The Busy Bean

Car Seat Tent – Tutorial

If there’s anything a good crafty blog has, it’s some tutorials. This is new to me. I’m not new to blogging – I’ve been keeping my family blog for quite a while now. But crafty blogs are new to me. I discovered them just last October (I know… I must have been living in a cave before then). See, I had my second daughter in September. And the day before I had her, my husband gave me an iPhone. Hours a day cuddling and nursing a newborn + an extra hand with an iPhone in it = bloggy goodness.

I discovered the world of craft blog tutorials. I was in heaven! Who knew that there could be such a wealth of information out there, just waiting to be explored? Obviously everyone else in the world knew this and I am just a little late to the party. Well, here’s to being fashionably late, but still bringing a treat for everyone to munch on…

On to the tutorial.

A few weeks ago I made a car seat tent for my little Bug’s car seat. I saw one covering a car seat one day at church, and I thought it was wonderful. So I went to JoAnn and picked up some flannel while it was on sale. 1 1/2 yards of two matching prints. At $2 a yard, the whole thing ended up costing me just $6!

Step 1: Square up your fabric. Or rather, rectangle up. Just even out those cut edges and cut off the selvage. I used my pinking rotary cutter. I use that to cut just about everything. LOVE IT! Then, sew the two pieces together, right sides out.

Step 1

Step 1

You could also do this by sewing the right sides together, leaving a 4″ opening to turn, turning it right side out, and then topstitching around the edge, closing the opening as you go. But then you’d have to sew all the way around it twice – and I was just plain lazy that night.

Do a random stitch (I did an X from corner to corner, but you could do a heart, a circle, or random squiggles) in the middle of your big rectangle. This will keep it from shrinking up funny when you wash and dry it. Then you can snip around the edges of the rectangle, being careful not to cut the seam. This will let it fray and look really cool, as opposed to fraying and coming apart at the seam.

Step 2: Cut out two strips from each fabric, 2 1/2″ by 6″. These will end up being the handles to attach the big rectangle to your car seat.

Step 2a

Step 2a

Then sew these together, right sides in. Why the difference? Because the outside edges of the main rectangle are going to fray, and I thought it would be more difficult to attach it to the car seat handle if it was all frayed. Plus, these are a lot smaller, so I didn’t mind sewing around them twice. ; )

Step 2b

Step 2b

Step 3: Attach the buttonhole foot to your sewing machine.

Step 3

Step 3

If I just lost you there, don’t worry – I have an alternative to share. But really, don’t be afraid of the buttonhole! (Most) machines these days do all of the work for you. You just stick the button to the attachment and hold your fabric so it goes in a straight line. Easy-peasy. If you’re still afraid, here’s your alternative:

Velcro

Velcro

Either way, attach a button to each strip – either to go through the buttonhole, or opposite the side you used Velcro on to make it look like it attaches with a button.

Step 4: Measure where your handles should attach to the cover. I did this by draping it over the top and marking where it hit with a pin.

Step 4

Step 4

Then I wanted to make sure they were even and straight, so I laid the rectangle out, grabbed my ruler, lined it up on the top edge and measured down. I ended up sewing mine on at about 21″ from the top to fit nicely over my car seat. Pin the handles down in a straight line along the edge of your ruler. (6″ apart worked just perfectly.)

Step 4b

Step 4b

Step 5: Sew handles to cover. I didn’t get a picture of this step, but if you’ve made it this far with me, sewing a two inch straight(ish) line shouldn’t be that bad. I just hit reverse on my machine twice and sewed across each one four times to make sure it was on strong.

Car Seat Tent

Car Seat Tent

Then all that’s left is to button it to the handle of your car seat! My Bug loves it because it doesn’t cover her face. I love it because it keeps the cold breeze off her face. And we get plenty of cold breeze in our Utah winters. It’s also great because I don’t have to carry an extra blanket that she would just end up kicking off the car seat. When I need to feed her, I just un-button the cover and use it to cover us.

Like I said, mine is simple because I’m not a frilly kind of girl – although I do become more frilly each day as I raise two little girls. But you could kick this basic tent up a notch by using a few different fabrics on top and sewing ric-rac over the border, sewing a patchwork top and quilting the whole thing, or by making a rag quilt and attaching the handles where two of your rows meet up. Or just keep it simple like mine so you can finish in under 30 minutes.

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3 Thoughts on “Car Seat Tent – Tutorial

  1. Candice Jorgensen on February 12, 2010 at 11:30 am said:

    Sometimes you’re more talented then I can handle. :) That is adorable!! I love that I have talented friends that I can buy stuff from. :)

  2. Coming from one of your most “frilly” girl friends, this is stinking cute! The Bug never had one, but the Bean I’m growing now definitely will. If you can stand it, I’ve seen people with matching clips to put on the tent while they are nursing, you now, to avoid those wardrobe malfunctions.

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