Saturday, March 5, 2011

Car Seat Blanket

As I near these last weeks of this pregnancy, I am feeling so great compared to the month prior to my son being born.
I think a lot has to do with the fact I'm not working.  Back then I worked nights, and that alone kicked my trash and I was always exhausted and zombie-like.  I also had really weird things happen those last few weeks working nights, like this occasion where I had to babysit a crazy, naked patient.

So I've been so grateful I've had some energy to get a few more things done, where before I'd just collapse at home, sleep, go to work, and repeat it seemed.

So this project is actually a re-make of a gift I received with my son.  My best friend's mom gave me this flannel blanket for the car seat.

First of all the design is awesome, because it has holes to allow the straps and buckle through.  No more plopping a blanket on baby to just have it fall off and out of the car seat.  This is under the baby, and has the extra "arms" of blanket to wrap them up really well.
Also, it is reversible if you have two prints you love.
A big bonus: is it really helps preserve the life of the car seat cushions.  I found most of the time I'd just have to take out the blanket and wash out the puke, blow-out, or whatever, rather than disassembling the entire car seat to wash the padding.  Even in the hot summer, I left the blanket in the car seat and folded the blanket arms under the sides for a flannel lining I guess.  

But this time around, we're having a girl, so I thought I'd make one girly rather than have the boy version. 
So it's a pretty awesome little blanket, and hopefully my version will be as useful as my original gift.
I don't crochet very well, so rather than having this amazing edge, my girly mimic is just bound with bias tape.

First off, how it works:
1. Place in your car seat and pull straps and buckles through the holes.

2. Strap in your baby

Wrap up the bottom flap, then each side to make a warm, snugly blanket that can't fall out onto the floor.


TUTORIAL:

SUPPLIES:
-1 1/4 yard flannel or other fabric-- 2 prints
-bias tape or other finish for edges

INSTRUCTIONS:
If you're using flannel or any cotton fabric, make sure you pre-wash for shrinkage.
I also ironed with starch to help the pieces lay together better before cutting.

1. Cut fabric
You'll cut each fabric 41" long.

2. Fold in Quarters
With the fabric folded matching up selvage edges, fold one side on the other into quarters.  All raw edges will match up and all selvage edges will match up.

3. Cut Corner Curve
Measure your folded sides to 17" and mark.  I would suggest folding your quarter, along the 25" line in photo below--just place one fold on top of the other fold, then you can measure the longest peak of your curve at 25" then curve it down to the 17" mark on the folds.  It doesn't have to be perfect, but it's nice if it is all symmetrical.

4. Cut Second Fabric
You could repeat step three and fold in quarters and measure the curve, but I was worried about both sides being matched up, so I just laid out my backing (pink) with wrong side up.
Then I laid my top (blue) with wrong side down and fit them together and smoothed the layers evenly.
Then I just had to trim the curves of pink showing, and I knew the blanket would line up perfectly.

5. Baste Edges
Before my two layers could shift and get messed up, I ran up to serge around the edge.  If you don't have a serger, just baste (straight-stitch with longest stitch length) around the edge to secure the two layers together.

6. Measure and Mark Strap Cut Marks
First you'll fold your blanket on a diagonal and get a good center crease to use as a guide.

Next use the following photo to measure out the 2 vertical strap slits, and rectangular buckle hole below. I make my marks with a fabric pen that disappears.

7. Stay-stitch Cut Lines
Before I cut the holes for the straps, I sewed around the vertical lines 1/4" and the buckle rectangle 1/8".
This helped to reinforce the holes, and secure the layers when finishing all the edges.

8. Cut Holes
Cut along the vertical lines, and cut out the rectangle.

9. Finish Edges
My original gift had amazing crochet around all the raw edges.  I think they have a machine and punches holes for the crochet edge.  Maybe you could find a shop that will punch your fabric if you are talented that way.

I just used bias tape for all my edges.  I cut 2" bias strips from a yellow vintage sheet to make my own bias tape, because I was too lazy to go the store.  When I bind blankets with my own bias, I don't iron it before, just sew the right sides touching on the front, then fold it under and fold around edge to the back.
But you can just buy packaged bias tape, I'd estimate you'd need 2 packages (6 yards).

Or you could cut the fabrics right sides together way back in step 4 and sew a ruffle/ rick-rack/ pleated edge, etc into the seam, then leave a hole to flip it right side out.  Then you would measure and cut the strap holes.  You'd probably still need to bias tape the strap holes, but a narrow ruffle on the edge would be cute.
The easiest finish would be a nice rolled hem if you have a serger that does rolled hems.  My serger is super old, which is why it was only $35 off craigslist, but I wish it could serge a rolled hem like you see on fabric napkins.  If making these for gifts, you could whip them out just serging all the edges with a cute contrasting or matching thread!

