MGTF Seat Recovering
by John Crawley


by John Crawley 11/06/2007

The Moss instructions for covering the TF seats are a bit on the sparse side. To begin with they suggest that it is a complex process that should not be undertaken by and amateur. I found that using just a few upholstery techniques a fairly decent job can be done by one who is willing to give it a try. I have illustrated the process with photographs (pix) and will try to keep the description to a minimum. This is not a step by step instruction manual but might help you over the rough spots. If you need help just drop me and e-mail.



Dismantle the seats noting how the original or re-upholstery was done.


A professional staple remover helps but is not necessary.


It is best to have the seat rails cad plated.


If the seat rail screws will not come out it is because the captive nuts have broken loose from the plywood, simply drill the head off.


The “Horse hair” stuffing inside will be covered with “mouse nest” cotton.


The “Horse hair” stuffing will have sunk backwards particularly at the top.


Text Box:  The indents show how the stuffing has failed. It can not be reused


Retain the original cotton and felt stuffing that surrounds the perimeter if possible.


The seat bottom my be salvageable or may have to be remade.


Getting the exact measurements is essential.



Use the rails to guide the drill.



Captive nuts are inserted.


I painted the finished wood to help preserve it.

Tools for re-upholstering: very good scissors, tack hammer (grind the surfaces flat not convex), spray glue, box of tax and the first piece of vinyl.

Text Box:  Glue both the vinyl back and the seat frame with spray glue.


Text Box:  A thin felt is glued under the vinyl on the bottom side of the seat frame


trim the vinyl to shape of the top edge of the seat frame but leave at least 2 in. to fold over.



Almost ready to fold over.


Notch the vinyl to fit around the front edge of the seat back and fold it over. Remember that the spray glue must be on both surfaces and should be allowed to almost dry before sticking. Rolling or gentle hammering with a wooden mallet will ensure a good stick were required.

The bottom edge is folded under the seat bottom frame.

Text Box:  The finished bottom part of the seat frame.

Now for the seat cushion the upholsters padding can be split to prevent too thick of a padded look.

I used Moss foam and found that it fit just fine. A single split layer of filler covers the top of the foam.

(Addendum: In use I found the Moss foam too soft. On my next one I will try to get denser foam or salvage the old foam with high density foam inserts stuffed into the original foams cast hollows . . . I saw this as a tip somewhere and can nor remember where so can not give credits for it.)

the foam must be trimmed a bit with a bread knife to fit the wooden seat bottom.

The wooden frame is place over the trimmed foam.

28. The cover appears to be too small but the foam can be compressed and stuffed inside.

Text Box:  Text Box: Some weight helps.The piece that was trimmed to make the wooden platform fit is shoved under the edge of the wood to add a little extra under the leg support.

Now pull the material over the bottom of the seat and tack but do not drive the tacks home yet.

Text Box:  The finished cushion . . . If you have wrinkles just pull it tighter around the bottom. Remove tacks and re-pull if you have to. When it is perfect, hammer the tacks home.

Now for the seat back This is the hardest part. I used a 18 in square of foam and covered it with upholsters fill split in 1/2

Text Box:  Fill is pressed between the sides of the seat back. You can see that the original felt and horse hair was usable. The top of the foam is squared off using extra fiber fill

A bit of the foam must be trimmed to fit the “dog leg” on the inside of the seat back.

The old black vinyl seat shows the typical slanted top that seats develop with time.. the red seat show the squared off effect that was original. This and getting the top of the seat wrinkle free is the biggest problem of doing the seats.


Text Box:  Text Box: A second viewThe seat back seam must be cut from the bottom up to this point to allow the center portion to pull under the seat back. At this point I then machine sewed the seam to prevent it from pulling out further but this can be done by hand.

Both sides have the seam cut.. On the original upholstery the leather was cut on the dotted line but I was afraid to do this as there is then no way of going back and relieving the seam worked perfectly.

Text Box:  Moss’s only instruction was to locate the top of the Dog Leg in the correct spot and start there when positioning the back cover. It works. Start tacking If you get wrinkles along the top just pull the leather tighter. Remember that bruit force is not what you want. work the leather with the palm of your hand to warm and shape it into place do not drive the4 tacks home until you ar 100% satisfied. I left the seat back overnight several time to allow it to stretch into shape. Align the vertical narrow panels of the back with the narrow panels of the seat bottom.

It just did not fit. I had to cut the seam that is at the top side of the inner seat back. Since it is impossible to machine sew this again I replaced the stitching through the top piece of leather only by hand, following the original machine holes. I then let the top piece of leather overlap the bottom piece. This approach gave me a wrinkle free finish but the seam is not closed just overlapped. Since this is to the inside and against the other seat I do not believe that it will ever be noticed.

My rather crude drawing of how the horizontal side seam is cut and then overlapped on the under piece. The dotted line shows the seam that I replicated by hand. Much care is required to do this but it can be done.

This shows the overlapped seams from the back. Each little wrinkle must be pulled further and tacked. The tighter it is the fewer wrinkles.

The side of the seat back is tacked under the seat bottom.

Text Box:  Text Box: a tack every 3/4 in is required to hold it secure.
ready to go together
Hold the tacks vertical so they drive home straight.

Text Box:  Text Box: One hammer hold it down and the other provides the force.
Nearing completion
Final fit and gluing on the bottom to keep things tidy

Note triangular piece cut from edge to make it fit.

The finished job has received many compliments especially about the seat tops being square and not sloped down at the front edge. Below – same car but different light shows the color closer to correct..


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