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Making A Template For A Solo Seat?


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#1 lull0713

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 11:26 AM

I'm making a seat for a friend, its a fairly simple seat pan with 3/4" padding...its a solo springer seat with a bit of contour at the front. Does anyone have any advise for making a template for my top and bottom leathers? Oh and if it makes a difference this seat will be saddle stitched not laced.
I'm not new to leatherwork, but this will be my first padded seat...I appreciate the help!

#2 Sylvia

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 12:14 PM

I'm making a seat for a friend, its a fairly simple seat pan with 3/4" padding...its a solo springer seat with a bit of contour at the front. Does anyone have any advise for making a template for my top and bottom leathers? Oh and if it makes a difference this seat will be saddle stitched not laced.
I'm not new to leatherwork, but this will be my first padded seat...I appreciate the help!


Are you asking how to take a pattern from the existing seat cover?
A teacher pointed at me with a ruler and said "At the end of this ruler is an idiot." I got detention when I asked "Which end?"

#3 lull0713

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 12:50 PM

Are you asking how to take a pattern from the existing seat cover?


No, the existing cover was done more like upholstery, meaning that it was wrapped across the top then underneath and riveted in place, so it's not much help. What I want to do is make tooled top and bottom pieces and then saddle them together all around the edge.

#4 Sylvia

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 01:09 PM

No, the existing cover was done more like upholstery, meaning that it was wrapped across the top then underneath and riveted in place, so it's not much help. What I want to do is make tooled top and bottom pieces and then saddle them together all around the edge.


I see. So you are looking for 2 or 3 pieces, one for the face of the seat and 1 or 2 for the sides.

It's not that hard to extrapolate and make a pattern. If you have not already taken the seat upholstery off and apart. Take duct tape (the good kind) and tape off the face of the seat right over the upholstery being mindful of the apex of the sides and face. So just tape the top making sure the tape overlaps by a good 1/2 inch. Then take do the sides ignoring where it goes under and riveted area for now.

Mark the edge of the top with black sharpie, finding and marking center front and back and locating the seat edge and drawing a line along it. Make sure you make several reference lines in a different color for the sides. I would probably do these in excessively where the seat curves.

remove the taped upholstery from it's frame work. You now have a 3d cast of your seat. At center front and back on the sides make straight cuts up to the seat top line you made. Then carefully cut along your seat top line. You should end up with 3 pieces.

lay these out on your pattern paper. Trace around them with a sharpie then add a seam allowance, say 1/4 to 1/2 inch, to all the pieces and allow for the extra where it was riveted to the seat frame. Make sure you transfer your reference lines to the pattern.

Now.... before you cut or do anything with the project leather you need to make up a prototype to test fit and how it will go together. I would use scrap or crappy leather for this or even old cut up blue jeans. Make the prototype and test fit. Adjust the pattern as needed.

Hope that helps.
A teacher pointed at me with a ruler and said "At the end of this ruler is an idiot." I got detention when I asked "Which end?"

#5 Iron Pounder

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 08:38 PM

I had a long reply all done and I lost my connection right when I hit add reply and lost the whole thing. Well here is the short version... I do things much the same way Sylvia has done, but do a few things different. 1st on a seat that this I would make it just a top and bottom. I add a bit less than half the height of the pad and pan thickness to the top and bottom then add overlap that will vary with how I put the top and bottom together (lace or stitch) or single or double stitch line. I will normally just use paper to make a pattern but I'm cheap. I don't use any spray tack anymore when I use tooling leather for the cover so I make the pattern tight.
Hope I didn't muddy the waters, I have been thinking about doing a video of the whole process from making the pan to fitting the completed seat to a bike. Might after we get moved and things all lined out.

#6 Sylvia

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 12:41 AM

I had a long reply all done and I lost my connection right when I hit add reply and lost the whole thing. Well here is the short version... I do things much the same way Sylvia has done, but do a few things different. 1st on a seat that this I would make it just a top and bottom. I add a bit less than half the height of the pad and pan thickness to the top and bottom then add overlap that will vary with how I put the top and bottom together (lace or stitch) or single or double stitch line. I will normally just use paper to make a pattern but I'm cheap. I don't use any spray tack anymore when I use tooling leather for the cover so I make the pattern tight.
Hope I didn't muddy the waters, I have been thinking about doing a video of the whole process from making the pan to fitting the completed seat to a bike. Might after we get moved and things all lined out.


I new a great upholsterer who used just paper patterns. Every time I tried doing that I had trouble with the paper unless I used lots of straight pins to hold it in place. Once I learned the duct tape casting technique I found my patterns worked a lot better. I've duct taped my body over a Tshirt to make a body double, and I've cast my feet this way too for mocs.
A teacher pointed at me with a ruler and said "At the end of this ruler is an idiot." I got detention when I asked "Which end?"

#7 chancey77

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 05:24 PM

SEAT PAN ON LEATHER AND USE A WING DIVIDER ABOUT 5MM WIDE AND START GOING AROUND THE OUTSIDE OF THE PAN FOR THE BOTTOM...MAKE SURE LEATHER IS FACE DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!
THE REPEAT FOR THE TOP! WITH THE PADDING ALREADY ON IT.
I JUST PUT THE PAN ON MY KNEE FOR THE CONTOUR...
PAPER,AND SCHEMATICS ARE FOR THE BIRDS!!!!!
JUST DO IT!

