Heritage Crafts

Coach trimming

The upholstery and fitting of automobile and carriage interiors in a range of materials.

This craft uses products derived from animals – please read our ethical sourcing statement.
Craft category
Textile, Other
Historic area of significance
Area practiced currently
Origin in the UK
17th Century
Current No. of professionals (Main income)
11-20 estimated
Current No. of professionals (Side income)
Included in numbers above
Current No. of trainees
Not known – there are around 500 students studying with the Association of Master Upholsterers who could potentially go on to be coach trimmers.
Current total No. of serious amateur makers


Originally coach trimming involved upholstering the interiors of horse drawn carriages then, as the carriages gained motors and evolved into the motor car, so the trade followed suit.

Today coach trimming is used for vintage and modern classic cars.

Auto-trimming is the term used for contemporary car interiors and, although some materials such as leather and vinyl may be similar, the techniques used are different.


  • Upholstery
    • Fluting, stuffed fluting
    • Deep buttoning
    • Use of traditional materials in stuffing such as cotton wadding, as opposed to foam
    • Fixings and fastenings – e.g. tacks and gimp pins rather than glues and staples.
  • Woodwork
  • Leatherwork


Allied crafts:

  • Coach building
  • Upholstery
  • Auto-trimming

Issues affecting the viability

  • Skills issues: There are a lack of training opportunities for traditional skills and the older generation not passing on skills or technique.
  • There is no main organisation or trade organisation.
  • There is no government recognition for the trade.

Support organisations

Craftspeople currently known


  • Taylor, Don, Automotive Upholstery Handbook
  • Mattson, Fred, Automotive Upholstery and Interior Restoration
  • Taylor, Don, and Mangus, Rod, Custom Auto Interiors
  • Caldwell, Bruce, Auto Upholstery & Interiors: A Do-it-yourself Basic Guide
National Lottery Heritage Fund
Swire Charitable Trust
The Royal Mint
Pilgrim Trust
Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation
William Grant Foundation

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