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Old 04-06-2004, 02:30 PM   #1
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Question on Fabric for seating

I am a newbie to this entire Airstream world. I was lucky enough to be given a 1966 Globetrotter (brother in laws wife said it had to go so she could have a flower garden). I would say it about an 7 out of 10 all complete all documentation even the original sales receipt and all books. My question is that I want to replace the upholstery and don't know how much fabric I will need. Can anyone help. Please.

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Old 04-06-2004, 03:22 PM   #2
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All I did was take the measurements of all the seat cushions along with the backrests - gae these measurements to an upholstery shop over the phone and they told me how many yards/meters I would need.

When you determine what material you are getting find out the width of the bolt - you can then make a template (on paper) of how all the pieces of material will fit - always leave about 2-3 inches for a hem as well don't forget the sides usually 4-6 inches thick.

To do our Globetrotter - inlcudes a dinette with a single (or half of a goucho) on both sides, the back rests and the double in the back which is made up with four sections of seat cushions as well as the back - I needed 15 yards total. Check out my photo album for pictures to give you an idea of the area that is covered.

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Old 04-06-2004, 08:10 PM   #3
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It depends entirely upon the fabric. Some bolts are wider than others. In addition, patterns generally have a "repeat", i.e. a point at which seams can meet while continuing the pattern. The size of the repeats is a major factor.

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Old 04-06-2004, 08:27 PM   #4
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Hi Mark;

That's true forgot about that - I was just thinking of what I am using - I like to pick solids and patterns that do not need to match - to save on the amount of fabric needed.

Formula in inches - length times Width divided by 36 = yards divided by 39 = meters approx. If there are curves such as in our A/S's take the square measurement at the widest and longest points.
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Old 04-07-2004, 07:32 AM   #5
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Hi there, nbka1bm,

DH and I are in similar straights. We got a 61 Safari last fall and found that the old cushions were truly nasty in appearance...and smell! So, we got new foam cut (considerably more expensive than we expected) over the winter and I am now sewing cushions. I was fortunate--I found some appropriately turquoise duck cloth (a medium canvas) on sale for $2.88/yard at the local fabric shop. Without knowing precisely how much fabric I'd need, I took all they had (20 yards) and ended up with plenty! OTOH, my recent purchase of $9.98/yard drapery cloth was much pricier, even though I got much less. I've also picked up a couple of random old drapes in the same colors at a flea market for making toss pillows.

BTW--I was in IKEA the other day and saw nice duck cloth and drapery fabric in a number of patterns & colors for @ $5.99/yard--though apparently you can't phone order it.

I think your 1966 is new enough to have slipcovers with zippers. That's good, since you can tear apart the covers and use them as a pattern (also good for working out yardage requirements). My older unit (made during those quality-concious Wally years) was merely folded and stapled down to plywood bottoms--so they could not be cleaned (and they were nasty). I suppose Wally wasn't too concerned about girly things like cushions.

Mark was right that you would have to compensate for pattern in measuring up for fabric. However, think if the pattern position on the cushion is a major concern to you. Except for centering, say, a big pattern element in the center of a cushion, I'm not sure there are many circumstances with cushions where this would matter. The critical element is that you want the fabric to line up straight and perpendicular on the cushion.

You can also save fabric by using a cheaper fabric on the bottom panels. I have also seen clever fabric economies using fancier fabric panels on the sides or just tops. Take into consideration that all pieces will require @1'" (1/2" on each side) seam allowances, except the zipper panel, which will be split lengthwise for the zipper insertion--that takes a 2" side to side seam allowance. I would also suggest that you get a long zipper that wraps around the edge--it makes inserting the cushion much easier. When toting up your fabric requirement, add in one length of fabric (@2.5 yards in my case) for a fudge factor--there's nothing worse than ending up short (especially when you make a mistake)--and it is well worth the extra expense!

Before you rip out the cushions, take them down to your "foamerie" (ie, foam cutter) so they can reproduce the dimensions. This is especially important for the front gaucho cushions which are curved to fit the trailer walls. Save the plywood--but instead of stapling it on, insert it inside the cushion with the foam. Then zip it closed (and spray it down with waterproofing spray).

I am also applying welting (or cording) the upper edge of the two cushions that show when the gaucho is folded up in a couch. This is harder to do, but it does look sharp. I am also considering "over stuffing" (wrapping the foam with batting to get a loftier effect)--something my girlfriend who does upholstery professionally says is de riguer now. I just wonder if it will make for a less comfortable sleep area! It does have the benefit of smoothing over any imperfections and looks really nice.

BTW--sewing such large cushions is a really, really big job--and with tight corners and welting, rather advanced. I find it takes me a week after work to cut and sew each cushion (or a whole Saturday)--and I'm a pretty experienced sewer. Getting a nice snug fit will also take a bit of resewing as well. If you aren't confident and can afford it, I'd say hire it out!

Good luck!

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Old 04-07-2004, 09:04 AM   #6
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Cushion Experience

We had the Dinette and Sofa reupholstered in the 345 last year.

There was one bit of common advice we received from all of the shops where we looked at fabric......."go with a commericial grade of material".

It was explained that (especially since we travel with the dogs) regular fabric would just not hold up to the rigors of regular "camping". Even though this really limited the choice of fabric, patterns, and colors available, in hindsight, we are very happy that we followed the professionals' advice and went with the commericial fabric.

FWIW, $700 covered the fabric, installation, and a bit of modification to the arm rests on the sofa to build in "hidden" magazine racks in each arm rest.

I delivered the dinette cushions (four) and sofa (back, seat, two arm rests) on a Friday, and the next weekend I reinstalled them in the Xeppelin.


"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

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