To begin, you will need:
- A sharp pair of scissors
- Leather of your color choice. The thinner the leather the better it will conform and stretch to your steering wheel's shape.
- Sewing Machine or some efficient way of evenly punching and spacing holes
- Sewing Needle
- Strong thread that matches your leather or compliments it
Step 1: Cutting the Leather
First, find out the circumference of your wheel by multiplying the diameter by Pi(3.14...). Next, put your hand on the steering wheel in the 11 and 1 o'clock position. Now measure the circumference where your fingers wrap around (I will be calling this the width). I suggest you cut extra length and width so you don't end up with too little leather.
My wheel's circumference was 44" and was 4" in width. However, since I didn't have a 44" piece of leather, I went ahead and spliced the leather into two sections. As I mentioned earlier, I decided to add extra leather. I added 2.5" in extra leather to the length and 1" to the width. In the end, I cut two 24x5" leather pieces.
Step 2: Sewing the Leather Cover
After you have finished cutting, put the sides you want visible together and sew the two pieces together to make one long piece instead of two shorter pieces. Next, take your sewed pieces of leather out to the steering wheel and tightly wrap it around the steering wheel. You'll want a snug fit, so your cover doesn't slip while your driving in rush hour traffic. Pin the leather so that it is snug but not too tight to take off. Lastly, sew a straight line across where you pinned it. Make sure the non-sewed ends are even so your splices will be 180 degrees apart.
Step 3: Trimming the Leather Strips
At this point you should have two pieces sewn together at the short ends with the sides of the leather you want to be visible face to face. Now that you have a scarf-like leather strip it will need to be trimmed. Go back out to the vehicle and get an exact measurement of the width by wrapping a string around it and pinch/mark where it completes a circle. Measure the distance of the string, and mark and trim your piece of leather. The cover will fit best if you leave a slight gap that will be pulled together when you sew it later.
Step 4: Sewing the Cover Onto the Wheel
This is not only the step that requires the most machinery, but also it requires the most patience and endurance as you continually poke yourself with the needles.
First, take your leather to the sewing machine and dry sew (sew without thread) 1/8" from the edge on both sides. I used a size 18 needle to make larger holes. The larger the holes the easier it will be to slide the needle through.This dry sewing will punch little holes for your needle to go through, which will save your fingers a lot of needless pain.
For the actual sewing, I used a baseball stitch, which is most frequently used stitch for steering wheels. Because my holes were so tiny and so close together, I went through every fourth hole. To start the baseball stitch, you will need to have a piece of thread with two needles, one on each end of the thread. Find your starting hole and center the thread halfway. Next, go across to the other side and thread up through and over. Repeat with the opposite needle until you reach the end.
Every steering wheel has some arm that extends from the center of the wheel to the outside rim. I am going to call these arms "connectors"(see last picture). When I came to these connectors during my sewing, I would stop, end the sewing, skip over the connector, and resume sewing on the other side.
Step 5: Finished!
Congratulations! You have completed your own full-grain leather steering wheel cover. Now you can drive your car around showing off your awesome cover to all your friends.
Please leave constructive suggestions in the comment section below!
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