Protect The Chair! Making Waterproof Wheelchair Covers for Swimming (for under £20!)

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.

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?

* This post contains affiliate links. I don’t recommend products unless I genuinely think they’re worth buying. By clicking / purchasing you are heloing me to maintain this site and my professional site over at www.TeachAllAboutIT.school

Advertisements

Weekend Instagram! #lowdownground and An Upcycled Full Body Pillow!

Here’s the plan. A minimum of one positive blog post per week to help other people, or at the very least turn EDS from a zebra into a horse.

What better way to harness the power of the internet than by using Instagram’s weekend photo projects for more than just vacuous selfies!

This week is #lowdownground which is ironic as I’m laying on the sofa with no hope of getting near the floor unless I fall over… so instead I started with this:

image

See (and like!) the original here

What I’d like to do with this is to help spread the word about #MakeRoomForOphirasBrain on GoFundMe  (https://www.gofundme.com/ophirasmedicalfund) who’s in a much crappier place than me.

On another positive note, the full body pillow was an excellent plan and a lot easier than I expected.

Materials :
1 old single duvet cover
6 value hollow fibre pillows
Sewing machine
Husband (or equally capable human) to do stuffing & lifting

Method :

Fold duvet cover in half lengthways and draw a sort of fat candy cane shape making as much use of the pre-sewn edges & making the pillow as wide as a standard pillow. When folded out, you should end up with a long horse shoe shape.

Turn inside out and sew up the all the edges aside from the bottom 2 using a small back stitch.

Tear open the pillows (so satisfying) and get your fully functioning human to rip apart the hollow fibre stuffing and stuff from both sides so the top curved section is stuffed first.

Once all 6 pillows are torn up and stuffed in, fold in and sew up the ends.
Place on bed / sofa / anywhere and get comfy!

I’ll post pics when I relinquish it…

Accepting Sitting & Sewing

Today was all about recovery. After descending into a codeine & valium zombie state last night to prevent over tired & in pain tantrums, I slept until mid morning today. That was nice. This week has kicked my arse and stuff hurts.

We decided to go into town to pick up a few bits that I needed for our costumes & on went Roboleg. Mr Geek gave me “the look” and suggested I use the chair.  The chair had arrived during the week and it was put into the boot of the car so I could pointedly ignore it. Mr Geek hadn’t let on, but he knew I was avoiding even acknowledging its existence. I have to hand it to him, he has perfected his reverse psychology on me and off we went into town with me self propelling in my chair (sort of. Mr Geek was discreetly helping). Then we bumped into some friends. Arrrrgh!

Of all the people we could’ve bumped into, G & V reacted in the best way. In that they didn’t. V asked if I was ok, but that was it and we chatted like normal. Like NORMAL!! We found a coffee shop & had lunch. 🙂

I then spent the afternoon sewing with the kids as I’d promised them a craft afternoon.

image

I’ve picked up a few things today:

If I self propel, I probably need gloves as my skin is sore & my elbows need to stay bent as I overworked them. I probably need a lumbar cushion in my chair too as it let’s me slouch. Baaaaad.

I don’t like people walking behind my chair. It feels isolating. I was much happier with Mr Geek or the kids walking next to my knees as I could still talk to them without straining my neck. I sort of get why toddlers hate front facing push chairs – it’s lonely out in front.

Doing pelvic floor exercises whilst sewing means I can sew for longer! (And looks really weird)

I don’t need to bash myself to bruise – brushing past the brace on my other leg this week is enough to bruise my knee!

image

A change is as good as a rest, and as it turns out, accepting being sat down rather than leaning on my crutches does mean that I don’t end the day curled up in pain. I don’t want to admit that it helped, but it did.

Fabric Drawer Saves The Day (tales of going out on a school night)

It’s not often that I go out with the grown ups to an actual pub, but that is exactly what happened last night. It seemed to slip my mind that I would have charge of my two lovely midgets for the whole of today and the pink wine flowed along with the conversation. At some point my long suffering husband arrived to guide us giddy ladies home by which point I was fairy sure I’d overdone it a bit.

