I’ve been making seatbelt covers for myself for years – I’m short and especially during the summer when I’m wearing open neck clothing an unprotected seatbelt cuts my neck. I was very aware of the problem whenever I was driven somewhere when I had my cast on and couldn’t drive myself. I decided I needed to make seatbelt covers for quite a few of my friends – I could also use a new pair myself.
Two days ago I bought 2m of batik fabric (it’s more densely woven than quilting cotton and holds up better) – that would work out to 6 pairs of seatbelt covers/m – cost ~$3/pair. I also bought 6m each of black and white velcro (loops and hoops) – each seat belt uses ~10″ of velcro that gives me 4 covers/m – ~$1.00/pair of covers. I have lots of batting scraps which I planned on using so I didn’t need to buy batting.
Here’s how I make the seatbelt covers:
Folded in half, I cut 7″ strips from the width of fabric – cut in half gives me 2 pieces of fabric 7″ x ~21″. I cut batting 6″ x 21″. Place the batting in the centre of the fabric, fold in one end, fold over the second (selvedge edge on top so I don’t have to fold raw edge under).
Finished underside of seatbelt cover
Next, I sew a double seam across the open edge, turn the cover over, attach the loops and hooks to the length edges of the seatbelt cover by stitching the inner edge of the velcro; turn seatbelt cover over so the under side is up, then fold velcro over, and stitch down, folding in the top and bottom raw edge of fabric.
Finished top of seatbelt cover
Fold the cover in half and seal the velcro
That’s all there is to it. New seatbelt covers – cost: ~$4/pair (that’s because I used batting scraps – had I bought new batting the cost would have been closer to $5.
I have a new pair in my car. I have six pairs done – seven more to go in this batch – a total of 14 pairs of seatbelt covers.
I’m not sure whether I’ll gift these to the women in our knitting group, or whether we’ll take a day and they’ll make their own – they’d find that more satisfying, I’m sure.
Yesterday, the chiropractor told me to walk to the end of the block before getting into the car at the end of our session. What he didn’t know is there’s a wonderful small fabric/DIY shop at the end of his street – Patch. Chris Pasquet, the owner, saw a need for a DIY sewing studio in Halifax that also provided instruction, stocked unusual garment (and quilting) fabrics, along with interesting indy patterns and a few notions. She opened five years ago and the shop has been a going concern since.
Deb and I stopped in. Chris had a couple of interesting sample linen garments in the shop window which caught our eye. The three of us chatted for a while, Chris pointed us at some of her recent acquisitions – Japanese double-gauze prints, some nice linen and linen/cotton blends.
I have a single summer dress to my name. I could use a couple more loose, light garments for the warm days to come in July/August. In the end I chose a turquoise print Japanese double-gauze, a copper/beige ombre linen/cotton blend, and a pattern for a simple summer dress.
I won’t be making the dress as shown on the pattern cover – I plan on making it longer, much more A-line by inserting a wedge at the centre front/back on the centre fold line. The dress also has a tie at the back neck, I will just make a loop and button closure.
Now to get the fabric prepped and then I can commandeer help for the cutting!
My Cast For Wrist Fracture
Fractured my right wrist and injured my left hip in a freak accident Thursday (you really don’t want to know what idiot decision I made that resulted in this unplanned outcome). Had x-rays of my wrist and lower spine done at emergency and came home with a humongous cast. Very uncomfortable all weekend sitting on ice. (The wrist break BTW is the result of a FOOSH – falling on outstretched hand – what’s referred to as a Colles’ fracture of the distal radius).
Spent yesterday getting my left hip X-rayed, then getting my cast changed. No hip fractures! No increased slippage of L5/S1. Yeah. And while it’s still a plaster cast until next week, it’s a lot smaller and it frees my thumb and fingers so I can use my right hand a bit. Can’t lift anything with weight but I can use a knife to cut food on my plate. Big improvement.
Saw the chiropractor this morning and the left hip injury is much less serious than he and I expected. He did a bit of adjusting and I’m moving a little more easily. So day by day….
Can’t drive (probably not till I get a fibreglass cast next week) but friends are being wonderful at helping out and getting me where I need to be.
While inconvenienced, I expect to recover reasonably quickly.
Thursday, before the accident I’d cut out a pair of pale green summer wool pants and was just getting ready to cut out another in red linen:
Two Projects In Waiting
Now that I have an opposable thumb (and you can’t believe how important that actually is) I may even be able to knit a bit and sew some soon.
There’s no way I can go six weeks (that’s how long I expect to be in a cast) without making stuff. No way!
