Originally Posted 1 February 2013.
OK, so I broke down a bought a new car after 11 years and nearly 225,000 miles. It was about time. One requirement was that I had roof racks installed on this vehicle, of course. I had to get the Yakima permanent mount type, so I paid through the nose to get them installed. I at least could save a bit my making by own rack pads to go on the bars so it wouldn’t damage the boards. Ok, like $40 bucks, but hey, better than nothing. I thought a lot about the materials I could use to make the pads out of, and I decided on using an old yoga mat I didn’t use anymore since I got a new one. For the sides, I had some flag fabric, which is essentially heavy duty nylon cloth, used to make those outdoor decorative flags. It can be found at any fabric store, but I already had some in my fabric stash.
First, I measured the width of the bars across. I came up with about 27 inches. I decided to round this down to 26″ for my pads to leave a bit of room. You will have a different measurement depending on your racks.
Next, I took a pool noodle and measured the circumference using a tape measure. I came up with 8 inches. Since I’m going to use Velcro as a closure, I added 1 inch to each end, to make it 10 inches to make an overlap. This made the dimension 26″ by 10″. This is what I cut out twice from the yoga mat for each pad.
I was going for pockets on each end of the yoga mat to fit the pool noodle into- therefore, I cut four squares of the flag fabric into 10″ by 10″ squares using a rotary cutter on a cutting surface. The width is the same, but I wanted some space inbetween to fit the pool noodle into.
I then overlocked each edge of both squares using a standard overlock stitch on my machine set at 5.0 width, and 1.0 wide. I used a J foot on my sewing machine, used for overlocking.
Next, I stitched the stitched the squares to each end of the yoga mat, placing the squares ON TOP of the mat. Here’s a diagram of the stitching pattern and the layout on the floor:
When you stitch, keep the edges *just* overlapping- try not to overlap too much. Use a straight stitch and preferably a roller foot to make the pass.
When you’ve stitched both squares down, lay the piece down right side up and fold each half toward you.
I acquired some blue 3/4″ Velcro from the store to use for this project. Laying it up against the long edge, STAPLE it (no pins, Ma!) along this edge to secure it for sewing. Sew lengthwise along the edge of one side of the Velcro, then sew another line along the other side of the Velcro lengthwise. Here’s a sewing guide for this stage, also:
FLIP the piece to the other side and do the same thing. Don’t forget that the Velcro needs to be on opposite sides since the piece will be wrapping around a cylindrical piece.
Now, I’ve got to cut the foam noodle. I’m cutting it to 26″ inches. I mark the point with a pen.
For cutting foam of any kind, I use a electric knife like for cutting turkeys. Yep, they work great. They cut though foam like butter and make a mean turkey sandwich (well, when I used to eat meat).
I need to cut the foam noodle down the center (but not all the way through, just to the hole in the center). To help keep it straight, I chocked the noodle with a couple of heavy books:
Once the noodle was cut lengthwise, it was placed into the yoga mat pocket.With the noodle cut side up, I tucked the flag fabric into the slit.
I did not close the Velcro yet until I got the pads over the rail.
Slip the pads over the rail slit side down and with the fabric tucked in. Close the Velcro around the rails. The nice thing about these pads is that they have a slight sticky quality, which helps to keep the board from moving around.
Spiffy! Now my rail pads match my seat covers. I’m officially a total kook. Here’s to sorta keepin’ it real….kinda.