doorty

Hand Sewn Motorcycle Seat with Pleats?

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I'll start by saying I'm new to leatherworking, and I'd like to try to do this by hand if possible. (I don't have a machine.)

My main concern is sewing the foam channels/pleats to the leather to give it padded ridges. I've never seen anyone do this by hand. Is it possible?

I want to make the tan seat below. I've been eyeing a soft, 5-6oz latigo, but it might be too thick? I want a leather that will last and age nicely.

I'm up for ideas. Thanks.

 

racer-leather-seat-triumph-thruxton-1200-single-4.jpg

racer-leather-seat-triumph-thruxton-1200-single-3.jpg

pleats-foam.jpg

Edited by doorty
added link for video

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22 hours ago, doorty said:

sewing the foam channels/pleats to the leather to give it padded ridges

I do believe this is done by using a medium weight padding, which is squashed down along the stitch lines, on the tan seat anyway. On the grey piece in the last pic, it appears the foam padding, which is thicker than on the tan seat, is cut into strips and gives more depth to the stitch lines.

As for the best leather to use for your project, I will have to leave that question for somebody who actually knows what they are talking about, 'cos I don't.  

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19 hours ago, Rockoboy said:

I do believe this is done by using a medium weight padding, which is squashed down along the stitch lines, on the tan seat anyway. On the grey piece in the last pic, it appears the foam padding, which is thicker than on the tan seat, is cut into strips and gives more depth to the stitch lines.

Right, but can you do it without a machine?

You gave me an idea, which is to do the leather stitching first and then glue strips of foam between the stitching. it's a bit of a hack, but it might work if the glue is strong enough.

Edited by doorty

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1 hour ago, doorty said:

do the leather stitching first and then glue strips of foam between the stitching

I would think you could stitch with a machine or by hand to achieve this effect by stitching right through the foam padding..

I don't understand how you would stitch first then glue the foam between the stitching. That seems to me, like making a sandwich then inserting the ham after its all together.

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3 hours ago, Rockoboy said:

I would think you could stitch with a machine or by hand to achieve this effect by stitching right through the foam padding..

I don't understand how you would stitch first then glue the foam between the stitching. That seems to me, like making a sandwich then inserting the ham after its all together.

How would you manually sew on the foam side? You wouldn't be able to see the holes though the foam.

Edited by doorty

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Just spit balling here.

What about using two pieces of leather and strips of foam or are these already using two pieces of leather? Either way, it looks like you could stitch the leather to the leather at the outer edge then glue your first foam strip then glue and stitch the two leather layers then repeat. Alternatively, you culd glue the strips of foam to one of the two leather layers then glue the other leather layer to them. Then move on to stitching.

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3 hours ago, doorty said:

How would you manually sew on the foam side?

I am leaning towards what @Bolt Vanderhuge said above, (if I understand what he wrote), where you use 2 pieces of leather with foam sandwiched between and stitched right through the whole lot. Alternatively, use 2 pieces of leather with small pieces of foam, cut to fit each individual segment, and stitched around the outside of each piece of foam and through both pieces of leather.

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2 hours ago, Rockoboy said:

I am leaning towards what @Bolt Vanderhuge said above, (if I understand what he wrote), where you use 2 pieces of leather with foam sandwiched between and stitched right through the whole lot. Alternatively, use 2 pieces of leather with small pieces of foam, cut to fit each individual segment, and stitched around the outside of each piece of foam and through both pieces of leather.

I was saying use strips of foam . Stitching only thru leather that is glued together. That way the needle has only one hole to go thru instead of having to feel for the hole in the second piece of leather that is on the other side of foam. So basically your alternate suggestion was what I was trying to say.

Edited by Bolt Vanderhuge

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10 hours ago, Bolt Vanderhuge said:

I was saying use strips of foam . Stitching only thru leather that is glued together. That way the needle has only one hole to go thru instead of having to feel for the hole in the second piece of leather that is on the other side of foam. So basically your alternate suggestion was what I was trying to say.

Thanks guys. It sounds like it'll work. The internal leather will never be seen, but I could shop for some cheap leather to use for that.

Any thoughts on 4-5oz Latigo for the outside cover? 

