old seat cushion

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You may remember the yellow-and-black Austin Mini that made an appearance at the Howard Steamboat Museum Car Show. What you didn’t get to see was the condition of the seats.

Both the driver’s and passenger’s seats are in need of replacement. The fabric covers have holes worn into them, exposing the disintegrating foam cushioning underneath. And while the driver’s seat is still mostly intact, the passenger one is definitely in worse shape.

Unlike the driver’s seat, the passenger’s seat isn’t one-piece construction—the foam cushion that you sit on is separate from the back of the chair. This cushion was coming apart so badly that when the car hit a bump in the road, the passenger would hit the bar underneath them, almost squarely in the tailbone. And that area of the cushion had become so thin and wouldn’t stay in place, needing readjustment every time before getting in. The straps below the cushion were also either broken or nonexistent.

So we came up with this quick and easy solution for a seat cushion repair. It’s not the prettiest, and, of course, it’s not as ideal as just purchasing an entirely new seat, but it remedies the problem for the time being.

Building the New Cushion

The first step of the process was to remove the original seat cushion. You can see the condition the cushion was in, with pieces dangling off its edges.

new seat cushion outlining template

Next, we took a piece of high-density foam, typically used for household seat cushions, and cut it to the size we needed. We found ours, sized 17″ x 15″ x 2″, at the local Joann fabric and craft store; however, you can purchase one like this from Amazon. We decided that the thicker part of the original cushion—the part that goes underneath your lower thigh/back of your knees—could be reused.

We used the original cushion as a template and placed it on top of the new foam and traced its outline. Using an electric knife (think: Thanksgiving turkey carver), we cut out this piece, along with the end off original foam cushion.

new seat cushion outlining template

We then noticed that the cushion’s height needed to be built up so that there wasn’t a large step of foam between the two main pieces. Using some of the remaining new foam, we cut a couple of pieces to build up the incline. These pieces were then glued in place using E6000 glue. After the glue had dried some, we glued the new foam piece to the original foam. E6000 takes a few hours to cure completely, so we let the whole assembly sit overnight.

seat cushion construction

gluing seat cushion

assembled seat cushion

In the meantime, we needed to create some new straps. While we were at Joann, we grabbed some 1-inch nylon webbing material, the kind that’s used for belts. We cut the new strap material to size and hand-sewed it, folding the ends of the strap to hold the hooks in place.

new seat strap construction

sewn seat straps

The Finished Product

The final step to this seat cushion repair was the final fitting. When the glue had fully cured, we did some final trimming and then fitted the new cushion into the cover. It fit perfectly! But then we noticed something else: The cover wouldn’t stay properly wrapped around the cushion. The fix? Velcro, such as this super-sticky, no-sew type made for fabrics. We attached the Velcro pieces to the back edge and the bottom side of the cushion. The straps underneath were reinstalled onto the seat frame, and we went out for a drive.

Velcro on edge

Velcro on cushion bottom

finished seat cushion in place

The repair might not be 100 percent perfect, but it sure works well and is much cheaper than buying a full replacement seat.

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