Sunday, 22 July 2012


Short of crashing it into a tree then setting it on fire, there was no way I could really make my new car look like Wayne, but I at least wanted to make it a little easier to pick out in a parking lot.


When Mum had the audacity to suggest that perhaps I didn’t want the most expensive material in the store for a dashboard cover that was going to sit in the sun and fade, I tore into her like a starving man at a smorgasboard. Two months later, I sat bolt upright at 2 a.m. exclaiming “Why didn’t I buy cheap material for the bottom and use the print for the top?”

When I called Mum to query why she didn’t point this out at the time, she chose to plead the fifth, cheerily disregarding the fact that we don’t actually live in America.

I didn’t want to recover the old one, since I may actually want to sell the car to somebody without the same passion for classic literature, so I laid it on a long roll of butcher’s paper and traced the outline to make a pattern and cut out two pieces of material. Wadding falls apart easily, so I didn’t sew the back and front together and then insert it, like a cushion insert: I laid the two pieces of material right sides together with the wadding on top, and stitched all three together, leaving a small gap to turn it right side out and handstitch it closed.

I bought the thickest wadding I could find. This was a mistake. It’s kind of like having a giant, flat stuffed animal in front of your windscreen. If I was doing it again, I’d use thinner wadding and sandwich it between a couple of pieces of stiffener – I don’t think stiffener alone would be thick enough.

Another discovery was that you get to look at it even more than you expected, because the windscreen reflects the pattern. It’s always there in front of you, like a strange mirage. 


Creating the pattern was interesting, since I had to stab pins into the headrest like nails to hold the paper in place while I traced each section, rolling it as I went to get from the underneath of one side to the other side. I did have the foresight to mark the paper with front, back and top sections, so cutting the material was easy (adding a couple of inches as seam allowance, of course). The actual sewing part was…more interesting.

I’d never sewn on a curve before, at least not without Nan to supervise, gradually get impatient then do it herself. I was laying the pieces of material out flat and trying to get the edges to line up so I could pin them together, and it was not working. Eventually I put the material on the headrest cover, right side down, and pinned along the top of the curve, then took it off before it got stuck and pinned the rest. From there it was just a matter of stitching the raw edges together.

Getting the covers on was like trying to dress a particularly wiggly five year old in a two year old’s clothing. Slipping it on from the top down didn’t work: I had to get one corner in then work the material over the top to the other side. Obviously, I had to leave the underside unsewn, so the material at the bottom was still hanging down. I will never confess to Nan or Aunty Barbara that I hate hand stitching so much that the bottom of the headrest covers are held together with duct tape.


I followed this tutorial, but let’s face it, a steering wheel is a giant circle: there’s only so many variations of how to make a cover for it. I hadn’t realised just how visible the interior of the cover would be: I think I expected the elastic to be magnetic and seal the edges together. Next time I would probably line it, or at least pick a material with a decent backside. No, I don’t mean material with a Betty Boop print. 


Clearly, Justin Bieber wasn’t doing a good enough job of driving people insane and so God decided to invent bias tape. Behold and admire the CD holders, since they are the first and the last things I will ever make with the horrible stuff.

The tutorial from Puking Pastilles was very clear and detailed, but it kind of glossed over exactly how thick the project gets: by the time I’d reached ten layers of fabric with interfacing plus elastic, the bias tape I’d bought was too thin to wrap around it and my sewing machine had declared its intention to pack up and move to Hawaii.


This project started with ripping the gearstick cover to pieces (which makes it sound like I used bare hands and brute strength, but actually I used a Quick Unpick). Cotton alone would have been too flimsy, but I didn’t see the point in replacing one plain boring leather cover for another plain boring leather cover, so I decided to take it apart, glue the new material to the old material and put it all back together again. I only removed the top section and tore out one seam, but working with the cover flat let me wrap and glue the material around the bottom without the elastic scrunching it, and sew straight lines along the seams I wasn’t unpicking. It would be possible to do it just by gluing, but it might not have held its shape as well.

With blithe disregard for the fact that they didn’t match anything, at all, in any sense, I cut each end off the shoelaces from my Batman Converse, stitched the two sections together and fed it through as the cord.

It took me three tries to get the Velcro sewn back on close-enough-to-properly. If you’re going to take something apart and then try to recreate it, for the love of god take proper photos of it first.


 I really should have taken a photo of the cup holder before I took it off to spray paint it, since I couldn't figure out how to put it back together again.


They’re literally just a circle two inches in diameter wider than the window knob, with a piece of elastic sewn in. (Well, I needed something else that matched my pirate duck.)

 Some kind of tacky plastic animal is an old Wayne tradition, though the ducks automatically lose by virtue of not being blueberry-scented.


Originally I was going to make the organiser for the car so I had somewhere to dump my wallet and phone, but since the CD visor freed up the console for that, I stuck it on my bedroom wall instead. It probably would have turned out a lot better if I hadn't been in a 'I do not measure things or pin things!' mood. Also, I ran out of stiffener and so I had to cut up Zoe's cereal box. She won't mind. I hope.

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