Reversible Car Seat Cover

Hello again from Lilac Lane! I am having a great giveaway right now, so come over and visit me. My daughter has been begging for this for about a year now! Just one jelly roll yields a completely reversible and totally washable car seat cover. This tutorial is adapable to all (I think!) car seat and booster seat covers.

If you have one of these:
Then you probably have one of these. Ugh!

And if your little princess is anything like mine, it’s not her favorite place to be for the next four or five years. Why not make one that’s just for your child’s personality? Plus you can add extra cushion, like my chiropractor suggests. Your child will thank you!

  • 1 jelly roll (I used Hunky Dory by Chez Moi)
  • 1 twin sized quilt batting or several large batting scraps
  • 5 or 6 feet of 1/4 inch elastic
  • 8 inch piece of velcro
1. Remove the cover from your plastic car seat / booster seat. Mine appeared to be glued on, but was just the gunk spilled onto the seat at one time or another (eww!) Salvage any connecting pieces you can. These two doo-hickeys hold the cover onto the seat.

2.Turn the cover upside down and look at it. It was probably made in several sections, which you will be replicating in your new car seat cover! For example, my booster seat was made in six sections: 1. the seat back, 2. the seat bottom,  3. an apron around the seat front, 4 and 5. two side panels, and 6. a small, long piece around the seat back.

2. Estimate the number of strips you will need for the front of the car seat and then lay them out in a pleasing way. My booster seat needed twelve strips for the seat back, bottom, and side panels and three strips for the apron. Another two strips were used for the part around the seat back, but don’t worry about that right now. I wanted to arrange my strips diagonally. If vertical or horizonal is desired, less strips are probably needed.

Sew all these strips together with a quarter inch seam and then press them flat.

3. Place the fabric under your old car seat cover at the angle you wish and roughly cut out each piece, about an inch larger than the piece on all sides. Just leave the apron piece its full length. You will trim it later.

4. Repeat steps two and three with the reverse side fabric. You can make a whole new look this way! If your seat is significantly larger than mine, you may want to use coordinating fabric for this step, as I only had three strips left over.
It’s important to cut these out right sides together, so that when we assemble them, they will match up just right.

5. Now it’s time to “quilt” our fronts and backs together. Depending on the loft of your batting, determine how many layers to use. I use low loft batting, and using scraps, here is how much I used:

  • seat back: 3 layers
  • seat bottom: 4 layers
  • apron front: 1 layer
  • side panels: 1 layer

Take two pieces (such as the two for the seat back) and carefully line them up with the batting sandwiched in the middle of them. I do this by feel, making sure that the edges are right together. Pin all around this and then quilt the layers.

6. You can see how I quilted this with my walking foot, straight down the rows. Of course, on the backside the rows went another direction. This made a nice diamond pattern on the backside. If this bothers you, use your darning foot and free motion quilt it. Or you could tie it with bits of embroidery floss all over. (If so, I would put the knots to the side you think you will use less.)

7.Repeat this with all five pieces. Don’t worry about batting in the layer that goes around the quilt back. Likewise, your chair may have more or less pieces than mine. Use your judgement on the amount of batting and where to quilt, always keeping the comfort of the child in mind.

8. Now it’s time to make the piece that goes around the outside of the seat back. This will also finish the upper edge of the car seat. I used two full length pieces to make this, but measure the upper back of your car seat. You may have to add more length or take some away. Also, if you use more width (such as three or four pieces wide) it may be possible to make a small casing around the upper edge in which you can run a piece of elastic to hold the top of the cover to the upper lip around the car seat. (I wish I had done this!)

Press the piece in half lengthwise and then press a quarter inch hem line down each side.

9. Carefully place this piece evenly around the top and pin in place, once again feeling both sides to make sure they exactly line up. I find it is easiest to begin the the middle and work down each side so that it’s not “wonky.” Top stitch closely to the edge all the way around. Check to make sure you caught the fabric on the back. Don’t worry too much if you have a little pucker here and there. You will never notice on the finished product.

10. Now sew this seat back piece to the seat bottom. (There will be an unfinished seam on one side.) This is a good time to see how everything’s fitting and make adjustments. It’s starting to look like a car seat!

11. This is also a good time to feel for those holes which ancor the cover to the seat and mark them.

12. Carefully cut out the holes and then zigzag around them. I set my zigzag on 0.7 length and 3.5 width.
13. Sew your side panels on and then the apron. Guess what? The general construction is finished. All that’s left is finishing edges and anchoring straps! This is a good time to check the fit once again.
14. Cut the bottom edge of the apron, following the contours of the bottom of the seat. Once I cut one side, I flipped it over and used it as a template for the other side so they would exactly match.

15. Look at the bottom of the cover and examine your unfinished seams. Trim them to about a quarter inch. Choose strips to cover these seams. Mine required two full strips.

16. Press these strips so that the first crease measures to the center of the unfolded strip. And then fold the other side over on top of it. This will look like a piece of folded bias tape.

17. Topstitch these pieces over both sides of the unfinished seams. This requires just a little planning. First, make sure to do the seams that will leave raw edges toward the middle so that you can enclose those raw edges with later pieces of trim. Second, make sure to sew inside curves before the outside curves. This causes less puckering. And finally, leave a tail of the trim at both ends so that you have plenty to enclose. Oh! And don’t forget to firmly hold the cover part so that it remains flat underneath your piece of trim. Make sure you topstitch both edges of your trim pieces.

18. I applied trim in four different places. They blend in so well, that they are hard to see!

19. Choose a few more strips (mine took two) to finish off the seams. Sew the strips together, end to end and then press in half.

20. Sew this on exactly like you would sew on the binding of a quilt. Sew the raw edges of the binding to the raw edges of the cover with the folded edge to the left of your foot. Then pull this edge to the other side of the cover and topstitch along the fold to finish the cover.

21. All that’s left is anchoring! My cover was anchored to my seat by little clips, but they never seemed to stay in place. Halfway down the seat is a set of hooks, So I measured from the top of the seat to the hooks, which was 17 inches. Taking that measurement times 2, (34 inches), I cut 33 inches of 1/4 inch elastic. (It’s stretchy!)

 22. Now measure from the front edge to the middle of the back, in this case 13 inches. Cut two pieces from a strip, both about 15 inches so you have room to overlap them in the middle.

23. Press a quarter inch seam down each side of the strip and both ends and then press it in half. Topstitch along the ends and the open side.

24. Sew the elastic to the middle of the top of the cover at two places. Secure your stitches by going over them several times.

Then sew the two strap pieces to the bottom of the piece you sewed around the seat back. Pull these to the back and pin where they overlap. making them fairly tight, but still making sure your seat back is comfortably against the back of the chair. I then sewed an eight inch piece of velcro to each strap so that it is fully adjustable.

25. Take note of how the bottom of the old seat cover was secured to the chair.

26. Replicate this on your cover with elastic. Make sure to secure it well with lots of stitches and backstitches. I used two 11 inch pieces of elastic.

Time to hit the road! Take care and come visit me at Lilac Lane for a great giveaway.

Love, xoxo

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