|Sophia isn't a fan of posing...|
|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 still....it'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.)
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!