Try-it Tuesday: How to Recover a Car Seat

Good morning! You’ll never guess what it did all last night (well, maybe you will if you live close to me, but that’s cheating, so you guys hang on a sec while tease everybody else, please).

Done guessing? Okay…

It RAINED!

What, what?!!

Praise the Lord!

Never mind that the storm (yes, storm!) last night pulled a reverse power-outage and made our bedroom lights turn on to full brightness not once but twice in the pitch-black of the night, causing my husband to sit up the second time and say, “The light’s on. Why is the light on?” (I was dead-asleep a millisecond before he asked me this, so I think I mumbled something really intelligent like: “I dunno”).

As for today’s Try-it Tuesday, I’m going to show you something that I did before I started blogging, which means that I have zero pictures of the process. But I’m pretty sure by the time I get done, you’ll still have a pretty good idea of what to do.

When I was pregnant with out third child and found out I was having a girl, my immediate reaction was, of course, to begin girlie-fying everything in sight. And that included her car seat.

I had one with a cover I wasn’t wild about, and I had some adorable designer fabric that I’d scored on fabric.com for less than $2/yd on major clearance, so naturally, I thought, “Hmm…I bet I could recover me a car seat with this here purdy fabric because nothing less than custom is good enough for my girlie.” (Oh yeah, and then I wouldn’t have to pay full-price for a new car seat).

So, I started hacking and pinning and gluing and sewing until, after about 10 hours (spread out over many episodes of Psych and Gilmore Girls) of trial and plenty of error, I came up with this:

della's carseat

A completely custom car seat just waiting for my little angel to show up so she could ride in style.

And I do mean, just waiting…

sewing while pregnant

Here I am finishing up the hood for the car seat…while I’m in labor. Talk about motivation! My labor was really long (as are all my labors), and my midwife kept joking that Della wasn’t going to show up until I got that darn car seat completely done.

And you know what? She didn’t! (Stinker!)

 sewing while in labor

Right here, I’m dilated to a 6 and definitely having to stop and breathe through contractions. But I still have about 5 hours to go.

Without further ado (were you worried I was going to show you delivery shots?), I give you:

“Recovering Your Car Seat Cover, Ghetto-style.”

::Step 1:: Lay uncut fabric on top of car seat cover, doing your best to conform the shape of your draped fabric to the cover underneath. Take your time and smooth out any lumps and loosen up any places that are too taut.

::Step 2:: Pin along edges and seams, The “seams” I’m talking about are the sewn lines that run vertically and horizontally the length of the car seat. I’ll point them out coming up.

::Step 3:: Mark “slits” for car seat belt/buckles with pencil or pins.

::Step 4:: Force-feed the car seat cover + pinned on fabric through your sewing machine and sew all around the edges.

::Step 5:: Using the “sew-in-the-ditch” method, make a seam on top of all the existing ones on the original car seat (if you have a car seat, take a look at it; you’ll see seams running vertically the length of the seat as well as horizontally where the “seat” of the cover starts). This will not only help to anchor your fabric securely but will also allow the cover to bend, flex, and conform to the shape of the car seat better. 

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::Step 6:: Cut sturdy ribbon to outline the “belt slits,” pin, and then sew in place (you can see that I used narrow grosgrain in chocolate with pink dashes).

::Step 7:: Use a seam-ripper or sharp scissors to carefully open the slits so that a belt can be fed through.

IMG_8282

::Step 8:: Trim all excess fabric around the edges of your recovered Car seat. It’s okay if it’s not pretty. We’re going to cover it up.

::Step 9:; Using the wide ribbon (I think mine was between 1 1/2” and 2”), carefully sew one edge of the ribbon to the top edge of your cover (I only left about an 1/8” seam allowance). I didn’t even pin because the edges were so curvy and undulating. I just went reeeeallly slow. 

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::Step 10:: Fold your ribbon over the exposed edge of your cover, flip it over, and do the same slow, careful stitching method to the underside.

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:;Step 11:: (optional) Add matching ribbon to the crease in between the “back” portion and the “bottom” portion of your cover. Not necessary unless, perhaps, one was silly enough to do this process in two separate pieces of fabric and needed a way to hide the gap in between the two, but really, who would be brain-dead enough to do that? *cough* And besides, it looks cute.

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::Step 12:: Remove your hood from the car seat, and, as best you can, detach the fabric portion of the hood from the plastic “ribbing” that gives it shape/holds it in place. Honestly, I don’t remember exactly how I managed this part (might have something to do with being in advanced stages of labor), but I do remember lots of wrestling and interesting contortions and maybe even a broken sewing needle.

:;Step 13:: Cut fabric to match width/shape of patterned section (I left the majority of my hood alone because it was already that lovely matching chocolate brown), and painstakingly sew that sucker, inch by inch directly over the existing patterned section.

::Step 14:: Trim any excess fabric, and glue ribbon over scraggly edges to hide their unsightliness (you could also sew it down).

