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How to Trim & Upholster Car Seats

Updated February 21, 2017

Car seats suffer through a lot of wear and tear. They get sat on, spilt on, and abused everyday. Over time, the upholstery on your car seats may rip, stain or just appear worn out. Reupholstering your car seats is an inexpensive way to refurbish an older vehicle. Getting car seats professionally upholstered can cost hundreds of dollars, but most car owners can complete this project themselves. Although there are some basics to trimming and upholstering car seats, most people can learn what they need to know while they tackle this project.

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  1. Remove the seats from the car. You will need a wrench and screwdriver to remove the seats from the car. You may need to consult the owner's manual for your vehicle for exact instructions on how to remove the seats in your particular make and model of car.

  2. Disassemble the upholstery on the car seats. Cut the hog seams that hold the upholstery in place. Remove the listing wires. Cut the seams in the car seat with a seam ripper. Work carefully so the pieces can be used as a template for the new upholstery. Label the pieces as necessary with a marker so you can remember how the upholstery was sewn together.

  3. Place the fabric for the new upholstery on a flat surface. Set the old upholstery pieces on top of the new fabric. Trace around the upholstery pieces with a piece of caulk. Cut the new fabric to size with fabric scissors.

  4. Sew the cut out pieces of the new upholstery together. Sew a straight 1/4-inch stitch along each of the seams until the upholstery is completely sewn together.

  5. Place the new upholstery on the car seat. Slide the listing wires back into the upholstery. Connect the upholstery to the car seat with hog rings.

  6. Reinstall the car seats into the car with a wrench and screwdriver.

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Things You'll Need

  • Wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Seam ripper
  • Marker
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Chalk
  • Fabric scissors
  • Sewing machine

About the Author

Cadence Johansen is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about travel, marriage, family relationships, caregiver support, home improvement and money. Johansen has been writing professionally since 2008. She holds a master's degree in family studies from Utah State University.

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