May ’15 – I’m not sleeping in that!

I’m not sleeping in that…

Whilst at some point Rita has obviously undergone substantial restoration on her exterior, the original 1981 interior looks every one of its 34 years. Not only is it tatty and worn, but it’s dirty and hasn’t the nicest smell. I want to camp in Rita, and I’m not sleeping on that bed! Original or not, it’s got to go. 

I might not be of any real use with a spanner, but I’ve got basic skills with a sewing machine. I’m going to give it a go and treat Rita to some brand new upholstery. I want to put my own stamp on the van, but keep changes subtle, so choosing a modern fabric that compliments the van’s existing style seems like the perfect solution.

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Looking around at the ‘Show’ campers, there is an unbelievable selection of high quality, bespoke interiors available. Whilst it’s hard to deny that these designs and materials are luxurious, they’re just not what I’m looking for. I don’t want to change or even lose Rita’s character.

I imagine updated and clean, but want something similar, more original in style. Scouring the internet I’ve seen some deep brown fabric with little neat squares of colour to give a modern little twist to Rita’s original large block patterning. It’s exactly what I’m after, but being high end furniture upholstery, fairly pricey. I’m ordering it anyway (I’ll have to live on beans and toast for a while!), I’ve found what I want, that’s more important than money, surely?

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Time to start stripping off the old material, it’s dusty, dirtier than I imagined and any niggling concerns I’ve had about removing the originals have now gone. I wouldn’t let the dog sleep on that, its gross.

Rita and I haven’t been out on an adventure together yet (apart from a once weekly commute to work to keep her running smoothly), but I’m already discovering that no job is as quick as I imagine, no job is as easy as I imagine and every job is more expensive than I imagine! The foam beneath the fabric is in terrible condition. I have no idea why this was unexpected to me or why I didn’t factor this cost in. I just didn’t. I’m irritated by my naivety. I have no choice but to measure up and spend more…

After many hours at the sewing machine, me and Rita are finally ready to sleep together! She looks a million dollars, feels fresh, unique and personal to me.

This job has given me a deep sense of accomplishment, something I couldn’t simply have ‘bought’ by paying professionals to do the job. I’ll definitely be sleeping in luxury, the results have been fantastic.


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