Several months ago, I was asking about alternatives to spending a grand or so to have an upholstery shop re-do a pair of CJ Sport Seats.
I found this
on eBay, but people urged caution about such an offering. I contacted them anyway, and began a dialog. Their auction was for vinyl, but I noticed that they would use your material for the same price. They said it would take about 5 yards, etc. I asked about sending them some blue Haartz material, and to my utter surprise they said they already had a source. For blue Haartz. That fact instantly upped their credibility in my view, and they would only charge another $100 for the blue Haartz. Well, Collins Bros. is selling it for $35/yard, so I figured "such a deal."
Long story short, I took the plunge and ordered a set. They had to order the material and then make the covers, but I don't think it took much more than a week, maybe 10 days, and a large box appeared on my doorstep.
I had never done this before, so I took it nice and slow, made plenty of notes and took lots of pictures. It took me two afternoons to get the work done, and I am very, very pleased with the results.
I still can't figure out how to upload pictures and place them in between text, so basically these pictures are of one of the original donor seats from a YJ as I strip it down and install the new cover.
The pictures pretty much speak for themselves, but a couple of things to note:
The kit came with plenty of hog rings and a pair of el-cheapo pliers. Notice how they have a little notch to engage the corner of the hog ring so proper force can be applied. These things need to be about an inch longer and dig into the palm of your hand pretty badly. I wore a pair of Mechanix gloves and stuffed some folded cardboard inside to reduce wear and tear on my hands.
The OEM seats have lots and lots of hog rings; I'm guessing some Union guy with a big honkin' air tool and plenty of time to kill. No danger of the original seat covers ever coming loose! I marked original locations by writing on the foam with a Sharpie.
Pull it tight, then pull a little more! You really have to get physical and stretch these things on. Note there is a little baggie kind of like a half of a dry cleaning bag over the top of the seat back. This is so the cover will slide on easier, and adds a little water protection, too. There was a flap about halfway down the seatback where the cover attached, but this was not incorporated into the replacement cover.
Procedure: Start with the seat bottom cover. Attach the rear flap which goes through the gap and around the back. It attaches along the bottom rear. Attach a couple of points, then stretch the cover over the bottom and get it into position. Then anchor the front and sides, then finish the back. Just use single rings at this point; you'll add more after you finish - and if you screw up, you won't waste rings.
Notice the way the piping serves as kind of a cinch-cord that allows the whole thing to be tightened, and it pulls most of the wrinkles out of the bolsters and sides. Anchor this very well; notice how the original was done and replicate.
Don't neglect the little flaps at the back that wrap around the uprights, because those will conceal the foam in the gap where the seat back cover stops.
After all that, the seat back cover is pretty easy. Just slide it into place and work it down like you were giving Rosanne Barr a back rub. IOW, use plenty of muscle and work it! Get it square and even, making sure to cover the gaps on the uprights at bottom. Don't worry if it's a close fit, though, because once you get it anchored it will be pulled down a bit more.
Push the front flap through the gap and around the back of the seat bottom. This is secured in the same location, and along the same wire, as the flap from the seat bottom cover. Don't pull this super-tight, as you will have to pull the back of the seat-back cover down and anchor it in the same place! That's right, you will have three different pieces of material anchored along that same wire, so space out your hog rings to leave space.
I did leave one thing out there; the piping for the seat-back extends down and ties to the seat, and it serves as a major source of tension for the material on the bolsters and sides just as with the seat bottom. You will want to notice how that was done on your original seat and anchor those in the original locations so they pull in the right direction and don't cause wrinkles.
Once you get everything like you want it, now is the time to go back and use up a bunch of those extra hog rings getting everything firmly locked down. Remember, these rings are the only thing holding the seat cover in place while your fat *** bounces up and down; do it right so nothing pulls loose later on.
One other thing: you'll notice the annoying tendency of the material to overlap the mounting holes where you'll be trying to bolt these seats into place. The mounting frame put a lot of pressure on the fabric wrapped around the bottom of the seat, so just take a very sharp knife and cut a neat little hole so the bolts can go through.
And I think that's about it. Here are the pictures: