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molleur 12th January 2019 17:50

I think the oval will look best, however, if you choose the circle use the larger one.


Paul L 12th January 2019 18:09

Cheers. :cool:

Looking at it again, I think I will try another oval shape that gives an even gap to the hump edges.

davecymru 12th January 2019 18:56

I'm liking the Oval idea, it'll look that bit more unique!

So you bought your leather sewing kit to make make things 'just' for the car <cough><cough><nudge><nudge><nudge><wink><wink>

deni 12th January 2019 19:34

Hi Paul,

I was catching up with your on the road blog, and I am pleased you did not end up hitting the cars when your car drifted recently.
As for the headrests, I like how the oval ones fit more than the round ones.

I enjoy reading your posts and thanks again for all your advice...

Cheers, Deni.

micky1mo 12th January 2019 19:45

I'm also for the oval, but the other way up and more of the "O" than the "val" !!:icon_cool:

Paul L 13th January 2019 14:37

Dave - Thanks, I think I will try to create a better oval shape to match the hump. :pray:

As a perfect circle seems to highlight the fact the hump itself is not symmetrical (and doesn't need to be).

But me thinks you doth protest too much about my alternative uses for a leather sewing kit.


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Deni - I was actually thinking about that fish tailing episode driving back from the petrol station yesterday.

As, despite the fact it was raining, I made a conscious effort not to put my foot down in order get home quickly.

Looking back at the photos, I think the big circle reminds me of an old mantlepiece clock we used to have at home.

No worries on the advice front, that is what these forums are for and I couldn't have finished my build without support.

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Mike - The only problem with turning the oval through 90 degrees is where my shoulders sit.
( I think I would also have the same problem with the 'traditional' hump shaped head rest. )

As the oval shape shown would only touch the bottom of my head due to the position of the seat.

But I am sure there will be a some more trial and error required before I start construction.

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Meeting Mister Towed
Those of you following Deni's Miglia Build will have seen the recent debate about using a fibreglass bulkhead.

I then got a PM from Mr T asking if I still had my original Cordite fibreglass bulkhead.
( Which I had removed as part of Project Frankenstein HillBilly. )

So I had a rummage through my "might come in handy one day" stockpile at the back of the Summer House.
( Clearing this mess up is on my 2019 domestic "To Do" list. )

Unfortunately, this was all that was left of my original fibreglass Cordite bulkhead.
( I guess I had forgotten just how much recycling I did on my build. )

But I did find two front footwells that Mr T was interested in.
( Which look a lot better after I spent some time cleaning them. )

So this morning they were wrapped up and put into my Spitfire metal bulkhead footwells.

I also wrapped up an oil can to take with me, so I could top up before I headed home.

My plan was a quick blast around the M25 and up the M11 to drop them off at a "meet halfway" point.

I wore my open faced helmet, but at one point the wind was buffeting the helmet visor so much my vision went blurred. :eek:

Unfortunately, this section coincided with the junction I was supposed to turn off on, resulting in a significant detour. :rolleyes:

But, almost 7 years after I joined the forum and started following Mister Towed's Tai Chi build we finally met. :cool:

We had a great chat over coffee and Mr T is just as nice in real life as he is on the forum.

We then had a quick blast along the A120, blast being the operative word, as the wind was very bracing in places.

Hopefully the next time we meet it will be a little (OK, a LOT) warmer.

Taking the M11 on the way home, the wind had moved up to brutal and it felt like I was being pushed in the face!

Until next time, take care, Paul. :)

Mister Towed 13th January 2019 15:52

It was great to meet you too, Paul.

The trip out in your Swordfish, although somewhat chilly around the gills, has given me some motivation to get on with my Speedster build, so it looks like the apprentice has become the master.

We'll have to meet up this summer and visit somewhere more scenic than Birchanger Services.

Anyway, thanks again for the footwells and here's a pic for your library -


Paul L 13th January 2019 18:44


Originally Posted by Mister Towed (Post 98567)
… so it looks like the apprentice has become the master...

Well if you are Yoda, I am happy to be Luke Skywalker. :D

Paul L 15th January 2019 19:33

Another Headrest Option
I started to have a go at making an oval shape that would fill the shape of the hump better.

Unfortunately, as soon as I started to use a ruler as a guide I knew this plan was doomed. :rolleyes:

As the hump itself isn't horizontal to the ground, it is at an upward angle, so there isn't an obvious middle.

So although I could match the curve at the top edge, there was no way of getting a nice shape at the bottom.

However, as I started looking at D Types, Listers & DB1s for inspiration I had another idea…

Match the top curve, but have a straight line at the bottom that doesn't line up with the body shell lip.

Something like this, but excuse the poor photo.

I hope the section of uncovered hump below the headrest will draw the eye to the leather.
( Avoiding the differences in size of the body shell lip either side of the hump. )

At some point, I will stick the paper template on the hump itself to see what it looks like.

Cheers, Paul. :)

Paul L 18th January 2019 18:45

Friday - Part 1
Finally had the chance to try out my 'cut down' head rest design this afternoon.

