Introduction: Wing Mirror Socks for Your Car - Support Leicester City in Style
If like me you feel the need to make the most of the unreal feeling of Leicester being champions by sharing your healthy mix of amazement and glee everywhere you go, what better way than with your own pair of LCFC wing mirror socks!
Pictured are two different designs. Because the Lotus has tiny wing mirrors, the wash mitts fit right over them! All that is required is to cut a hole in the back to see through to the mirror while driving, fit a drawstring around the hole to hold the shape of the mitt, and sew on a badge. In the following steps I will describe the more complicated design for 'normal' modern wing mirrors as seen on the red Citroen and blue Audi.
I should add a cultural guidance for those who don't know about English football. I was brought up in Leicester, and soon handed a social decision of supporting the local team happily bobbing up and down between the top two tiers of English football or become a "glory supporter" and pick some other team with a shout at actually winning the league. I went for Leicester, can you tell?
Leicester City are a David in a Premier League full of Goliaths. Towards the end of last season they were all but consigned to be relegated, but made a last minute miraculous turn of form that kept them in the Premier League for another year. Over the summer they acquired a new manager, who at the time was an unpopular appointment (What a difference a year makes!) after a track record of poor form culminating in being at the reins when Greece lost to the Faroe Islands. Bookies placed 5000:1 odds on Leicester winning, better than you'd get for Elvis being found alive and well. But Leicester started well, dispatching many a big team. When Leicester played Manchester City in March they drew even though, as the Daily Mail pointed out, their entire starting eleven cost less than Man City's 8th most expensive player. In February they won the return match. Leicester had an unbelievable season, answered all their critics, and have recently secured the title as Champions of the Premier League. Reason to celebrate indeed!
Step 1: Choose Your Materials
While I had bought some embroidered LCFC badges, I left it pretty late to buy the other materials needed, so I really only had what I could find in my local Tescos*. Having searched around for anything blue I found a cheerfully noodly wash mitt that seemed just the ticket. Eyeballing it I worked out it would take at least two mitts per mirror for the bigger design.
Other materials used were blue and white thread, blue paracord, sprung drawstring toggles and Velcro... luckily I already had these laying around.
*Plural intended; there wasn't enough stock in just one!
Step 2: Unstitch Your Mitts
The mitts have two sides, one is the nice noodly towelling and one is a weird 3D weave. There is also an elasticated cuff. My idea was to keep the noodly towelling and the elasticated cuff, so the weird 3D panel needs unstitching. Turn the mitt inside out, and go along the edges unpicking the stitches. Also unpick the seam that makes the cuff a loop so this opens out into a strip.
When you are done with the first mitt, do three more. I won't say that this isn't pretty tedious, but once you get into the swing it goes pretty quickly. When you are done you should have four rectangular sheets, each with a strip of elastic sewn along one edge. On two of the mitts, this elastic needs moving so its loose end is the other side... so alas more unpicking! (The last bit, I promise...)
Step 3: Start Sewing!
I was making these for my brother as a surprise so I had to try to guess the shape to fit. I wandered around my village (presumably looking really dodgy) measuring occasional wing mirrors, though I couldn't find an Audi A4. In the end I went for a slightly generous fit to our Citroen C3 and hoped for the best.
The aim is to sew two sides to make a hood shape. Pair up one side with elastic and one without for each side. Because the wing mirror curves upwards from its front most point, the two panels need a different amount of material. The result is that one panel is sewn along its edge with a small shortcut for the corner; the other panel is bunched inwards and sewn at a gently diagonal for each edge, curving as required to give the right 3D shape. I held the material against the wing mirror to try to judge it, then pinched it to keep track of where it needed sewing.
In order to sew it, the material needs turning inside out (noodle-side in). Do this while being careful to keep track of where you are wanting to sew. The seam will need poking through, but once through can be pinned, or tacked with a couple of stiches so that the position and shape is held. Test it against the mirror at this point, as for now the shape can be altered easily. Make sure there is enough material along the edges to add a drawstring.
Once you are happy, sew along the two edges, being careful not to trap the noodles.
Step 4: Sewing the Elastic
When it was a cuff, each piece of elastic was sewn across two panels. We will do the same. Stretch out the elastic until long enough to cross both panels and keep it stretched by pinning, clamping or asking a friend to help. Sew it along the edge while it is stretched out.
Depending on which way you want the elastic to go, attach one of the pieces of elastic you removed earlier to the end of this piece. Make sure your stitches are strong. Turning the end of the elastic over and stitching it will help stop it fraying.
Step 5: Paracord Drawstring
Test fit on the mirror now the cuff end is elasticated. Pull the elastic tight to see the shape the mirror sock takes
Assuming no adjustments are needed, take mental note of how much material you want to roll over when making the tube for the drawstring.
Cut a length of paracord (leaving 20-30cm excess on top of the edge length of the hood), and knot the ends loosly to stop it pulling through. Starting at one end roll the material, noodle side outwards, around the drawstring and sew to close the tube. Be careful not to sew through the cord - tugging it occasionally will reveal accidental stitching. Add extra strong stitches at each end of the tube as this is where it will get most pulled.
Step 6: Velcro Adjustability
For the larger design, fitting is made easier by making the elasticated cuff attachable using Velcro. This allows a really tight fit that won't move when you're doing 90 down the motorway - not that any of us would ever do that;) while also allowing it to fit over the bulky mirror as you put it on.
Because I couldn't test fit on my brother's car I had to include adjustability.
Given the Velcro doesn't stretch, it is important to use a few stripes across with good sized gaps in between for the section next to the hood to be able to stretch as required. On the free strap part stretch is less important, so I made two strips along the strap, long enough to be stuck to two of the stripes at the same time, even when stretched apart. Hopefully this adds to the robustness once fitted. This was the only part I borrowed a sewing machine for, to make it look a bit more tidy.
Step 7: Adding the Badge
Now the mirror socks' attachment parts are complete they can be fitted to the car again. Make sure you get them where you want them, as we will now decide on where to place the badge.
This is down to preference, but once you are happy tack or pin the badge top and bottom, being careful not to trap any noodles.
Now remove the socks to make them easier to sew. I managed to sew partly under the edging of the badge, making my stitches very hard to see. Be sure to get all the noodles pointing outwards around the badge as you sew to avoid apparent bald patches.
Once finished remove the tack stitches or pins and the needlework is about done!
Step 8: Finishing Touches
Having put them on and taken them off you will have a better feel for how long the drawstring needs to be, so cut it to length. A sprung drawstring toggle enables easy adjustment (though for mine I just tied it off when happy).
Anyone with a roof rack will tell you that string and straps that blow around while driving tend to damage themselves and their surroundings (that's your car!). Once fitted the ends will be tucked in under the elastic, but to help control the ends I tied them together. The ends of the paracord tend to fray and the white centre stands out, so I thought I'd neaten up the ends with a bit of heat shrink, even though they would be hidden in use.
Step 9: Fit Them With Pride!
Your wing mirror socks are ready! Fit them with pride and enjoy all the admiring looks (or are they looks of confused horror?... No, must be admiration!)