Nesting Series: DIY Car Seat Canopy Tutorial

Have you been following my Nesting Series?!?! If not, make sure you check it out... especially if you or someone you know is expecting a little bundle of joy!! 

Today's addition is something that I wish I knew had even existed with my other two kids when they were infants... the car seat canopy! 

I can't even count the number of times one of these would have come in handy. At the store, at church, at the zoo, and just about anywhere else! Instead, I would drape a light weight blanket over the top of my baby's car seat and end up chasing it around as it flapped in the wind and blew off. 

Well, I won't have to worry about that this time around! 

This project may seem a little scary to tackle, but honestly... if you can cut and sew in a straight line, you are set!

The great thing about a car seat canopy is that it's removable and washable. PLUS you can fold up the front of it to take baby in or out -- or when baby is awake -- and since it attaches to the car seat itself, it won't blow or fall off!! 

I decided to create mine so that it could also be used as a blanket/play mat. I used button holes and toy rings as a way to attach mine to the car seat.

Those velcro straps that seem standard on most car seat canopies could irritate baby's skin when used as a blanket or play mat. With the button holes, it is completely safe and soft!! PLUS, you can keep the rings in the button holes and attach your baby's favorite toy or two to the blanket. Great for tummy time!! 

Interested in making your own!? 

• 1 yd cotton fabric

• 1 yd coordinating cuddle fabric {or cotton}- I chose a flat minky with a star embossed pattern, but you can really choose any kind of fabric you want

• essentials {sewing machine, thread, scissors, rotary cutter, mat and ruler, pins, iron, ironing board ...}

• a small cereal bowl

** This pattern uses a 1/4" inseam unless otherwise stated. 

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Be sure to wash, dry, and iron your fabric before beginning. This way it doesn't shrink when you wash it the first time. 

Step 1:
Cut your fabric. 
Using your rotary cutter and ruler, cut a 35"x41" rectangle out of both your cotton and your minky fabric {or whatever cuddle fabric you chose -- I will refer to this fabric as the minky}. 

Sorry there's no picture, but I figure we can all handle cutting a rectangle without pics! ♥

Step 2:
Round your corners. 
Using your rotary cutter, mat and cereal bowl trim the four corners of both of your fabrics so that they are rounded. 

If you don't have a rotary cutter you can trace your bowl with a disappearing ink fabric pen or a pencil and cut it with your scissors. 

Step 3:
Pin your rectangles together. 
Place right sides of the rectangles together and pin all the way around. 
Be sure to line up your rounded corners. If you are using a minky or other stretching fabric, be sure to use LOTS of pins. Otherwise your fabric will stretch as you sew and it won't be as perfect as you would like it. 

Leave a 4" opening in your pinning so that you can turn your fabric right side out. As always, I like to double pin both sides of my opening so I can easily find where to start and stop sewing. 

Step 4:
Using your sewing machine, sew a straight stitch all the way around your pinned edge -- leaving the 4" opening. I choose a 2.5-3mm stitch length so that my fabric is nice and secure. 

Under normal circumstances I absolutely recommend placing your fabric with the minky side down on your machine to sew. However, you'll notice mine is on top in this picture. My feeder feet were acting up {now that I took my machine apart and cleaned it up it works just fine} and my fabric was getting stuck, so I turned it over so that the smoother cotton fabric would more easily glide through my machine. 

Placing the minky on the bottom as you sew helps it not to stretch while sewing. So, unless your machine is having issues like mine was, PLEASE PUT YOUR MINKY ON THE BOTTOM!! 

Step 5:
Trim the rounded corners.
Why!?! If you don't trim around the corners of your canopy when you turn it right side out the corners won't lay flat. So, if you want nice round flat corners, trim the fabric! 

The first way is to use your sewing scissors and cut notches out of the rounded part of your corner. You don't need to trim where your fabric is straight. 

The second way is to use pinking shears to trim your corners. This is the easier way to do it, but you have to own pinking shears. 

Repeat your chosen method on all four corners. Then turn your fabric right side out making sure to flatten out your rounded corners. 

Step 6:
Iron and pin.
Follow the recommended iron settings for your minky or cuddle fabric. I ALWAYS iron on the cotton side so that I don't apply any direct heat to the minky. 

When you get to your 4" opening, turn both fabrics under and line them up. Iron, then pin them together in place. 

Step 7:
Top stitch. 
This step not only closes the 4" opening that you left, but it also helps to keep your two layers of fabric together. 

I use about a 1/8" inseam for this step. I want my initial top stitch to be close to the edge -- especially where I am closing the opening in my fabric. 

Once I finish my first top stitch all the way around, I sew a second stitch. Both for looks and give it a little more form and stability. My second stitch is about 1/2" from the first. 

Once you are finished top stitching, iron the edge of your canopy all the way around. 

Step 8:
Create your button holes.
Just about every sewing machine these days comes with a button hole foot attachment -- even my cheapo Singer that I bought for about $100 a couple years ago came with one. 
If you have never used a button hole foot before I strongly suggest you practice first! {on a scrap piece of fabric of course}

To determine where to place your button holes, drape your canopy over your car seat. Most car seats are about the same, but you will want to be sure that your canopy fits exactly where you want it to. 

I used my disappearing ink fabric pen to place dots where I wanted my button holes to begin. Two on each side -- because I need 2 button holes on each side. 

Then I used my pen and a ruler to measure another dot that was about 2" from the original dot. Since I wanted my original dot to be the outside edge of my button hole, I made my mark and drew my lines towards the center of my canopy. Why draw the lines!?!? So that I had a straight line to follow while making my button holes.

Then using my button hole foot attachment I created my button holes. Then used a seam ripper to open them up. You'll notice that my button holes are smaller than the lines I drew. I wanted my lines long enough that I had a straight line to follow... and since it is disappearing ink, it will fade away and you'll never know. 

{I could still use some more practice with my button hole making, but these turned out just fine!}

Step 9:
Insert your rings and put your new canopy to good use! 

There are so many different kinds of baby toy rings out there. I'm sure you probably already have some in your playroom! 

{Weird angle!?! I know.. but I wanted you to see how it looks from the top!}

... and no, I haven't cut all of the tags and instructions off of our new car seat yet. But I'm loving the brown, pink, and cream combo!! 

I added my little tag to the top, and now all I need is the baby!!! 

1 comment

  1. This is a wonderful tutorial! I made a car seat cover when I had my darling daughter, but I wish I had seen your tutorial before I made mine. I'm making a car seat cover as a Christmas gift for my sister-in-law so she's getting your better cover. Thanks so much!!


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