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DIY: Stretchy Car Seat Cover and Nursing Cover DUO

I don’t know about you guys….but I kinda panic a bit when I take my newborn baby to the store.  Babies are definite magnets and I think they omit some sort of radar to all humans, especially the sweet older humans (ha!)…..and they immediately want to take a peek at that teeny tiny baby you are carting around.  I have done it hundreds of times too, so I totally get it…..but what makes me panic, is that some of those well meaning humans like to touch brand new babies with their less than sterile hands. Ha!  I know, I know….babies are so incredibly sweet and it’s hard to resist touching them, but I guess especially because Max was sick for the first few weeks of his life and in the NICU for a while, I was extra cautious about germs around him.  So, with Max more than my other babies, I kept him covered while out in public at all times, with a Stretchy Car Seat Cover.

Have you seen these Stretchy Car Seat Covers??  I’m sure you have….they’re kind of everywhere!  They’re a slightly curved tube of fabric that stretches around the car seat, creating a cocoon-like barrier around your baby.  But not only do they serve as a car seat cover, they also double as a NURSING COVER…..yes!!!

Oh, and if you’ve looked online or in the store to purchase one, they can run about $30-$40…..which is a little insane, when you can buy enough stretchy knit fabric to make your own for about $5-$6.  And at that price, you can make a second one to have as a backup (while one is washing)….because if you’re like me, you’re using it All. The. Time.!!!!

 

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I haven’t used these with any of my previous babies, but oh how I wish I did!  It has probably been one of my favorite “baby items” this time around!  They are lightweight and simple to toss in the diaper bag…but create the perfect barrier to keep hands and germs out, as well as bright light, and the wind.

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But don’t worry, there’s an opening at the top to check on baby, and to allow a little air flow.  (And Max is always happy to see visitors who peek in from the top. Ha!)  This opening also allows you to still grab onto the handle of the car seat for carrying purposes.

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I especially love how this cover stays in place, unlike a blanket, or even one of those car seat covers that are like a blanket with straps that attach to the car seat handle.  Those things tend to flap around and shift.  But I also don’t like a heavy blanket over the top of the car seat because I feel like there’s not enough air circulation, especially when you go indoors but still want to keep them covered.  I still plan on using this cover even when it’s chilly because then Max can still breathe.  I can add an extra blanket to his lap to keep him warm while outside in the cold and then this outer cover can block the majority of the wind….while still allowing him air to breathe.

But now that Max is getting a little older, he thinks it’s kind of a game to kick his feet at the cover and push against the stretchy fabric.  It cracks me up to see his little toes pushing out against the fabric! Ha! :)

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The shape is pretty simple…..and can be sewn together in about 15 minutes! And even if you’re not super confident sewing with knit fabric…..this is a pretty forgiving pattern and once it’s stretched and in place, you won’t even notice crooked or puckered seams.

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Oh yeah, and I love that I don’t have to bring an additional nursing cover or blanket to cover up while feeding Max while we’re out.  And since it’s light fabric, it keeps both of us cooler than if using a blanket.  (AND, since it’s like a tube….it keeps your back and sides covered, in case your shirt comes up and you’re trying to keep things covered up.  I prefer using this a trillion times more than an awkward blanket!)

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***Sorry for the awkward partial view that I took with my cell phone…..but everyone else was a school and work and I was trying to take it with one arm while holding Max with the other.  And then because he was in “position”, Max wanted to EAT!  So he started squirming and fussing, trying to fill that belly up….haha!  This kid! ;)

 

Oh, when I’m using it as a Car Seat Cover and we arrive somewhere and I don’t need to keep him covered (like, to keep him asleep or keep hands off him) and I don’t plan on taking him out of his seat (like if we’re at an appointment, the bank, etc.)…I just lift up the bottom half and keep it stretched around the handle and canopy at the top, so that it’s ready to be used again later on.

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But this summer, I have been taking it off completely when we’re inside somewhere with AC, and draping it over his legs….because it makes a perfect lightweight little blanket.  And every time I do that, Max starts kicking his little legs against the fabric, and then grabs the top portion with his chubby fists and shoves it immediately into his mouth! (Another reason I like having two….so that I can toss one in the wash and still use the other.)