#8 rickeyfro

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 06:53 PM

What I do on solo seats is i trace the pan, then add 3/8" all the way around the tracing and thats the size for both my top and bottom leathers with 3/4" foam. I do mexican round braid around my seats to stitch you may need to enlarge it a little.

I'm making a seat for a friend, its a fairly simple seat pan with 3/4" padding...its a solo springer seat with a bit of contour at the front. Does anyone have any advise for making a template for my top and bottom leathers? Oh and if it makes a difference this seat will be saddle stitched not laced.
I'm not new to leatherwork, but this will be my first padded seat...I appreciate the help!



#9 Iron Pounder

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:52 PM

I new a great upholsterer who used just paper patterns. Every time I tried doing that I had trouble with the paper unless I used lots of straight pins to hold it in place. Once I learned the duct tape casting technique I found my patterns worked a lot better. I've duct taped my body over a Tshirt to make a body double, and I've cast my feet this way too for mocs.


Sylvia, You are right about tape being the way to go I'm just too cheap,ha. We could be like Chancey and eyeball it from across the room:spoton: .

#10 Sylvia

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 12:12 AM

Sylvia, You are right about tape being the way to go I'm just too cheap,ha. We could be like Chancey and eyeball it from across the room:spoton: .


LOL yeah, After a few thousand times of doing it, I imagine that becomes second nature.
A teacher pointed at me with a ruler and said "At the end of this ruler is an idiot." I got detention when I asked "Which end?"

#11 chancey77

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 07:28 AM

Sylvia, You are right about tape being the way to go I'm just too cheap,ha. We could be like Chancey and eyeball it from across the room:spoton: .


hahahaha I used to make them out of paper as well, but then I figured out how to get rid of that step and just transfer it using the wing divider:)
I use a templet when making the pan so it goes with the contour and radius of the bike frame, but then I came up with one that fits just about any HD or Triumph/BSA/Matchless/whatever chopper frame:)
2 sizes 1 large 1 Smaller they have about a 1.5" difference all the way around, for a sleek chopper look and average size person. Large is more comfy but made more for a bigger butt:)

But for making 2 sided seat leathers I usually
1. Just make the tops first, cut it out then;

(unless it is padded; then they have to be made separately)
2. Take another piece face down use the top and make a mirror image,
3.Punch out the wholes together and label what is top and what is bottom....5mm is about 3/16 but 1/4 is ok:)

In my experience trying to make the paper template and getting it right is much harder than just marking it with the wing divider (because of the contour of the seat pan and paper flexing out of the way and messing up a line),

4. Using a sharpie to darken in your wing divider line, then just cut it out. And it costs less materials, NO TAPE; NO PAPER/CARDSTOCK=1 less step=time=money:)

I need a week off just to make all the videos I want to:)hahaha

Edited by chancey77, 02 March 2012 - 07:30 AM.


#12 Cyberthrasher

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 11:34 AM

I need a week off just to make all the videos I want to:)hahaha


Don't sweat it. I'll just scour the pages here and start "editing" together your instructional book until you can get some crib midgets trained to pick up some of the production work :cheers:

I templated my current project once by measuring and wing dividing - failed (realized it after I had it cut out then scanned the outline to work on designs)
Used that failed outline, eyeballed the many necessary repairs, increased size - PERFECT

So, the lesson here is to remember that the human eye is a very complex system. If you stare at something long enough and get the "it should be good enough" attitude out of your head, your eye will pick up on the slightest imperfections, as long as you just trust it. I just keep seeking perfection to the point of not having any material left :rofl:

#13 Iron Pounder

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 02:15 PM

Don't sweat it. I'll just scour the pages here and start "editing" together your instructional book until you can get some crib midgets trained to pick up some of the production work :cheers:

I templated my current project once by measuring and wing dividing - failed (realized it after I had it cut out then scanned the outline to work on designs)
Used that failed outline, eyeballed the many necessary repairs, increased size - PERFECT

So, the lesson here is to remember that the human eye is a very complex system. If you stare at something long enough and get the "it should be good enough" attitude out of your head, your eye will pick up on the slightest imperfections, as long as you just trust it. I just keep seeking perfection to the point of not having any material left :rofl:


Yep the eye will tell you a ton if you let it. I did some fence panels yesterday that has one rod out an 1/8" and I can see it 10' away. matter of fact I'm going down to fix it right now:wavey: .

#14 chancey77

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:12 PM

I noticed that when I close my right eye every thing goes dark on that side...and then when I close my left one everything goes dark over there...and when I shut both my eyes, I am probably not working on leather anymore.....I am sleeping...like I am going to do now!!!!!!....3 am and just finished what I am going to do tonight on the door panels, and just came to say goodnight, good luck and see you knuckleheads 2morro!


Just get it done!
One way or another the end is always the same...leather,mark,cut, oh wait measure, double measure , triple measure...mark leather, check measurements again and cut...ok I am rambling time for a cat nap! Another 3-4 hrs.....

#15 Cyberthrasher

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 12:02 AM

.ok I am rambling time for a cat nap! Another 3-4 hrs.....


Good idea after those words of wisdom.

.....and it's not a knucklehead, it's a SHOVELHEAD!!!

Edited by Cyberthrasher, 03 March 2012 - 12:03 AM.






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