Diamond-in-Diamond quilting makes stitch in time in Bentley design

Pattern created as part of Mulliner Driving Specification for new Continental GTs

Published: December 29, 2019, 4:30 PM
Updated: November 17, 2021, 3:44 PM

Bentley Continental GT seats

One of the best ways to convey luxury is in the attention to detail in things such as the stitching on leather seats and Bentley is one of the best at it.

The company’s Diamond-in-Diamond quilting on its products’ leather upholstery goes far beyond the diamond-quilting offered by others, using more than 700 stitches (712, to be precise) to achieve the unique pattern and offering interior personalization surpassing all would-be competitors.

The diamond pattern has become a signature design cue for Bentley, not only in its leather quilting but also in the diamond knurling of recent designs.

The pattern was created as part of the Mulliner Driving Specification for the new Continental GT and GTC, and is now ordered by three in four buyers. Now an integral offer on the new Flying Spur, the pattern employs a special machine to ensure precision and uniformity, and can be ordered for all seats and door panels.

“It was seamless from start to finish, a really pleasurable process. The idea really drove itself along,” said Bentley Interior Designer Louise McCallum, who was tasked with redesigning the quilting for the Continental GT and Continental GT Convertible. “The Diamond-in-Diamond concept is intrinsically Bentley, and it is simple. It offers the potential for a multitude of colour options and the size of the diamonds can be altered, we can therefore see a future for this design as we can continue to freshen it up and innovate.”

The pattern development was tasked with creating something that could not be easily replicated (neither by a traditional sewing machine nor even by hand), offering discerning Bentley buyers a truly exclusive feature. The stitching itself is shinier, adding a luxurious radiance to the 3-dimensionality of the finished product.

The team creating the prototype created the pattern practically by hand, using a simple sewing machine, but the process proved so labour intensive and time consuming that the company knew it couldn’t produce the pattern on a regular basis.

So, Bentley commissioned a new digital machine to create the bespoke design. The machine had the ability to die off each diamond shape individually with the stitches running fluidly with each shape. The huge machine completes all areas of quilting in one go, eliminating colour discrepancies between spools of thread, and can complete an entire car set in one go, allowing all quilted leather panels to be sewn in unison.

The digital component allows complete flexibility on the shape and size of the diamonds created. On the Flying Spur, for example, the pattern forms a series of ever-lengthening diamonds tumbling down the seat in precise, but seemingly random, formation.

Still, the production process wasn’t without its challenges. Stitching the “mounds” means that the leather surface “shrinks,” requiring that each diamond be uniquely spaced, bigger or smaller, depending on where it sits, so that it all strikes a balance. And there are the contour hurdles — seat proportions front and rear, the contouring around headrests, the trim around door handles, etc.

“It was a matter of trial and error,” said Darren Day, head of Bentley Interior Design, describing the process of adjusting each diamond fractionally until the perfect balance was achieved. “The art is actually ensuring that people don’t notice things at a first glance.”