How to make a car seat cover for a baby/toddler 1

With two girls in a roll, I thought I would be able to reuse most of the baby and toddler stuff and I was. I had to buy only a few things for the little one and this saved me tons of time and money.

But when I pulled out the toddler’s car seat from the garage, it turned out that there were a couple of ugly spots and the fabric colors have faded. We went shopping for another one.


 everything we found was in boring colors. Not to mention that all the car seat covers were made from rough and synthetic fabrics.

So, I made the decision to change the cover.

A full tutorial on how to upcycle a car seat cover.

I got 1.5 yards of nice cotton fabric that I like and put myself to work.

This tutorial is on how to make a toddler’s car seat cover by yourself. The steps described here can be followed to make covers for swings, rockers and bouncers, feeding chairs, baby car seat covers, etc.

This turned out to be an easy project, but not something to be done in an hour. I’ve spent a weekend making it because of all the little parts it consists of. Yours can take less time to make if it consists of fewer parts.

Very important – make sure to take a picture or mark the details of the car seat so that you are able to put them back together once you start sewing!

Honestly, if I was not making a video about it, I would have been in trouble when I was about to join the details back together. If you’d rather skip straight to the video, scroll down to the bottom of the page.

With these two things in mind, let’s start making our new car seat cover!

To sew a car seat cover, you are going to need:

  • existing car seat cover;
  • pins;​​​​
  • 1.5 yards of fabric (may vary depending on the size of your carseat);
  • a seam ripper;
  • some double folded bias tape and/or wide elastic;
  • sewing machine.

How to make a car seat cover: 

Take some before pictures of the cover.  

You can use them for reference and pattern later when you start putting the pieces together. If you don’t take pictures, at least mark the details some way that will show you how to put the cover back together. Honestly, don’t trust your memory on this.

How to make a car seat cover for a toddler.

Pick apart all pieces of the car seat cover  (image 2)

Using a seam ripper or thread cutting scissors, pick apart all pieces of the car seat cover and remove binding and elastic tapes where there are any. All details must be completely separated so that they can be covered with the new fabric.  

Cut out each and every detail of the car seat from the new fabric  (image 3)

Be careful to position the pieces and the fabric so that the wrong side of the fabric is on the right side of the detail to form the new face side. If you are using printed fabric, be careful to keep the print in the same direction on all details. If you are up for an adventure, you might try to match the print when joining the details. 

Pin the fabric on the face of the detail so that it represents the new face side (image 4)

When all the pieces are cut out, I pin them to the fabric so that the fabric is the new face of the cover. If you are using printed fabric, pay attention to the direction of the print to prevent mistakes on time.

I am going to prepare  all the details like this,and for now, ignore the buttonholes and additional decorating stitches on some of them.

Sew around the fabric onto the car seat piece so that it covers it (image 5)

I am going around every piece and sew at approximately ⅜ of an inch or 1 cm in from the edge. This way I leave the appropriate seam allowance and prevent unraveling of the woven fabric I am using.

When I cover all the details with the new fabric, I am going to make the slits for the belts and any other seams, bindings and additional details like pockets.

Make the seat belt slits and decorative stitches, pockets and strings (if there are any)

Make the seat belt slits like you would make a buttonhole. I made them before joining everything back together, because it is easier to feed one piece into the machine and not the whole, assembled car seat cover.

Usually, I would make them on the face of the fabric, but in this case they are already cut open, so I am making them on the wrong side to see where I am sewing (image 6).

I use the original slit  as a guide and the wide zigzag stitch to go over the edges. When I finish all of them, I am going to cut them open using the seam ripper (image 7).

Then, I am going to repeat the zig zag stitching on the face side (image 8). This is going to  make them more durable and also prettier.

DIY baby car seat cover tutorial.

Join the details of the car seat back together 

After all work on separate details is done, I am going to stitch them back together in place. Again, I am leaving  ⅜ of an inch or 1 cm as a seam allowance in order to cover the previous seams (image 9). I actually use them as a guide to sew on.

Press the joining seams with the iron before you assemble the whole cover. This would make them look better (image 10). As I like to say, ironing is half the sewing.

Check if everything fits, including belts

I’ve tried it on to see if everything fits, including the belts. If there is anything left to fix, the time is now before you put the binding on. Once I’ve made sure that all fits fine, I’ve finished the cover by putting the binding all around. 

Put the binding as a finishing around the cover

You might use the double folded elastic tape or the original binding tape, whatever works best in your case. No matter what the sewing project is, I try to keep close to the original techniques and material used. This usually gives me the best results.​

The car seat cover I am working on was originally binded with elastic and this is what I am going to use as well. I am going to double fold it around the edge of the car seat (image 11).

I am going to make it with one seam, but you might want to attach it first and then flip it over with additional seam to make it easier.  

There is a chance that your car seat was hemmed in some other way. Keep it the way it used to be, this would give you the best results.

How to make a car seat cover - a step-by-step tutorial.

Additional details of the car seat (image 12)

 I have some additional details which I am going to sew as well so they match the cover.

The cushion I have here is one of the most difficult elements to deal with. I must cover it with fabric on both sides. Then, I have to  make a slit for the belt, the decorating seams, and finish with a binding on the side.

 I’ve followed the same steps as on the main car seat cover, starting with attaching the new fabric in round. 

Here is the video tutorial on how to make a toddler’s car seat cover:

Here is the BEFORE/AFTER once again:

DIY car seat cover upcyclng - a full video tutorial.

The time and effort I’ve put into making this car seat cover were absolutely worth it. The cotton fabric I’ve used prevents the kid’s back from sweating when we drive around for a long time and she loves the colors.

Making a matching travel pillow

Using the scraps, I’ve made a matching travel pillow. It comes with a free pattern (for my email subscribers) in children and adult size.

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More sewing tutorials:

  1. How To Shorten Pants With Double-Folded Hem
  2. Sewing a hem with an overlocker (serger)
  3. How to enlarge jeans at the waist and hips
  4. How to keep the original hem on jeans (2 options)
  5. How to replace a zipper on jeans


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