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A 5/6 Latino probably work well. It the weight of a wallet body so not to heavy.

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I'm thinking for the internal backing of the pleats to use marine grade vinyl. Thoughts? If I use leather, I won't have access inside the seat to maintain it and eventually it'll dry out and be uncomfortable to sit on.

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22 minutes ago, eglideride said:

What a great find this video is. You'll never wonder "How to Make a Pleated Seat Cover for a Motorcycle" again. Thanks for sharing.

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Yep, that video does it. May be a bit more difficult with leather depending on the temper. Some milled veg may work perfectly.

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1 hour ago, eglideride said:

Thanks. I saw that a while back. (I actually linked to that in my original post.)

Unfortunately, I don't have a sewing machine, so I have to get creative. The best technique I've heard so far is sandwiching two pieces of leather with foam, but I don't want to use leather for the internal part of the sandwich because I won't be able to access it to add oils/waxes after it rains and drys out.

Edited by doorty

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I would do it exactly the same way as the video but sew by hand.You'll be sewing one side blind but it'll be fine.

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5 hours ago, battlemunky said:

I would do it exactly the same way as the video but sew by hand.You'll be sewing one side blind but it'll be fine.

Hmm.. How would you find the stitch hole through the foam? 

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follow the lead thread

 

for instance, from the leather side, go straight through and try and pierce the sharpie line and then on the return trip, squish it down to get close and probe until you find the hole.....(super want to make a joke right now)

Does that make sense? I'm seeing it in my head really well and may not be putting it in words well enough at all. The toughest hole would be the first one on each start.

Edited by battlemunky

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On 7/5/2018 at 5:35 PM, battlemunky said:

follow the lead thread

 

for instance, from the leather side, go straight through and try and pierce the sharpie line and then on the return trip, squish it down to get close and probe until you find the hole.....(super want to make a joke right now)

Does that make sense? I'm seeing it in my head really well and may not be putting it in words well enough at all. The toughest hole would be the first one on each start.

Okay. I think I understand now, in theory. In practice, you'll be poking blindly several times to find the right hole and then hoping not to pierce the lead thread. I don't know. To me, this sounds harder/riskier than the leather-foam-vinyl sandwich technique. Maybe I'm missing something. It's a good suggestion and might be worth a trial run to know for sure.

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I've done a little bit of blind sewing, it isn't really that much poking if you follow the leading thread. Your holes should be pretty much in line and once you get going there should only be a distance of a few mm you are stitching through. It is more of a probing than a poking. Even if you sandwich it you will still have an element of probing around to find the hole.

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As far as piercing the thread goes, just pull the following thread and it'll pop right off the needle. I've made that a habit even when I'm not stitching blind, that is just part of my, and many others', technique. You should easily be able to see the needle once you get the first stitches made too and the foam is compressing.

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On 7/6/2018 at 6:46 PM, battlemunky said:

I've done a little bit of blind sewing, it isn't really that much poking if you follow the leading thread. Your holes should be pretty much in line and once you get going there should only be a distance of a few mm you are stitching through. It is more of a probing than a poking. Even if you sandwich it you will still have an element of probing around to find the hole.

Okay. I'm sold. If you've done it before, then it must be doable. I ordered some of that 1/2" fabric backed foam and will give it a try when it arrives.

 

On 7/6/2018 at 6:50 PM, battlemunky said:

As far as piercing the thread goes, just pull the following thread and it'll pop right off the needle. 

Yea, I've seen others do that. Thanks for reminding me. Though I imagine blind back stitching will be near impossible.

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You can feel the thread pop off the needle when it does, you just have to be aware. I'd recommend practicing on a bit of scrap first of course.

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On 7/8/2018 at 9:22 AM, battlemunky said:

You can feel the thread pop off the needle when it does, you just have to be aware. I'd recommend practicing on a bit of scrap first of course.

Just did a test on some scap, and it works! Thank you so much for telling me this is possible. I was even able to backstitch. The only issue I have is that when I make a mistake, it's not possible to perfectly backtrack through the foam. You end up stitching the foam between the initial and backtrack hole. It's not that big a deal as I can cut the thread and start over on that section.

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