Steering wheel covers are hardly optional in Arizona. For those of you who have seen photos of people driving with potholders on their hands, I can assure you the struggle is real. I have the luxury of parking mostly under a roof, but I still wanted to keep my hands from melting on the vinyl of a steering wheel. Then I found this awesome tutorial from Sweet Dreams by Sarah, featured on the Moda Bake Shop blog: 30-Minute Gift: Padded Steering Wheel Cover. For the most part, my tutorial closely follows Sarah's instructions, so if my instructions are not clear, feel free to slide on over to her tutorial for clarification.
In her tutorial, Sarah used actual quilting "charms," but I'll save you the time and just say you need 12 5" x 5" squares of cotton fabric and a backing piece measuring approximately 48" x 5". I will say a lot of this is approximate because every steering wheel is a little different. While most are 14.5" in diameter, there is some variation. I would recommend measuring the circumference. If you are tracking my tutorial and Sarah's, you will see I have increased the number of squares from 10 to 12. I like the idea of the fabric having gathers around the outside. You also need a piece of batting that is approximately the same size as the backing fabric, and two pieces of elastic (3/8" or 1/2" width) about 14" LESS than the length (circumference) of the sewed pieces. Finally, you can make some optional straps that require 2 pieces of scrap fabric 1" x 3" and two small pieces of Velcro.
A note about batting. In her tutorial, Sarah uses Insul Bright Heat Resistant Batting. I decided to use a piece of polar fleece as batting. I had the perfect remnant that I was able to fold in half long ways. I just wanted to be able to put my hands on the steering wheel without burning them - I don't care if they are a little warm. I was more interested in the padding effect rather than insulation.
Place the strip of sewed pieces on top of the backing, right sides facing. Sew down both long sides. Before turning right side out, pin the piece of batting or fleece on the ends of the pieced strip. Do not pin through both sides of the cover because then you won't be able to turn it inside out.
Carefully turn the whole thing inside out, putting the fleece flat on the inside of the cover.
Unpin the pins and sew a seam down both long sides 1/2 inch from the edge. This will form the tubes for the elastic.
For each piece of elastic, pin one end at the opening of one side of a tube. Attach a pin to the other end of the elastic and thread it through the tube, pinning it on the other end so it doesn't fall back into the tube (it will be tight).
Now for the fun part. Take your cover out to the car and wrap it around the steering wheel. Tighten the elastic so it is snug enough and pin the elastic in place. Mark where you want to gather the ends to form the circle. Also, you can make some optional straps that will keep your steering wheel cover from sliding around as you turn the wheel. Just mark a spot where you can sew a little strap and attach it with Velcro. You will want those straps to be just under the part of the steering wheel that crosses the center. Here are the straps already sewn on so you can see the placement.
Take your steering wheel cover back to the sewing machine and sew the elastic down and the circle closed.
I love this easy pattern so much I made more than one steering wheel cover so I can have one in the laundry!