After owning and restoring motorcycles for many years, I ran into the dilemma of finding great Austin motorcycle seats. So I spoke to the great folks at a local custom upholstery shop for some tips. The great people at Grateful Threads here in Austin were very helpful and they showed me how to create my own custom motorcycle seats|custom seats with some new tools and some practice. Luckily, I already knew a bit about how to use a sewing machine (somewhat) and was able to invest in some tools to do the rest. It took a lot of practice but I learned how to do it. I wanted to share some tips for any of you who are interested in fixing up old bikes and would like to do your own motorcycle seats.
I want to give thanks to Grateful Threads Upholstery in Austin Texas for giving me the low-down. They are Austin’s foremost in custom custom upholstery. They make to order every seat to meet the specifications of their clients. I can attest to their attention to detail on the overall aesthetics and comfort of any motorcycle to match your style and create a truly unique statement while maintaining the superb artisanship of their craft. They also serve the entire US. people outside of Austin can send their motorcycle seats to Grateful Threads and they will do the work to your specification and send it back. So for those of you who do not want to learn custom upholstery but still want to get a great seat and a great bargain, give them a call or visit their website to view some of their work. They will not disappoint you.
Here Is the Process
For every motorcycle seat, first figure out exactly what you want to determine the final goal and preferred materials. Think about comfort and durability as well as the support and appearance. Then dismantle the existing seat to use as a template of the cover to ensure perfect fit and finish. Start by peeling off the seat cover or whatever is left of it. separate the pieces and keep the pieces as a guide for the replacement. Keep in mind that you may need to add material in some places if the size of the cushion is going to change. Set this aside and break out the old sewing machine.
If necessary, then repair, reshape or replace the foam to add support. You can get new foam at any local material shops. New foam will be put in place using glue and cut and smoothed to the original shape or new shape. Depending on the type of seat, your body size, and your riding style you may want to add foam in some spots and remove it in others if necessary. To lower the seat, use a grinder to remove foam from the middle or to narrow the front of the seat. If you want to add comfort, use proper glue to add foam to places where the old seat does not have enough support. Then reshape the foam with a grinder or electric knife. Make sure to remove any rough spots. Once the foam has been restored to the new shape, ensure that all pieces are adhered firmly and smoothed out to create perfection in shape and function before your new skins are replaced or fitted.
Now you can make the new cover with the finish material and style of your choosing. If you built up the cushion in some areas, you will also need to change your material templates to accommodate the changes. Making and installing the new seat takes some practice. Using the old cover as a pattern, trace it on your new cover material. Add a small margin on all edges to give yourself a little room to work and for errors. Sew the new cover together with piping if you need to and check for proper fit. If you are inexperienced with sewing, this may take you a few tries. For those of you who are experienced, you will be done in no time.
Fit the new seat cover over the cushion. start at the front of the seat, pull the cover tight and staple it in place with a staple gun. Once the nose is in place, pull the material over the rest of the seat and staple it along the bottom. Dont wrinkle the material. Work your way over the top stretching the seat from side to side and front to back. If there is any excess material after the cover is placed, cut it off but leave a small margin on the outside of the staples to keep from getting tears later. If it needs to be adjusted later after use, simply pop the staples out and stretch the loose material and restaple it.
Good luck and remember that it takes patience. I am going to do this a lot so for me it was worth the time and money. For those of you who just want it done once, it may be less costly to give the guys at Grateful Threads a call and let them deal with it.
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