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MG MGA - Making your own upholstery - and carpeting source

I just bought the interior for my MGA. The carpet came from a guy on eBay who makes the stuff that other people sell. They have an eBay store - $160 for the complete kit including the boot. Look for "Ben's Auto Parts". The "buy it now" price is $159. Looks pretty good - but I havent' installed it yet - when I do I'll publish a review.

I also bought my seats and panels as a bolt of material and will make them myself - I have a sewing machine and some experience and less money than time. This is to be my Christmas vacation project. I checked the archives but haven't seen that anyone has posted on this before. Has anyone here sewn their own seats together? I am using the old ones as patterns (the original leather ones - not the crappy vinyl that was installed over them.

If successful, the whole interior will cost about $300 plus the $160 for the carpeting, which isn't too bad. This includes the seat foam from Moss - which I could also make, but the high density foam is almost as expensive "raw" (about $40 per seat vs. $52 for the preformed items). I am still looking around for a cheaper source of quality foam however.

I got all my floorboards made - the car is about half painted, and I just ordered my electrical harness - so we're getting there.

AJ Mail

Good luck Jim, I tried making some items for my midget on my old Singer and didn't have a lot of luck. It worked, but I know that to do seat covers for my A I'll need a heavier duty machine. With a needle large enough to fit the heavy thread I needed the little machine didn't have the "oomph" to work and with a smaller needle and thread the seams weren't really strong enough for seats. I made covers for my roll bar padding and some new sun visors and sewed in a sleeve for the crotch belt in my seat cover on the driver's side, but that was all. If I decide to do the seats for my A I'll consider buying one of these or something similar before I start.

Bill Young

I have done some upholstery work on the home sewing machine. As with Bill, limited success. You might try to rent or lease a commerical grade machine. Other options include talking to a local leather or shoe repair shop. These guys tend to be flexible and willing to take on this type of work. Cut it out and have them assemble it. Also, check with a local carpet store. Many have machines used to stitch binding onto carpet and will do this type of work.
Good luck,
G T Foster

There was a good short article in "Practical Classics" about making your own seat covers. I don't suppose it's allowed to scan and post here, but Jim, you have mail!
Neil McGurk

Thanks so much for the article Neil! I will be taking pics of the process and will post for others to learn from my mistakes.

AJ Mail

Just a point on the carpeting with the sewn-in rubber heel matting for the pedals. If mine are original pattern, which I believe they are, I found that the rubber does not cover fully the area for my clutch heel. I guess it's because after I have used the clutch I extend my foot forward and under the the clutch pedal almost to the slanting wooden board. Over time I have worn through the carpet with my heel forward of the rubber.

Unless originality is paramount, it may be worth checking your heel travel before sewing the rubber.

Steve Gyles

Does anyone have the stainless trim kit for the frame and the corners? How do you like it? I am thinking of fabbing one in aluminium. Does the metal go down first and the carpet lays on top of the lip?

AJ Mail

On your carpet kit from Ben, are the inner sill pieces correct? In his picture from ebay, one side has a frame cutouts correct, and the other side has them incorrect. I replied to Ben about a year ago and he never responded. I would order a set too but didn't want to risk getting a scrap piece.

I have the stainess frame pieces already and they look nice. Metal first and them lay they carpet over the aluminum.

Scott ('58 roadster)
SJS Steinhauer

I will go check and let you know.

I will take pics of the pieces.

AJ Mail

I bought a carpet set from this guy too, and was not at all happy when it arrived, but after some back and forward with emails he conceded that it was not correct and fixed MOST of the issues by sending new pieces.

The main issues were that there were two LH sill pieces, no RH, and that the gearbox tunnel pieces were not bound on the edges as they should be. The battery cover piece was unbound and the vinyl flap on the front edge was missing. All these were addressed with replacement parts and attributed to a machinist error.

The one issue he would not concede is that on the RH footwell piece he insisted that there should be a notch in the carpet at about the height of the accelerator pedal mount, but on the tunnel side.... No idea why he thought that should be the case. I just stapled a piece of trimmed carpet from elsewhere onto the toeboard, and you can't see it.

He's generally quite reasonable to deal with otherwise, apart from first insisting that I didn't know what I was talking about, then telling me to get the issue fixed at a local trimmer at my own cost (he went much quieter on that score when he heard that they charge $150 -200 / hour) and did it as he should have done in the first place.

The carpet quality is good, slight twist in the pattern, but it was definitely an improvement on the almost 20-year old Moss kit which was showing signs of heavy wear. And as the car had just been resprayed, no great hesitation on my side.

So overall he gets about a 7/10 from me. Cheap to buy, quality is good value for money, and if it all comes correct, it fits well. If it's incorrect, stick to your guns and he'll get it right, otherwise there's the PayPal / Credit Card charegeback route which generally gets attention more focused.
dominic clancy

This thread was discussed between 10/12/2009 and 12/12/2009

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