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March 15th, 2014


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elettaria
06:35 pm - Making a wheelchair quilt
Since getting together with my partner R in July last year, I've been getting out and about in the wheelchair a lot more. I'm really starting to explore the possibilities of the thing. We're thinking of getting me a new wheelchair with slowing brakes, and of course I am already planning how to do it up with reflective strips and handrim tape and so forth. (Just after I did up this wheelchair, naturally. I did this one in blue, and am thinking of red and orange for next time.) I am also thinking of making it a proper lap quilt, instead of the folded fleece I use at the moment. I get really, really cold. Plus, you know, quilt opportunity.

Does anyone have any tips on this? I'd want it to be as warm but thin as possible. I'm vegan so this means no animal fibres such as wool or silk. I'm guessing that cotton is my best bet, perhaps two or three layers of the thickest one I can find (I'm in the UK)? What about bamboo, is that warmer? When we're not sure whether I'll need the blanket or not, we fold it up and put it behind my back. so it needs to be able to do that.

At the moment, I usually tuck it under my coat to keep it in place. My winter coat is long, black, and only buttons down to about hip height in the middle, so it falls open quite a bit over my legs. I could also have it on top, but then the problem is that it flaps loose, and I end up hopping in and out of the wheelchair too often to make attaching it to me by a leg strap a good idea.

I only hand-sew, so I'm guessing that this will have to be tied. Not my favourite look, but I hear there's an attractive alternative technique where you take two stiches in a V-shape every few inches instead of doing the tuft thing, called bird's feet or something.


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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:unclrashid
Date:March 15th, 2014 11:45 pm (UTC)
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I wouldn't expect cotton to be terribly warm, unless you also had layers that were wind and water resistant sandwiching the cotton. If you are going to tie it, why not a layer (or two) of fleece rather than batting? I made heavy winter coat that has a lining of fleece under supplex nylon, and I Iove the way it breathes. Unfortunately, although the still make supplex to use in sports garments, I can't find it as yard goods any more.
[User Picture]
From:elettaria
Date:March 15th, 2014 11:46 pm (UTC)
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It'd certainly dry faster if washed. But I thought cotton batting was meant to be warmer for an equal thickness?
[User Picture]
From:unclrashid
Date:March 16th, 2014 05:13 am (UTC)
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I just suspect that cotton would really suck up the rain, and if it gets wet, it stops insulating. Wool and synthetic fleece (is it polyethylene???) both retain a fair amount of insulating properties when damp.
[User Picture]
From:elettaria
Date:March 16th, 2014 11:05 am (UTC)
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Oh God, yes. Rain. We get quite a lot of that here. Right, so cotton is out. I couldn't find the really thick cotton batting being sold in the UK anyway. Back to fleece. Polar fleece, is that the stuff to go for? And what would you recommend for the windproof layer? Plus should I fasten the layers together in any particular way?
[User Picture]
From:unclrashid
Date:March 16th, 2014 01:12 pm (UTC)
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Yes, polar fleece. For the windproof layer, maybe the stuff they make windbreakers from, which is nylon, but microfiber polyester would also work. But you'd want to test either for handsewing. Some varieties might be so tightly woven that they are hard to get a needle through. I'd think that a tied quilt would be easiest, and since you would be using polarfleece it's not subject to shifitng like batting would be.
[User Picture]
From:elettaria
Date:March 15th, 2014 11:47 pm (UTC)
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I'm currently using four layers of fleece, I think, and it's really not warm enough.
[User Picture]
From:unclrashid
Date:March 16th, 2014 05:14 am (UTC)
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Fleece is considerably warmer if you pair it with a windproof layer.
[User Picture]
From:elettaria
Date:March 16th, 2014 12:19 pm (UTC)
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What do you think of this range, and which type do you reckon would be best? And how would I hem it/finish it off, since I don't know how to use a sewing machine?
[User Picture]
From:unclrashid
Date:March 16th, 2014 01:15 pm (UTC)
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Probably would work. It's hard to tell if you would need one or two layers from the pictures. I guess you'd have to put a binding on by hand. I've seen tutorials for doing an edge finish just with the backing, without using a binding, but I think that's for fabrics that you can iron a crease into, and that's not the case for this.
[User Picture]
From:elettaria
Date:March 16th, 2014 01:42 pm (UTC)
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It does look like a promising range, doesn't it. They have several different types on that page, it's not just the colours which are different. Some have wadding, some have fleece, some have the windproof layer on two sides. Any thoughts? Presumably with the one-sided ones, I could double it over? This may sound daft, but does the windproof layer have to be on the outside? Because if not, fleece feels nicer and is grippier in terms of staying put.
[User Picture]
From:unclrashid
Date:March 16th, 2014 03:57 pm (UTC)
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I'd make it so that it's windproof on one side and fleece on the other. Maybe one of these fabrics, and then an extra layer of fleece on the bottom. You could wear it so the nylon side is up. I agree about using the fleece for it's grip. On my coat lining, I have nylon on the face of it so it doesn't stick to my clothes, but the other side is fleece which keeps it in place in the coat with only a few snaps along the front opening.
[User Picture]
From:unclrashid
Date:March 16th, 2014 03:58 pm (UTC)
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PS... fleece is warmest when you use the windproof on the outside, but with a quilt, that just needs to be one side, not both.
[User Picture]
From:elettaria
Date:March 16th, 2014 04:15 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, that helps. One of the fabrics with wadding on the other side, or fleece on the other side? Then I suppose I could laywe as much fleece as I need. Any idea what one of those fabrics would equate to in terms of the layers of polar fleece I'm already using?
[User Picture]
From:unclrashid
Date:March 16th, 2014 07:07 pm (UTC)
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Only a guess, but 1 layer fleece + windbreak is probably equal to 2.5 layers fleece. If it's really windy, then maybe = 3 layers.
[User Picture]
From:emmala
Date:March 16th, 2014 12:03 am (UTC)
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Depending on how much thickness you are willing to sew through one option would be adding a layer of fleece on either side of the batting. Fleece is generally denser so you get the advantage of air getting trapped in the thicker batting but also moving through it slower because of the density of the fleece. So it will buffer up thin batting.

