hand-sewing a fitted Mexican blanket seat cover

DogBunny

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I'm going to go way out on a limb here, and announce my intention to hand-sew a fitted seat cover out of a Mexican blanket. Although I haven't even started the finished project yet, I have already spent hours and hours doing research, and I have spent a considerable amount on materials.

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This is my proof of concept. I have hand-stitched two scraps of Mexican blanket together with a twisted cord for the piping, This is actually easier to do than you might think. Learned it from Google. However, I spent hours watching YouTube vids, and looking at instructional sites, and I couldn't find a single example of anyone sewing piping by hand. So, I sort of had to figure this technique out. I am not a seamstress!, but I do think this project is squarely within my wheel house.

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And this is the donor seat. I intend to follow the original 3-piece design, with a wrap-around rear panel, a flat nose panel, and the main seat cover. You will note that the wrap-around rear panel extends all the way to the very front of the seat. Not doing that! That would be a crazy amount of unnecessary hand-stitching.

If and when I finish this cover, it will go on the 1973 TX650 Super RustBucket. The 1973 seat is a one-year only. There is no support for it, no aftermarket seat covers or foams, regardless of what some sellers claim. So, I'm not really doing anything too sacrilegious here, by changing the look of a seat that you can't buy an off-the-shelf cover for anyway.

Will mention that I am VERY tempted to repair this seat, something that is quite doable, and that I illustrated in this thread:
https://www.xs650.com/threads/seat-cover-repair-how-to-diy-a-primer.60298/
However, it would probably take longer to repair this seat than it's going to take for me to make the Mexican blanket cover. That is, if you don't count all the time I've already spent researching and shopping for this project.

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Speaking of shopping, this is the blanket I bought. The pic is from the eBay listing. I'll get way into materials in a future post. This is actually the second blanket I bought. The first was totally unsuitable. I'll get into that too.
 
That's a good idea. I was talking to a guy on ebay who crafted custom vinyl seat covers at a not insane price. He needed me to send an old seat cover so he could disassemble the cover at the seams and make patterns of its component parts. Probably the right strategy. Surprised you resorted to ebay for the Mexican blanket though! I picture them for sale on most every street corner.
 
AS in above the old one is used as a template
they make it a little smaller so it stretches properly.
And if using a blanket perhaps a support strip on the inside is an option
Otherwise it can stretch at the seams rather quickly

Here back in the day sheep skin wool out ..covers was used .. It looked fine Not seen that for a long time
and i believe they were held in place wit elastic rubber cords Under the saddle .. Which perhaps is an advantage here also
Making it possible to clean and replace.

If there is an old sewing machine around pre plastic ..in cast iron it can do it.
Polyester thread
Overlap on the inside and turn it inside out it wont be visible .
It is an art in itself to get it nice. Propably on the net.
I like the idea with the bright colors something new
 
I think it's a great idea. To look really good somehow you need to age it's looks so it doesn't look out of place.
Are you going to put a vapor barrier between it and the foam?
If you don't do not ever get caught in a rain storm. If the foam gets soaked it will take forever to dry.
I know that from experience. In the 70s my XS2 had a tear in the seat cover. Whenever I got caught in a good rain storm the foam would get soaked. For the next week I would get a wet ass whenever I road it.
I finally replaced the seat with a new take off from the local Yamaha dealer that they found when cleaning out some storage space. Cost me $20 and I thought that was a lot of money then.
 
He needed me to send an old seat cover so he could disassemble the cover at the seams and make patterns of its component parts. Probably the right strategy.
Yes, I learned that and a lot more watching an itinerant craftsman called Master Lugo over several years making custom seats for the Harley crowd at the ROT rally. If you Google Master Lugo you will find lots of hits and videos.
 
Surprised you resorted to ebay for the Mexican blanket though! I picture them for sale on most every street corner.
Yeah, you'd think, but I couldn't find a single Mexican blanket in Austin when I made the original Super Rustbucket skateboard seat. I even went to the Mexican Flea Market and the Mercado.

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I got this one used on Facebook Marketplace. Maybe the reason there aren't any in town, is because they are now made in India, not Mexico. More on that to come...
AS in above the old one is used as a template
they make it a little smaller so it stretches properly.
And if using a blanket perhaps a support strip on the inside is an option
Otherwise it can stretch at the seams rather quickly

Here back in the day sheep skin wool out ..covers was used .. It looked fine Not seen that for a long time
and i believe they were held in place wit elastic rubber cords Under the saddle .. Which perhaps is an advantage here also
Making it possible to clean and replace.

