today is Feb 01, 2023

  • Award-winning upholsterer Oksana Ignatova shows us her process for designing custom upholstery.
  • Stitch Girl Inc. offers 1,000 materials to choose from, including leather, fabric, and Alcantara.
  • Designing car interiors takes preparation, quality materials, attention to detail, and experience.

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Oksana Ignatova: Hi my name is Oksana, I'm the owner of Stitch Girl Inc, and we do custom upholstery here. Today I'm gonna show you how we design and install custom interiors.

I've been doing upholstery for around 8 years now. We do custom upholstery, we do everything that's inside of the car. Carpet, headliners, we can wrap steering wheels, seats, dashboard, door panels… so everything.

I do a lot of steering wheels and my hand stitching brought me to the SEMA 35 under 35 award.

The first step is to meet our client and learn what design ideas they have in mind. Usually the clients ask us to think about the design, it all depends on the car right? Sometimes the client knows what he wants and just wants us to complete his car.

After we have agreed on a design then the client picks the materials. We do have a lot of samples. I will say it's about one thousand to choose from.

We offer various materials like leather, Alcantara, fabric, vinyl and more. Our clients usually pick leather because of its feeling and the quality. If it's a full interior it's gonna take about 6 weeks.

We start by removing all the material from the car. We remove the seats from the car because that way it's going to be easier to work on.

After we remove everything we can design our own templates. I make my templates using a special vinyl material. I use seat foam as a reference and I cut the pieces out.

So now when I've got all of my templates I can transfer them to the materials and cut it so it's ready to sew.

We have about 300 colors for the thread to pick from. So we can do any color you want.

When I start to stitch the way I do it depends on the car part. If it's the seat covers I use a sewing machine, when it's a steering wheel I do it by hand.

So now I'm gonna prepare the parts for the french seam. It takes some time, now we have to wait until the glue dries then we are going to fold it. It makes it so the seam looks more straight without any bumps or wiggles. Now I'm gonna use a plastic hammer to make sure the seam is flat and so our stitches look nice.

So now we are ready to do a french seam with the red thread. In order to get the perfect stitches, the only way is to practice. I've been stitching for ten years so I have plenty of practice. When I'm sewing parts together, I test fit them several times to make sure they will fit properly. 

Now I'm installing the new wrapped cushions. I'm using the hog rings to attach the cushions to the frame. I use the steamer to steam the leather for a better fit.

Sometimes the client wants to personalize his interior so we use a laser engraver to do that. We have several 3D printers we use to fabricate custom interior components.

My favorite part of the process is finishing a project and seeing the client happy.

What's next for StitchGirl? It's to keep taking on projects, using new technologies, and staying creative.