Monday, October 19, 2015

Fleece Crutch Covers

One of the perils of competitive gymnastics is the risk of injury. So far, Dova had broken a finger, and has had various issues with elbows, ankles and feet. This time on a routine back handspring landing, she felt a painful pop in her foot and sat out the rest of practice. After waking up the next morning still in pain, we took her to see a doctor as well as an orthopedist the next day. The x-ray indicated a possible fracture in the growth plate of her heel. Ouch! It definitely looked like one side of her heel bone was sticking out further than it should have.

A photo posted by Angela T (@moonfever0) on

The tiny AirCast boot she received was so cute, but not so much the crutches. The worst thing she complained was how the rubber underarm pads rubbed against her arms went she wore a short-sleeved shirt. We looked online for some cute crutch pad covers when I made the mistake of saying "I could make better ones than that!" I'm always telling Dova to make use of things that we already have instead of buying new things, so now it was time to put my money where my mouth was, or in this case, save my money like I'm always preaching. I showed her some fleece fabric that I had bought when she was a baby to make a sleeper I never got to. She liked the fabric pattern so we were off.

One thing she wanted was for the cover to be double layer. In my mind I designed or the pattern and by the second one I had it down. Here it is.

You will need two swatches of fabric, each 10"x20", two lengths of 1/4" wide elastic, each 24" long and matching thread. Here's the fabric and elastic for one cover.

Fold the fabric in half crosswise with the wrong side out and sew the far edge. You will have a square.

Next will be the elastic channel on one side. I usually use a chopstick to thread things like elastic and drawstrings. If you don't have one, you can use a knitting needle or something similar. Flip the fabric right side out and place the chopstick inside the fabric along one side of the seam.

Place the fabric with the chopstick into the sewing machine and sew the length of the channel.

Just leave the chopstick in there while you sew. It'll guarantee that your channel will be wide enough to fish out the elastic later and also serve as a guide to make it an even width.

Next, fold the fabric in half again, with the seam side of the channel on the outside (this will be the inside of the final cover).

Place the edge of the fabric into the sewing machine starting below the channel.

Sew down to the crease and curve inwards slightly at the end. Repeat with the other side.

Next will be the channel on the other side. Place the chopstick through the small opening on the free side. Tent up the cover so that you can fit it into the machine. The edges of the channels will be unfinished, which is fine for fleece since it's very forgiving. This approach may still work with regular fabric since the channels will eventually be cinched up.

Sew down the length of the chopstick, making sure that you don't catch any fabric from the other side.

Fish the elastic through one channel.

And then through the other side, making sure not to pull it out the first side.

Cinch up the elastic and tie a bow. Flip the cover inside out and install it on the crutches, tucking the the elastic inside.

Try to tell your gymnast not to do balancing tricks with the crutches! Dova's best story was at school when a teacher escorted her out of the building for a scheduled fire drill before all the other kids. This got Dova really mad, and when she got home she said, "I don't want special treatment because I'm on crutches! I want to be TRAMPLED!" Wow, fiesty one!

On our follow-up visit to the orthopedist, the nurse immediately asked where we bought the crutch pad covers. She was shocked when I said the I made them. She was so enamored that she borrowed them to show another mom. Yes, I made them! Dova is now off her crutches, but it was nice to be famous for two weeks.

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