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This little guy might possibly be the happiest little baby of all….who stays perfectly content if he has his little Car Seat Cover to chew on!  He is a very patient 5th child…..who gets lots of attention from 4 older brothers and sisters who dote on him constantly!  And he has wiggled right into this mama’s heart! :)

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Okay, are you ready to make one too?

Might be the easiest project you make all year!!!

 

 

SUPPLIES for Stretchy Car Seat Cover:

  • 1 yard of Stretchy Knit Fabric
  • optional: double needle
  • Sewing machine and basic sewing supplies (here’s a list of common sewing supplies, in case you need a few ideas) 

***As always, if you need a bit of help with the basic sewing skills used in this tutorial, check out the Sewing 101 post for more help.

 

As you can see below, the shape for the car seat cover is basically a square with the upper 2 corners curved inwards.  Start by cutting a square out of your knit fabric that is 28 inches tall and 30 inches wide. BE SURE that the main stretch of your fabric is going left to right.  (A lot of knit fabrics have a direction that stretches more, either left to right or up and down.  Some knits stretch equally left to right, and up and down.  And some only stretch one way, but not the other.  Whatever yours is….be sure the biggest stretch is going left to right.)

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Now, make a mark along the left and right edges, 14 inches from the bottom.  And then another 2 marks along the top edge, one 8 inches from the left corner and another one 8 inches from the right corner.  Then starting at the 14 inch mark along one of the sides, start ever so gradually cutting a curve into your fabric, until you meet up with the 8 inch mark up at the top.  (If you’re nervous about just cutting into your fabric, create a pattern piece out of paper first.)

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As you’re reaching the top edge of the fabric while cutting your curved edge, stop one inch before reaching the top edge, and then cut straight upwards, rather than continuing the curve.

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To be sure both sides are symmetrical, only cut the curve in one side, and then fold your piece of fabric in half….and then cut out the other curved edge.

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Then, open up your fabric piece and place it together with more of your knit fabric (with RIGHT sides together) and cut around the top piece, so that you have 2 identical pieces of fabric.

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Now, grab one of your fabric piece and fold the very top edge down 1/2 inch, then another 1/2 inch (towards the WRONG side of the fabric)….and then pin in place.

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To make your seams look professional, use a double needle to sew along this top edge.  (If you’ve never used one, here’s how to use a double needle.  You don’t need a special sewing machine….and you’ll LOVE how it looks, and it still allows your fabric to stretch!)  However, you can always skip the double needle and just use a zig-zag stitch (which will still allow your fabric to stretch).  Both will work great! :)

Repeat with the top edge of your other piece of fabric as well.  (If your fabric rippled a bit, use a hot iron with steam to flatten it out.  Don’t pull as you’re ironing, just lift and press.)

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Now, place both of your fabric pieces together, with RIGHT sides together.  Pin along both side edges.

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Sew along both edges, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

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Next, fold up the bottom edge 3/4 inch, then another 3/4 inch, and then pin in place.

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Turn your fabric right side out and then using your double needle (or a single needle with a zig-zag stitch), sew along the bottom edge, 1/2 inch from the bottom edge.  Press flat with a hot iron and steam.

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Your cover is now finished and should look like this!  (Now, don’t worry if your measurements are off by an inch here or there.  Once this cover is in place, you’ll never notice the difference.)

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Time to stretch it over the car seat and keep that baby nice and covered! :)

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Enjoy!

-Ashley

 

. . . . .

Making this Car Seat Cover and Nursing Cover Duo as a gift??

Here are a few other simple baby gift ideas to add to it!

 

Natural Wood and Silicone Baby Chew Toys

Plush Rattles for Baby

Natural Wood and Bunny Ear Teething Rings

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Thanks for checking out my DIY: Stretchy Car Seat Cover and Nursing Cover DUO post. Check out my full collection of DIY Sewing articles. Find even more sewing projects, patterns, and tips for beginners and advanced sewists by Liz Call, Mariah Leeson, Randi Dukes and Tauni Everett.
 
Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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Comments

  1. Md. Shafiul Islam says:

    It is an excellent post. It helps to travel with a car seats properly. Highly expected more post like this.

  2. Linda says:

    Now with this Covid-19 everyone should use one for protection of their baby. Going to and from the doctor appointment. Thank you for sharing! My niece has asked for one of these. She's had her first baby girl. I'm going to try and make one!!

  3. Rachel says:

    How long of a zig-zag stitch do you recommend for optimal stretch? Or does it make a difference? Last time I used knit fabric I made the mistake of using a straight stitch.

  4. Amanda says:

    Thank you for posting the directions and pattern! I have made 4 of these up in the last week and plan on making more. I did find a hack of sorts when it comes to the top and bottom hem area. I used heat bond hem tape instead of pins and wow did it make the project so much faster and easier! It stopped the fabric from rolling up immediately and gave the top and bottom a little extra reinforcement for sewing. I used a regular sewing machine, polyester thread and a zig zag stitch. I’m already having pregnant friends ask me to make them some. I wish this was around with my first baby. Thanks again!

  5. Katie says:

    Planning to make this for my sister-in-law who is expecting her first :) How do you wash/dry this and do you recommend washing and drying the fabric before cutting your pieces? Thanks!

  6. P. says:

    This looks terrific! What percentage of stretch does your fabric have? Making a gift for someone else and don't have a car seat to verify the fabric I have will stretch around it. Thank you!

  7. Krystal says:

    I made this, AND I LOVE it!! AND, I love the fabric you used 😁 so I found it at Hobby Lobby and couldn’t be happier! This is for baby number 4 because I hate using blankets that blow off the car seat (even the ones with Velcro strap things)…. Thank you so much for your tutorial! Also, I’m a breastfeeding momma and I love this cover better than the “infinity scarf” one I made for baby 3. It didn’t shrink up around my neck and still felt like it was going to fall down in front. This one makes me feel covered and confident 😀 Thanks Again!!

  8. L says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I had made another shawl-like nursing cover and it was sloppy looking and not at all functional. This came out great! I can’t wait to use it with baby #2 in a few months!

  9. Amber says:

    Is there a specific stitch length/tension to sew the neck and bottom opening at? I tried one and the top and bottom wouldn’t stretch at the stitching?

    1. Jessica Tan says:

      Maybe try sewing using a zigzag stitch that should allow stretch. Actual tension needs to be altered for your specific machine, all are different……
      hope this helps

  10. Hope says:

    Thank you so much! I made 1 for myself and I have loved it so much i am making a few more in different patterns for myself and friends! I dont use a sewing machine and this was still easy to follow.

  11. Misty says:

    Any suggestions on how I couldn’t make this with reversible fabric? I found a really cute fabric this I would like to use to make this and it happens to be reversible but I can’t wrap my brain around how I could make it work to be able to use both sides! Any thoughts??

    1. Jessica Tan says:

      just use french seams then you can turn it which ever way you want if your fabric is reversible.

      For the horrified ladies i’m from uk and i’ve never heard the not covering your child rule, i plan to make one and use it. it looks comfortable, breathable and convenient. really i think you are over reacting a little.

  12. Melissa says:

    Can you help me with the math of this please. It says you only need 1 yard of fabric. Yet the length at the base is 30″. How do you get to pieces out of one yard? Thank you

    1. Whitney says:

      most fabric is 50-60″ wide =D

  13. Kim N says:

    You’ve done it again, Ashley! What a wonderful idea! And what a big, healthy boy you have there. I pulled up your webpage hoping to find a new post from you with pics of your kids, and voila! Thank you for sharing your gift for creating in ways that are simple and easy to follow.

  14. Kiersten says:

    I was gifted one of these and it has been my absolute favorite baby item!! I’m glad you have this tutorial so can I can make some for some friends!! As for those worried about the baby having air, it’s made from breathable knit fabric so that it not an issue at all! That was one thing that I love about it, sooo much better for baby than draping a blanket over for nursing. Thank you!!

