1. Registration trouble? Please use the "Contact Us" link at the bottom right corner of the page and your issue will be resolved.
    Dismiss Notice

Diy Soft Top

Discussion in 'Builds and Fabricators Forum' started by Chilly, May 12, 2019.

  1. May 12, 2019
    Chilly

    Chilly Active Member 2019 Sponsor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,443
    Anyone make their own replacement skins for a Whitco or similar top? I’d like to know how it went, what you learned, sequence of fabrication, material recommendations. I’m hot for a white top for an Intermediate.

    Seems like working top-down is the only practical way. I have a well-ruined black top, and a nicer white one. Probably cut apart the black one at the seams (cutting threads, not vinyl). But I’ll need to set up a big workspace first. Also need an industrial machine.

    Anyone know how a repair shop installs window vinyl? Do they sew it in, or do they have a way to melt it on like factory? Sew with some kind of sealant/glue?
     
  2. May 12, 2019
    Howard Eisenhauer

    Howard Eisenhauer Super Moderator Staff Member

    Tantallon, Nova...
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2003
    Messages:
    5,977
    BTDT. as stated You''ll need the old top for a pattern & an industrial sewing machine (we used a 1903 Singer treadle :D). Get the material from a boat place. The old top has surely shrunk a bit. you'll need to figure how much & how to make allowances for that. Practice sewing on some scraps fir, it's not hard but as with anything else it takes practice to train your eyes & brain to get things straight & even. We sewed the windows in.
     
  3. May 12, 2019
    Dave B

    Dave B Frankenjeep '67

    Northern Minnesota
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Messages:
    505
    A ECJ5 search will get you a couple of threads. Also, there's some interesting concepts in the video.
     
    Bowbender likes this.
  4. May 12, 2019
    Oldriginal86

    Oldriginal86 Member

    Pasadena, Md.
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2014
    Messages:
    463
    I want to do this so bad. Just don’t have $800 for a Sail Rite machine. Watch the videos on Sail Rites web site. I dont know it’s an advantage to have an old top to use as a pattern, as Howard said they shrink over time. Post up pictures of the progress.
     
  5. May 12, 2019
    Chilly

    Chilly Active Member 2019 Sponsor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,443
    Templates give an idea of what shape to cut. If I do this I'll make a top piece and keep edges long. Fit up, trim and install edging like a tailor would do a pair of pants. Essentially making a long bikini top that uses the bows.

    I'd probably then make a back section inspired by original piece but measured to fit. Leave bottom edge long. Leave it solid, dont install clear vinyl yet. Sew it to the top piece but leave bottom unfinished and long. Might install some grommets on the long bottom edge so I can suck it down taut.

    Now make the sides. Again, leave solid, grommets on extra long skirt. I'd work on tailoring sides from back toward front. So next step is zippers for the back and sides. Leave front edges long.

    Now I think I'll install snaps and finish wrapping the front of each side around the vertical rods.

    Doors look manageable because theyre small. The templates should be fairly well sized because theyve been held like a pelt on a stretcher.
     
  6. May 12, 2019
    Chilly

    Chilly Active Member 2019 Sponsor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,443
    Last step will be to sew in vinyl and cut the holes. I think? Good idea to leave solid until the end?
     
  7. Dec 16, 2019
    1969jeepercj5

    1969jeepercj5 New Member

    Los Molinos...
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2016
    Messages:
    47
    A little late to this thread, but I was working on making my own white soft top. Its been on hiatus for some time now, but I was able to create an entire top I was fairly happy with. It still needs a few more tweaks and I would probably use it as a pattern to make one thats a little more clean. The best I can tell the larger companies like bestop melt their windows into the fabric. I attempted this after watching a few videos but could never quite get the desired effect. I actually ended up seeing a video of how they make soft tops for VW Things, and all their windows were sewn in using a similar style to the video posted above. That is what I ended up doing and it was far easier and I was able to get the same results each time. I haven't finished the doors yet. I was bend/welding my own door frames, and I was having issues leaving excess material to attach to the body like the old style tops. I think this was just with the technique I was using. Making A White Soft Top
     
  8. Dec 16, 2019
    sterlclan

    sterlclan Member

    exploring the...
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,154
    you can find a decent used industrial machine for a couple hundred dollars. I use mine for leather stuff,car seats and canvas stuff, going to make a top sometime but busy with other stuff right now.
     

Share This Page

New Posts