Redoing the T@B Teardrop Trailer Upholstery

I had planned on making slip covers for the dinette/bed seating before we decided to remodel the T@B.  I’d even ordered fabric already.  After deciding to remodel the T@B the upholstery plans changed a bit on account of the layout change adding three more cushions.  I was lucky to grab some additional great fabric at a super good sale price and even score 50% off on the high density foam needed (who knew that stuff was CRAZY expensive?!).

The old upholstery is fine.  I even like the pattern on it, but the muted colors are pretty boring.  I’ve been kind of going for a country chic sort of thing with the T@B and couldn’t pass up the chance to add some character.  The current upholstery is hard to get off so  it can’t be easily removed to be washed and we have dogs and plan to have kids some day.  I would rather remove and wash it than run around freaking out about people dirtying the camping trailer (say what!?).  I love sewing, but my sewing machine(s) and I have done plenty of battles and late nights.  I have two because one always seems to be on the fritz.  It’s the machines fault, I swear.

I’m *really* happy with the results but MAN what a project.  I really have a love/hate thing with sewing.  It took me three attempts before I settled on a pattern.  I do about as well with patterns as I do recipes; I improvise more than I follow.  I got all the covers done over the better part of a day.

Some folks on the T@B group were asking about how I did them so here’s my write up for how I did them…

new upholstery fabrics_9052090493_o

I had ordered 5 yards of the blue bird upholstery fabric (54″), but it is a directional print which means I had use it long-wise (raw edge to bolt, if that makes sense) or the print would be sideways.  I had 9.5 yards of the flower upholstery fabric (54″), thankfully it was a non-directional print so it was more efficiently used because I could go selvage to selvage.   Based on my original plan of doing just the dinette and a non-directional print, I had thought I would need about 10 yards total for everything.  After adding in the new cushions and me ordering a directional print I was just hoping I could get all the cushions out of the new material.

I measured out the existing cushions and drew them up on paper.  [I’ll add a scan if it’s helpful to anyone.]

Once I did the math on the yardage I mapped out all the combinations I could come up with while adding in the new cushions.  So I could decide which ones would be blue and which flowers.  I decided that all the bottom cushions should be the same so they looked cohesive.  (Other options were to have the dinette one pattern and the new cushions another.)


I started on the new cushions and the dinette bottoms.  Since my bottom fabric was non-directional I was able to cut them folding in half selvage to selvage which was actually really close to the size I needed so I just cut the width.  I’m not going to cover the basics of sewing here, but  you start with the fronts facing each other as you see here.


I used pencil and marked along my 1/2″ in seams and started out pinning them and eventually quit and just sewed them.  The thickness of the fabric meant they kept their fold nicely.  I ran from the folded edge to the selvage edges entirely, making a big pocket or bag.


This was the “neat” part (to me anyway).  I had originally tried sewing the covers so the seams were on the bottom edge (like the originals) but I was having a horrible time getting the corners nice and square that way.  Eventually I gave up and conceded to a side seam which is only noticeable on the one dinette seat that faces the door since I have an “L” kitchen.  The side seams made squaring the corners MUCH easier.  I used this pattern for reference: Easy Outdoor Cushion Covers.  I folded the pocket corners in to a triangle like you see in the picture.  I used my ruler to make sure that the seam was centered at 2 inches because the cushions are 4 inches deep.  I lined up the ruler perpendicularly from side to side making sure my sides were just inside the 4 inches, and yet again drew a line with a pencil and skipped pinning.  I then zipped across the line making sure to back stitch since I figured the corners would take the most stress when being sat on.


The result when you flip them inside right is a nice square corner.  The selvage side is still open (like a pillow case), but the front is tight and tidy.  Right now I have the cushions slid in to the new cases and did an envelope fold (working around the cushion tabs) and safety pinned them.  I’ll probably put velcro on eventually, but didn’t prioritize it yet since it’s the selvage edges and there is no fraying.


For the cushion tops I followed the same process but I had to cut the fabric out the other direction to make sure it was upright instead of sideways.  This wasn’t the most efficient and I have a 5 yard long 18-20″ strip of fabric left over.  (When I get over my trauma I might make a bolster or something equally ridonkulous.)  I also had to sew on the velcro strips that stick the top cushions to the wall.


I did end up with some excess fabric of both patterns.  I redid the first small corner cushion I did since even Geoff looked at it and asked, ‘uhm, can you fix that one?  maybe pull it tighter or something?’.  I may use the fabric from the first attempt for a throw pillow or travel teddy bear or something equally silly.  I was also able to get enough fabric out of both to create standard pillow shams for our pillows.  The top fabric is sideways (damn that directional print!), but it helps with the cohesion of the “design” in the trailer and keeps our pillows cleaner while bouncing around (our regular pillows cases are still on the pillows under the shams.)  I used this pattern as reference for the shams since it was getting late and I was rewarding myself with wine once the cushions were done: How to Make a Pillow Sham.



Once I quit mucking around and figured out my pattern the covers really did whiz along.  I spent probably as much time on the last half of the cushions as I did on the first single one.


One Response

  1. Judy Crankshaw
    Judy Crankshaw 8 March, 2015 at 9:09 pm | | Reply

    Love the outcome of your project. Why do they put such boring fabrics in RVs, anyway. We replaced our T@DA cushions, and I’m so happy with the results – brighter, and more fun!.

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