Upholstery - Dyeing (1 Viewer)

Dave and Ginny

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For almost 14 years old the upholstery on our b544 is in pretty good condition with only any real wear on the drivers seat cushion, which I have a cover on.

The habitation side is pretty good except for fading. Everything is removable though so we have been thinking about running them through a dye. Has anyone tried this? Would probably go for a cold water type dye and test it on a headrest initially.
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Hollyberry

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Getting the even coverage is the most important thing. I've only dyed duvet covers, using the washing machine, and any folds, kinks makes the dye coverage uneven.
Your best bet would be to have a large vessel and use a cold water dye as you say. I'm not sure if your bath would be ok or if the dye would stain it. Acrylic baths usually have little surface scratches, invisible when clean but any dye could sink into them. Bleach usually shifts anything but I can't be 100% sure the dye ( I'm assuming it'd be quite a dark shade too) wouldn't stain your bath.
 

Hollyberry

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If you use a washing machine some of the newer ones use less water (HE machines) that could make even coverage more difficult, even if you put in one cover at a time. Some of those bench seat covers are pretty big.
Cheap possibility---kids paddling pool, dye the covers one at a time ( can be done outside too) then bin the paddling pool, or if it cleans up ok sell on or Freecycle it.
 
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Dave and Ginny

Dave and Ginny

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That's expensive for a tin bath! They must be rare now or something :eek:.
I used to keep frogs and newts in my dads when I was a kid!

The bath is probably the best but a paddling pool would probably keep Ginny happier. The seat cushions are formed or shaped by a clever plastic strip thats sown along the cover seam. It goes through the cushion foam through a slot or slit. That makes the bath the easiest method.
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All the covers, headrests and loose cushions have zips so I can only assume they're designed to be removable for cleaning.

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[QUOTE="davidandginny, post: 1429485, member: :eek:

All the covers, headrests and loose cushions have zips so I can only assume they're designed to be removable for cleaning.[/QUOTE]

Sometimes the zips are only there to fit the cushions in and some upholstery doesn't take kindly to a session in the Hotpoint :(
 
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Dave and Ginny

Dave and Ginny

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If I do give it a go it's definitely not going to be using the washing machine. We have been looking into having it re-upholstered, not cheap but have seen what a transformation it can make. We just thought we might give this idea a go first!
 
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I dyed the curtains on my Hymer (2003), the problem you will have, as I did, is identifying the fabric. Polyester does not dye well as it is effectively plastic. There were no labels on curtains or upholstry on mine. The upholstry washed well in the machine and the plastic strips were fine, no ill effects.
The curtains turned out to be polyester, as I think the upholstry will be, but the curtains actually turned out ok. There was a pattern in the fabric and the dye took to one part of pattern better than another but the overall effect was ok and a big improvement on before
Good luck, give it a try
 

Hollyberry

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Is upholstery fabric treated with fire proofing stuff? ( not sure what it is or how it's applied but just thought it might effect the taking of the dye)

You're not too far from @Terry . You could always ask him to ask Julie for a quote for recovering. Julie did all the covers in my van---made a great job of them.
 

Minxy

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The original covers are not usually meant to be removed even though they've got zips - AFAIK they are only there to enable to covers to be put on when first made so they can get a tight fit and although I assume could be removed to wash in an emergency it may cause them to go out of shape especially those with cotton in which could shrink in the wash.

Looking at the shape of the upholstery it wouldn't be that difficult to make new covers for it. I've just made some covers for our new camper (leaving the originals on) - as we have 3 dogs I always do this so that the original furnishings don't get spoilt and we don't have to worry about them. I got the material from our local market chap who sells it for £4 a metre, mainly roll ends, and some of it is very expensive stuff normally - I bought the remains of a roll end of 10 metres and he reduced it to £35 so can't complain at £3.50 a metre - it's quality stuff and fire retardant too so ideal for the camper. Its got a chocolate background with gold/orange/brown wavy lines running through it and looks very smart - the pictures don't do it justice!

I've hand sewn all the cushion corners/shaped bits as that way I got a good fit, and used my machine for the bits and bobs that are out of sight (hemming etc); I've mainly used velcro to secure the cover 'flaps' and some wide elastic strategically placed to keep the covers 'square' on the cushions. It took a while to do but I'm pleased with the result and have plenty of spare material if I need to make replacements or if I feel like doing some cab seat covers to match ... I've done it before but they are a PAIN IN THE BUM to make so I swore I'd never do them again ... so for the time being I'll stick with my nice fluffy mock leopard skin ones unless I feel like I want to be a sadist in the future!!

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Dave and Ginny

Dave and Ginny

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Thanks everyone for the detailed replies which have given me food for thought!
MinxyGirl, yours looks fantastic but as I look around at all these seat's and cushions I have to admit to being a little daunted. We didn't think the condition warranted the cost of replacement, at least just yet. I had a quote from Regal for around the £1500 mark. I'll certainly be looking to better that if possible as it's a lot of money, (thanks for the link to @Terry). I have seen Regals work and couldn't fault it.

