Dillon Francis

Custom Design - Manufacturing - Project Management


Marine Upholstery Shop Layout &

Foam Forming Notes 


Nice Jobs

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Having a good embroiderer is one of the keys to  finishing touches.

Marine upholstery is completely different from house or auto upholstery. I have taken on a couple of couches and cars but once your shop and staff are geared up to do marine work there really is no turning back or even sideways.

Your material supply and cutting orientation is of paramount importance to the patterning and final stitching and stretching. This makes all the difference.

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Fabrication - Your Shop - Set Up


Shop Divisions & Areas

  • Storage container for drying and job staging, measuring and prep. 

  • Disassembly Area 

  • Structural Repair / fabrication Area.

  • Patterning / Digitizing and drafting area.

  • New Fabric Cutting Area.

  • Sewing / stitching tables / compartmentalized. 

  • Foam cutting area incl disassembled foam parts repair

  • New part assembly and pre-stretch area

  • Final Stapling and finishing area

Owning a shop where we did 8-10 full boat interiors a week, without separated dedicated tables and areas  was impossible.

With compressed air over head and retractable electric cables with plug points on all sides of each table you can now be efficient.

Each work station needs to be set up with all tools and each employee needs to know the other's job is so that they can understand what they need to look for in the piece they receive and what the next person requires when they are finished with their part of the process.



I cannot stress this enough.

Your shop, your tables and layout is the most important tool. Clean it !

An upholstery shop is a well organized, tidy, oiled and tuned machine.

Every staff member needs to know this. 

Choosing and Cutting Your Foam.


Depending on whether you are making a outside cushion, seat or bolster or an interior part you need to choose you foam appropriately.

The cutting, designing and foam forming is an integral part of the upholstery fabrication process.

There are multiple choices. Each has a different comfort level and specific application usage. 

Most clients don't know the difference. However I hate doing a job again in three or 4 years. A good upholstery job should last 7 years .

Composite foams are the way to go for the ultimate comfort and longevity. E-Z Dry foam combines with synthetic tufting will give your cushion, bolster or seat the rigidity where it needs , comfort and push out the fabric nicely to take up any give or lack there of due to bad fabric cutting orientation when trying to get the most out of a roll.



Marine Upholstery Fabrics 

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Phifer-Tex / Mesh



Each has its own uses and temperament. Call me for more info

Once upon a time I did a line of over 50 full interiors..... The "F- ing"  fabric started going pink and green  from mold within 3 months !

This was a nice job. As a professional you will find all the flaws. The client was happy and the job fit within his budget and time frame.

This was a nice job. As a professional you will find all the flaws. The client was happy and the job fit within his budget and time frame.