Swimming is the best excercise when you have pain everywhere, but swimming in a wheelchair can be a pain in the arse (clearly not in the chair, but using the chaur before & after).
So I made myself some covers.
- 1 Cotton towel (£9)
- 1 waterproof mattress protector (£9 -silent night)
- 1 sewing machine
- Set of vague threats to the kids to tidy their room
The towel was an important factor here, and I used a Turkish Beach Towel as it’s smooth cotton on one side so it’s not scratchy once it’s dried, but has terry on the other side to make it absorbant.
My 1st job was to cut the edges from the mattress protector. This had two advantages – firstly, it makes it easier to work with, and secondly it has built in elastic which I could use later instead of buying extra!
I measured my seat cushion by placing the lining & towel under my cushion & cutting a square around it, making sure that I’d left enough to go around the sides plus an extra 2 inches so the finished cover would wrap underneath like a fitted sheet.
I also cut tassels off plus 2″ of towel to make ties for the backrest cover. This was another excellent reason for the Turkish Beach towel – the finshed thing with it’s ties looks like I’m ready to go on holiday instead of hospital!
Once I’d cut same shape of mattress cover that I had for the towel, I lined them both up with the towel faced down & cover faced up* and trimmed any edges that were wonky (remember I was measuring around an oddly shaped Jay cushion with crap hands weilding scissors!).
*this is important as you’ll want them to match up when you sew them together.
Next, I placed my seat cushion back on, making sure that it was in the middle of the fabric & cut out squares from each corner. These went to 1cm away from the cushion.
Now I was ready to place the towel & cover with right sides facing in and sew together – it’s important to remember that you only sew the outside edges and don’t sew the corners! Otherwise you can’t turn it right ride out.
Next, I sewed the elastic that I salvaged from the mattress protector onto the straght edges that I’d just sewn (not the corners).
Once the elastic was in, I turned the fabric right way to create what can only be described as a giant showercap! With the right side of the towel together, I sewed corners together.
I’m sure there’s a neater way to do this as you can totally see the seams on the inside, but it’s a functional cover…
Making the back was a similar process. If you have a square back, then it’s identical albeit with no elastic.
If like me, you have a moulded/ fitted back, you’ll need to cut the shape of your back from the towel & mattress protector (this can be the rough shape plus 2 – 3 inches seam allowance). With a moulded back, it’s useful to add elastic at the too & bottom to help the cover “wrap” over.
Once I’d cut out the cover pieces (before sewing them together), I cut the tassled edges into 4 equal lengths then folded over the cut edges of the ties & sew along the edges to keep them from fraying. I attached the ties to back piece by sewing the top two to the inside of the corners and the bottom two in the middle. I then tucked them in as I sewed the seams.
(For a square back, sew the ties to each corner).
And this is the finished cover:
And from side (any reason to take a photo of my wheels!)
And from back – I’ve tied the straps in diagonals because it keeps the back cover more secure.
I promptly tested how well the cover worked with a day at the local pool & bubbles. Not a drop of water on my cusions even after some git sprayed with the shower (joys of tinypants helping me get showered).
Since then, I’ve used the cover weekly for swimming and we’ll be taking it on holiday. It’s doing exactly what I needed it to do and is as simple as chucking in the washing machine, or just hanging up like a towel to dry (just don’t tumble dry as it has plastic backing!!!).
What’s the one product that you resorted to making for your chair?
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