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Source for faux mohair upholstery yard goods???


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So with LeBaron Bonney out of the picture where can the hobbyist buy synthetic mohair upholstery material.  I have just enough taupe fake mohair left to do either my front seat or my door panels...  but not both.


New seat frame will need new upholstery.  Original mohair cloth seat surfaces will need several yards of modern

faux mohair material I expect.  I might have enough material for the seat but the door panels are looking for more of the

same material...

FSF 084.jpg


FSF 083.jpg


Door wdo 45.jpg


An original door panel occupies some floor space on my forensic interior layout...

Forensic 004 (2).jpg


On the left is a seat back bellows that hides the empty space behind the seat.  I reproduced the bellows using

the original piece on the right.  What you see on the left is crafted from the faux mohair material I got with the car

that covers all the rest of the interior trim panels.  I need to find a source for more of this material.

Bellows 003.jpg

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
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Must have been some coupe! I worked on a coupe with a friend some years ago, and it took only about six yards for the seats and doors. Seats, rear sides and doors for my 1927 Paige was estimated to require about 9 yards (@60 inch wide). Do they still price upholsery maerials by the "running" yard like they did forty years ago? Makes a huge difference in final cost. 

Most cars, the headliner is not the same material as the seats and door panels. Upper body around the rear windows may or may not be the same as the seat. Rear upper body varies from marque and model, and usually matches either the seats, or the headliner. Higher end classics may be more likely to use mohair on the headliner than something like a Studebaker or Hupmobile.


A couple things I notice in the photos above. One. The age eaten door panel you show has a small area at the top that appears to be a darker and maybe different color than what had been exposed to sunlight for decades. My Paige had nice brown looking upholstery (in terrible condition!) throughout when my dad bought it in 1967. However, under trim pieces, it showed the original color to be a beautiful burgundy red. I later found some original dealer literature for the year and model that stated only a few Paiges of that model had red upholstery. Most of them had blue mohair! Which was fortunate I guess. Shortly after, I lucked into a closeout of a sizeable amount of very nice blue mohair! More than enough to do the car, and very cheap. (And since I never had much extra money to spend, and since it is actually correct, blue it will be if I can ever get to it?)


It appears in the photo that your seats are partially done? That may complicate things. Doing the work on the seats is pretty much the most expensive part of a sedan's entire interior. IF (I love that big IF) you can get a close match to the seats? You could likely get the doors done at a reasonable cost. And then finish off the rest of the interior accordingly.


IF (another big IF) you are starting from the beginning? My advice has always been to buy the most correct best material you can afford! Way way too many people buy some cheaper material, whether corduroy, or velvet, or some cheap modern car synthetic, for maybe fifty dollars or less per running yard. Then they spend nearly ten thousand dollars having it installed! Only to end up with something that looks lousy! The labor to install it is the expensive part! Even if someone can manage to do it themselves, the time they will spend! Pay twice as much for the material! Pay three times as much for it if you have to!

I did live with a nice but not correct interior in one of my antiques for several years. It was that way when I bought it, and I paid accordingly for the car. It wasn't the end of the world. But IF you are going to do it, this is where you need to do it right!


$129 per (running or square?) yard? If it is 60 inch or more running yard? And IF it is a good decent quality? From what I remember from thirty years ago (adjusted somewhat for inflation?)? Sounds dirt cheap.

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There are good synthetic mohair's (nice in the no-moth department) out there via commercial furniture - take your sample to a good interior designer or commercial upholstery shop specializing in office furniture. Colors tend to be tans, corals, darker blues, and reds/maroons though (but I would avoid reds/maroons via hearse like look). 

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17 hours ago, JFranklin said:

Am I reading $129.00 per yard? How much material does an antique car usually average for seats and side panels?

Yes $129/yrs.  As to Wayne's post below, I don't know if it's a running yard, or width etc.  If his information is anywhere close for my own vehicle (9yrds), I'll be looking at at least $1000 in material.  

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You have to watch the weave. Fabrics like mohair are graded by what they call 'grin', which is how dense the nap is. You can tell buy folding the material over in and seeing how much gap is between the rows. The material I purchased has virtually no grin running the width of the material but is more pronounced along the length. This will definitely affect the amount of material needed so there are no unsightly folds visible. I also found out that much of the lower grade or faux mohair does not have woven fibers, they are glued onto the backing. This may be satisfactory for curtains but it won't hold up on auto upholstery. I was also told that, say a mid 30's sedan, will take about 15 yds. for the seats, door panels, and qtr. panels.

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Each car varies, but as jpage comments, a large sedan from the 30's will easily take 12-15 yards of material.  Headliner alone (usually a lighter fabric, both in weight and color) will be 2-1/2 to 3 yards.


Any striped or patterned material, as R32 mentions, adds to the yardage.  Also, most fabric has a "direction", so if you start upholstering a car you want to make sure the direction is consistent throughout the car, which further leads to waste.



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So some have suggested i not use faux mohair at all because real mohair is still available.  The problem with that theory is this car's upholstery is complete except for the door panels and the seat.  I have a large enough piece of the material the rest of the interior was done in to support upholstering the seat but I doubt there is enough to do the door panels as well so I will not cut the last large piece of material, it's going to a local upholsterer, Matthew Larder, with the seat.  In the meantime I took the most unlikely approach to finding some material for the door panels and bought a yard of JB Nevada Cafe plush velour mohair from Etsy of all places.  It was $86 for a running yard and it came in the mail and it is a very generous yard.  It is not a perfect color match but is very close, particularly if turned in a direction so the nap direction matches.  Additionally I bought a couple of yards of white polyester batting to use for pad under the material, white thread from Superior Threads, a 15yd roll of 3/8" antique Taupe windlace from Rex Pegg Fabrics and 50 door panel nail tabs from CARS.  The doors measured 8yds and the next smaller quantity of windlace was a 7yd roll.  I will use the covering from some of the surplus windlace to make a new Randall molding for the top of the seat back and some of it will be used as trim to make a pocket for the passenger door panel.  I have the original passenger door trim including the wire frame the pocket is sewn over which determines the shape of the pocket.  I will use the Fisher Body manual method to construct and install the door pocket on the passenger door panel.  That Juki sewing machine languishing in my basement will get some business when I sew the pattern stitch on the door panels and attach the pocket.  The original interior of the 31 8-66 had a pocket on the passenger door only which makes me wonder if they did that to discourage texting while driving???  Probably not...


The first 2 pictures are of a swatch of the original upholstery material laid over the new piece of JB Nevada

material I bought for the door panels.   It is not a perfect color match but depending on which direction you

orient the new material in relation to the old, the nap tends to hide the color difference.   

DP 001.jpg


DP 004.jpg


The Nelson material (top roll) has a different backing that the material that came with the car.

DP 005.jpg


As time goes by I'm more pleased with my decision to buy a commercial sewing machine and dabble in sewing my own trim projects.


Edited by Str8-8-Dave
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