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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have original bench seats in my '70 Chevelle which have a tear in one of the seams. I brought it to an upholstery shop who said to leave it as there is no way to fix it if I wanted to keep it original. Pulling the two sides wouldn't work and just stretch the material. As it feels like the tear gets worse every time I sit in the drivers seat, I thought I would check to see if anyone has any thoughts/ideas on fixing it or avoiding further tears? Any advice is appreciated!
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I had a 74 z28 that spit like that. My upholsterer said to just stretch it and resew. I never did and ended up selling the car for one with AC. You may have to move some hog rings if possible. Get another opinion. However 50 year old upholstery is at the end of the life and using Legendary is as good or better then factory. My Legendary covers are perfect in every detail.
 

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Central Iowa
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Do this before it gets worse and the padding/cushioning gets messed up. $$$
Take the cover off yourself...not any $
Pay attention to how, why and where its attached while taking apart...not any $
There is a bit of procedure to reinstall, MOSTLY reverse of the easiest way to take apart...not any $
Might have to use the brain a bit REMEMBERING some of the PROCEDURE taking APART and REINSTALLING...not any $
Might use a few problem solving skills that we all have and use on a daily basis...You will figure that stuff out as you go...not any $
Pictures of the process sure would not hurt...not any $
Figure out what supplies you will need to replace cover. Hog rings, hog ring pliers, etc...not much $
Take cover to a different upholstery shop to have sewn back together 10 MINUTE JOB...one that wants to help. not much $ $50 or less would be fair
Instead of one that did not want to help cause there wasn't much $ to be made off of you
and likely did not want to deal old material...and/or did not have the time.
Bring cover home and get it done.

Of coarse your going to have to do a bit work yourself. not much $
Take out seat, remove cover, find shop, gather a few tools, get the hog rings. upholstery shop may sell you a handful, fit cover back on to your liking, put seat back in.
Even if you have install and remove cover more than once until your happy... you will figure it out!
May or may not have a bit of an issue when reinstalling along drivers side bottom where the material was shortened for the fix.
Likely just not pulling as tight when hog rings are attached on the bottom as they were when removed.
And you can always ask RAMBO... TC,s very own if you a ? or 2
 

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Seams have 1/2" of material on the other side of the stich that you can't see.

So to cut this apart and sew it back together you would be losing around 1" of combined material. You can probably remove some cotton padding to help the now tighter cover fit without splitting, but it's definitely going to be a lot tighter.

All that said, if the vinyl or the cloth is beginning to dry rot, sewing it back together isn't going to help much, it will just rip again in a different spot.
 

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Looks like the piping has torn away from the vinyl which isn't normally a sewn seam. Piping is usually part of the vinyl. What I'd try is carefully removing the cover as previously described. Temporarily use masking tape on the top surface to hold the separated areas together. On the bottom side of the cover put Gorilla Tape along the entire seam. Remove the masking tape from the top surface and reinstall the cover.
 

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Looks like the piping has torn away from the vinyl which isn't normally a sewn seam. Piping is usually part of the vinyl. What I'd try is carefully removing the cover as previously described. Temporarily use masking tape on the top surface to hold the separated areas together. On the bottom side of the cover put Gorilla Tape along the entire seam. Remove the masking tape from the top surface and reinstall the cover.
Piping(welting) is generally sewn sandwiched between the two panels (vinyl & cloth in this case) and its not part of the primary vinyl sheet. In this case the vinyl has torn where the stiches go through it (weakening it)

An example off my practice pile... Usually that extra material on the backside is trimmed more evenly- industry standard is ~1/2 on the backside of the stich.
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713877



just pulled this from a box, brand new cover from legendary:
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The last pic you can see the welting strip sandwiched between the layers.

This should help explain why covers generally tear apart where there is a seam, as it has poked a bunch of holes through the otherwise strong vinyl
 

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Central Iowa
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yes, you will probably need a bit of black piping...common
Do some leg work...purchase and bring it with you. ask around shops, ebay, whatever you gotta do to get it.
Maybe who you have sew it may have a bit...should not be much more $
if you do the work and bring the removed cover around to some shops. where I live CL usually home upholsters
looking for a bit of work...try them if you like. I would not recommend dealing with upholstery folks if the cover
is not removed and you cant bring it.to them. If you get can their attention maybe they will let you send that picture to them
letting them know you will have the cover off for them if you can bring it in for an estimate.
If you cant or wont take the cover off and give it a shot. If you want perfection then get your $$$ out for complete reupholster job.
Consider down time while work is being done also...another pain in the seat. just made myself laugh at that one.
I sense you want to keep your seat from having a complete blowout and look half way decent? good luck on whatever you choose to do!
I had a similar situation with an older truck seat and was able to get it done very cheap. It held up fine for years till i sold the truck.
And you could not even tell a repair was done!
If the material is shot and wont hold a stitch then all bets are off...but to me, looking at the picture it looks doable to me.
If it were mine I would give it a shot and try to save what you got...what do have to lose by trying to get it done?
 