    1. Ashley says:

      I guess until you actually use it, you wouldn’t know how amazing (and breathable) it really is! So glad you have one and love it too!!! :)

  15. Jennie says:

    When I saw the picture of you nursing with the whole baby covered like that I almost cried! That is awful! What do you think the oxygen level is under there? Do you enjoy covering your face with a blanket? That is just insane!

    1. Ashley says:

      Hi Jennie,

      The fabric is actually very thin and breathable! If you look at some of the pictures up above, you can see the picture of my baby kicking at the fabric and can see his actual feet and toes through the fabric, which shows just how thin the fabric actually is. I also only use this to cover when I nurse out in public (which is pretty rare) because while I don’t even mind for a second seeing a mother openly nursing her baby, I don’t prefer to do so. This also helps keep my sides and stomach covered as well, which generally becomes exposed because my babies are such wiggly eaters. There is also the opening at the top that I keep pulled open so that I can look at and check on baby, which allows additional air flow.

      Anyway, if this isn’t your preferred method, that is completely fine….but for me and many other moms out there, this little cover has been an incredibly convenient accessory!

      Ashley

    2. Kendra says:

      You almost cried? Really? You crack me up. My children love blankets, covering up, snuggling under blankets. Covering up is not harmful nor do babies care if it’s done right. Grow up.

      I love this cover! Thank you for posting the pattern. I’ve wanted one forever and now could make my own. I also use it as a high chair cover at restaurants now that baby girl isnt nursing as much! Love it.

  16. Jennie says:

    That´s child abuse! Try covering yourself like that! The air will get terrible in a few seconds. I live in Europe and here we have campaigns against covering babies faces like that. If someone sees anyone covering up they are told to react, either by telling the parents that it can be dangerous (crib death), or calling CPS.

    1. Kim N says:

      1) The cause of the tragedy of crib death remains a mystery to doctors to this day. I know personally of a case in which an infant died while being held in his grandmother’s arms, who watched his life slip away despite administering CPR when he stopped breathing.
      2) Covering up with a blanket is perfectly safe as long as it is not either too hot or tightly covering both nose and mouth. Both myself and my (now grown) son sleep regularly and comfortably with thick blankets pulled up over our heads.

    2. Ashley says:

      Hi Jennie,

      The fabric is actually very thin and breathable! If you look at some of the pictures up above, you can see the picture of my baby kicking at the fabric and can see his actual feet and toes through the fabric, which shows just how thin the fabric actually is. I also only use this to cover when I nurse out in public (which is pretty rare) because while I don’t even mind for a second seeing a mother openly nursing her baby, I don’t prefer to do so. This also helps keep my sides and stomach covered as well, which generally becomes exposed because my babies are such wiggly eaters. There is also the opening at the top that I keep pulled open so that I can look at and check on baby, which allows additional air flow.

      Anyway, if this isn’t your preferred method, that is completely fine….but for me and many other moms out there, this little cover has been an incredibly convenient accessory!

      Ashley

    3. sisi says:

      I’m agree, this blog is very cool, but covering children like that is very dangerous!!!! Hopefully you’re child are safe, but be carefull ! It’s totaly forbiden in my country.

    4. Bernice says:

      Do you even have kids? Get back to us on that if you ever do. The post says repeatedly that this fabric is breatheable. Aside from that there is an opening at the top for increased air flow.

    5. Susan Brillhart says:

      I’d like to know where you live in Europe and what you do on REALLY cold winter days? My daughter was born in the winter. We have temps of -50 F (-45.5 C) with windchill and she only weighed 5 lbs (2.2 kg). It would have been child abuse if I hadn’t covered her face when she went outside from house to heated car

      .

  17. L says:

    I love the fabric that you used! Could you tell me where you got it from and what it’s called?

    1. Ashley says:

      I bought it at Hobby Lobby. I’m not sure of the name of it…..but it’s been there for probably a year or so, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere soon. Hope that helps!

  18. D says:

    This makes so much more sense! All the other tutorials I’ve seen were just a long tube of fabric. I bet it’s way less bunchy in your neck too if you wear it infinity scarf style. Now to see if I can salvage the fabric from my last attempt!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh yes, it helps so much to curve the top! I hope this helps you salvage the other fabric….because it definitely doesn’t have to be perfect! Good luck!!

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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