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Old 10-03-2021, 03:51 PM   #61
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1994 25' Excella
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Front & Rear Drapes

Couple of quick photos of the new drapes in the front and rear.
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Old 10-08-2021, 09:54 PM   #62
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Richard, those curtains look sharp. That looks like some very careful sewing to get all those pleats so even. Amazing.

Scott
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Old 10-09-2021, 06:06 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by skucera View Post
Richard, those curtains look sharp. That looks like some very careful sewing to get all those pleats so even. Amazing.

Scott
Thanks. Sewing accuracy is important, but to be honest the secret is in the pressing. I started using a Hi Steam boiler iron and a matching vacuum ironing board a few years ago for projects like this and it made all the difference. The boiler iron can pump out steam all day long, and the vacuum table pulls it through the fabric for penetration. Every seam, every fold, and every pleat has to be properly pressed before sewing even starts, and having the right tools make it much easier.
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Old 10-09-2021, 10:57 PM   #64
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Richard, I'd never heard of a vacuum ironing board. I just googled them... cool! I don't know if my sewing skills are good enough to benefit from your cool tip, but I'll file this idea away for future personal growth.

Thanks,
Scott
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Old 10-10-2021, 06:39 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by skucera View Post
Richard, I'd never heard of a vacuum ironing board. I just googled them... cool! I don't know if my sewing skills are good enough to benefit from your cool tip, but I'll file this idea away for future personal growth.

Thanks,
Scott
The thing is, the sewing skills are actually a small part of the process. If you can sew a straight line and bar tack the ends of it you're all set on the sewing part. The pressing, measuring, etc. are where the real skill set lies.

With these drapes I was really lucky to have a set of original drapes to disassemble and learn how they were put together. Knowing the particular order of things and how they were folded made the project's learning curve much shorter.
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Old 10-15-2021, 06:24 PM   #66
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We made it! We're camping!

Wasn't sure if I'd get everything done in time to hit the road and do some camping before winterizing, but we made it.

Feels so good to be able to enjoy the results of all the effort. So far everything is going well and all appliances are working, and I've started my list of things I forgot to load on board.
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Old 10-15-2021, 06:36 PM   #67
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I knew you’d get there. Have fun and be safe.
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Old 10-29-2021, 02:43 PM   #68
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New Stabilizing Jacks

Completed installing new BAL jacks on all four corners today. Details in this thread: https://www.airforums.com/forums/f44...ks-228988.html
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Old 10-29-2021, 02:44 PM   #69
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Sofa Reupholstery

Next project to do is the front sofa. Then the interior should be done for now, or at least until I get bored enough to tackle the flooring.

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f39...ns-229000.html
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Old 11-30-2021, 05:33 PM   #70
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Sofa is done!

With the sofa reupholstered, the interior rehab is now complete. Yay!

First photo is new upholstery, second is the OEM for comparison.
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Old 12-01-2021, 09:26 PM   #71
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Well done!
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Old 01-01-2022, 12:07 PM   #72
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One more piece to complete the interior work for this year...a matching ottoman. Just wasn't comfortable enough without a good place to put up our feet. It's only about 15 pounds of additional weight, and I built it so that it could be used for storage. While on the road it will be kept in the center aisle directly between the axles and will be a great place to carry bulky items which would otherwise roll around. Perhaps even a great place to carry our adult beverages while on the road.

With winter & snow here now, this will likely be the last project of the winter until I can comfortably work in the barn again in a couple of months.
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Old 01-12-2022, 08:20 PM   #73
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Outstanding.

Richard, I'm so impressed with your sewing and upholstery skills. (All your skills, actually.) I wish I had the gumption. I have an old Singer slant-o-matic (home machine) I've been using. The sewist working on my draperies has Juki industrials. With the pleating tape and layers incorporated into the assembly, I suppose one needs a walking foot. Does your vintage machine have one?

How did you learn the upholstery? I've watched some youtube videos. I'm nervous about a sofa in my LR but I figure if I botch it, I could just finish what I'm comfortable with and have a pro to finish it. Not to mention the cushions in the 1986 Sovereign I'm working on--which is why I'm here....
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Old 01-12-2022, 08:49 PM   #74
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Richard, I'm so impressed with your sewing and upholstery skills. (All your skills, actually.) I wish I had the gumption. I have an old Singer slant-o-matic (home machine) I've been using. The sewist working on my draperies has Juki industrials. With the pleating tape and layers incorporated into the assembly, I suppose one needs a walking foot. Does your vintage machine have one?

How did you learn the upholstery? I've watched some youtube videos. I'm nervous about a sofa in my LR but I figure if I botch it, I could just finish what I'm comfortable with and have a pro to finish it. Not to mention the cushions in the 1986 Sovereign I'm working on--which is why I'm here....
Thanks for the kind words. it's taken quite a few failed projects to get to this point. That's essentially how I learned to do it right - by doing it wrong and starting over. My first upholstery project was when I was 15 working on my '56 Dodge trying to make it good enough that my mother would get in the car and take me out for driving lessons when I got my permit.

