Delores Gets Some New Clothes – Part 2

After having successfully adhered flat vinyl to flat sheet metal, the challenged was stepped up just a bit for the waterfall.   Factory 5 provided plain black vinyl for the waterfall that you are supposed to adhere (seriously.. watch how to do it on YouTube).   However, I wanted it to have a bit more pop, so we stuck with the two-tone theme and added some ivory vinyl, quilted stripes behind the seats.

I cut the very nice piece of black vinyl they gave me into three pieces, and sewed two strips of ivory in between, measured so that they would end up behind the seats.

A Two-Tone Waterfall Cover


After this, I was bad about taking pictures, but basically, I took some of the new headliner I purchased and spray basted it to the back of the ivory section.  This would allow some cushion and make it stand out from the flat black.  I then quilted a seam down the center, as well as added some seams in coordinating thread to the outside of the black and ivory sections.  The sewing machine bobbin pulled a bit, so we had a lot of extra thread in the back that would have come apart if we weren’t cementing the entire piece onto the fiberglass – lesson to have another person help with the sewing by making sure the vinyl stays taut.

Drew then became a professional vinyl applier.  Working in sections, he slowly adhered the vinyl to the waterfall with contact cement.  It actually stretched pretty well around all of the curves.  We started with two pieces on the edges.  I think that the directions provided from Factory 5 said to do the same.  We had some issues keeping the very concave curves in place, but luckily they get covered by the seats so no one will ever know..

Another upgrade, I stitched the edges of our two-tone piece that would go over the vinyl edges.  The directions didn’t say to, but it looks a lot more finished.  We clipped the edges and brought them around the outside of the waterfall.  Overall, we are very impressed with the amateur upholstery job – and are much happier than the plain black (at least I am, I think Drew likes it (correction – he says he “really likes it)


Finished Waterfall, waiting for Speaker holes to be cut


You can see the finished seam (actually a false seam) that covers up raw edges on the side vinyl piece
All done (with carpet!)
Speaker holes cut


Delores gets some new clothes – Part 1

A break in the sewing projects has given me a chance to make Delores some new duds.  The kit came with plain black vinyl for the waterfall covering and quilted black vinyl door panels with no door handles (just a rod that you push) and plastic armrests.  I told Drew that if he is going to spend this much money on a custom car, the inside should look nice… I also couldn’t figure out how to open the doors from inside anyway, so we definitely needed some new handles.


Stock Door Panel


We are going with a two-toned theme on the outside, so we decided to carry that inside.  I found some cream vinyl and purchased some headliner.  First step was to remove the black vinyl that was glued to the metal door panels with a putty knife.  After it was removed, Drew fit-up the bare metal panels and pre-drilled all the holes for final mounting (this would have actually been very challenging if the vinyl was already installed…).

After the vinyl was removed from the metal panel, fitting & predrilling the holes on the fiberglass

I kept the quilted look on the door panels but made them two-toned with black and cream using the headliner as the quilted liner.  The sewing machine did just fine after I got a roller foot, leather needle, and upholstery thread.  After sewing the two pieces together and quilting with coordinating thread, I cut the finished vinyl to fit the metal panel then added the trim.  So far this is 99% like cotton quilting.

After the pieces were the right size, we watched some YouTube videos about installing auto vinyl.  We would have definitely done it wrong if we didn’t complete this step.

Step 1: Paint both sides with contact cement and let it dry.

Step 2: Sit the two pieces together and stretch to fit.

Step 3: Apply contact cement to the trim and back of the metal panel, stretch the trim around the panel and adhere to the back.

Step 4: Since I didn’t want a pucker at the seam (in order to attach some chrome trim here… possibly), Drew had pre-drilled me some holes in the metal that I used to sew the panel to the metal sheet along my seam after it was glued.  This also had the unintentional consequence of making the line between the colors much more clean.

The door panels look much more stylish than the plain black, plus new billet door handles.


Wow! The car looks much more complete that Drew’s blog posts!… Looks like he has some catching up to do!





Catch up 2017 (Body)

So its been a while since I have updated anything on the blog and I want to apologize to all my loyal fans (I think there are some out there).  2017 made a lot of progress after the go kart stage with still some mechanical work happening, but most of the hours going towards interior/body/etc.

I will try and do several updates in a mostly chronological manner, but some may get out of order since I have a lot of updates.

To start with there has been a lot of work on the body both fitting and trimming panels as well as me getting comfortable sanding and working with the fiberglass, but before we get into that… some shiny!  The grill came with a matte/machined/rough finish, and being the cheap guy that I am, I decided to invest some of my own man hours in attempting to sand and polish it instead of paying someone to coat it.  You can see in the pictures below it’s transformation, I went from 220 grit paper to 2000 (left over from when we did the Chevelle’s paint job) and finished with a buffing wheel and Mothers aluminum polish.  The results are pretty good, not a high chrome finish, but certainly shiny and looks a lot better than before.  I still ended up with some deep scratches and a few inclusions from the casting process, but they will most likely only bother me and I am proud of the result.

