I had forgotten what a great big deal getting a different vehicle could be. Our vehicle that stopped working in December was purchased in 2010, new, and it was a real hassle to purchase.
When our old vehicle stopped working last month it had around 300000 km on the odometer. The old vehicle saw some pretty heavy use, commuting from the country house to Mist Cottage for just over five years. It toted tons of firewood, building materials, equipment, and appliances. It had no major bills until the last $1000.00 repair in December, and it stopped working a few weeks after that work was done. As Attila said, “it doesn’t owe us anything!”
There are papers galore to attend to buying the new vehicle, it seemed endless. Attila brought home the last of the paperwork last night, and we spent some time sorting that out, making the necessary copies, setting up the filing, and finally closing the drawer on the filing cabinet. This is made extremely challenging by the Pandemic, as all materials handled by other people have to be treated as contaminated, as one never knows.
Attila spent the first few days of the New Year working in the garage to build a rack for the tires, as the new vehicle uses snow tires and the regular tires need to be stored until the spring. He isn’t quite done, but will work on it off and on for the next week or so, there isn’t a great rush.
There was though, a pressing issue with the new vehicle. Attila will use it to go back and forth to work. Attila works on huge machines, he crawls all over them. He gets covered in a lot of grease and oil. Despite wearing coveralls, his clothing is impregnated with the stuff. The new car seats are fabric. Yikes!
We looked at ready made car seat covers for the driver’s side of the car. Wow! $175.00! Wow!
So I came up with a plan to make a covering for the driver’s side seat. It would take a lot of material. I save material. Saving old fabrics takes up space in this little house, but more than once it has saved us from ghastly expenses, just like this one. I am so glad we don’t purge items that may have some further purpose.
In my fabric tote I found an old fitted sheet from the around 2007. It had been decommissioned because Attila had worn holes in it, due to restless leg syndrome. Most of the material on the sheet was still sound, so I saved it. That formed the base of the seat cover. To reinforce the seat and back with thicker protection, I cut up an old worn out blanket. The blanket was older than the sheet. I had a supply of cotton thread that I had purchased myself, during my Home Economics teaching days in the 60s. The materials for the car seat cover were free. The price was right. Labour was free, as that meant me.
So on New Year’s Day I began the project. I had a rough idea of how I would go about making this seat cover, but did not think out the details. Usually I have a very clear path envisioned for projects of this nature, but not this time. This seat cover would be grown organically, each step determined by the step before it. The trick was to begin with a sound basic shape, and work from there. It was an adventure.
Have I mentioned before that sewing isn’t my favourite passtime? I do it because I need to do it. There are times when making it myself is necessary. There is also mending to be done from time to time. I have formal training in Couturier techniques (Ryerson University). I have been sewing off and on for over 60 years. My skills are highly developed, but I have never liked it.
The project took over the house. The dining table was where the sewing machine was set up. It was where tape measure, marking chalks, pins, and assorted sewing equipment were spread out. For two days we ate on trays. The only floor space available, for spreading out the sheet and blanket for cutting, was the kitchen floor. I will say that crawling around on the kitchen floor on hands and knees, with pins and markers and scissors, was no fun at all. It seemed to take forever.
There was a lot of stitching involved, as there were copious amounts of materials. I made sure to reinforce all stress points with extra stitching, and finish all seams so that nothing would fray. This seat cover is going to get a lot of wear.
The challenge of designing this seat cover iteratively was that I needed to go out to the vehicle frequently for measurements and to test the fit. It was well below freezing through the whole project, which meant gearing up with boots and coat and hat each time I needed to consult the car seat. It was a long and tedious process.
It took all of my time, morning till late evening, for two whole days, to complete the seat cover. And it isn’t pretty, oh no. After all, it is constructed with an old sheet and a worn out blanket, it never had a chance of looking good. But after using it yesterday when he went back to work, Attila announced that it works well. It does the job. I might have to do some tweaking over the next weeks, if any issues with the design crop up, but for now it is done.
I find I have without thinking named the new vehicle. The interior upholstery is blue, so I have found myself thinking of the vehicle as Blue, over and over again. Yielding to my inner wisdom, the vehicle will be named Blue.
Date: 7:11 AM EST Tuesday 5 January 2021
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Dew point: -1.7°C
Wind: NE 11 km/h
Wind Chill: -5
Visibility: 3 km
“The point of living and of being an optimist, is to be foolish enough to believe the best is yet to come.”
1921 – 2004
I have a few thoughts about this concept.
The best happens every day at my house. I bake a loaf of bread, it is delicious, that is “the best”. I come across someone being kind or compassionate, particularly when they think no one else knows, that is “the best”. Also, “the best” is relative to circumstances. If you have cancer and go through a painful cure that works, it wasn’t fun, but that is “the best” for that experience. In my experience life is, as Harry Nilsson would say, “good, bad, good, bad, good, bad…”. That is what life is all about as far as I can figure, a “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” affair. So yes, “the best” is yet to come, “the best” is happening now, and “the best” happened hundreds of thousands of times in the past.
May “the best” be with you.
Re: the seat recovering project, couldn’t “A” just always have a change of pants/coat with him and just hop into the men’s room and change into clean clothes for the drive back home each day?
So nice that you have the skills to make a car seat cover. My kitty is staring at me as he wants me to stop typing so he can climb in my lap. Best of luck with Blue.
Bex, well, that is a great idea, but it gets complicated. The devil is in the details, as usual, 🙂
The volume of laundry, two outfits each day, one to work in and one to wear in the vehicle, both “contaminated” in theory with the virus, both needing to be washed, in a load for oily continamted clothes and then another load for non-oily contaminated clothes. He doesn’t own enough clothes to do that. Another issue is that the oil isn’t just on his clothes, it works its way into the clothes and onto his skin, so he needs to shower every day when he arrives home. Another factor is that he takes his breaks in the vehicle, away from the shared work spaces, so he really needs to sit in the vehicle in his soiled coveralls. You get my drift, the seat cover was the solution that made Attila’s working life just a little bit more bearable and less stressful. I reckon it was worth the two days of doing something I didn’t like much. Anything I can do to make it eaiser for him is worth it.
Eileen, my training in clothing construction have served me well over the years, no regrets in having the opportunity to learn those skills early in my adult life. Ah, your kitty! Enjoy! I am missing Mist a lot these days, and have thought about finding another feline to share our home. I will wait though, until the height of the Pandemic second wave has passed, it would be just too complicated to find a good fit with a pet during this challenging period in history.
I’m glad you were able to be creative and fashion a costless workable solution. May ‘Blue’ give you many years of trouble free service.
Thanks Joan! I feel pretty good about the seat cover, now that it is finished, lol. Attila says he likes Blue a lot, so far!