If there is an old sewing machine around pre plastic ..in cast iron it can do it.
Polyester thread
Overlap on the inside and turn it inside out it wont be visible .
It is an art in itself to get it nice. Propably on the net.
I like the idea with the bright colors something new
Good points. A feature of the blanket is that it stretches way more than vinyl, which I think will make the final fitting more forgiving.
A support strip on the inside of the seam is a good idea I hadn't thought of. I'll probably add one using fabric adhesive.
I wish I had an old sewing machine -- this project would be done already.

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As for sheepskin... This is Texas. I'd want a cowhide, maybe a Holstein. An idea for another day...
 
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I think it's a great idea. To look really good somehow you need to age it's looks so it doesn't look out of place.
Are you going to put a vapor barrier between it and the foam?
If you don't do not ever get caught in a rain storm. If the foam gets soaked it will take forever to dry.
I know that from experience. In the 70s my XS2 had a tear in the seat cover. Whenever I got caught in a good rain storm the foam would get soaked. For the next week I would get a wet ass whenever I road it.
I finally replaced the seat with a new take off from the local Yamaha dealer that they found when cleaning out some storage space. Cost me $20 and I thought that was a lot of money then.
The vapor barrier is yet another great idea that I hadn't thought of. Will definitely add one.
I have given some thought to the elements. The first thought is to avoid the elements as much as I possibly can. My second thought is to apply 3M Scotchguard once a year or so. I'll do both.
 
Interesting idea. I will comment having done some upholstery, the fabric is such a coarse weave that you'll want to leave plenty of selvedge and double stitch the seams to prevent unraveling. Might be a good idea to use some 3M spray adhesive and apply a backing material of a finer weave or your vapor barrier to stabilize it.
 
"Is that a real poncho? I mean is that a Mexican poncho or a Sears poncho? Hm, no fooling?"
Zappa from "Camarillo Brillo"
Aye, the material. The classics were wool and the colors would run. The knockoffs are cotton and the weave is different.
Yeah, I bought Zappa's "over-Nite Sensation" when I was a freshman in college in 1975. My roommate and I would invite these innocent Texas bible belt girls to our dorm room and play Dinah-Moe Humm for them, and try not to crack up, which we always did. I can still recite almost that entire song.
The good Mexican blankets are now actually made in India, which I will get in to...
I had a 1964 AMC Rambler American that I had both seat actually covered in sarapes. Had a buddy who did upholstery make the covers and hog ring em on. Looked killer. I'll see if I can find some pics.
Yeah, lets see it. I have Mexican blanket "throw's" (un-upholstered) as seat covers in my El Camino. Will eventually post a pic.
Interesting idea. I will comment having done some upholstery, the fabric is such a coarse weave that you'll want to leave plenty of selvedge and double stitch the seams to prevent unraveling. Might be a good idea to use some 3M spray adhesive and apply a backing material of a finer weave or your vapor barrier to stabilize it.
My intention is to create my own selvedge using fabric adhesive after I cut each panel. And then apply a reinforcing strip of fabric along each seam after I stitch, using fabric adhesive. I might experiment with the 3M spray adhesive, but I think waterproof fabric adhesive is more appropriate. I haven't bought it yet, but my impression is that fabric adhesive is basically like Elmer's glue. You brush it on, and it soaks into the fibers, and hardens but remains flexible.
 
Sounds like you've pretty well considered and understand the potential shortcomings of the material. It'll be interesting, you'll likely be a hit at the local Taco bar and if not you could always move to Montana and become a Dental Floss Tycoon :laughing:
 
"Dinah-moe-hum" on Karaoke at the company Christmas party came up while searching for a Frank Sinatra song, " Let's see.....Frank Sinatra....Frank Sinatra.... Frank Zappa! Dinah-Moe-Hum!" ..... I had to do it. From horror to hilarity were the looks I was getting from the audience, I don't think any of them had ever heard it and none who were witness will forget. I know every note and voice inflection of the cut and believe it was one of my best performances. Wife couldn't believe it, can't leave him alone for a minute......
 
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