We're a couple of weeks from getting home so some time to ponder!

Thanks again funsters (y)
 

Minxy

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I'd say have a go - looking at some piccies on the web of what I think your cushions are like it won't be anything like as difficult as mine were ... if you look at the shape of the rear travel seats what you can't tell is the cut-outs/shaping I had to do mimic to make mine fit! Although the covers would have come off if I'd wanted to use them as patterns I chose to do the 'hands-on' approach of sewing them by hand in situ (carefully ensuring I didn't stitch them to the seats!).

As you can easily remove the covers you can use them as a pattern for the new ones - have a play with an old piece of material (sheet/curtain) as a test to see how you get on before committing to buying material. I did find that using better quality material has made the job easier though - in the past I've used old thermal curtains and they are a good alternative but obviously getting enough (from a car boot sale) to do your whole van would be difficult!

These are just some of the covers I made for previous vans:

Chausson Flash - nice pieces of 'nylon/polyester' type material from a car boot sale which was a bit stretchy (note that the 'diamond' effect pattern was from the original seat covers underneath)!

seat covers.jpg


Autocruise Accent - out of an old set of purple curtains - for these I also made cotton 'liners' out of some curtain lining material to go on first as I was worried about the dark material rubbing against the original seats but I needn't have as the liners never got marked!

1 - Seat cover.JPG
 

Terry

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You need to consider fireproof upholstery material -usually rubbery feel on the back and a heavy duty/industrial sewing machine --Julie has done seats for people who insist on using curtain fabric (no good)she explains it is not up to sitting on etc but they still want it- AFTER A FEW WEEKS she is moaning that it's come back to restitch a seam that has pulled -I tell her to charge for remaking it but she simply re news/re stitches at no cost :)Another old guy brought her some really thin material and she took pity on him after he told her is wife only liked that colour / material -she ended up sticking it onto some spare fireproof materiel that had cost her £6 per metre plus glue and made the covers for his van all for the same money -she is almost worse than me for working FOC :D
terry
 

Puddleduck

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If you do go down the dye route ensure that ALL the spare dye has been rinsed out or you will end up with dye on your clothes when you sit on the seats - especially if there is dampness in the air or you have been out in the rain.

Match the type of dye to the fabric - or you could ask a commercial dyer to do them for you. Any area where there has been / still is a textile industry should have a dye works and they will be able to replenish the fire retardant as well. Alternatively you used to be able to get loose sheets of retardant that went between covers and inner cushions.
 

Puddleduck

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Y-Julie has done seats for people who insist on using curtain fabric (no good)she explains it is not up to sitting on etc but they still want it- AFTER A FEW WEEKS she is moaning that it's come back to restitch a seam that has pulled

Yes I know all about that Terry! When I used to teach handicraft classes people would bring in old worn duvet covers and all sorts of tatty stuff to make into bags and quilts even though in the class instructions I have written over and over again that material would be supplied and that only new pure cotton fabric was suitable. After a few frustrating courses I started to run a free pre-start class where I explained why fabric choice was so important and showed the results of using in correct materials. If people did not come to the pre-start I would not enroll them for the actual course.

The proper stuff appears to be expensive but add your time in at minimum wage and the material cost becomes insignificant.

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Terry

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Yes I know all about that Terry! When I used to teach handicraft classes people would bring in old worn duvet covers and all sorts of tatty stuff to make into bags and quilts even though in the class instructions I have written over and over again that material would be supplied and that only new pure cotton fabric was suitable. After a few frustrating courses I started to run a free pre-start class where I explained why fabric choice was so important and showed the results of using in correct materials. If people did not come to the pre-start I would not enroll them for the actual course.

The proper stuff appears to be expensive but add your time in at minimum wage and the material cost becomes insignificant.

Must admit I did not know all this before-it's only with experience and helping Julie/Billy out and taking her to wholesaler's that educated me on these things ---She keeps trying to get me to have a go on her machine :)IT FRIGHTENS THE LIFE OUT OF ME ON FULL CHAT give me a circular saw any day (y)All she says is it's got a walking foot and if you get your finger under that you WILL pull it back before it stitches your finger :D:D:D
terry
 

Minxy

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You need to consider fireproof upholstery material -usually rubbery feel on the back and a heavy duty/industrial sewing machine --Julie has done seats for people who insist on using curtain fabric (no good)she explains it is not up to sitting on etc but they still want it- AFTER A FEW WEEKS she is moaning that it's come back to restitch a seam that has pulled -I tell her to charge for remaking it but she simply re news/re stitches at no cost :)Another old guy brought her some really thin material and she took pity on him after he told her is wife only liked that colour / material -she ended up sticking it onto some spare fireproof materiel that had cost her £6 per metre plus glue and made the covers for his van all for the same money -she is almost worse than me for working FOC :D
terry
If you are intending to remove the original covers and replace them completely then you would definitely need something more substantial such as pukka upholstery material, but when only putting some removable covers over the top and leaving the originals on, then having some 'pukka' upholstery materials is not, IMV, a necessity although having some with some form of fire retardance is a good idea and obviously something that will stand up to being sat on so thin material doesn't make sense anyway.

