Campervan upholstery (Part2)

I’m already anticipating many, many parts to this sewing saga. It’ll be like an Enid Blyton series: ‘Even more campervan upholstery’, ‘Having fun with campervan upholstery’ and a climactic ‘Choosing a professional campervan upholsterer’.

This weekend Paul came with me to Spotlight. It was a far more efficient trip and within five minutes he was standing at the cutting counter with five rolls under his arms. We got metre-long samples of a few completely different types that we could try out in the van, including the stripy deckchair fabric I’d seen last week in blue and red. Unfortunately, what had looked cool and beachy on the roll looked more NHS hospital gowny in the van. Particularly the blue one:

The red was a bit better:

Overall it’s going to need something quite bold and bright. My seats are going to make a statement!

The stripy one below will definitely make a statement. It is Paul’s current favourite:


I wasn’t sure in the shop. I’m still not sure, but it did look quite good when we laid it out in the van:


The only trouble is Paul is very keen to use gloss red cupboard doors underneath the seating, which might be too much red. It is hard to tell though when our laminate samples are two-inch squares, and I’m not keen on returning to the kitchen showroom with my extra large handbag. So yesterday I put my Art GCSE to good use and made a cardboard model of the seating arrangements. Paul likes using Google’s Sketchup but I need something a bit more tangible to visualise the finished concept. Any excuse to get out my double-sided sticky tape and… a craft knife!

It was quite a basic model. I could sense Paul was getting a bit agitated because I hadn’t curved the window properly (i.e. at all), I’d put a worktop where the gas stove is supposed to go and ‘why are there bars on the window?’ (they were venetian blinds). Grrr. So yes, it wasn’t to scale and did keep collapsing but it was helpful to see some of the colour combinations. Here are some of the front-runners, any comments and preferences very welcome!

This is Paul’s choice. It wouldn’t look quite so overbearing in the van (I know, I know – I should have done the model to scale), but it still quite red.

I was being a bit of a cheapskate with this blue fabric, it was from the luxury selection so I thought I could get away with a free ‘finger sample’. Unfortunately the lady in the shop had very small fingers so you don’t get quite the same effect.

I quite like this one and even included Paul’s stripy fabric in the curtains for good measure, but he’s not keen on the eggshell blue.

This is quite nice, and would go well with the wooden floors. I could jazz up the curtains – maybe even do the tie-backs in the stripy fabric! Although I might be overestimating my sewing ability, I’ll get the cushions done first.

So that’s where we are with the seating. For anyone more interested in the actual construction of the campervan, I promise I’ll revert to dust and drilling in the next post, because while I’ve been dithering with fabric swatches, Paul’s been steadily making impressive progress on the interior.

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The wonderful world of campervan upholstery (part1)

Other than being on hand to provide moral (and calorific) support over the last few weeks, I haven’t been physically involved with the van’s evolution so far. But now, I have a job. I’m going to be responsible for upholstering the seats.

This is quite a big responsibility as, space-wise, the seats take up a fair chunk of room in the van. They’re also very… visible. There’s no hiding them behind a screen or a gas bottle if I mess up the seams (that’s not to imply Paul is hiding anything behind the gas bottles, he’s a complete perfectionist). Anyway, I figured if he can work out how to convert a taxi into a campervan, I should be able to cobble together some cushions.

And I’m not a complete beginner when it comes to sewing; I did cross-stitch a placemat when I was at primary school in 1990 (I remember the date because that’s what I appliqued onto the mat – I’m hoping I’ve retained some of that creative imagination). Since then though, there’s been something of a sewing hiatus.

So last weekend I went to a fabric store to get the lay of the land. And a scary land it was. Aisles and aisles of different styles and colours and weights of upholstery material. One of the nice sewing ladies took pity on me as I was feverishly trying to capture each one on my phone. She seemed to be partly speaking in a different language, but the main thing I gleaned was, as long as the fabric doesn’t have a plastic backing, it’s just a matter of taste. Well that should be easy then.

This was my absolute favourite:

A sort of Cath Kidston inspired surfer-chic. Unfortunately I knew it would be vetoed as soon as I got home. It was. As was this lovely floral:

And this one:

So much for taste. I looked at some more neutral, sensible colours:

But they weren’t very inspiring. A bit too caravanny.

These were a bit brighter and quite hard-wearing, a possibility:

And I quite liked these:

A bit like deckchair fabric and nice and soft, although maybe not quite tough enough. Paul thought these could be contenders – two out of 200 is not bad I suppose.

Next weekend I’ll be brave and ask for some samples.