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Old 11-25-2011, 07:50 AM   #1
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1976 29' Ambassador
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Upholstery, remove or replace

I am new to the Airstream family and i am very excited. I purchased a 1975 29' ambasador that iwas partiIally restored. My first project is recovering or replacing the couch/bed foam cushions. The foam is in one piece but is drying out creating foam dust. Should I simply go to a local business or is there a good company that offers cushions at a reasonable price?
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:22 AM   #2
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If it's original foam its the priciest quality out there - you'll maybe suffer sticker shock at seeing what they want for equal quality, I believe my cushions were all Latex foam ($$$).

When I discarded my twin mattresses and cushions I discovered the soiling and aging problems were only on the surface, dropping in on a little foam shop the owner said he'd be happy to trim off the outer layers ($25K has to pay its way!) if it was not grossly soiled...but it was a day or two too late.

Just passing on a learning experience, some foam shops say absolutely no used foam is to be cut, some are more than willing if they look at it to see its still hygienic. Maybe shaving off the outer quarter-inch would freshen it up?
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:42 AM   #3
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Hi! Just go for high quality ..dense...foam. That cheap stuff you see at outlets, etc., is not what you want. Like said...it is pricey ...but worth doing it right...once. You also may want to keep an eye open for someone selling off their new mattresses from an Airstream remodel. They show up regularly.
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Old 11-25-2011, 09:59 AM   #4
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What about the material covering? I think even a good vacuum job may refresh the foam enough. It looks fine, I just noticed dust on the table from moving the pads around. Slight discoloration on the upper surface.

Is there a place to get a nice loco fiber or ultra suede over?
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Old 11-25-2011, 10:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wabbiteer
If it's original foam its the priciest quality out there - you'll maybe suffer sticker shock at seeing what they want for equal quality, I believe my cushions were all Latex foam ($$$).

When I discarded my twin mattresses and cushions I discovered the soiling and aging problems were only on the surface, dropping in on a little foam shop the owner said he'd be happy to trim off the outer layers ($25K has to pay its way!) if it was not grossly soiled...but it was a day or two too late.

Just passing on a learning experience, some foam shops say absolutely no used foam is to be cut, some are more than willing if they look at it to see its still hygienic. Maybe shaving off the outer quarter-inch would freshen it up?
Thanks for the input. I will copy my reply to this thread simply out of "Newby concern" that you may not see it unless I reply directly

What about the material covering? I think even a good vacuum job may refresh the foam enough. It looks fine, I just noticed dust on the table from moving the pads around. Slight discoloration on the upper surface.

Is there a known company that produces the covering perhaps in a microfiber or ultra sued.

Thanks again. It is nice to have enthusiast to chat with.
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Old 11-26-2011, 07:06 PM   #6
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Truthfully - the fabrics are the last thing I get to worry about as I've just got the shell back on the frame. Anything other than lawn chairs is a long, long time off. Good luck with your choices!
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:44 AM   #7
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On the subject of interiours Im a newbie as well and just started the process of refurbishing a 77 Overlander and I dont have a CLUE what Im doing!!. I pulled out the front couch/bed and Im going to build a bench seat and table there instead but I have no idea on dimensions. Is there anywhere to get information like that for building something from scratch?? How high, how deep etc

Any information would be soo appreciated!

Thank you! Colleen
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Old 02-07-2012, 07:17 AM   #8
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We took ours in for re-upholstering, including new foam of the highest quality, last month and just received word that it's ready to pick up. I cannot wait to see the workmanship and look forward to a new look and hopefully a new feel. We're excited.
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:09 PM   #9
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This is a question for the expert upholsterers. I am in the process of reupholstering the gaucho and sofa in our 1975 Sovereign. I do not want to put the buttons on because I would like a more updated look. I have no experience upholstering furniture and would like to know if there is a way to keep the fabric tight when the gaucho is being used as a sofa. Any ideas?
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:09 PM   #10
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Here she is with her new leather upholstery and the other goodies. We're very pleased with the look and feel of the leather and the quality of the foam in the cushions.
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Old 02-15-2012, 01:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boilermaker
This is a question for the expert upholsterers. I am in the process of reupholstering the gaucho and sofa in our 1975 Sovereign. I do not want to put the buttons on because I would like a more updated look. I have no experience upholstering furniture and would like to know if there is a way to keep the fabric tight when the gaucho is being used as a sofa. Any ideas?
We just had ours redone and I had them put piping on the cushions and the fabric is super tight. We haven't used it all yet so no clue how it will wear but they did it like a normal sofa so I have to think it will be fine. It looks super updated. I gave them a pic of a pottery barn sofa I liked as an example.
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Old 02-15-2012, 01:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colleengray View Post
On the subject of interiours Im a newbie as well and just started the process of refurbishing a 77 Overlander and I dont have a CLUE what Im doing!!. I pulled out the front couch/bed and Im going to build a bench seat and table there instead but I have no idea on dimensions. Is there anywhere to get information like that for building something from scratch?? How high, how deep etc

