Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - 28

What are the newest upholstery
trends and the skills required
to do them well?
Silicone vinyl, which is a thin, stretchy material
that took us a while to figure out how
to work with. We learned to pattern it tight
to avoid wrinkling. The other trend I see
is the popularity of tailored molded seats
with pull-tabs/pull-downs, which require
precise patterning practices.
This photo captures two seamstresses reviewing a finished quilting panel with
Jim Cowan. It highlights the collaborative nature of the team and the dedication
to ensuring top-notch craftsmanship.
im Cowan worked for nearly 50 years in canvas and upholstery-retail,
marina and most recently OEM, supplying
more than 45 boat companies.
What are common
upholstery failures?
Reusing old foam or using the wrong
density foam, particularly with contoured
shapes. Using the old foam is tempting
because it can be tricky to reproduce contoured
foam. But usually, it's worn out.
Another issue is poor fit, which is due
mainly to inexperienced patterning. And
some shops still use carbon steel staples,
which can corrode in saltwater, instead of
using marine-grade stainless steel.
JIM COWAN
Premier Performance Interiors
(now retired)
Sarasota, Fla.
How can mistakes be prevented?
For foam, use new antimicrobial foam
that will prevent mold and mildew instead
of the household furnishing type. Patterning
is a little more challenging. A common
mistake is patterning from the old cover.
The problem with that route is it doesn't
account for the fact that vinyl shrinks over
time and can result in too-tight upholstery.
It's better to create a pattern based
on the dimensions of the foam, which can
take some effort. One seat might have 30
pieces of vinyl on it. You have to learn by
experimenting and seeing what works.
28 Marine Fabricator | Sept/Oct 2023
J
What are your top tips
for fabricators?
Practice, practice, practice your patterning.
Try new ways and experiment. If it
works, keep trying to refine it. If it doesn't,
leave it. It's all about making mistakes. I
realize some shops can't spend four days
on a process, but do your best with what
you have. In every job, try something new.
What are your most important
upholstery tools?
A green BICĀ®
ballpoint pen. It's the only ink
I've found that will come off vinyl materials.
An electric turkey knife and a large worktable.
Also Visqueen [polyethylene plastic
sheeting] for patterning. I lightly glue it on
the foam, draw lines on the edges, transfer it
to pattern paper and add a seam allowance.
How do you deal with mold
and mildew issues?
If you used antimicrobial foam, you
shouldn't have either. If you do, it isn't the
foam; it's the vinyl, so replace it.
Can you pass along any
finishing tips or techniques?
Don't staple on the edge. Stapling is an
art; you must develop a feel for it and
learn as you go. It's not difficult, but it
does require technique. When stapling
covers, staple back far enough to reposition
the upholstery if needed without any
holes showing. Don't cut the excess off
until you're sure it's perfect. For quilted
panels, find local access to a quilting machine
and subcontract that work.

Marine Fabricator September/October 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Marine Fabricator September/October 2023

Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - Cover1
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - Cover2
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - 1
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - 2
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - 3
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - 4
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - 5
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - 6
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Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - 20
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Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - 28
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Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - 45
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - 46
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - 47
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - 48
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - Cover3
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - Cover4
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - MarineConfBroch1
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - MarineConfBroch2
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - MarineConfBroch3
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - MarineConfBroch4
Marine Fabricator September/October 2023 - MarineConfBroch5
https://www.nxtbook.com/ata/marinefabricator/marine-fabricator-march-april-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/ata/marinefabricator/marine-fabricator-tips-and-trends-supplement-2024
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https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/marinefabricator/marine-fabricator-january-february-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/marinefabricator/marine-fabricator-november-december-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/marinefabricator/marine-fabricator-september-october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/marinefabricator/marine-fabricator-july-august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ifai/marinefabricator/marine-fabricator-may-june-2021
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