal fabrics won't hold up to this type of wear.

 

There's a story of a man who was going to upholster his fine Classic car, and at an auction found a beautiful roll of wool suit cloth for next to nothing in cost.  He proceeded to upholster his car with it, then found out a year later that the driver cushion was getting nice and shiny from him getting in and out of the car.....we all know what wool can do on a suit \, correct?

 

As a once professional and now hobbyist trimmer, I beg of you to buy the best and most appropriate materials you can when restoring your car's interior.  You'll be thankful in the long run....

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Trimacar you do know we are talking about seat covers and not a full upholstery job? At least I thought we were until OP started talking about leather.

 

He said he doesn't like sheepskin or flimsy stretch material so I suggested he make his own out of corduroy or other suitable material.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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