One of the projects on my Christmas sewing list this year was a steering wheel cover for my husband. I have a really hard time finding gifts that I can make for him. I don’t know if it’s just that I have my mind set on little kid stuff all the time, or that men are just really hard to sew for. Anyway, the original tutorial I found was here if you want to check it out. Honestly, I was very disappointed in the tutorial because there weren’t really specific directions in it. For a simple project, it took me a lot of time just getting the pattern right.
I chose a Superman print fabric because I had it on hand, and my husband just happens to love Superman, win-win. I won’t tell you how crazy girly my “other” steering wheel cover is, let’s just say that this is way more his style. We drive a big van, but unless you have a teeny tiny steering wheel, this should fit your vehicle as well. In fact, I’ve never seen multiple sizes at any store, so I imagine most steering wheels are similar in size. If you want to make one of your own, I am going to walk you through the steps. It is super easy and a fun, quick project for the man in your life, or for yourself!
Cut your fabric 52.5″ long and 5″ wide. In order to achieve 52.5″, I actually had to sew two pieces of fabric together. Depending on your print and which way you can cut your fabric, you may have to do the same. If you do, just make sure you put a nice seam in there that won’t fray as this seam will be subjected to friction. I use the overlock stitch on my machine.
This is actually a little overkill but I like things to look nice. I did the overlock stitch and then a row of straight stitches to keep the seam flat. This also helps when you are feeding through the elastic. It sucks to get stuck on a seam. Trust me on this one.
Once you have one long strip of fabric the right size, you stitch the two elastic casings in. You just have to make sure that the casing is big enough to hold your elastic and that it is consistent and even. You can do this by measuring and pinning, or wing it if you have done this sort of thing before. I have sewn a lot of elastic casings for skirts. I kind of hate this step actually, now that I think about it.
If you have a similar foot on your machine, you can make your casing as follows: Face your fabric right side down on the sewing machine and fold the casing over. You are now looking at the right side of the fabric on the edge. Line up the left edge of the fabric with the left edge of the presser foot and the right edge of the fabric with the right edge of the presser foot. Set the needle to the far left setting and feed the fabric through evenly and slowly. Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end of your seam. See the picture above.
Using 1/4″ elastic, cut two pieces each 43″ long. Attach a safety pin to the end of your elastic and feed it through the casing on one side, then the other. As soon as I was done feeding it through, I ran a quick seam across it to hold it in place. You could also just pin it; no matter what you do, don’t let it suck back into the casing or you will be hating life as you re-feed the elastic through a second time. Don’t ask me how I know this.
See the green thread tacking the elastic into place? That’s what I’m talking about.
When you are finished, you can put the right sides together (short ends of the fabric) and sew another secure seam (overlock or whatever you prefer.) This is a 1/2″ or slightly larger seam allowance. If you make it too tiny, it won’t hold well.
And now you are done! Sweetness!
It really is a project that takes less than an hour. I had to go back and forth a bunch of times to the car to measure, take pictures, and check the fit; it still took me less than one hour to complete. It is a very basic cover though, and it may fray on the inside where your casing stitches are unless you do something to prevent that. I don’t really mind but if you like to pick at stuff, you may just want to use a different method. You can use fray check on the edges, use an overlock stitch, or use a zigzag stitch on the whole thing if you want. I didn’t.
Anyway, my husband loved it, and when he opened it he even knew what it was. I wasn’t sure it was going to be immediately apparent as it kind of just looks like a bunched up piece of fabric when it’s not on a steering wheel.
*This post originally appeared on BlogHer December of 2014. This steering wheel cover endured abuse for a year before being put to rest. If I were to make it again, I’d add a layer of interfacing for durability. My husband got many compliments on it, and I think it’s been one of his favorite gifts from me.*