When I sewed the bias tape around the straps, it kind of made it stand up at the corners.

67 comments:

Jo (@ boogaloo) said...

ooo this is genius! And easy enough to make!
Thanks for sharing :)

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie said...

LOVE it! All of your cute stuff makes me want another baby! LOL

Tricia said...

Great tutorial. Thanks for the measurements. I'm going to have to make one of these in a few months.

Lu said...

I LOVE these blankets. I've only ever made them just square (turned to be a diamond), though - I love the curvy shape. The square left some unnecessary bulk around my poor little guy!

As a spit guard, I made one for a friend that was cotton on one side and flannel on the other -- cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Natalie said...

Darling, as always! Seeing the stuffed hippo in the carseat made me smile-- thanks for that!!

Amie said...

I read your crazy patient story...gotta love it. I hate that whole bedrails up/restraint thing!

Heidi said...

Thanks for sharing this! I've been wanting to make one.

CREAturtle said...

This is so cute. Do you think you could take a close-up picture of the slits?

Thanks
Jasmin

PinkGranny said...

Another great idea I would like to borrow for my new grand baby to be!

Thanks.

Pam said...

I've not seen one of these before. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

casserole said...

This is such a great idea!! I wish I had one of these when my daughter was itty bitty. I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:
http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-car-seat-blanket/2011/03/06/
--Anne

Tanya said...

That's really cute. We'd need much heavier fabrics where I live, but still totally doable.

Kat said...

Wow, this is super cute!!!! I LOVE IT! Thank you so much for the great tutorial!!! I cant wait to make one :)

Mecham Family said...

LOVE this! What a good idea

christini yogini said...

It's darling! Love the fabric you chose!

Leigh said...

Because no child should be injured under the best of intentions: Please check with the car seat inspector certified by the NHTSA in your area to make sure this blanket will not interfere with the restraint system of your car seat. I live in Alaska and we are advised not to use any blankets or snowsuits that fit between your child and the car seat restraint system. They can compress and cause the straps to become too loose to safely restrain the child.

Stuff by Ash said...

I got one of these too. Loved it! Got so much use out of it. So excited to make another when when our next baby comes around. Thanks for the great tutorial.

Lorelei said...

Love it!! great tutorial

Gabe said...

I've never seen one of these, what a great idea! I'll be making one of these for my baby due in August. Even in the summer I always have a blanket on my babies when we are out, but its so frustrating how they are always falling off!

roamingjones said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I just posted the blanket I made using it on my blog. I can't wait to use it.
http://roamingjones.blogspot.com/2011/04/baby-projects.html

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D Beltt said...

This idea is some kind of wonderful! Thank you so much for passing it along!

Tharrinne said...

OMG thank you OH so VERY much for this pattern! I was just about to give up and try to wing it making one for my friend's shower. Luckily I now can avoid driving into town and mesuring a car seat!

I really can't thank you enough for this!!!

Merci!!!

MissMolly said...

Ha Ha. That last picture reminds me of the bottom of a sting ray!! :)

Here's the best picture I could find to compare it to. :) You agree?

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Pz2AABVgIAs/R8t2NlqVFPI/AAAAAAAAAmY/1UvkxacDgrM/s400/stingray.jpg

Aimee L'Mieux said...

I love this pdf for the car seat! Thank you so much for sharing. Do you mind if I repin it?

Jillyn said...

I just wanted to chime in and say that it is *not* safe to have extra fabric behind a child in their car seat. Blankets, 'bundle me's', coats and the like can compress in an accident and make the straps too loose and then the child could potentially eject from the car seat.

READ your owners manual and talk with a local CPST in your area!

Tiny Dangerous One said...

I agree, the safety of the baby should be the primary concern. however, while the experts agree that thick material or snowsuits shouldn't be used with a carseat "a thin receiving blanket, with holes cut for the harness straps to go through, can provide a safe, snug wrapping for small babies whose temperament or cultural traditions make this desirable." (www.carseat.org) As always, do check your manual, and speak to a car seat inspector. Thanks for the tutorial!

Jessica said...

Thank you Tiny Dangerous One! I agree and have consulted with our physician. Obviously I wouldn't recommend making a thick quilt with this tutorial, but the thin 2 layers of flannel are no thicker than an additional shirt on my baby so I feel safe and the compression of the blanket in the event of an accident wouldn't free up enough room to contradict the safety of the 5 point harness system in the car seat. But obviously do what makes you feel the safest for your baby.