I also finished the floral collage this morning. I resumed thread painting when I got back from Toronto (visiting family) – adding stitching to the leaves, flower petals, and using an embroidery stitch I modified to provide a shaped satin stitch for the stamens. It’s not obvious, but I did quite a bit of stitching on this piece.
Floral Collage -m Finished
I wasn’t sure whether I liked the “raw edge” appliqué – I began by stitching the edge with a very narrow blanket stitch but didn’t like how it looked (it didn’t work with this fabric as well as it did with the printed bark cloth I used for Tropical Flowers); in the end I decided to do just a couple of rows of straight stitching (short stitch length, single embroidery thread) as close to the edge as I could get. Up close the raw edge seems to add to the delicacy of the petals and leaves.
The lime green inner flange works well to tie the leaves and the greens in the bordering fabric together. While the batik is busy, the inner border separation keeps the flowers from being overwhelmed.
I’m pleased with the overall effect. In this piece I decided to have the flowers spill over into the border – this makes them stand out from the background.
The flowers look a bit like Cosmos, but the foliage is wrong. I’ve spent a bit of time trying to identify the blossoms but haven’t come up with anything definitive. The fabric designer may have just improvised.
The wall hanging is finished with a hidden binding. Final size: 14.5″ x 20.5″.
While I was working on “Flowers” I came across a fabric scrap from some zippered bags I’d made and thought the blossoms were interesting, sharply enough printed to allow some detailed thread painting, so I cut out what I could and here’s what I’ve come up with.
The previous collage was contained within the framed area. I decided to try a piece that extended the flowers beyond the inner border.
For some reason, the large floral batik seems to complement the colours and after auditioning several pieces for the inner border I finally selected the lime which ties the piece and the wide outer border together. I’ll bind this work with a hidden binding.
So far I’ve stitched in stems to give the collage a bit of flow. Next I’ll do something with the leaves, then finally the flowers. Not sure where a signature will go – I’d intended it to be in the bottom right but I’ve brought the stems too far down leaving me w little short. There are a couple of options – I Have to keep thinking about it.
I’ve been looking at pictures of quilts by Freddy Moran – large bold background with appliqué collage in strong bright colours. I decided to try something like that.
I set up a black/white fabric background, then began cutting out flower-like shapes in layers and bright colours. Nine large flowers later I thought I needed to connect them in some way so I included a long flowing branch of leaves. Then added a few lighter green leaves (from a floral print fabric) to just finish off the appliqué.
Now to start thread painting – here’s where I can use contrasting colours, particularly on the leaves and stem to make them brighter. No time to even start that today – tomorrow, for sure.
I finished thread painting yesterday afternoon. I added a muslin backing and hidden binding. This morning I hand stitched the hidden binding in place. After all this time (I actually started this raw-edge appliqué piece on May 17, 2018) I have it completed – absolute done!
Tropical Flowers – Finished!
The project sat around for months while I worked on other things. I started thread painting this piece on Jan 8, 2019 because I was teaching a class on thread painting and had to have something to work on myself. I got into the thread painting seriously after Jan 17 – when I completed the framing (I’d done that early in the process because I wanted the women in the thread painting class to see how I go about finishing my work). I spent time filling in leaves, then flowers. In the beginning, each leaf took a day or three to complete.
I was sure I’d taken on more than I’d expected when I started out. But as days went by I could see I was making headway. Jan 20 – one leaf finished; Jan 22 – a second leaf; Feb 11 – I got back to the piece (after working on some new quilts and planning two wall art pieces) and finished an Anthurium; Feb 12 – more progress; Feb 13, Feb 17, Feb 18, Feb 20 – I continued thread painting elements until yesterday when I stitched the last of the Plumaria!
People often ask – “How long did a particular piece take”? It’s not a simple question. As you can see, I started this piece on a whim back in May, it sat around for several months before I returned to it. The thread painting was slow going to start with but as I made progress I was able to stick with it for longer. When nearing the end I worked on and completed elements in a single sitting (although I felt tension in my neck and upper back).
You can’t see the thread painting in the upper photo – here are photos of the detailed work:
Epiphyllum – Detail
Plumaria – Detail
Anthurium – Detail
I feel a weight lifted having finally completed this work. The gals in the thread painting class are meeting again on March 5 – my piece is done. We’ll spend time that day working on framing and finishing, even if their thread painting isn’t completed. I want to create motivation for finishing their projects.
Tomorrow I’m going to return to Poppies which I began Feb 4. Time to get back to that and to Two Men in Cortona.