So I peeled back the covers.

I also made template for the passenger side with the same depth as the driver's side.

Unfortunately, this instantly highlighted the fact the passenger hump is smaller than the driver's. :rolleyes: .

So back to the drawing board I went attempting to split the difference.

I extended the depth of the driver's side and reduced the depth of the passenger side, like so.

Hard to tell from the camera angle, but these are both about the same height from the body shell.

As luck would have it, these revised templates were a perfect match for my left over foam.

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Then I covered up the rear of the car and went back to the front headlight.

Where I used a rubber band to hold a section of old material in place.

Which allowed me to mark the position of the grille and the 3 clips that hold it in place.

I then used the cloth template to cut out a section of leather.

I then chalked two sewing lines.

Before creating a matching set of double holes along the chalked lines.
(Sorry about the poor photo.)

End of Part 1…

Paul L 18th January 2019 18:46

Friday - Part 2:
The holes were made using these two tools from my Ebay sewing kit.

The first provides an evenly spaced guide & the other forces the hole open.

Then it was time for the needle and thread.

I forgot to order some elastic that will allow the cover to 'grip' the headlight grille.

So for now I am using a piece of string, that I will eventually attach the string to and pull through.

The key is to ensure the inside stitching goes over the string like so.

Leaving a single running stitch on the other side.

I waited until I had completed the first 'single' stitch all the way around.

Before I started at one end and pulled all the tread tight, one stitch at a time.

Which pulled the leather tight around the string like so.

Then I went all the way around again to form 'double' stitches.

The good news is this was my first attempt at sewing leather and I've learnt a lot.

The bad news is that I don't think I made the cover wide enough to take account of the elastic pulling tight over the edge. :rolleyes:

Obviously I can't really test it until I attempt to get some elastic tomorrow.

But even if I've messed this one up, I could do with some more practise before I attempt the headrests.

Until next time, take care, Paul. :)

molleur 18th January 2019 20:41

Bravo on the first attempt!

Barber 19th January 2019 09:45

Paul, that is catwalk standard compared to my attempt at home produced moccasin slippers.��

Paul L 19th January 2019 13:08

Molleur & Barber - Thanks gents. :cool:

As you will see from my next piece below, more practise is still required…

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Sewing Circle Continued…
It is wet and miserable outside, so it was back to practising my sewing.

The photo of Mr T's headrest showed a single 'hump' piece with second 'band' piece added for the depth.

So I cut out a small corner section just to test how it might work.

I also cut out an edge strip used in the sofa as that already had holes in it.

After putting holes in the 'face' piece I ran a single stitch loosely through the two sections.

Note: You have to sew them together with the inside faces on the outside.

At first, I though the 'band' section looked messy on the inside because the stitches were loose.

However, pulling the stitches tighter didn't seem to make any difference. :rolleyes:

As this whole thing only works when you pull it inside out. :cool:

Lessons Learnt:
Using smaller stitches than the headlight cover was definitely the way to go.

But I will need to punch each hole through the two layers at the same time.
( As the original sofa holes were not an exact match for my hand made ones. :doh: )

The thread needs to be pulled much tighter than I did with this test piece to avoid seeing the stitches.
( Although I will be using black tread on the real head rest. )

You really need to take your time if you don't want the final piece to look like Frankenstein's handiwork. :icon_wink:

Until next time, take care, Paul. :)

Paul L 20th January 2019 15:56

My car seriously hates starting in very cold weather. :icon_sad:

But, thankfully, just before it sounds like the battery is going to die, it bursts into life.

Just a short trip to Greenford, where, as the old proverb says…

"In the land of the 4x4, the Swordfish is king."


As I figured this was the place for some elastic to hold the headlight covers in place.

On the way home, I took a detour amongst some of the new buildings in Wembley.

Unfortunately, I just couldn't seem to get the right angle for an interesting photo.

So this was the best I could do.

Then it was time to fit the elastic…

Plan A
Sew the elastic to the string and pull it through.

Result = Fail

As I hadn't left a big enough gap for the extra width of both pieces.

Plan B
Use tape to form the elastic into a point and push it through one stitch at a time.

Result = Partial Fail

As this was a painfully slow process that looks like it would take me hours to do.

In fact, it would have been quicker to cut the stitches out and re-sew it.

Plan C
But before I did any of that, it finally dawned on me that I was supposed to check the fit.

Result = Fail.

As expected, I hadn't left enough room for the leather to stretch over the grill. :doh:

So I will make a new piece and stitch the elastic into place at the same time.
(My sewing could certainly use the practise.)

Last job of the day was to check the oil, ready for my trip to the garage tomorrow morning.

As it will be an early start, I've parked the car on the road.

Which will allow me to push it down the street away from my immediate neighbours before starting it.

Until next time, take care, Paul. :)

Paul L 21st January 2019 10:33

Sunday Evening - Shower Cap
After cutting out and marking up another section of leather, I made the "Mark 2" version of the headlight cover.