Any information would be soo appreciated!

Thank you! Colleen
I can speak from both sides of this fence...when we first bought our trailer and re-did the interior, we went down to the local big-box craft store, and bought replacement foam for everything (somewhere around $400). We eventually did everything in denim and my wife sewed everything. To be honest, she did a good job for the expertise (having been her first time with upholstery) and I think it was around $500 to $600 dollars to complete everything, and a lot of time (hours and hours and hours).

Everything worked great while we were week-end warriors, but I can say that a year later we just spent (and will be picking up on Friday, actually) a completely new set of cushions, done by a professional to the tune of $1600 for the new foam, fabric and labor.

Our foam collapsed after a year of heavy use, so we are upgrading to E-55 foam, 6" thick (a heavy rubber content to the foam), covered in dacron.

The fabric that we chose, denim, was again, great for weekending and such, but after use it gets dingy and stretches....requiring us to wash and dry monthly to keep its shape and structure. This time around, we're choosing leatherette, that can be wiped down with a cloth, and one that is a bit more "structured".

Like a lot of things in life (although we are constantly learning our lessons) in this case, I wish we had spent the money up front, rather than being out 6 or 7 hundred dollars after a year...but then again, who knew we'd jump ship and full time either.

Hope it's helpful...
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colleengray View Post
On the subject of interiours Im a newbie as well and just started the process of refurbishing a 77 Overlander and I dont have a CLUE what Im doing!!. I pulled out the front couch/bed and Im going to build a bench seat and table there instead but I have no idea on dimensions. Is there anywhere to get information like that for building something from scratch?? How high, how deep etc

Any information would be soo appreciated!

Thank you! Colleen
One advantage of starting from scratch is that you can build to fit what works for you. Start by testing the space with existing chairs that you find comfortable. We modeled ours after some Ikea folding chairs as far as seat height and angle of the slope of the back.

Use a dense foam so that it doesn't squish too much. Plan on your finished "seat height" to be an inch or two less than the top of the foam.

To keep the fabric tight over the foam, there are a couple of tricks. One is to use real upholstery cloth. That has been woven or backed so that it won't stretch. It is often made of stain resistant stuff as well. Discount upholstery fabric can be bought through newtoto.com, and they'll send free swatches too.

The other upholstery trick is to cut your foam about half an inch large in each dimension than your finished cushion will be. This keeps the foam pushing out on the fabric. It also pre-compresses the foam and makes the seat a bit more firm.

I put zippers in the back of all my cushions using zipper by the yard from JoAnns. Each zipper goes beyond each end to make it easier to peel it off and on the foam. I sewed the cushion edges in four main pieces and attached those before sewing on the fronts and backs. My blog (below my signature) has some pictures, but no diagrams.

It's not too hard to do alone, but it takes a lot of measuring, remeasuring and head scratching.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:25 PM   #14
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Hi hopichangi...

I'm about to do the cushions on our 67 globetrotter... Haven't 'sewed' since 7th grade (a very long time ago) so thought it best to do a test cushion with an old piece of foam and test material first. I'm hoping to get that finished this weekend as my foam order ( which shocked me with the price- 6 inch foam isn't cheap! Oofdah!) should be arriving early next week and I'm eager to get them done.

I've got 2 of the bench style seats in the trailer that have the cushions attached to a piece of wood on the bottom so they can fold out to be a bed and not move around (I'm assuming- the cushions that came with our trailer weren't actually in place nor do they look like they fit the spaces)

My plan is to wrap the foam pieces with some fiber like stuff some websites recommended before sticking them in the upholstery covers. Hoping it all turns out well as its turning out to be much more of an investment than originally thought ( who knew foam was so expensive!!)

