Sunday, March 16, 2014

Reversible Car Seat Ponchos

Sophia isn't a fan of posing...
These have been a lifesaver during our unusually cold and LONG winter! I'd read all of the warnings before on how dangerous it is to put kiddos in their carseats with puffy winter coats. Here's a link for more information just in case you haven't heard/seen the possible effects if you're involved in an accident. Blankets are great, except that if your child can move his/her legs, the blanket stays on for about half a second. Then there's whining for "banket, myyyyyyy BANKET!" coming from behind the driver's seat and unfortunately, you can't grab the "banket" because you're driving.

Blob of Fleece - DON'T DO THIS (source)

So ponchos seemed to be the best solution. Most of the ponchos and patterns I found through my Google Images search started with a square of fabric with a hole in the middle. Not a bad plan as long as you don't mind hanging all that extra fabric around the carseat and making the child look like a blob of fleece.....actually the more I look at the Blob picture, I can't help but think how much space storing that big of a fleece blanket would require. Best case scenario, you've got a van, but's just too much!

I decided that I would start with a rectangle instead. I quickly tossed Sophia in her seat (Britax Boulevard) and measured the diagonal length from the top of her head to her toes, then added about 8". I also measured the outside width of her carseat at her lap, then added 2". I repeated the process for Abigail. She's still in the infant carrier (Peg Perego), so her rectangle didn't need to be as wide or as long. One yard of the front multi-color and one yard of the back solid-color fleece was enough to make these two blankets.

After cutting my rectangles (purple and multi-color fleece), I sewed them together leaving a small opening for turning. (Turning isn't necessary with fleece, since fleece DOES NOT fray, but I like the look of hidden edges. I also stitched around the border of the rectangles to keep my turned edges clean.) Before turning, I picked a spot toward the top of the rectangle and traced a half circle using a random lid that was roughly 4" in diameter. Fleece stretches, so even if you think 4" is too small, start with that and expand if necessary. (To maintain the stretch, DO NOT sew around the neck opening.)

Sophia's neck hole was much larger...because I thought 4" was too small. Clearly I believe my child has a gigantic head, oops. So I figured it would be best to add a hood to her poncho. She LOVES hats and hoods, so I couldn't deny her of the joy! I made a hood using this tutorial, creating a pattern from a hooded jacket that she likes to wear. In order for all my edges to match, I had to sew the hood pieces together with right sides facing each other. (Only sew around the part of the hood that goes over the back of the head.)

Then I opened those pieces and put right sides together for the outside multi-color and inside solid color. Make sure to line up the two seams at the top of the hoods (illustrated by the pink circle) and also at the bottom corners. Stitch around the face only and then turn so that the right sides faced out.

Finally the trickiest and most annoying part, I folded all the pieces inside around the edges as I stitched the hood into the fabric of the poncho. That part was ridiculous, but my seams were so beautiful that I got over it!


  1. I love how yours is NOT a blob of fabric hanging all over- I was noticing that too when searching for a tutorial on one. I can see why that would be good to have to walk to the car though since it would keep their back warm. Do you have your little one walk to the car with jacket and then take off once in car to put on the poncho?
    Thx! Anna

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    2. Hi Anna! When walking out to the van, I have my girls wear their spring/fall jackets. These are not the jackets that I would have them wear if they were going to playing outside in the colder temperatures, but they do help to reduce the chill and are thin enough that I don't have to adjust the car seat straps. We're located in the south east, so it doesn't get very cold down here. However, if you're in the northeast and getting hammered by wind and snow, I would recommend wearing the heavier jacket while walking OR wrapping a blanket around your kiddos while you carry them. Hope that helps!

  2. Thanks Lauren! I finally got around to making these for my 2 and 4 year old and finishing up one for winter baby on the way. They turned out very cute and my 4 year old especially loves her "car seat blanket". I had a hard time keeping everything lined up with pins when attaching the hood to the body so I just did a quick basting stitch by hand and that helped keep everything together and in place to machine stitch. Thank you for the tutorial!!!! Anna

    1. Excellent idea with the basting! They are truly amazing little blankets and it's nice to have one that's just for the car. So glad they worked out for you!

  3. Can you please explain I. Detail on how you attached the hood to the body I am at a lose here.


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