Step 1: Sucuring Supplies and Materials (the Hardest Part).
2) Spacer Mesh
4) Hand Sewing Needle & Thread
5) Pencil & Paper or Chalk
6) Velcro - Hook & Loop Tape7) Sewing Machine
Here is a breakdown of the list of the supplies you'll need:
1) A bike helmet you'd like to make replacement padding for:
You'll definitely need a bike helmet for this project. If the original padding is still available, hold onto it if you're wanting to make an exact pattern copy. It doesn't matter if it's not in optimal condition. You'll only be using it to re-create the pattern anyways. If you don't have the original padding, don't worry, you can just eye ball a new pattern of your own design.
2) Waffle Knit 2 - 4 mm thick (aka Spacer Mesh, Waffle Mesh, Air Mesh):
Waffle Knit. It's a light weight fabric that is often used to provide an extra bit of cushion when constructing sporting equipment, back packs and more.
You'll need the thickness to be at least 2mm thick, but 4 mm would be perfect.
You'll need about 1/4th a yard or meter of fabric per helmet. This should honestly be more than plenty.
You may be lucky and able to find this locally at your general fabric store, if not you'll definitely be able to find it online. If ordering online just be sure of the thickness of the fabric.
The color is entirely up to your preference or accessibility. No one but you is really going to see it anyways.
I've chosen this fabric because it's breathable, soft, and provides the same cushion feel as the original padding found in helmets with one great exception - the fabric wont separate due to perspiration, rubbing, or general wear and tear. They're also machine washable but hang dry.
3) Fabric scissors:
You'll want scissors sharp enough that can cut fabric. I wouldn't suggest using an Exacto knife/utility knife for this fabric as it's not a stiff fabric and you'd likely just end up with a mess in the end.
4) A needle & polyester thread *required for 2mm thick fabric only:
Fairly straight forward, you'll need a straight hand held sewing needle and some polyester thread.
We'll be using polyester thread because it's stronger than cotton and has a bit of stretch to it. It also wont shrink when washed which could causing potential warping of our end padding.
It is possible to make this on a sewing machine, however it may cause a decrease in the padding volume over all and may cause a stiffer feel rather than a soft bouncy one we're looking for.
5) Pen/Pencil , Paper to trace pattern onto, Coloring Markers, or Chalk:
For one method you'll only need one of the 4 of these. You can likely get by with just coloring markers or chalk, but if you're looking for a more uniform look to your padding you'll want at least the pen/pencil and paper to trace your pattern onto (we'll be using the original bike helmet padding to copy the pattern) and markers or chalk depending upon the color of the fabric you've selected (for black or darker colours, chalk works best, for lighter colours markers are preferable).
The markers or chalk can really be any type. For markers either washable or non washable are fine. For chalk either tailors or the classic school style chalk works fine as well. So long as it transfers easily to your fabric and is easily seen you're good to go.
6) Velcro hook and/or loop tape:
Look inside your helmet with the padding removed. Figure out which type of the Velcro is attached to the actual helmet, the soft portion is called the loop, the rough portion is called the hook. You'll also generally be able to find this locally or online. You'll want non adhesive (no sticky or glue) backed version. The glue version will gum up whatever needle method you're using to attach it. If you attach it just with the adhesive already being used it won't stick for long unless you don't move or adjust your helmet padding.
If you have the soft portion already attached to your bike helmet, you're going to need a bit of the hook portion to sew onto the new padding you're creating.
If you have the rough portion already attached to your bike helmet, you're doing to need a bit of the loop portion to sew onto your new parring you're creating.
The reason why Velcro is optional is because the padding used already connects really well to the helmet, provided you have the hook portion already attached to your bike helmet.
When I first made my own set of custom padding I was concerned it wouldn't stay in place. I've been riding almost every day for a few weeks and haven't had any issues, so you should be ok too.
7) Sewing machine:
as mentioned above, it is possible to create your new padding with a sewing machine. The results may not end up as full in volume as hand stitching, and does require basic skills and knowledge of how to use a sewing machine.
If you opt for the sewing machine method, you'll also need some sewing pins. If you're going full on with Velcro too, you can also use your sewing machine to attach it all in one.
Now that you've collected all your supplies it's time to get crafting!
Step 2: Creating Your Pattern & Padding