I've made covers for our campers for the past 19 years and have never had to re-stitch any of them ... even with dogs jumping all over it! Also ... if the stitching on the covers that your friend makes is what is giving way then how can the material be blamed?
 

Terry

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If you are intending to remove the original covers and replace them completely then you would definitely need something more substantial such as pukka upholstery material, but when only putting some removable covers over the top and leaving the originals on, then having some 'pukka' upholstery materials is not, IMV, a necessity although having some with some form of fire retardance is a good idea and obviously something that will stand up to being sat on so thin material doesn't make sense anyway.

I've made covers for our campers for the past 19 years and have never had to re-stitch any of them ... even with dogs jumping all over it! Also ... if the stitching on the covers that your friend makes is what is giving way then how can the material be blamed?

Hi it's not the stitching that has come undone but the weave on the fabric that pulls even though she overlocks the edges -I watch her put a good half inch boarder type thing away from the edge yet the fabric weave still pulls simply because some people will not use proper upholstery material and want to use dress /curtain stuff that is not up to the job -No use me trying to explain simply because you have used your own material and it's been good enough for your needs (y)-
On Paulines van the rear cushions looked lovely but as soon as Julie started to do the front pair of seats that need pulling/stretching it all went tits up because there was a fault in the weave of the material --The cotton used is proper heavy duty stuff that would not even go through a normal machine needles and if you try and snap it with your hands chances are you will end up with cut hands -that is why you need upholstery material and not something you picked up off the shelf at the dress shop :D
terry
 

Minxy

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Ah I see now, "restitching a seam than has pulled" to me meant the cotton thread had pulled, not the material. To be honest she really ought to refuse to use it if it's not up to the job as quite apart from her having to do 'repairs' it won't do anything for her reputation if people think it is her work that isn't up to scratch.

I have in the past had proper upholstery fabric with 'faults' which only became apparent afterwards ... I had some that shrunk too which was most annoying!
 
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If I do give it a go it's definitely not going to be using the washing machine. We have been looking into having it re-upholstered, not cheap but have seen what a transformation it can make. We just thought we might give this idea a go first!
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We had our self build PVC done with regal. Last week.
We thought it was well worth the money. They have done an excellent job. Can't fault it. We provided the fabric, fire retardant , we used their leather hides.
I'd recommend Regal to even the pickiest of clients.
We asked them if they could embroider a "rb" logo we had designed. Which they did in our chosen colour way. Provided all the foam , did the 4 bumper bars , see one below. It would have been cheaper without leather, the embroidery, Bumper bars. The large and small scatter cushions .
If they were just covering Existing foam seats cushions , in fabric. It is bound to be a lot cheaper than the £1800 inc vat , we paid.
image.jpg

We just need to get the rest of Pug finished off now.

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Terry

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She will advise and often does refuse but when you have a 70 odd yrs old bloke saying this is the only stuff his wife likes /wants Julie tries her hardest to do it =hence her sticking material to proper upholstery fabric -then she gets jobs for converters that have brought her the customers material -After she explains that it simply is no good the converter says customer wants it done in that so it has to be done -She has done work for lots of converters in the past including IH, WILDAXE ,WELLHOUSE ,KUSTOMCAMPERS so I think she knows what she is doing ;)
She also refuses to use vinyl in a lot of cases simply because someone has bought the cheapest thinnest stuff around -She will stitch an inch with a half inch back stitch and show the customer how the machine has literally cut through the crap vinyl -then do the same with a thicker better quality one =no cutting :D
 
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Minxy

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Not questioning her ability Terry, but sometimes you have to say no ... :(
 

Terry

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Not questioning her ability Terry, but sometimes you have to say no ... :(
She often does (y)
There is one lady who has spent an absolute fortune on renovating a Airstream caravan -Howard the restorer/converter told her no good Julie told her no good yet she still wanted it done :( Looks fab and gets taken to shows etc but it kept coming back for inch long splits in the material -You can look but not sit :LOL:Even the photographer who she paid for the pics lay down on the bed to get his pic and it split --Good thing is now she has no more material left to patch things up with so the lady is considering getting some proper material and having it redone(y) But only if she finds something as Jazzy as what she has :rolleyes:
She is another who thinks her dainty little ASS wont stretch the fabric :(:D:D
terry
 

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