I’m back from my England trip, which was straightforwardly bad. Unfortunately Professor Boyfriend tested positive for Covid on the morning of our first full day there. We’d travelled from separate locations, but since we’d spent the previous night in the same room, I also isolated for the remainder of the trip (with the exception of food-and-paracetamol quests), though I still wore all the fun vacation clothes I had packed; hopefully the occasional pharmacist occasionally appreciated them. Professor Boyfriend had to change his return ticket and extend his trip an extra week (between that and the second room so I could isolate separately, this terrible trip cost the earth!). I actually flew home on schedule and left him there (our original flight date was now the day Prof B.F. was allowed to go outside with a mask, and y’know, feed himself), and then *I* tested positive on my first morning back. By the way, I departed England on the 41°C Tuesday and returned home to a severe and prolonged American heat wave. My apartment, which I cannot morally leave, hit 91°F, which is almost impressive. Also, then my fridge broke.
That’s the moment where this became a comedy, in my opinion! Professor Boyfriend is going to be okay. I’m going to be okay. My groceries that I ordered for quarantine, especially the fancy ice cream I was using to soothe my loneliness and illness? Opposite of okay! But better it than us!
I’m a little dizzy and very very warm, but I really like blogging and I’ve got NOTHIN’ BUT TIME, so I had a look around my house for something I could amateurishly photograph and realized it was finally the season to share my beloved sleeve board. More accurately, my sleeve board cover, which is the only part I made.
A few words on the wood construction first, which are based on my memories of someone else’s experience. So have this salt grain. You can keep it.
Professor Boyfriend built the base without benefit of power tools. The curvy middle section is pine, I believe, or something pretty soft, but the base-base and the actual board part are hard maple. Hard maple is also known as rock maple, and it is ridiculously hard – he had to revise his plan to attach the three sections with screws, because the steel screws kept breaking, and switch instead to dowels and glue.
This wood was challenging to work with, but it hasn’t warped even with the repeated application of steam from my iron, and it doesn’t leak any resin or sap when heated. Also it’s so smooth and pretty and would never snag anything and I unscientifically believe it could stop a bullet.
I stupidly broke the middle section recently, but Professor Boyfriend mended it, what a guy!
I made the cover by tracing the finished surfboard-shaped-top onto medical bum paper and adding 2” seam allowance. I used that pattern piece to cut two layers, one from quilt batting and one from cotton canvas. I trimmed the batting layer to be a little smaller than the outer canvas, and stacked them wrong-sides-together (not that the batting has a wrong side, but you know what I mean), and afterwards treated them as one piece. I used the same cotton canvas to cut wide bias strips, which I joined and then sewed around the edge as a bias facing. This bias facing was intended to function as an elastic casing.
If I ever make another cover, I would do that differently. Folding around the tight curve of the ‘nose’ of the piece was hard but doable, but feeding the elastic through that area was memorably too difficult. I had to unpick some of the facing’s edgestitching so I could yank the elastic past the trouble point, and it’s still not altogether even.
Next time, I would add a separate casing made from extra-wide double-fold bias, essentially a bias binding instead of a bias facing. Ultimately, this worked, though.
And the benefit to sewing it this way was that I could trap short lengths of elastic neatly under the edgestitching. These little belts help the cover stay in place during use.
I used the same elastic for these as I did in the casing, and that elastic, you may recognize, is the scavenged straps of many bras! Even a so-so bra tends to yield pretty good elastic. Chop up your bras today! Leave no survivors!
If you like to sew shirts, a sleeve board is a joy in the morning. I can’t imagine flat-felling a sleeve seam without one now. Heck, it even improves wearing shirts. Professor Boyfriend often borrows this to iron, and he is not someone who routinely seeks entertainment in ultra-specific ironing. This is joyfully, conveniently, attractively fit-to-purpose!
I don’t know what the wood materials cost, because Professor Boyfriend made this as a gift, but the cover was free. I made it in January of 2021 and it still looks fresh. I’ve been known to iron non-sleeves on this board as well, if I don’t feel like hauling out the big one, but you’ll never prove it, copper! Anyway, I love it. 10/10.
I hope you’re all keeping well – be healthy, be cool! TV recommendations are actively solicited, by the way; I still have a few days of solitude (and heat, phwew) before I can rejoin society. And even better, when society can rejoin me, both in the person of Professor Boyfriend and also, hopefully, the miracle of refrigeration!
Pattern: I traced the wood thingie
Pattern cost: NA
Supplies: scraps of Cotton and Steel canvas, batting; thread, elastic from stash
Total time: 3 hours
Total cost: $0.00