This was further confirmed by a restless night wondering why my bed was spinning around the room and my six year old stroking my cheek as I slumped back onto the sofa for the second time after running off to hurl in the bathroom.

For a while we were saved by Cartoon Network and the movie channel (Pirates in an Adventure With Scientists is spectacularly funny), but no parent can avoid the actual act of parenting for long and whilst tiny pants is happy sitting in her chair & blanket fort with a bag of pencils and a forest of paper, the beanpole needs some entertaining.

In an attempt to be productive, we dragged out the fabric drawer which is still stuffed with coloured fleece after my summer of imagination toy making and embarked on her trying for the crafting Brownie Badge.

20130222-143725.jpg

One of the parts of this is to make something using a specialist technique and as they have lost their Brown Owl toy, she’s on a mission to make a replacement using appliqué. (There will be a bit of parental assistance here, but I’m leaving her to do the majority)..

We started off by cutting out the basic pieces and placing them on each other to give us a guide.

20130222-143845.jpg

20130222-143900.jpg

20130222-143923.jpg

20130222-143933.jpg

20130222-144156.jpg

And so we had the makings of Brown Owl:

20130222-144210.jpg

It was now up to madam to use embroidery thread to stitch on the eyes using blanket stitch…

20130222-144354.jpg

It might be the effects of the mega hangover, but everyone seems really contented and quiet this afternoon, despite me being a rather ineffectual parent.

Updates to follow….

Child of a Hippy – upcycling for the kids

Another lovely half term day of being just us. This morning was spent cleaning (I know! Even I was a bit shocked) and setting up the Tesco app on everyone’s phones so we can create an online shopping order that each of the adults can build as we think of, or use up stuff.

Note: for those who don’t know, we live as an extended family with my parents, me, my husband and our two children. This is in it’s fourth year (two years since the major house extension was completed) and it’s been an experience which is gradually getting easier. This household shopping app should address one of the current niggles.

This afternoon, I met up with a friend from an online book club with her daughter (the Internet is indeed an awesome place) and whilst they were racing around the soft play we chatted about huge volumes of things, one being my eldest daughters current trouser predicament. She insists on growing despite being the tallest girl in her class and after this week, she is now down to two pairs of wearable trousers. Bugger. This predicament is made worse because despite loving vegetables and hours of racing around and sport daily, she has been blessed with hips and a bum. This doesn’t make for happy shopping trips and I refuse to let her get hang ups about her body just because the general populous under ten is skinny.

This afternoon, we hatched a plan. A friend with equally tall (but stick like) teenagers had given us a bag of clothes to put away for later. I love the cycle of clothing that goes around our friends, but with the inherited hips of her father, my eldest stood little chance of getting into these once her legs were of the required length. So, out come the sewing box….

20130220-171051.jpg

The first thing was to measure these teenage jeans against my beanstalk child. The fit around the hips was loose, but comfy (nothing a bit of elastic wouldn’t help).

20130220-171219.jpg

The next thing was to fold up the legs to a length more accurate for an eight year old giant child…

20130220-171335.jpg

Then, I cut the bottoms off, leaving 1 inch extra for hemming then because we were going to go for something a bit more forgiving than skinny jeans, I used scissors to cut the seam up the outside of each leg right up to the to of the thigh.

20130220-171547.jpg

The next step was to raid my fabric drawer for something funky to give these jeans some flare (pun intended!). The beanpole chose some lightweight faus fur in Dalmatian print that I’d set aside for making soft toys. This was measured against the split I had made in the trousers and two rectangles were cut.

20130220-171849.jpg

The final preparation was to cut the rectangles into triangle shapes to give the legs the flared shape.

20130220-172001.jpg

These triangles were then sewn into the legs starting at the bottom and using the seam allowance in the jeans from unpicking the hem to guide the lines. The seam allowance on the extra fabric was adjusted so that the seams met at the top.

20130220-172500.jpg

Finally, a hem was sewn using the inch of extra length left when cutting down the leg length. And it appears that madam rather likes them!

20130220-172709.jpg

All this without having to face the shops where the poor kid gets miserable because all the clothes her age are for skinny rakes like her sister and I resort to going to mega-expensive shops which cater for people who have a bit of a bum.