Tutorial: Towel Seat Belt Covers

Welcome to the first sewing tutorial!  I posted this previously on my sister’s blog (www.icanfindthetime.com) and will repost it here to get mine going.

Making Towel Seat Belt Covers

I thought of making a seat belt cover from a hand towel that can help avoid getting your seat belt sweaty after a great workout (especially Bikram yoga!) or after getting caught in a down pour.  After taking up hot yoga, running in Arizona anytime of year, and experiencing the sudden downpours of the Hill Country of Texas, having some extra safeguard against a sweaty or musty car seemed like a good idea.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • 1 Hand towel (for two seat belt covers)
  • 1 package of 36” soft, sewable Velcro in complimentary color (usually just white or black are readily available)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing machine and sewing accoutrement you may need (seam ripper, etc.)

Instructions:

So, I’m making two sets, one for me and one for friend I do yoga with.  I bought two 2-packs of handtowels at Walmart for $3 each.  I liked them since they had the corresponding stripes down each end and that is where I’ll make the cover.  I like the use of hand towels since there are lots of nice, finished edges.  I’ll be making two seat belt covers that are 16” long since I’m using the width of the small edge of the towel, along the stripes.

Towels chosen for seat belt covers

First, cut the hand towel in half on the longest side.

Cut each towel in half, hamburger style

Cut each piece of Velcro in half, leaving a 15” length.  Place one of the halves of the Velcro (I did the Velcro hook side first) towards the finished edge of each half of the towel.  I centered it on the width and just behind the finished edge, about 1” from the bottom of the towel.

Pin on the first half of the Velcro

Sew down the Velcro tape using a sewing machine.  I used white thread for the top thread and blue for the bobbin so that it was as hidden as possible.

Sew down the Velcro with matching thread

For the next part, you need to choose the finished width of the cover that you’d like and sew the finished edge.  Standard seat belts are 2” wide, so I was shooting for 2.5” to allow some extra room.

Fold over the seat cover like it will end of being to determine where you should trim the extra.  I measured 2.5” from the final fold and marked it with a pin.  I think measured an additional 1” for seam allowance.  The pins are in the picture at 2.5” and 3.5” pins.  I did this on both ends and then cut off the raw edge at the second pin.

Fold over the towel to make a casing for the seat belt

Make casing approximately 2.5″ to accommodate the seat belt

Trim off extra towel to avoid bulkiness in casing

After trimming the raw edge, turn up the edge 0.5” twice and pin it in place.  Then, sew it in place to create a hem.  I switched the top thread to blue to hide the seams.

Fold raw towel edge to create smooth edge

Then, place the second piece of Velcro tape (make sure it’s the opposite type!) just inside the seam you just sewed.  I placed mine as close as possible to the new seam and I folded it over to ensure that the Velcro parts line up to make a 2.5” wide tube.  The hem is pretty thick (3 thicknesses of terry cloth), so you’ll probably have to offset it a bit from the hem to allow you to sew around the Velcro tape.  Alternatively, you could switch to a zipper foot to allow you to trace the edges of the Velcro better.  Pin the Velcro tape and sew it down like the first strip.  I switched back to white as the top thread to hide the seams.

Sew on the second piece of Velcro

Finally, there is just one step left.  I decided to sew two extra seams on each cover to help stabilize the tri-fold of each cover.  I sewed in about 3/8” on each edge with a single straight seam so that the cover would always fold to the same place if you take it on and off the seat belt.  This wouldn’t be possible if I hadn’t made it 2.5” wide in the first place.  If you decided to just make it 2” wide, you can forgo this extra step.

Sew down each side to stabilize casing

After sewing on that Velcro, your seat belt covers are done.  Here are the two sets I made, one blue and one red.

The finished sets. Red fish, blue fish…

Here are my new seat belt covers in action!

Happy, sweat-proof seat belt!

There are lots of ways to personalize this depending on your towels and car.  In my case, the covers were as long as the short length of the towels to avoid refinishing more edges than necessary.  Depending on your car, you may need to shorten one for the top section of a tri-point seat belt so it can retract when you exit the vehicle and keep the clasp from getting in the way of the closing door.

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