My mom uses a mobility scooter and I've been trying to figure out the best materials for a muff that will fit over her handle bars to keep her hands warm. She's had a hard time finding something that will keep her warm when she's out in winter, particularly on wet windy days.

For her I've also considered the option of a layer of rip-stop nylon either as my top or directly under it. It's waterproof and somewhat windproof (the super dense weave again) so including a layer can help prevent the elements from reaching you, and it's no thicker then an extra layer of cotton and easy to sew with. I'm not familiar enough with what is available in the UK but rip-stop is pretty common in a range of colors in the US at the big fabric shops, particularly ones that include fabric for out-door upholstery.

One other idea is to find a super thin synthetic down duvet and use that as your batting. Maybe a friend has a old sleeping bag you could use.

hope some of that helps.
[User Picture]
From:annoyedwabbit
Date:March 19th, 2014 12:43 am (UTC)
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Definitely do not use cotton batting if you expect the quilt will get wet! You lose heat faster wearing wet cotton than you do wearing nothing. Coming at this from an outdoor/backpacking perspective (as that's my other hobby besides sewing) I strongly advise that you look into places that sell fabric to outdoor enthusiasts, because while synthetic fleece sounds like a great option, not all synthetic fleeces are created equal. The stuff sold at the average US fabric store is rubbish, for example. I haven't ordered from Quest Outfitters, but my father has. They carry a variety of high-end synthetic fleece, as well as materials like Thinsulate and Primaloft (synthetic down.) Unfortunately they're a US company and postage to the UK is ridiculous, but there might be UK companies that carry the same materials.

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