Unknown said...

these are extremely cute! BUT, sadly as cute as they are, they are super unsafe. not only because they go behind the child (i'm sure they are very thin), but because they interfere with the harness straps. as stated already, check your owners manual :-)

Yelena's Nest said...

Beautiful blanket and an awesome tutorial!! Made mine over the weekend.. and I can't wait till my little girl is here in a few months to use it :)
Concerning all the comments about safety.. I don't understand how putting a blanket between baby and car seat is a hazard.. and if we can't wrap blankets and put warm suits on the babies, how are we to keep them warm in the winter months?

BAE said...

It is not recommended that anything other than the clothing the child is wearing go between the baby and the harness straps or seat. Additional items and aftermarket products can cause a safety hazard by preventing the seat from working properly. For this reason, blankets, aftermarket seat covers, positioners, etc. should not be used unless specifically tested by and approved for use with your particular seat by the car seat manufacturer. To keep babes warm in the winter, they may be dressed in thin layers, nothing thicker than a thin layer of fleece, and secured tightly in their car seat. Blankets may then be tucked over the child. Jackets can be placed over the arms backwards. There are also carseat covers that attach on the outside of the seat over the secured child. Oh, and don't underestimate the use of the car heater.

Brittany @ My Decoupaged Life said...

What a great idea and fabulous tutorial! I have a little one coming next month and even though it's not super cold here, I would still like a thin one. I love that it can't get kicked off. I hope you don't mind but I featured this on my Show Off Saturday
http://www.mydecoupagedlife.com/2012/01/show-off-saturday-baby-projects.htmlhttp://www.mydecoupagedlife.com/2012/01/show-off-saturday-baby-projects.html

babycakesbybrooke said...

ok, just tried this....everything looks great, except how in the world do you get your corners of bias tape on the slots to look so nice?? Also, I bought 2 pkgs of bias tape and was short by about 1 foot :( Otherwise great tutorial. TIA for you help!

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Yelena's Nest said...

Hi, I finally blogged (briefly) about making this awesome blanket.
Check it out: http://yelenasnest.blogspot.com/2012/02/yikes.html

sarahdudik said...

Thanks for posting this tutorial. I made a blanket for my baby cousin and it turned out great!

I blogged about it here:
http://sarahdudik.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/button-baby-top-and-car-seat-blanket/

Rashelle said...

This is very unsafe and voids the warranty of your carseat (as do all aftermarket products)...as cute as it may be. Sadly doctors are NOT trained in carseat safety and you really should talk to a trained Inspector. Many states actually have made products like this illegal so you should always check on that before making one.

Jennifer said...

Do you need 1 1/4yrd fabric total or of each fabric? Thanks!! I'm having a winter baby, so I definitely need to make this.

jennifer.wilson52510 said...

Very cute but very unsafe...READ YOUR CARSEAT MANUEL PEOPLE!

Aebrimer said...

I think this would be great as a towel agree the pool our swim lessons. i always strip my kids before they get in the car & put on a new diaper. A towel would be absorptive and warm for the drive home.

Allison said...

Can you please attach a picture of the crochet on the inside cuts of the blanket? I would like to crochet an edge on one and can't envision what it would look like....

La Pantigana said...

Me encanta esta manta... voy a hacer una porque estoy a punto de que nazca mi segunda hija. Despu├ęs te la muestro.

colleen said...

I love it when someone posts a nice tutorial and all of the carseat crazies come out. Mind your own business, worry about your own kids, and trust that most parents will make the right decision for their child's safety.

Thanks for the tutorial!

Jilly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jilly said...

you don't need a hole punch to make the holes for a crochet edge. that appears hand detailed to me. To do something like it you need a fabric marker, a tapestry needle, and crochet thread of choice. It doesn't take very long to do if you can do a blanket stitch in sewing, and for crochet, do a slip stitch, a single crochet, or a double crochet, you're set.

to crochet a border:

use a fabric pen and mark 1/4" hashes all around the outside of the banket. Use your crochet thread and needle and sew around the edges in a blanket stitch using the hashes as your stitch points.

r1: sc in each blanket stitch around the blanket to make a base chain. sl st closed.

r2: follow any trim/edge pattern you like. A nice schell works well or a granny style trim.

basic shell:
*sl st, sk ch, 5dc, sk ch* *rpt until end* sl st to close end off. weave in tails.

Granny trim:
ch 3 and 2cd in 1st ch, *ch1, 3dc in nxt ch* repeat until end. Can add more layers or end off here.

Jillian

find.joy.in.living said...

I made this out of fleece. It took me less than 15 minutes to make it for my Grandson!!

Komadyret said...

Thank you for great tutorial, I will try this tonight ;)

Donna MP said...

