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Old 07-11-2005, 11:30 AM   #1
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9 Yards!!??

Just talked with the shop that does the upholstery for the local Airstream dealer..... since we have the gaucho out while we are laying the floor, this would be an ideal time to put new foam and fabric on it. As we discussed my project, she told she had just done a gaucho so she knew what I was talking about. Told me that she charged the dealership beteen $85 and $110 for labor. So far, so good. Then proceeded to tell me the gaucho would take between 8 and 9 yards of fabric! Make sure you buy enough! I find it hard to believe the gaucho takes THAT amount of fabric..... And if I buy fabric from some place else, there is a $10 a yard cutting fee. Okay, I understand that, that cutting fee represents her lost profit on selling the yardage. Then she turned aorund and told me my labor charges would be $100 more than the dealership pays! So now, if I buy fabric not from her, and I buy the NINE YARDS she says to, the cost is 90 bucks plus say $200, plus the cost of fabric! So I'm looking at around $300 plus maybe twenty bucks a yard times NINE YARDS for another couple hundred! We're up to about five hundred or more, plus, of course, the needed new foam! Most likely that foam will run another couple hundred! Yikes! This is plainly out of hand!
Anyhow, does NINE yeards sound reasonable to you, to do the seat, back, arm rests, and the doors?

Elizabeth in Iowa
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Old 07-11-2005, 11:57 AM   #2
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Sorry, Elizabeth, that's a decent estimate.

Figure it this way. The typical gaucho is 7.5 feet long. There are three cushions, so figure 7.5*3=22.5'. So figure that for the top and bottom cushion panels, you will need double that to calculate linear length (you will have 6 top and bottom panels total). Average cushion width is probably under 25" wide, so you will be able to cut two cushion widths out of the typical 55" width of decorator fabric. So, that means that you will be able to line up three cushion lengths and cut. So, that's 7.5 yards. But you still need to cut the sides, which is the remaining yard and a half of material (depending on how deep your foam is). Add on more yardage if you want piping/welting (the nice round bead of fabric trim on the edges).

BTW--make sure you get zippers so that the covers can be removed.

Given that sewing cushions is a big royal pain in the tushie, this is actually a very fair price and estimate. Figure each on will take about 8 hours sewing work for an experienced seamstress--it's not really bad at all.

Foam is also very costly. Figure that custom cut foam will cost another $200 per gaucho, depending on grade of foam and depth of cushions. Generally, there is also overstuffing (extra batting that gives cushions a plump look)--figure another $30 per cushion for that.

Of course, the alternative is to DIY--but warning--that's a lot of work.

Mary
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Old 07-11-2005, 12:14 PM   #3
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I also redid our upholstry..... I was able to reuse the zippers from the old cushions.
When I was getting estimates I found that if I purchased fabric from the upholsterer, the fabric was a lot cheaper. You don't have to go through a dealer - any good upholstry shop can do this kind of work. I found the best way to get estimates was a flat fee for the entire job. Fabric with a smaller repeat pattern will require fewer yards.

Ultimatly, I chose to do the work myself and spend my cash on really great fabric. I was uncertain about how much fabric as well. I bought 2 partial bolts at the fabric place. They allowed me to return the unused bolt so long as it wasn't cut.

Don't cheap out on the foam - get the best stuff you can find!
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Old 07-11-2005, 12:23 PM   #4
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you can get great fabric at a great price in reno,they sell waveryly and other fine brands at deep discounts. i dont know the name of the street but it is on the same street as costco and near the airport.
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Old 07-11-2005, 12:25 PM   #5
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why dont you look into buying a new goucho?how much could it cost?
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Old 07-11-2005, 01:35 PM   #6
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I feel your pain...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cedars
Anyhow, does NINE yeards sound reasonable to you, to do the seat, back, arm rests, and the doors?

Elizabeth in Iowa
But, it sounds reasonable to me. I don't see what model trailer you have, but for our 19' GlobeTrotter with a Gaucho & a Dinette we ordered 11 yards of fabric (I had about 2 yards left over, which I've used elsewhere). And I happened to fall in love with a very expensive fabric...$65 py ~ 3 times+ the price you are looking at!

One option to reduce the cost could be to use a less expansive 'ticking' type fabric on the bottom...that could save some yardage of the "expensive stuff". I considered doing this, but ended up using 'the good stuff' on both sides. If you want to see the end result, check out our website link below.

The bottomline is you are hopefully going to do this only once every 15-20+ years, so do it right! Otherwise, you'll never be happy with it ~

Shari
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Old 07-11-2005, 01:57 PM   #7
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Agree with Fire Fly And Inside Out

9 yards is about right. Even a non patterned fabric has a "nap" - velvet is a great example - if you run your hand down a piece of velvet it is smooth, but go in the other direction and it's like rubbing a cat in the wrong direction. Even if you used ticking or denim there is a faint shadow that will tell people if you use a single piece that is cut in the opposite direction of the others.

It is a whole lot of work to do it yourself, and using cheap foam & padding really is a mistake. However if you do decide to do it yourself and you don't have extensive experience, you might want to choose a ticking fabric. It's heavy cotton, it's inexpensive, it's washable AND if you decide to have it done professionally later they can upholster OVER the ticking, reusing your foam.

Remember you can't buy gasoline for $1.35 a gallon any more - and most things are much more expensive than we are all used to. Sticker shock is everywhere! I'm guessing that if you could buy a whole new gaucho it would be $1100 at least. Leather covered $2000.

Tin Lizzie
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Old 07-11-2005, 02:29 PM   #8
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I think you this is reasonable do it yourself project even for a first timer. You just need some personal grit... I don't sew, I don't like to sew and I own a treadle sewing machine. That said, I AM cheap - um - fruggle!