Good luck! Look forward to seeing pictures of your success!
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:11 AM   #15
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Three comments if I may:
1. Zoomin--Wow! That leather is fantastic! I just showed the photo to my husband and he is salivating. It is stunning! I wish...

2. You might want to be cautious with vinyl; depending on the kind/quality, etc., it can tear along the seamlines over time with stress, with the stitches acting like a perforated line along which it tears. To sew a heavy upholstery vinyl often takes a heavy-duty machine.

3. It is a good idea to cover your cushions with first a cover made of muslin or white sheets or something similar, with zippers, and these undercovers make it easy to pull your real covers off and on for washing without damaging the cushions. The best cushions are usually a dense, high-quality foam wrapped in a stiff quilt batting, so pulling covers off and on can damage the wrapping. Making the muslin undercovers also serves as your practice run so you can get the real covers a better fit without messing up the more expensive fabric. Sew the undercovers with ordinary seams, but make real covers with welted cording sewn into the seams: helps keep the covers and cushions in the same shape and looks very professional.

IMHO and experience!

Vivian
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:40 AM   #16
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Love the new leather upholstery Zoomin! I just had our's done -- we had all new high quality foam put on it and I got an amazing deal on some high quality ultrasuede at Triad Fabrics in Roseville...if anyone is in the Bay Area it's well worth a trip .. they have so much fabric and the outlet in the back has some real bargains -- even real leather! I got 10 yards of gorgeous choco brown ultrasuede for $80 -- looked the same or better than what Joannes' had at $30/yard. It then cost us $650 for new foam and the upholstery work but we had a place do it that has done work for us before and they do a fabulous job! I'll post pics when we get our AS back from the renovation shop and re-install it!
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:40 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webspinner

One advantage of starting from scratch is that you can build to fit what works for you. Start by testing the space with existing chairs that you find comfortable. We modeled ours after some Ikea folding chairs as far as seat height and angle of the slope of the back.

Use a dense foam so that it doesn't squish too much. Plan on your finished "seat height" to be an inch or two less than the top of the foam.

To keep the fabric tight over the foam, there are a couple of tricks. One is to use real upholstery cloth. That has been woven or backed so that it won't stretch. It is often made of stain resistant stuff as well. Discount upholstery fabric can be bought through newtoto.com, and they'll send free swatches too.

The other upholstery trick is to cut your foam about half an inch large in each dimension than your finished cushion will be. This keeps the foam pushing out on the fabric. It also pre-compresses the foam and makes the seat a bit more firm.

I put zippers in the back of all my cushions using zipper by the yard from JoAnns. Each zipper goes beyond each end to make it easier to peel it off and on the foam. I sewed the cushion edges in four main pieces and attached those before sewing on the fronts and backs. My blog (below my signature) has some pictures, but no diagrams.

It's not too hard to do alone, but it takes a lot of measuring, remeasuring and head scratching.


Hello webspinner...

I'd love to see your pics on your cushions but don't see your .sig included in your post to get the URL. Can you post it (or send in a PM?) please? I'm interested in seeing what you mean by having each zipper go beyond the end of each piece of foam....

All,

, I'm now looking at making my bench seat (that converts to bed) cushions the normal way- each a distinct pillow with zippers so they can be removed and washed (versus attaching directly to the wood seat panels as was originally done). In order to make sure the cushions don't move around while sleeping on them, though, I'm thinking of sewing a strip of velcro around the perimeter of the cushion on the bottom side that can then attach to the complimentary strop of Velcro stuck to the the wood seat panel.

What do folks think? Will that work? Are there any other methods out there that folks have used?

Thanks much!
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:33 PM   #18
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There are pictures on my blog (Tin Pickle Adventures) but there isn't much detail on there about the zipper construction. I was too busy trying to get them ready that I didn't take progress pictures.

I can send you a pm with a written explanation of what I did, if you'd like, but I don't want to hijack the thread with my sewing details.
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:24 PM   #19
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Good foam is a great investment, you can always recover - (and i don't care if you have a 50% off coupon - JoAnn Fabrics does NOT have good foam)
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Old 04-01-2012, 12:05 AM   #20
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Hi all,

Happy to report the cushions turned out better than expected (I was worried seeing its been 26+ yrs since I've last sewed!). While the foam was spendy these things are going to be a dream to sleep on next weekend when we take our 1967 globetrotter out for her maiden voyage! well worth the investment I think.....
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