Which, with the elastic pulled tight, now looks like a shower cap on the inside. :rolleyes:

But there is a lot of material there, that should stretch over the headlight grille.

Hopefully, comparing the finished cover to the material I cut out for the other side gives you a better idea.

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Monday Morning - Brrrrrr!
I think it was still zero degrees when I went out this morning to get the covers off. :icon_sad:

So I think it is fair to say it was a rather chilly drive through heavy rush hour/school run traffic.

There are always interesting cars at Enginuity and I left my car outside flanked by 4 Stags and 2 Heralds. :cool:

Even though I was cold when I arrived, the garage owner had made the trip in on a motorcycle. :eek:

Which allowed us to exchange old biker war stories about just how cold it can get on two wheels.

Until next time, take care, Paul. :)

Paul L 22nd January 2019 20:42

Getting there…
I now have two 'shower caps' for my headlight grilles.

I've also cut out both the foam and plywood for the headrests.

I did this work in the Summer House after dark and came out to find it had been snowing!

I then had a slight technical hitch when I came to cutting out the leather required for the headrests.

No problem with the 'faces'.

But even cutting on the diagonal, there was not enough material to make the 'edge' as a single piece. :icon_sad:

So the edge will now be two pieces:
- The longer section will cover the top curve.
- The shorter section will cover the flat bottom.

I've also made a start on putting the holes in the faces.

But I will make the holes in the other pieces once I have pinned it all together.

Which is why I have 'fat' margins to give me enough space for the pins.
( This will be trimmed back when the pieces are sewed together. )

I've also ordered a second needle for sewing leather so that I can use a 'saddle' stitch.

Which requires a needle on each end of the thread to sew both sides of the stitch at the same time.

Previously, I have done a single 'running' stitch and then gone round again over the 'gaps' to double stitch.

Other things to do include sorting out the holes in the plywood for the fixing 'fir trees'.

I will also give the plywood some more coats of wood preserve when all the holes are drilled.

Until next time, take care, Paul. :)

Paul L 24th January 2019 16:23

Close, but no cigar…
I made a start on sewing together the passenger head rest.

The easiest part was switching to black thread. :icon_wink:

As even pinning the two pieces of leather was harder to do than you might expect. :rolleyes:
(In the end, I had to use the bradawl to make holes for the pins as they kept bending.)

Finally, I had the bottom section held in place.
(The two needles were used to ensure I kept everything at the right distance apart.)

Terrible photo, but I did set up a single length of thread with a needle at each end.

I then double stitched the bottom edge along the length between the two pin heads shown.

My theory was that this would allow me to wrap the longer piece around the bottom corners.
(Thus avoiding extra joins at the corners.)

So far, so good…

Things started to get complicated as I tried to join the long section to the 'face'.

Initially, I was getting confused about which way around the pieces needed to be. :doh:

I also felt that starting the sewing where the bottom piece ended would be too difficult.

So I decided to start along the curve and come back to the corners after the bulk of the sewing was done.

I had done most of the top curve when disaster struck…

As I managed to thread my second needle through the thread from the first.

All my attempts to fix the mess failed and I had to cut the thread short. :icon_sad:

Then as I attempted to finish off one side, I was really struggling to get the material to follow the corner.

In a moment of madness, I abandoned Plan A and decided to join the two edge pieces at the corners instead.

Looking from the front, the bottom left corner was sewed together and it generally looks OK.

But I just couldn't work out how to neatly join the two edge pieces 'behind the scenes' at the corner.

Eventually, I worked out that it would have been easier if I had joined the two edge pieces together before I started. :rolleyes:

I also worked out that my original Plan A to wrap the longer section around the corner was the right idea all along.

Which left me with no choice but to remove the bottom edge and start again. :icon_sad:

But that was late last night, so I will have another go at this another day.

Until then, take care, Paul. :)

Barber 24th January 2019 20:30

I empathise. I ended up buying cheap market stall moccasins, then cut of the tacky plastic soles and used my bought leather to stock on leather replacements. I am fighting a months long battle to prevent separation with superglue. You just have to keep at it Paul.��

Paul L 25th January 2019 19:54

Barber - There much be an Native American proverb about moccasins in there somewhere. :icon_wink:

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One down, one to go…
I punched holes along one edge of the 'bottom' edge section.

When that was all sewn up, it joined like this on the sunny side.

I then unpicked the stitching on the curve, back to where I had to cut the threads short.

I then started sewing the edge piece back on from this point.

When I got past where the two edge pieces were joined together it looks like this on the inside.

By now it was really starting to take shape.

But I had too much material on the bottom edge and it was a challenge to work out where to cut/joinit.

So I pushed the foam and plywood into position.

This allowed me to pin one edge into the foam itself.

I then used masking tape to give me three lines.
- Where the edge lined up (on the right)
- Where the two pieces would be sewn together (middle)
- Where I could cut off the excess material (on the left)

I then took a deep breath and made the cut. :eek:

After a lot more sewing and trimming of excess edges I had this.

End of Part 1...

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