Prior to getting the body on, I routed all of the a/c and coolant hoses and had them crimped by a local shop.  Below are the manifold connections on the firewall and where  I ended up stashing the a/c dryer.


Next up, around March ’17 we fit the body and I started doing all the small cutouts and edits that are needed, you can see I was using some of the FFR stickers to mock up my gauge locations which are actually almost perfect matches to the diameter of the gauges.  Also below are holes for brake lights and access panels behind the firewall.

Below are some additional fitting work with the body and top, I used a ratchet strap to pull in the back driver quater panel before drilling the hole to get the right width of the door opening, also had to do some sanding to get the firewall to fit, but overall it went pretty well and the top looks kickass.  I had planned on bike fenders, but I am really liking the open wheel look for now.


The next topic are doors.  I have limited picture of that effort because it was so frustrating to actually get done I dont even want to describe it and I didnt want to take any pictures.  Honestly they still catch and need more adjusting  but I dont have the energy at this point.  Also below is a picture of me in my fiberglass cutting gear… safety first!  It was a long process, and the one thing I can recommend is taking your time and not getting frustrated.

The door handles themselves were pretty easy, but they feel too flimsy (both interior and exterior) and dont have clean stops to prevent you from over stressing the cable.  I am working on the fix for that, but no solution right now.


Laying out the gauges and the dash was actually a pretty fun bit of work with a nice looking reward at the end, Kristy was instrumental in helping pick the layout as well as helping to measure out and sketch the locations.  Strangely enough though, whenever the fiberglass dust started flying she was absent…

One other note is that we ended up swapping the provided a/c controls which were black with a polished set purchased from vintage air to match the gauges and other polished accents.

One last section for the body catch up post is mounting of the hood hinge brackets and headlights as well as where I ended up stashing the coolant overflow tank.  In its current location, with no load on the wheels, I get about 1/8″ clearance between the tank and the upper suspension arm, but when on the ground it opens up to a respectable amount.

Strawberry Quilt

I love making quilts for little girls.  The patterns and colors are just more fun.  And this little girl has 4 big brothers so she needed something girly.

I took inspiration from Pinterest and designed a strawberry quilt in PowerPoint.  A poor choice for a design program but it does the job.


Amazingly, I calculated the sizes correctly..


All squares cut and ready to go

More half square triangles!  I took a lesson from the last quilt and made them large in order to cut them down to size for perfect points.


After the half square triangles are done, this quilt is very simple – aligning a lot of square corners.


All done!



Almost Perfect Points

I have completed baby two quilt projects recently – but I had to wait to post until one could make it to a new mom in Abu Dabi.

The first one is for a space themed nursery of a future lady scientist (I’m sure).  Her nursery was based on a space alphabet print from Etsy that had a lot of indigo, teal, purple and gray.  I chose to recreate a shining star in the same colors.

I started this project in June and was into all things “baby” at the time.  I created most of the paper-pieced center until my baby spirit went away and I had to put the quilt away for a while.

After months of some other distracting projects, including upholstery for the hot rod, I picked it up again.  The star in the middle was done but I had to add the background, which included a circular border attached to a circular background.  I learned that piecing large circles is a gigantic, finicky pain.

But when you finally quilt the top and wash it, all the bumps and imperfections smooth out.



The second quit is for a light and airy nursery with bold colors inspired by a print from Minted.  Amazingly the large star quilt I made this year had the same exact colors so I was able to reuse my fabric.  I chose a bear paw block as the print included bears and mountains.

The quilt consisted of piles and piles of 1 1/2″ half square triangles.  I chose to make them large and cut them to size to make everything perfect and even.


In the end I’m happy with the results of the extra cutting work.  The little bear paws are really cute blocks and this quilt has the best piecing that I have ever done.  The points are all lined up – I was amazed!



I think that it still looks light and airy even with the bold colors.


With these two complete (on time-ish), only 6 more to complete before July…

Better Late Than Never…

I wrapped up the block of the month quilt in May and am finally blogging about it.  But at least I am better than Drew at posting sort-of timely 🙂

The first month was all about Brilliant Star blocks.  I actually learned some pointers about lining up corners and was impressed that every block came out perfect!  Usually I am off a little bit..  The directions were to cut many strips of 3 shades of blue, cut the 3-piece strip diagonally, and then sew back together at an offset to create the blocks.

All lined up they look pretty good!


A Brilliant Star Corner


I was excited to lay out all of the pieces and start sewing them together.  I have to say, that piecing a 5-piece corner and getting everything to line up was challenging.


All laid out and ready to be sewn together

After some seam ripping to get everything aligned to the point that I was happy with the finished product, with the 5-points (mostly) lined up.   I also sewed on the ribbon border that I made back in the first month. I think that it will fit in with our Texas house once I finally have it all finished!