I took apart the old covers and used them as a pattern for the new. I made a few changes; I added piping and went to a box cunstruction. I got a simple book from my fabric store about how to do upholstry and it was useful.

I learned:
Get good foam - have it professionally cut
Get your buttons made at an upholstry shop w/your fabric. They are better quality and not more expensive.
Get a friend to help you with fitting - extra hands are good with big cushions.
Use the best materials you can find - it's a lot of work!
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Old 07-11-2005, 03:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet
I think you this is reasonable do it yourself project even for a first timer.
I guess it depends on how your original cushions are/were constructed. I DO sew, but our gaucho had hinged one-piece covers with lots of compound angles. Being that we wanted to stay as close to the original construction as possible and my fabric was so expensive, I decided it would be better if a pro did it. If they screwed it up, it would be their fault & they would have to make it right...

I did sew the cushions for the dinette though...

I'm frugal too...I just though the monies spent to have someone else do it was much less than if I had to do it twice! Or worse, I did it wrong...then had to pay to have someone else do it over after I failed. I think the investment in the cost of the fabric scared me away from doing it myself.

Shari
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Old 07-11-2005, 06:01 PM   #10
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Two gauchos done

Hi! I think it sounds right to me too. I just did the 2 gauchos in our little Minuet. Hinged tops, cording around the edge and all the compounds. I couldn't afford the professional upholsterers prices around here. Pain in the tush, but I did it!! You can get on the preferred mailing list at JoAnn Fabrics here and wait for the 40% off coupons. I saved on foam, specially ordered fabric, cording, batting, and waited until I had it all together. I bought 15 yds. but I had to cover the endcap on the streetside gaucho and the endcaps on the upper cabinets too, plus the fronts of the pull out trays that the gaucho/beds rest on. I saved the old zippers and used the old covers as patterns. Took me three days to do one of them, start to finish. I am NOT an expert, but I plugged along. Making sure to mark pieces and look at each thing as I took it apart. Even though it is alot of work!!!!!!! AND I was glad to get rid of that burnt orange "vintage" fabric!! You can do it Elizabeth!!
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Old 07-11-2005, 07:01 PM   #11
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9 yards is about right. I agree with the others. I bought enough fabric to do the job twice over in two different colors (I couldn't make up my mind which I liked better). Did them myself. I love to sew. Great project.
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Old 07-11-2005, 09:22 PM   #12
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We just redid ours, although we changed the middle gaucho. Couch during the day and bunks at night. We made the front one where it would be a queen lenghtwise. Both took around 9 yards apiece. I found waverly fabric on the discontinued table and paid $2.50 per yard and did the sewing myself. Knowing how many hours I put in that's really not a bad price. Good luck
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Old 07-11-2005, 09:33 PM   #13
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In one of my most numb-skull moments...

Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut
I guess it depends on how your original cushions are/were constructed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet
I took apart the old covers and used them as a pattern for the new. I made a few changes; I added piping and went to a box cunstruction. I got a simple book from my fabric store about how to do upholstry and it was useful.
I made the HUGE mistake of washing the old covers before making a pattern from them! They disintegrated in the process even on the gentle/low heat cycles! So I had no pattern to use as a go-by...

No matter how dirty & yucky they are don't wash them!!! Really a bad move on our part...if I had not washed them 'day one' I may have tried sewing the new gaucho cover myself.

Shari
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Old 07-11-2005, 10:49 PM   #14
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You know, Shari, I wouldn't regret washing that fabric. They probably wouldn't have done you any good. I have slipcovered and reupholstered a number of couches, chairs, and gauchos. I have never found the old covers to be any help at all in forming a pattern, except for a quaint reference to what the old fabric used to look like. New foam will vary in fit from old foam, simply because someone else cut it--plus the old fabric is generally warped in wierd ways. Plus, dirty old covers are just gross! Give up those regrets--you probably saved yourself a whole lot of anxiety.

I see it kind of like my body... I am 42 years old and I weigh about the same as I did at 16. But I don't think I'd ever get the same fit from my old jeans. For one side, my old jeans are sack like from wear, though they were tight, in the day. My body (as is the trailer foam) is redistributed--so I would still need a new cut, even if the old jeans/covers were in pristine condition.

Moreover, on our '61, the original upholstery gave no credit to Airstream's quality reputation. Frankly, they were the worst constructed covers I have ever seen! They were sloppily sewn, lacked welting, lacked zippers--and the bottoms were stapled instead of sewn. If my jeans were made like this, I'd have probably been sent home from school for indecency by 3rd period!

The easiest way I handled the curved edges was to pin large pieces of tracing paper onto the foam (so it lies smoothly), trace the edges, add in my seam allowance and cut it out of my decorator fabric. The tricky part is not mixing up the pieces (I use a sharpie to label both the side of the foam and the pattern piece) and not sewing the pieces together backwards (always remember the adage "right sides together").

That idea about covering the bottom with cheaper fabric is a great idea, btw! Nobody will ever, ever see it (plus the edge of the gaucho will completely hide the bottom).

Oh, one last thing, Elizabeth--be sure to DWR treat your covers when you are done, using something like Nikwax or Scotchguard. Your cleaner may do this,too (I get them to reapply it when I get covers cleaned). Eventually, someone will spill something--and you'll want to survive that!

Mary

Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut
I made the HUGE mistake of washing the old covers before making a pattern from them! They disintegrated in the process even on the gentle/low heat cycles! So I had no pattern to use as a go-by...

No matter how dirty & yucky they are don't wash them!!! Really a bad move on our part...if I had not washed them 'day one' I may have tried sewing the new gaucho cover myself.

Shari
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