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::Step 15:: Reassemble car seat, step back and admire your handiwork, deliver newborn child (Oh wait…that’s just me. Man, you guys are so lucky you get to skip that step).

So, do you see why I called it the ghetto version? Everything—especially that hood—was a process of figuring out what would/wouldn’t work, and none of it was perfect in the end.

BUT!

For me the benefits far outweigh the hassle:

1) No one else has this car seat.

2) I get compliments on it all the time (a lady in Chik-fil-a even gave me her card and told me she would be calling me to make her one if her baby turned out to be a girl, and she didn’t care how much it cost).

3) It’s waaaaaay cheaper/better-fitting than any “custom” cover I could buy to replace my old one.

4) It kept me from losing my mind after already being in labor for 26 hours.

Oh, and it’s held up beautifully. I just threw it in the washer yesterday, and even though there are a few stray threads that I could stand to trim, the cover itself is good as new as it was when I first recovered it.

Now, for those of you who need more pictures than I was able to supply, and for those true seamstresses who are curled up in the fetal position after reading about all of my sloppy, funky methods for gettin’ ‘er done, here is a tutorial that will blow you away with its meticulous detail and precision (this lady picked apart every single piece of her car seat thread by thread, folks! I’m in awe).

Me? I’m going to stick with doing it ghetto-style. Because nobody but me (and now every single one of you…oops) knows the difference!

Monday ~ The DIY Showoff Project Parade ~ Made by You Mondays ~ Embellishing Life Everyday ~ Just Something I whipped up Monday  ~ The CSI project ~ Menu Plan Monday ~ C.R.A.F.T.  ~ The Southern Institute ~ Making the World Cuter ~ Thrify Décor Chick ~ Metamorphosis Monday ~ Sumo Sweet Stuff ~ Gunny Sack ~ Singing Three Little Birds ~DIY Homes Sweet Home ~ Dittle Dattle ~ 1929 Charmer ~ Everything Under the Moon  ~ ModMix Monday ~ Sew Stylish ~ Coastal Charm ~ Under the Table and Dreaming

Tuesday ~ Get Your Craft ~ Tip Junkie ~ Blackberry Vine ~ Crafty Confessions ~ Me & my Boys ~ A Bowl Full of Lemons ~ Home Stories A-Z ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suberbia  ~ Carolyn’s Homework ~ Sugar Bee Crafts ~ House of Grace ~ Passionately Artisitc ~ My World Made by Hand ~ Uncommon Designs ~ Trendy Treehouse

Wednesday ~ Blue Cricket Design ~ Somedays Crafts ~ Sew Much Ado ~ Sew Woodsy ~ Handy Man, Crafty Woman ~ Savvy Southern Style ~ {Primp} ~ Midweek Fiesta ~ Rae Gun Ramblings ~ Polkadots On Parade ~ Lollipop Cards ~ JAQS Studio ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ Let Birdz Fly ~ My Girlish Whims

Thursday ~ Transformation Thursdays ~ Somewhat simple ~ Show off your stuff ~ House of Hepworths ~ Delightful Order ~ My Simple Home Life ~ The Frugal Girls ~ Thrifty Thursday ~ DIY Diva Thursday ~ Tablescape Thursday ~ No Minimalists Here ~ Crafty, Scrappy, Happy ~ Thrifty Decorating ~ Between U and Me ~ 36th Avenue

Friday ~ The Shabby nest  ~ Show and Tell Friday ~ Finding Fabulous ~ I’m Loving it ~ Simply Sweet Home ~ Whipper Berry ~ Chic on a Shoestring decorating ~ Spunky Junky ~ Delicate Construction ~ Homemaker in Heels ~ Family Ever After~ French Country Cottage ~ Common Ground ~ Young And Crafty ~ At the Picket Fence ~ Fingerprints on the Fridge ~ Miss Mustard Seed ~ Addicted to Decorating ~Bacon Time with The Hungry Hypo ~ Making Lemonade ~ I Can’t Stop Crafting ~ Over the Big Moon ~ Shabby Art ~ Answer is Chocolate

Saturday ~ I heart nap time- Sundae Scoop ~ Tatertots and Jello ~ Be different Act Normal ~ Funky Junk ~ 2805 ~ Making Lemonade Blog ~I am Along for the Ride  ~ Lolly Jane

Sundays ~ Homemaker on a Dime ~ Sunday’s Best

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7 thoughts on “Try-it Tuesday: How to Recover a Car Seat

  1. This is so cute. Congratulations on your new bundle of joy. She is going to love riding around in this car seat!

  2. Ghetto is my favorite way to sew! Who cares what the inside/backside looks like as long as it’s cute and compliment fetching from the outside! :)

    Midwife? I’m gonna freak out if you tell me that you birthed your babies at home(?) Did I miss that somewhere? (I delivered all of mine at home in water.)

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