My plan is to take long arm quilting lessons so that I can finish the quilt myself – the queen size is a bit too much to tackle on my sewing machine.  I have some family heirloom quilts that need finishing – so this will be my first trial.


The quilt top is complete! 



Block of the Month Quilt – March & April

A short post for the next two months of the Block of the Month quilt.

I got an early start on March & April blocks, which completes the “sampler” blocks for the quilt.  These months were completed quickly as they each consisted of a set of 12″ blocks.  When I first started the quilt, I wasn’t sure about including these blocks at all as I liked the monochromatic and consistent look of blue only, however after I made them I decided that I liked them after all.

Partially & Fully Completed March Blocks


I got to make some flying geese the traditional way for April, which I had never done before.  I have to admit that I was dubious when I only looked at pictures of how to do this, but they turned out nicely.

April Flying Geese Blocks (far from perfect)


Sampler blocks complete!  However, this is only approximately 25% of the whole quilt.  May & June months are for the stars that make up the main part of the body and assembly.


FullSizeRender - Copy (10)
16 Sampler Blocks for the 2017 Block of the Month Quilt


Wee Wanderer Quilt

A quick break from the large quilt and helping Drew to my first baby quilt of the year.  Our friends Erin & Ryan are quite the adventurers and when I found a Michael Miller fabric panel called “Wee Wanderer” with children climbing trees and catching fireflies, I knew it was perfect.  But I couldn’t cut it up, so I saved the panel for the back.


For the pattern, I created colorful trees with a simple paper pieced leaf block that I designed.  There are 24 leaf blocks.  My block is not quite symmetrical, so I made 12 like the design below, and then 12 mirror images.


For the tree trunk fabric, I gut lucky and found a scrap at the craft store with hedge hogs and mushroom print.


The trees are coming together!


The finished product is probably the most colorful quilt I have ever made.  I am very happy that I kept the entire panel on the back as a single piece.



Go Kart!

Its been a while, but I felt the need to share the glory of the first drive of Delores… or at least like 60% of her… maybe 50%… who cares, she drives!

Tested the clutch, transmission, and a little bit of brakes in the garage with it on the rack and then backed it out (I was a bit nervous I would somehow manage to plow through the front of the garage) without any issues although the harnesses certainly keep you in place.

It has a heck of a long nose in front of you and the driving position feels a bit far back, but the power steering and transmission worked great.

I was being very careful to not accelerate, but even with the tiny amount of throttle I gave it, it is amazing how light this thing is… go-kart is an appropriate description, if you had a go-kart with about 400hp.

Brakes were a little spongy, but I am going to bed them and see how much that helps since I really don’t want to have to bleed them again, but might have to.

And just to top it all off, it wouldn’t have been a true test of Gallagher building ability if I didn’t need to be pushed home!  The downside of not having a fuel gauge yet was that as I pulled up after about 5 laps around the block it died on me from lack of gas (important)

All in all a success, found a small fuel leak afterwards, but tightened that up and no problems!


A little here, a little there

Progress has been a bit slow recently, been going out to the property a lot and working out there with less time for Delores, but I have gotten a few things done in the recent weeks.  Mostly at this point I am cleaning up all the temporary arrangements I rigged up in order to go-kart the thing in addition to cleaning up wiring before I put the body on.

Getting the transmission tunnel in and the cover piece was the first bit of fiberglass I had worked with.  Initially I had it fit in without any trimming, but decided to cut about 2 in out of the middle section at the top so that I could squeeze it together and give us more room in the footwells.  The tunnel is set up to accommodate a wide array of transmissions and engines, so with a SBC and the tko500 I have, I had plenty of room to spare even after I slimmed it down.  slimming down the front meant that the patch cover no longer fit in its grooves and needed to be trimmed down as well.  Kristy led that charge by marking out the cover and me doing the cutting/trimming using a jigsaw and a wood blade.

Everything is in now, however I have all of the wires running through a single hole at the front of the patch cover and will need to seal it up with significant amounts of silicone to stop all the heat and any fumes from coming in.

We also installed the driver side seat which as I said in my previous post with the seat rails was a bit more DIY than I was expecting, but once it was all in the driving position is pretty good and I have more leg space than I expected (still not much!)


Last but not least, the grill finally arrived!!!  Its a cast/ground aluminum frame with machined aluminum fins, so that meant it was not appropriately shiny for this car.  So after a day of wet sanding and polishing I ended up with a result that I am happy with.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of me attaching the radiator and ac condenser, but it all went together fairly well with only a bit of fiddling with the holes to get them all to line up.


As you can see its back on the rack and taped up the grill to protect all my hard work.  The next steps are to get the heater hoses all cleaned up and routed through the heater and finally get the AC hoses sorted out and crimped.  Once those are done, I am going to try and clean up the wiring and start some of the body fitting.