Friday, February 15, 2013

A "New" Infant Carseat Cover!

We chose the above sage colored carseat before the clever girl was born.  The actual seat has not expired yet, so we are able to use it for the clever baby when he arrives (sometime in early April)!  I am thrilled to not have to purchase another carseat, but thought the old cover needed some sprucing for the new baby.

A local decorator fabric store is going out of business, so I zipped over there and chose this fabric!  The fabric with yellow, grey, and black dots is called "Candy", and the black fabric with white giraffes is called "Stretch".  I thought they would make a fun carseat cover!  I purchased 2 yards of the "Candy" fabric and 1 1/2 yards of the "Stretch" fabric, and ended up with way more than I needed, but I am sure I can make use of the extra.  I also used some cheap white cotton fabric that I happened to have on hand for the inside lining of the canopy, 3 packages of canary yellow wide double fold bias tape, some small bits of batting, and Wonder Under double sided adhesive. 

I found a tutorial on Make It & Love It as to how she recovered her carseat and decided that was exactly what I would do!   Her actual carseat is a little different than mine, but the general idea is the same.  I took about a zillion pictures of the original carseat cover with all pieces intact, and then as I slowly took deep breaths and ripped apart the original cover, I took a zillion more pictures.  I have to admit that starting to rip the cover apart was probably the most difficult part of this entire project.  As doubt crept in, I bravely pushed it back and reminded myself that I knew I could DO THIS.

A carseat cover has basically three layers:  The pretty fabric that you see, the padding, and a weird woven fabric on the back.  Whereas Ashley (of Make It & Love It) removed all of the original pretty fabric in making her carseat cover, I did not do that for all of my pieces.  If you look at the photo of the original seat, I removed the original fabric that is patterned but didn't bother with the sage green fabric.  This is simply because the patterned fabric was poofy-er than the sage fabric.  I wanted to make sure I got the dimensions exactly right, so I removed those pieces to cut the dotted fabric.  The sage green fabric pieces weren't as poofy so I was able to cut those pieces with everything still intact and just sew my fabric directly to the original pieces.

I actually used my brand new serger for the very first time when making this project.  I did okay, but it sure did  alert me to the fact that I know nothing about serging!  Happily, I recently purchased a Craftsy class on serging, so when I have some time I have a lesson on serging just waiting for me!  I serged all of the new fabric pieces to the padding/backing fabric for the actual seat part.  This is a nice way to hold everything together.  Ruby, my regular sewing machine, has an overlock stitch that I usually use for this type of thing, and a zigzag would work as well.  So after cutting out each piece, I serged the new pieces to the old padding/backing pieces.

The black/giraffe pieces also have some button-holes, and I created these next.  The dotted pieces have some pleats on the sides, so I created these too, following the stitch lines from the original cover.  Finally, the bottom of the seat has a square hole cut out for the button that is pressed to loosen the straps and a thin strap that slides out of this space as well.  I followed Ashley's method for creating the hole (very brilliant and looks great when finished).  Then I cut out a yellow circle from the Candy fabric, put in a little batting, and edged it with bias tape.  I sewed this to the seat above the hole, with enough space to get a finger in to get to the button.  There is a photo that shows this part at the bottom of this post.

Once all of the details were finished, I sewed together the pieces that make up the "back" of the carseat cover, and then the pieces that make up the "seat" of the cover.  Then I attached the pieces that hold the carseat cover to the actual seat.  You can't tell very well from the above photo, but both the top edge and the bottom edge of the seat cover have a piece that wraps under the carseat frame to hold it all together.  Again, I used the pieces from the original cover as my pattern.  Finally, I connected the "back" to the "seat".  I sewed the yellow bias tape all the way around the edges of the seat and viola!  It really looked like a cover! 

On to the canopy....

I had lots of fear and trepidation before taking apart the canopy but it was actually easier to sew than the carseat cover!  When removing all of the original pieces, I numbered everything so I could figure out what exactly went where and in what order (as well as taking about a zillion more photos).  Ashley used pretty fabric on the inside of her canopy but I worried that the black fabric would make it too dark, so I lined my canopy with some thin white cotton.  I fused the cotton to the decorator fabric with the Wonder Under, to give it some stiffness and shape.  Then I made the two little tubes to slide the small plastic "wires" that make up the canopy frame (they are in the dotted fabric).  The very front and back of the canopy frame (which are wider and have the C-shaped ends that attach to the carseat handle) are contained in a sleeve that is made of the white fabric on the inside the front and back of the canopy.  On the very front, this canopy has a padded piece that sticks out a tad bit from the frame.  I covered the original fabric/padding with my dotted (Candy) fabric and just sewed it all together.  All of the seams are covered in the yellow bias tape so there are no exposed seams.  Then there is bias tape around the entire outside edge of the canopy as well.

I even used one of my new labels!!!  Yep, I finally purchased actual labels for the things I create.  I love them!

To complete the project, I made some padded shoulder strap covers and a circular "groin protector" to go around the seat belt connector.  This is simply a circle with a giant button hole at the bottom that the seat belt connector slides through.  The circle goes against the baby's groin area to help prevent pinches from the seat belt.  I think the original carseat had one but I didn't see it when I unearthed the seat from storage.  The clever girl's current carseats do have this thing and it is a much appreciated part of the apparatus, in her opinion.  Anything that prevents pinched legs is a good thing!

Originally, I wondered if the sage colored seat belt straps would look weird, but I think they are (a) covered enough that you don't see much of them and (b) close enough to the grey dot color that it works okay!  Yippee!!

This sounds like a ton of work, but that is probably because I over-explain things.  It really wasn't so bad!  If you have ANY inclination to re-cover a carseat, I highly suggest you head over to Make It and Love It and see Ashley's tutorial.  It is brilliant.  She shows you what to do every step of the way and takes the scariness out of the project!

1 comment:

  1. Can/would you make another one like this for the right price?!?


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