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Well I’ll throw in my two cents. More than likely the reason that this has happened is that the vinyl is 50+Years old. Yes you may be able to jump through some hoops and repair the damage but it is much more likely to reoccur as you will have decreased the size of the cover (entire panel seam will need redone AFAIK)
and that will cause even more stress to that area.
I’d just order a new Legendary cover and forget about it. Just think how lucky you are to have the choice. Many classic car owners don’t have new seat covers available except to have them custom made.
 

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Well I’ll throw in my two cents. More than likely the reason that this has happened is that the vinyl is 50+Years old. Yes you may be able to jump through some hoops and repair the damage but it is much more likely to reoccur as you will have decreased the size of the cover (entire panel seam will need redone AFAIK)
and that will cause even more stress to that area.
I’d just order a new Legendary cover and forget about it. Just think how lucky you are to have the choice. Many classic car owners don’t have new seat covers available except to have them custom made.
Only issue is if that is original OEM cloth and he wants to stick with it... Legendary doesn't make those. CARS Inc used to make OEM vinly/cloth covers, but they stopped a year or two ago. Might be worth a call to them to see if they have a new supplier... my guess in demand was too low to continue. Only place i know of is to get the cloth from SMS (i shudder even suggesting it) and have a shop stitch up new covers from scratch.

If trying to do this on the cheap- then as lkn back suggested above, carefully removing the ripped cover and taking THAT to an upholstery shop is likely your best choice. They are not going to want to mess with taking your seats apart for a repair that you are wanting to save as much as possible to have done... but if its out of the car, and all they have to do is cut it apart and re-stitch it, they are more likely to be willing to talk about it (and do it affordably). Just be aware that the cover will be moderately tighter on that side.
 

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Central Iowa
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And certainly they wont guarantee it.
And tell them that you dont expect it to be guaranteed.
Can tell them if it blows out at least we gave it a shot.
Without spending the big $$$
Just an honest effort to get you by is all you can hope for!
And it could last for years if you can get an honest effort to get the material back together.
Tighter on one side may be an issue....but much better than the damage staring you in the face.
Maybe if you ask, they might add a inch or so material to bottom where not so visible
so it is not super tight on that side. If they are cool and want to really help they may even put
it back on the frame if you ask and bring the frame to them if the repair seems strong to them for a fair price
and you both be happy.

Gooood luck
 

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Guess I was half asleep. I didn’t notice the original cover had the cloth inserts. I’m thinking it’s fixable. Not cheap but fixable if you can find someone to do it.
 

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Cheaper than a new full blown new interior!
I am thinking all info is a mute point to the OP
as he has not returned.
However I am in this now to help others if they search threads looking for answers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I’m still here! Just trying to take this all in. I certainly want to keep the original interior as original as possible but really what to get it fixed. I don’t mind paying up to keep originality. It’s more that I need to find someone to do what is mentioned above, and for me to fully understand all the helpful comments! But I do thank you all for the great feedback.
 

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Central Iowa
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Please follow up with your results good or bad...
Tears in seats is a problem for many folks with these old cars.
And a follow up or two may help others in the future.
Thanks for retuning and best of luck on your fix what ever you choose to do.
Again, there are many ways to skin a cat if you understand.
 

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CC23,
I do have a suggestion or two. First thing if you do find someone to do the repair just don’t give them the go ahead. Get a semi solid quote on the repair. You may be able to get new covers for not much more.
Second might want to give your general location as someone might just know of somebody in your area to do the repair.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Very good points. I really want to find someone who can do this right. The car is all original and I want to keep it that way as much as possible. That's why I really don't want to replace the upholstery with anything new, I really want it fixed as best possible. If/when I do get a quote, I am happy to share here as well.

With that, I would be extremely happy to hear anyone's thoughts on where to possibly get this done. I am in Westchester NY so I can get it done anywhere in my tri-state area (preferably southern NY & CT). If anyone has any recommendations, I'm certainly all ear!

Thank you.
 
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