Crafts for Idiots: a furry bike seat cover for Burning Man

I will be honest with you. This is not a good look for real life. It is not cute to be cruising down Broadway on a bike that looks like you had a taxidermist cover it with your flood-drowned pet muppet, Scruffy. It is depressing.

In the desert, however, it makes you the coolest kid in town. Bike seats get hot as hell, and you don’t want to find yourself pedaling away, your two all-beef paddies sizzling away on the ol’ Huffy grill. If the heat doesn’t get you, the impact will: you will bike everywhere. The city is big. The roads get huge ruts by the end of the week. Pad your butt. They make great gifts, too, and everyone knows material objects are a great way to make friends.

Also, if you are like me, your “sewing” is just joining pieces of fabric together in a way that maxes out your visuospatial reasoning skills. Patterns? Pinning? Freaking DARTS? What are you trying to do to me? And so, behold, a craft for you, so you can justify that sewing machine you bought, without really even trying too hard.

Your finished product will look something like this when you are done, and to put it on your bike seat, you just cinch the drawstring.

Top view.

Bottom view.

First, cut out your shapes. You’ll need fur and, preferably, some sort of padding liner (not necessary). I cut two layers of padding out of an old fleece blanket, but you can use as many or as few as you like.

Measurements: Think of this as a 12 x 15 inch rectangle, and cut notches into one of the short sides to give it a house-like shape. Don’t worry too much about precision. None of this matters too much. I made it all up anyway.

You’ll also want to make a bunch of what I call “tape.” Cut a 6 inch (or so) thick strip of fabric (or several–should be at least the same length as the perimeter of your cutouts so far), and fold over a couple of inches. Sew it along the edge to create a tunnel which your drawstring will later go through. I use the zigzag stitch for the whole thing. But, doesn’t matter.

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“Tape” on fur, front sides together

Next, you’ll put the front side of the fur and the tape together as in the above photo, and start sewing. I like to start in the middle of  the house shape’s bottom, which will be the back of the bike seat, so you know once it loses its house shape that the drawstring side goes to the back (non-pointy) end of your bike seat.

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Rounding the first corner as I sew the tape on…

Keep going. Each time you come to a corner, leave the needle in, lift the presser foot, and pivot, until you are all the way around. Below, I’m using a long length of tape, so I trim it there.

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Home stretch.

Now take the ends of the tape. Here, you can see I am basically just bunching up the part that is not in the drawstring tunnel, because I am really lazy when sewing and never bother to make sure my tape is the same width. If yours, like mine, looks ridiculous, just bunch it all up and sew through it a bunch of times like a beast. Doesn’t matter.

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Bunchin’ it up.

It will look like this on the other side, which is not so bad, really (yes, my bobbin and thread are two different colors, which is why the outside stitches are black. What can I say, I have a lot of orange thread and I need to use it up somewhere invisible–again, none of this matters).

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Turning the tape inside out to view the outside.

Don’t sew over the drawstring tunnel–this is where the strings will enter and exit! Below you can see how janky my work is on the inside of the seam. Seriously, doesn’t matter.

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Okay! So, next, you’ll sew in your fleece liner. Line up the fleece house shape with the fur house shape. I just do a couple of rows of inch-long stitches in the middle to secure it in there. If you do two lines that align with the front & rear of the seat, you can later draw a penis in over the lines so people know which way it points if they take it off later. This is all totally not necessary and maybe not even helpful, but fun anyway.

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Then, go find your lines and fluff up the fur around them a bit to conceal the thread. Obviously also trim any hanging threads.

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To get the drawstring through, put a safety pin or paper clip on the end of some cord, and guide it through. Cut to what seems like a good length.

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And there you have it. You are officially a real burner now that you have a furry thing. And you didn’t have to use patterns or even measure terribly precisely. You could even have a 5-year-old (or someone who feels left out of craft night) cut out the shapes and crank out dozens.

I hope this counts as amplifying my contribution to the burn this year, which is admittedly paltry (if you see me, ask me for a zucchini bread muffin). See you out there!

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4 Responses to Crafts for Idiots: a furry bike seat cover for Burning Man

  1. Natassja says:

    Thank you for this! This is exactly what I was looking for. My bike will be beautiful and furry at the burn this year!

  2. That’s awesome! Always wanted to go to burning man. What’s it like? I can only imagine all the ppl, creativity and good times

  3. lsmithdixon says:

    Your third sentence is not necessary and should not be included. We get your point without you making such an incredibly disturbing scene. Please take it out. Again, we get your point.

  4. erinogirl123 says:

    Just whipped one of these up – so easy! Thank you! My plan was for something like this, just didn’t know exactly how yet so you saved me some trial and error. I made the drawstring a tad long so that I can wrap it around the seat to keep it in place. I picked up a bit of foam to put between the seat and my new furry seat cover, thought by having the longer string it would be more likely to stay put. Thanks again!

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