High Society Kustom Garage

Tips from a trimmer

Many car builders tend to overlook the interior, often undervaluing the trimmer’s role, which is seen as overpriced.  As the last in line during the build, trimmers bear the consequences of preceding decisions. This is especially true if how the trim is to be finished wasn’t taken into account.  Normally at the end of the build, you’ve usually run out of steam, money, or both. That means that an important part of your car is being undervalued by you. Here are some tips from a trimmer to help you on your way. [For more information on what to have in place well before the vehicle gets to the trimming stage, have a look at Preparing for your custom interior.]


Auto upholstery advice

While your interior certainly isn’t the first thing to make an impression on onlookers and admirers, it can be argued that it is ⅓rd of the overall impact. More importantly, having a well designed, comfortable, and eye appealing interior will have a lasting impression if you plan on spending any time behind the wheel.  Hopefully that is where you’ll spend the majority of your time enjoying your ride once the build is complete.  So shouldn’t it be a given that it receives as much of your attention (and an appropriate portion of the build budget) as the rest of the vehicle?

Tip 1: Choose the right workshop

Finding the right workshop to carry out the work on your beloved project is an important step.  This would be the most important tip from a trimmers perspective.  Shops that mainly do repair work may not be focused enough for a full restoration or custom interior.  There are so many hours that go into that sort of auto upholstery.  Like any part of your car, the interior’s style comes down to personal preference.  A decent trimmer is no less experienced in his or her field than an engine builder for instance.  Sometimes taking their recommendations on board can help guide you away from making some annoying, and uncomfortable, mistakes.

Meet different trimmers, and speak with them face-to-face.  On a major build, they’re going to have your vehicle for a considerable time, so you have to know that you can get along. You have to know that they understand what it is you want.  You have to know that they’ll be able to communicate to you if what you want isn’t going to work.  NEITHER of you should be getting into a “relationship” with each other without a little bit of a “courtship”.

Tip 2: Plan ahead

As with so many things, it pays to start with the end in mind.  Speaking with your trimmer early in the build can save you time and money by not having to redo things.  Think of the overall build as a whole, even though it’s likely to be completed by many different people.  Figure things like door handle, switch and speaker placement as one, so that nothing looks tacked on and an afterthought. Also mismatched themes or styles will jump out for all of the wrong reasons.

A concept drawing can help here.  That doesn’t necessarily mean trying to obtain Chip Foose‘s services. 

Even a rudimentary sketch and some written notes along with pictures can keep everyone involved on the same path. 

The hard part here is sticking with the plan.  Yes, builds can take a while to complete and depending on just how long that is, trends can change. The problem is that sometimes even small changes can have a knock on effect. Unless it’s solely a show car, our suggestion is not to get too caught up in trends anyway.  As trends pass it can age your pride and joy very quickly.  Not everything will be as easy to swap out as a set of wheels.

Tip 3: Speak with the trimmer early

Another advantage of talking to the trimmer early is that they may advise starting certain aspects well before time.  For instance, if the interior is going to feature lots of fabricated pieces, having this done before final paint.  Doing this also means that the costs are more spread out across the build, rather than all at the end.

Your trimmer can advise steps to help save some money without distracting from the usability or looks you’re aiming for.  Vinyl in place of leather is one simple method to cut costs.  Swapping British wool blend carpet for high quality polypropylene can look just as good for a fraction of the price.

Tip 4: Choose the right colour

Choosing the right colour combination can be one of the most difficult decisions of the build.  This goes for both the paint and trim.  Most people try to choose the interior colours to match paint, but doing it the other way can be easier.  Paint can be mixed to any possible colour of the rainbow and any shade or tone in between.  Vinyls and cloths have a comparatively limited range.  It is possible to have leather custom dyed.  But you need to check whether your chosen shop will organize this.  Be prepared that this service is expensive, especially as there may be a minimum order quantity. Again, this is something that your trimmer can help with, their advice here can be invaluable. [More information on choosing the right colour combination can be found on the blog post, Custom car interior colours.]

Tip 5: Use appropriate materials

When it comes to material choices, the style you have chosen will dictate to some point what materials you choose from.  While leather is timeless, other materials aren’t as forgiving.  You wouldn’t use Alcantara in a 60’s themed vehicle for instance. Likewise, leather with a distressed finish may not look right in an ultra-modern themed pro-tourer.  This might be an ideal time to sit back and let a trimmer design something to knock your socks off.  Far from being constricted to the ever popular diamond stitch pattern, your trimmer may like to showcase their talent.  A creative decorative stitch design can take an otherwise plain material to another dimension.  Ask them to put together a proposal with what they feel will work.  They may even put together a miniature “finished piece” so you have a true idea of the final result.

Tip 5 "Tips from a Trimmer" Decorative stitch.
Plain piece of black cloth brought to life with a pattern of embroidery with the HSKG logo.

Finishing touch

If your ride is the beautiful jewellery box, far from being just another item to complete, auto upholstery is an opportunity.  These tips, along with the right trimmer can make your cabin, the place where YOU’LL be enjoying the fruits of your labour, the deserving diamond inside.  If your in either Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast (or you’re happy to travel), get in contact, we’d love to help.

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