Oh my good grief people!! This is a stroke of genius for us normal moms. In what way do you think a thin blanket voids the warranty of your seat??? Are you insane? People do this all the time because its practical! The issue I think you're trying to discuss is the fact that you must never ever put one in a seat wearing thick or heavy clothes or snowsuits because its unsafe. Your kid will come right out of the straps in a crash. This is not thick and it not attached in any way to the seat. Get a grip on yourselves and stop being car seat Nazis. The kid has a thin blanket under them that wraps around to keep them warm... what part is it that you don't understand?

Nessa the Procrastinator said...

I think this is a very cute idea. I actually like it more for a stroller. I work as a nanny. I have spent so many walks with a blanket sliding down off the kid and under the stroller wheels. This would be perfect to keep munchkin warm, and when they kick it off, it doesn't go anywhere. I think the only difference is adjusting where the strap holes go. :)

Kimberly Perry said...

Can you please tell me how wide your fabric pieces were. I know you cut them to be 41" long but how wide is the fabric? My piece is 60" wide and I believe its too big. Thanks :)

Jessica said...

I believe mine was standard 42" wide. Good luck!

Desiree Canup Koons said...

I'm having the same concern as the person above. I'm looking at the piece after basting and it is 34" at the middle and 39-41" at the longest (widest) point. Is that right? Just seems sorta huge and wanted your opinion. :)

Jessica said...

it shouldn't matter the original width of fabric, if you cut the quarters with the 17" short sides, the opened blanket will be double (34") wide where it narrows. It sounds about right for the wide humps to get to 40". The long vertical half line should be double the 25" mark, so it should measure 50" down the center. Obviously, they can vary and still work great, this is just how I did mine. If it seems huge, you could always make it smaller!

capitolaquilter said...

Thanks for the tutorial - just in time for me to give it a try and make one for the baby shower for my granddaughter due in September. Good luck with your pregnancy, the home stretch drags on as I recall but it will be worth it.

makenit said...

So glad I made this and thanks for the pictures! I started with 42" by 42" to begin with and then followed the humps. It turned out perfect and lots of fun! Thanks

life in red shoes said...

Thank You! Found you via pinterest and yours is by far the best pattern. I'll be making these for my new twin grandbabies :)

Alisha Fox said...

Nicest information!!! I'll be enchanted to greatly help due to what I've learnt from here.
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Kayla Dowling said...

Just so everyone is aware, I made one of these a while ago from another tutorial and they are amazing. After seeing the same crazies come out on the other tutorial, I
decided to have it inspected by a carseat expert to get their advice. The thin fleece in no way interferes with the straps because you cut the holes in the fabric so that it lays flat on the carseat and the fabric is not covering the straps in any way. As for fabric being in between, the only reason it wpuld be an issue is if you have to adjust the straps from where they would normally be when you add in the extra material...which I did not have to do.

Kayla Dowling said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mithon Hasan said...

This is so cute. Thank you for great tutorial.
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Sue said...

What a perfect blanket. Bought the flannel fabric (half price!) this weekend and whipped this baby up in no time at all. I sewed almost all the way around the two pieces, right sides in, and then pulled it right side out through the opening. Ironed all the way around and stitched up the opening by hand and then sewed a 3/8 allowance all the way around. No need for binding and it looks finished. Sewing the binding around the holes was tricky and mine didn't turn out as nicely as yours did in the photo but it doesn't look half bad. My granddaughter will be cozy through the cool spring weather and in air conditioned cars this summer. Thank you for sharing and posting this great tutorial.

Darren said...

I got a bundle me. They carry 3 different kinds, depending on the weather you will be in. Try babies r us, or pottery barn kids. They are awesome gmc vin must visit this site...

Anna said...

As a general rule, products sold separately from your child restraint should not be used, due to the fact that these products may affect the safety of your restraint in a crash. Even a seemingly minor change to your restraint could alter the way is designed and tested to perform in a crash, resulting in serious injury or death.
http://csftl.org/aftermarket-products/

Jessica said...

Anna, thanks for your warning, but as noted in prior discussion, if you only use 2 layers of flannel as the tutorial suggests, it won't have any more impact than your child wearing a t-shirt as the compression factor of flannel is that of clothing. I don't know how many moms strip babies and children down to only wearing a diaper to ensure the clothing doesn't interfere with manufacture intended car seat performance. As noted in the tutorial, the blanket shouldn't be made with thick fabrics or batting like a quilt, just as much as parents shouldn't buckle children in thick or puffy coats for the same reasons with compression in the event of an accident.

Tammy Clark said...

Thank you for the tutorial. It was super easy and turned out very cute.

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