April '17

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48 THE SHOP APRIL 2017 RESTYLING/AFTERMARKET ACCESSORIES will sort of float over the pleats and keep the piping tight and looking good. TIP # 5 LAY OFF FAT PIPING One of my pet peeves is seeing thick piping on seats. In my opinion, using thin piping looks so much neater. Do yourself a favor and find somewhere that you can take your leather strips to get them split thinner. Not only does it look better, but it's so much easier to sew, because you have less bulk. Also, try buying a few different thick- nesses of tubing to go inside your piping. If you can't get your leather thinned, you can at least counteract the thickness by reducing the size of the tubing inside. TIP # 6 TOP STITCHING & FRENCH SEAMS I often see jobs where trim- mers made their top stitch too far away from a seam, which looks untidy and can result in unsightly ripples, especially around corners, due to the sel- vage going all wavy. If you stay close to the seam, you can trim close to the top stitch and get rid of the wavy selvage. The same goes for French seams. Keep the width small (no more than 7mm). Doing so looks neater and causes less drama. Another quick tip: Try and make your bobbin thread the same color as the mate- rial you're sewing. Also, check out my tutorial on how to make a seamless French seam on The- I learned this little trick from a very experienced Malaysian trimmer and it's helped so much with certain jobs. It's not for seats, but works great on hard surfaces that don't get much wear. TIP # 7 REDUCE YOUR BULK I can't stress enough the importance of reducing bulk in all aspects of your sewing and fitting. It can really make the difference between a good and bad job. You must learn to cut away selvage, trim the pieces to raw edge and butt together pieces of material so you see no raw edges. This will make a significant difference in your quality of work. Also, try to keep the amount of foam in your sewing to a minimum. If you need to add foam to your seat, then add foam to your seat—not into the sewing of your cover. TIP # 8 USE EVA CLOSED CELL FOAM Incorporating EVA closed cell foam into your work will change the way you do things. Without it there is no way I could get some of the finishes I've been able to achieve, especially on all the dashboards I do. Ordinary foam simply doesn't cut it. Not only does EVA foam feel nice and firm when touched, its firm density works fantastic in getting wavy bumps out of a surface, because it's sand-able. Just wrap 100-grit sandpaper around a block and sand out all the bumps. Trust me, it's much easier than trying to get a smooth surface with body filler. TIP # 9 FIND YOUR INSPIRATION I'm always on the lookout for inspiration; it's every- where around you! You just have to look. Check out other people's work to see what they are doing. Don't copy them, but you can take some hints from what they do. Also look at other people's quality of work. You might think you're up to standard, but then you see what someone else has done and it clicks in your head, "Wow I need to do better." Don't be intimidated by that thought. Instead, use it to your advantage to get better. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions of the people you look up to. You will find most guys will share their knowledge, as long as you ask in a respectful way. For example, if you ask someone a ques- tion on Facebook and they reply, then take the time to thank them. It's a small detail that can go a long way. I also can't stress enough how important it is to surf the internet looking for ideas. I can literally spend hours every night looking for all sorts of ideas. Whether researching new materials and suppliers or watching trimmers work on YouTube, the amount of knowledge you can find on the web is endless and invaluable. In the end, it'll make you a better trimmer, because you'll have more knowl- edge and ideas at your disposal. Another way I find ideas is by walking through the aisles of my local hardware store and scanning all the shelves for things I can use in my own work. I can't believe some of the things I've found that aren't meant for trimmers, but come in really handy on the job. So keep an eye out! You can find design ideas anywhere. For 10 TIPS FOR TAKING TRIMMING TO THE NEXT LEVEL If you stay close to the seam, you can trim close to the top stitch and get rid of the wavy selvage. It makes a big difference in how your work looks when you make the right cuts and reduce and distribute bulk. EVA foam feels nice and firm when touched and its firm density works fantas- tic in getting wavy bumps out of a surface because it's sand-able.

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