Monday, May 25, 2015

Practical Crafting: Creating a Privacy Cover for the Trunk of my Car

Saturday, I was waiting for my friend to come over so we could watch movies and while I was waiting I started working on a project I have been meaning to do since I acquired a new car.


In March, I had to let go of my beloved Suzuki Forenza. I am still heartbroken over it and after almost three months in the Fiesta I am still not quite used to it yet.  I am getting there though. Slowly.

Other then needed to a minor repair on the gas cap cover, the only thing this car was really in need of was the privacy piece for the small trunk.

Side note: the gas cap cover had popped off at the dealer. They used expanding wood glue to put it back on. I popped it back off. Turns out it just slides on. I also epoxy glued it.

Anyway, when the privacy piece was missing I originally was going to price a new one.  Then my friend (the same one who came over for movies) suggested I make it.  Well duh. I probably could couldn't I?

Soon after first getting the car I measured out the back piece and bought a light piece of wood from Home Depot.  Since I had my dimensions (thankfully), I was able to ask them to cut it for me. Yay!  Less work for me. I also do not have cutting tools beyond my Dremel.  As luck would have it my measurements were off by about a half an inch lengthwise.  So I broke out the Dremel and trimmed a bit. 

I also rushed out to get a yard of black felt for the covering. 

Until very recently, the wood board just sat in my truck covering the area.  Suddenly, I got tired of brushing across the bare wood (splinters anyone) and brought the wood inside my apartment intending to work on the project.

There it sat for a few weeks.

This weekend I am busting out some final pieces and it's sitting there.  I knew I would be waiting for a little bit so I figured well maybe I will start the felt cover.

Once I started I just kept going and I finished he entire project probably 30 mins before my friend showed up. It was in my excitement of finishing that I hit my head on the car (see previous post).

Actual Crafting:
So I had the cut piece of wood. I laid it on the felt with the felt folded and traced the outline loosely with tailors chalk (white).  I also left at least 5"-8" of seam allowance.

I sewed with a centered straight stitch across one side and down the long side. Then I got to attempt to slip the now felt sock over the wood.  This took some time as the splintering pieces from the long side really wanted to pop through the felt.

One the felt sock was on it was time to sew the open side shut. Hand stitch?  Oh no. I love machine sewing. Ha.  I switched my foot to an I foot (standard zipper foot) and changed the stitch to the left straight stitch. I then sewed up the side with the huge piece of wood hanging off the sewing table.

I then broke out my iron and left over (yes scraps) fusible interfacing. I took all of the seam allowances and fused the extra felt together to make them sturdier. You need the extra felt hanging off the edges.  Note: use a polyester setting on the iron and press down firmly for 8 seconds, anything higher will melt/burn the felt. 

Next, I bagged up my black curtain grommets, trailers chalk, and short fabric scissors.  Grabbed the felt covered wood and headed outside. 

The original design in the trunk had a piece that clipped onto pegs under the back part of the cover.  In the front it had most likely cord that attached it to the door that lifts open. This is what I am recreating.

I took my felt covered wood and placed it in the grooves with the excess felt hanging under the board.  I then made a cut where the groove for the peg is.  I then marked off where the peg is located on the felt with the tailors chalk.

The grommets I purchased came with a nifty plastic guide for creating the grommet hole. I used tailors chalk to trace the circle out and clipped away at the grommet hole.

This is my first time working with actual grommets. These are black plastic grommets. Not something I would use for anything fancy but perfect for the car.

I quickly learned that the plastic grommets are not the easiest to put to together. They snap very tight which I like because I am more confident they will not pop off. Ha.  I had the worst time trying to get the first grommet on. I finally took the board out of the car and put it on the road.  I had to get every bit of force I could with my palm until it finally snapped in.

Once both of the rear grommets were in place, I had to figure out the front grommets. I put the felt wood back in this time with the rear grommets on the pegs and the excess felt hanging over the top.

Then I closed the trunk and started mapping out the best placement from the back seat. This way I could see where the felt is with the door shut so the grommet placement doesn't get in the way of the door.  I marked my spots and traced the circle with my tailors chalk.  Opened the trunk, cut the circles out, and then added the grommets in the same fashion as I did the rear.

Next I trimmed the side felt. I trimmed so that it wrapped loosely around the grommets and was not too close to the stitches.

Then I shut the door and got into the back seat again. I pulled the long part of the felt over the back part of the trunk door and using my tailors chalk traced out where it should be cut to fit appropriately.  Then I trimmed it.

Next I needed to figure out the corded part. I happen to have a small set of bungee cords that reside in my car.  I attempted using the shortest cord but found the hook was too small for peg at the top.  So that wasn't going to work.

I then remembered I had a bag of split ring findings with a strange split ring I have never seen before.  I ran back in the house and pulled two of them out.

Heading back into the trunk of my car to set this part up was exactly when I hit my head. I was just too excited.

Anyway, this teardrop split ring fit perfectly and the small loop at the bottom is perfect to hook the bungee cord but now the short blue cord was too long. So I wound up taking the longer cords and doubling them.

The cover works perfectly.  It lifts up amazingly. I think the bungees were perfect because they allow some give and decreases any possible tugging on the rear grommets.

I am still ridiculously excited I made this.  I didn't really take "progress" pictures but here are some pictures of the final piece!



I detached the bungee cords so you can see the excess felt that is needed to cover the back. It sits on a bump in the door which you can place it on or if you shut it just right the wind flips it up.

The rear grommets (or one anyway).


The bungee cords, split ring, and front grommets.

And the same when the trunk is closed!

Practical crafting can be so satisfying. I should do this more often.