Motor Home Project Part I: Reupholster Valences
We finally finished the project we have been working on for the past couple of weeks. Since we were working on it between doing other things, we didn't know how long it was going to take, so we just held off reporting on it until it was done.
Last year, we started to realize our dinette chairs were starting to look a little worn, and we also thought our valences looked a little dated and faded. There is a fabric outlet in Summerdale, AL, so when we were at Rainbow Plantation last fall, we checked out their upholstery fabric.
In order to do the upholstery project, we wanted to get three coordinating fabrics - a pattern for the horizontal tops of the valences, a matching solid color for the vertical legs of the valences, and a coordinating geometric pattern or texture for the dinette chairs. When we didn't find fabrics we liked at the fabric outlet in Summerdale, we looked at Joann Fabrics in Pensacola. Finding nothing there either, we began to search for fabrics online
After we requested numerous samples from several online companies, we found a pattern we really liked for the tops of the valences. However, we still needed the two coordinating fabrics to go with it, so we kept looking.
When we got to our winter stop in Bushnell, FL, we finally found the other two fabrics at Joann Fabrics in The Villages, but they didn't have enough in stock to meet our needs. Therefore, we ordered what we needed for the coordinating materials from Joann Fabrics online store, and we also ordered the pattern we liked for the top of the valences from the other online company.
We were so busy in Florida this year with the refrigerator project and all, we never got to the upholstery project. We stored the long rolls of fabric along the bed, and Margery has been tripping over them since January.
Since we're going to be in Summerdale for a while, we figured it was a good place to redo the upholstery, so we got started shortly after we arrived and worked on the project over the period of a couple of weeks between other activities. We started with one of the smaller valences on the end of the living room slide. The next photos show the valences before and after.
To replace the fabric on the valences, we first had to remove all the old fabric. There are hundreds of staples in each valence. Removing them was tedious, especially since Paul wanted to remove the fabric from the first valence carefully so he could preserve the pieces in case he needed to know how they were cut and folded.
Paul began to cut the new fabric right after he removed the old. Even though we ordered a little extra material, Paul wanted to be sure we could get everything we needed from the amount of fabric we bought, so he had a detailed cutting chart showing the size and orientation of each piece.
After the fabric was cut for the first valence, Margery sewed decorative braid to the bottom edge of the top piece.
Then Paul began the assembly. Part way through the first valence, Paul's stapler quit working. He spent the rest of the day trying to fix it without success. The following day, we went to Lowe's (with a stop at Panini Pete's for lunch afterward) to buy a new stapler.
Paul's old stapler was an Arrow T50, which is a reliable, tried-and-true design that has been around for years and years. However, the T50 does require a fair amount of pressure on the handle to get it to fire, so Paul bought a T50 Elite at Lowes. The T50 Elite has a design similar to the T50, and it uses the same staples; but it is supposed to have an improved, ergonomic design and new firing mechanism that makes it easier to squeeze. Since there were going to be so many staples required for the upholstery project, Paul thought a stapler that was easier to squeeze was an excellent idea.
The T50 Elite was a little easier to squeeze, but it unfortunately has one major design flaw as well as a couple of minor ones. There is too much play in the handle so when you squeeze it, the handle can move sideways and hang up on the frame causing the staple not to fire. Paul checked, and all the T50 Elite staplers in the store were the same. Having the stapler not fire a staple when you need it is a major problem, especially with an upholstery project. When you get a piece of fabric stretched and positioned just the way you want it and then you don't get a staple, it is very frustrating. By the time you reposition your hand on the stapler so the handle isn't being pushed sideways when you squeeze it, you lose your grip on the fabric with your other hand. The nose of the T50 Elite stapler also has a slight reward taper making it impossible to get staples close to an inside corner. The third problem with the T50 Elite was that Paul thought it was more difficult to load staples into it than the old T50. Paul returned the T50 Elite the next day and bought a standard T50 just like his old one. It works much better than the Elite.
With the new T50 stapler, Paul was able to continue on and finish all the valences over the next week or so, and you can see the results in the after photo above. We're really pleased with the results. We love the tropical-looking foliage, and we think it adds a fresh, new look to the motor home. Stay tuned, and we'll show you how we reupholstered the dinette chairs.