I'm impressed that you're going to give it a shot. Seems like many are afraid of trying to sew upholstery, but if you have a little extra fabric to fix your mistakes you should be okay.

The slant needle Singer machines are quite capable - my early projects were all done on my mom's Singer 403 (I still have that machine and it's still a workhorse).

The Pfaff I used to do all the drapes and the sofa does not have a walking foot, although it is quite a robust machine. The lack of a walking foot is not really that big a problem for most things, but certainly having one would have been a big help. The world had upholstery and drapes long before the walking foot came along.

How do I work around the lack of a walking foot? Two things - I use LOTS of pins to keep things in place as I sew, and I know how to baste and do lots of basting. Oh, and a good steam iron.

Basting is really old school, but it it about the only way to hold things together well enough that you can sew them without having the layers shift. The sofa required lots of basting due to all the complex curves, elastic, and multiple layers in the corners and with the welting.

On the drapes it was mainly pins and lots of use of the steam iron. The pins were used to make all the panels to the correct size and shape, the steam iron to get the pleats.

I think that overlooking proper pressing is a common mistake - the fabric needs to be pressed between nearly every step. It's sometimes the only way to force the fabric into compliance. I know how that sounds, but you've got to get the fabric to hold itself where you want it until the stitching is in place. One of the best investments I made many years ago was a semi-professional steam iron with a mini boiler. It will pump out gobs of steam, and paired with a vacuum table it makes all the difference.

Getting all those pleats into shape took careful pressing. Believe it or not, once I had the panels made for the drapes and got ready to sew the pleats not a single pin or basting stitch was used. It was all pressing to get the pleats to hold their shape.

The sofa was more difficult than the drapes, without a doubt. Not as tedious, but much more complex and physically difficult to get done. If you're taking one apart, be sure to mark the original fabric in every way possible before cutting open the first seam. Mine original fabric looks like a marker factory exploded all over it.
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Old 01-14-2022, 12:40 PM   #75
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What a help!

Basting is really old school, but it it about the only way to hold things together well enough that you can sew them without having the layers shift. The sofa required lots of basting due to all the complex curves, elastic, and multiple layers in the corners and with the welting.
Your post is incredibly helpful, Richard.

Great to know about the walking foot. I have one on my Slanto but don't use often. I need more experience with it. I'm a big believer in basting. I took sewing lessons at 11 and the teacher had us baste every single project, every single inch of seam. It was total overkill, but a great foundation.

Your iron/board setup sounds ideal. Enviable! Where did you get your equipment?

I'm glad I've got the pro working on those pleats!! She is charging me 400 plus materials for the two panoramic windows. It's hard to farm it out, but I've made peace with it. You know... I kinda love the old fashioned draperies in general. They are comfortable in a tight space, cushy to lean against, they "press" themselves neatly when open, they offer nice insulation, including sound. The windows on my 1970 were not tinted and the sun shredded my refurbed draperies' linings.

General tip for vintage owners: on un-tinted windows, insert cardboard against glass, or other UV shield, when the coach is stored, if there's exposure. Ours is stored under a carport but still receives plenty of UV on one side. For this reason, I'm using hemp fabric on the back cushions of our dinette and any softgoods near a window. We have a ton of windows in this coach. (Another tip: use blackout lining. It's superior in withstanding UV, and you never know what kind of nighttime lighting you'll want to block out in your travels. Sometimes it's a quick overnight in a parking lot en route to shinier locales.)

We are not restoring our narrow-body 86. The original interiors were not lovable, despite the original owners $pending for extras, back when Reagan was prez. There was a factory wood parquet floor in front that would have been fun to keep! But we went with a monolithic slab of Marmoleum. We've replaced the interior except for bathroom bulkheads and removed full height closets and pantry so that you can now see from rear panoramic window to the front one when you enter the coach. I had hoped for a split bath, but now I'm happy to have the front-to-back visibility and openness.

Upholstery: starting from scratch. We removed the gaucho, opting for a horseshoe dinette. A comfortable depth for sitting is the determining factor. It determines the size of our dinette table (for conversion to bed) and the height of our back cushions (ditto). Currently building the patterns. Also building the new accordion door to the BR. Due to structural issues with our rear-bath 70, we opted for a midship bath, and are pleased, now that we're used to it.

We are building cabinetry in the BR so I can travel with my Singer Featherweight during full-timing travel--a luxury option. It will be housed inside my bedroom standing desk--essentially a dresser built to height for working on laptop or projects.

Our coach is at the polisher now, removing the clear coat and the blue striping. Then spouse will reseal the roof--he removed the old. It helps to share about this project, to keep the enthusiasm and momentum! We've been working on this rig since the beginning of Covid.

Your experience is so valuable, I really appreciate it. And the photos!
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