making a tuck & roll cafe seat cover /upholstery


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San Diego, CA
I made this to fit my stock seat pan, but it could be done with any seat base and it will give your seat actual ridges, not just pleats or seams.
total cost: less than $20

The basic steps I learned from another website (, but some of it wasn't clear. It also helps to have someone around who knows how to use a sewing machine, but it really wasn't as difficult as I expected.

Materials (most are available for cheap at Joanns):
1 yd Marine vinyl
foam (1" thick)
100% polyester heavy duty outdoor thread
canvas (or similar)

1. Measure and mark 2.75" rows on the canvas and 3.25" rows on the vinyl

2. Sew the vinyl to the canvas at each line. This requires folding the vinyl to bunch it up. It helps to use clips to hold the extra vinyl out of the way and keep the vinyl and canvas matched up.

3. This should create channels

4. Trace out the shape of your seat on the backing material. Cut the foam into 2.5" wide slabs and make each one the correct length for 1 channel. Jam them into the channels using the handles of wooden utensils. Tongs help to pull them through.

5.When the channels are filled for the length of your seat, sew them shut along the lines traced in the previous step

6.Here's where it gets tricky. Do not trim anything off. The next step is to make a skirt to attach the seat. Cut 4 long pieces of vinyl, about 6" wide for the skirt. On each one, fold over 1/4-1/2 inch along one side, and tape it down. These will go along each side of the seat.

7. Sew the folded part of the skirt pieces along the seat where the shape of the seat was traced out (as close as possible to the ridges), so that all the vinyl is facing up. Leave 2" overhang at the ends where the skirt pieces will meet and need to be sewn together.

8. To connect each corner of the seat skirt, flip the whole thing inside out and sew the the overlapping bits together to make a box shape (or whatever shape fits your seat pan). The seams will look a little like this:

9. Trim off the extra bits, stretch it over your seat and voila! (hound dog not included)