Sewing A Wheel Cover ? techniques for the rank amateur

BY CATHERINE DOOK

?Darling,? I told my husband, ?We need a wheel cover for our Execuvan.?

?Whatever for?? John asked.? He looked startled.? After all, our 1979 Execuvan is not one of the classier vehicles parked by the roadside in Cowichan Bay.? During village celebrations, like the Low Tide Festival, nearby business owners have been known to ask us to move it far from the view of their customers.

?Two reasons,? I answered my husband.? ?Protection from the elements, and protection from ridicule.?

?I don?t want to spend any money,? John warned.? I could understand why.? That summer we?d spent a fortune painting over the rust.? But when I explained to the man I love that last year when I?d measured out our boat?s aft cabin mattress cover, I?d overestimated by 10 yards and had a whole roll of blue vinyl stuffed in one corner of our storage locker, naturally he was delighted.

?Think of the money we?ll save, Darling,? I cooed.? ?A wheel cover won?t cost us anything except thread.?

?Ten yards?? he asked.? ?How could anyone miscalculate by 10 yards??

?I don?t want to discuss it,? I said.

?Our Execuvan?s brown,? he argued.? ?A blue wheel cover won?t look nice.?

?It?ll look better than that ugly wheel and its rusty holder looks,? I said.? ?It?ll look free.? Trust me.?

?I trusted you when you measured the aft cabin mattress,? he grumbled.? ?We have enough vinyl left over to cover the whole Execuvan.?

?I think I?ll start with a wheel cover,? I said.

Using a tape measure borrowed from my knitting bag I carefully measured the diameter of the wheel, divided by two to get the radius and added two inches for selvage.? Then I measured the wheel?s circumference and added four inches, and then the width and added four inches, and sketched out a narrow rectangle, noting the dimensions.? ?I?m giving generous margins, Darling,? I said.

?Are they as wide as ten yards?? John asked.? He was hovering behind me looking uneasy, but I am a substitute teacher and am therefore impervious to insult.

?Help me roll out the vinyl,? I said.? The pavement by the storage locker was hard and smooth, perfect for unrolling.? My scissors cut into the vinyl like butter.? I cut off a large chunk and turned it facedown.? I placed one end of my measuring tape in the middle and marked it with a magic marker, then measured off the wheel radius plus two inches in a circle and marked it wherever the fancy took me.? Finally I connected the marks and voila ? there was the dimension of my wheel with a two-inch selvage.? The rectangle was easy.? I cut everything out, then bore my two pieces proudly down to the boat.

It took just a moment for John to set up the sewing machine we?d bought at Value Village ten years earlier, and it took me only half an hour to sew the skinny rectangle to the circumference of the circle, fasten the two ends to each other and hem the raw edge at the back.

?How are you going to fasten it?? John asked.

?Darling,? I said, ?I am the master of low-tech.? I will hand-sew four cords onto the hemmed edge, and we will tie them behind the wheel holder, two and two.?

?I think it may work,? he said.

Once I?d done I walked proudly back to the van with the wheelcover trailing cords and put it on.? To my astonishment, except for the odd baggy patch, it didn?t look bad at all.? ?Darling,? I told John, ?This proves that I am a genius at measurement.?

?You are,? he said.? ?But what are we going to do with the other nine yards of vinyl??

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