DIY Car Seat Canopy: SUCCESS!


After diligently reading half-heartedly skimming the manual for the new sewing machine my in-laws and husband went in on together to get me for my birthday, I set to work determined to make the best darned car seat canopy ever! (What? No one reads those manual thingys anyway unless there's a question to be answered or a problem to be resolved. You know I'm right.) 

5 hours later...

I am so pleased with the result! Not only does it fit our Chicco car seat to a T, but also it functions specifically the way we desire and is in a pattern we both like since we got to customize it however we wanted. 

There are SO, SO MANY great tutorials for a project like this that you can glean from, so instead of writing a tutorial myself, I'll just give you the highlights. 


The tutorials I used were THIS ONE from KdBuggie Boutique, THIS ONE from Mo Momma, and the most helpful of all (especially if you want to elasticize a portion of the canopy as I did) THIS ONE from Household 6

I ended up taking a little from each tutorial and making my own version, and you could definitely do the same; however, if you want to follow a tutorial to the letter, I think you'd be hard-pressed to NOT find one out there on the vast expanses of the internets. Google is your friend. 

Since hubby is a guitarist and music is so near and dear to our hearts, we chose Michael Miller Groovy Guitars in Lagoon for the main fabric and a nice striped design for the contrasting areas on the front portion of the canopy. After prewashing and pressing all of my fabrics and measuring my car seat about 40million times, I cut up the front panels, sewed them right-sides together, and pressed the seam flat.

Then I used the front panel as a template to cut the inner panel of soft, orange crushed panne velvet; since the minky I found at area stores was more pastel than poppy, I decided to go with a different material instead of compromising on color. This decision actually worked out in my favor because the velvet is much more breathable and much less of an issue to work with on a machine.

I sewed the front and back panels together, right sides facing, leaving about a 6-inch turning hole at one the bottom. After turning it right-side out, I pressed the crap out of it with a steam iron to flatten all the seams and set to work sewing the casing for the elastic that I wanted in the back portion. I used THIS TUTORIAL to figure out how in the world to elasticize only a portion of the canopy instead of the whole thing, and let me tell you, it was a GODSEND!  I threaded and secured my elastic, sewed my turning hole shut, then top stitched from one end of the elastic casing to the other to give the canopy a bit more stability and make the front edge look nice and polished.

Then I made up two straps, hand-sewed on some heavy-duty snaps, measured and pinned them to my canopy, and machine-sewed them to the (almost) finished canopy. 

When I stepped back to admire my handiwork, I realized that the front corners of my canopy still dragged against the ground since I was so conservative with how I rounded my corners. BOO!  So, to get them up off of what will invariably be some very dirty surfaces (restaurant floors...grooooss), I folded the corners under and hand-sewed on some big, bold buttons on either end for a little embellishment. I actually LOVE the mistake I made because it makes the front look so cute! 


If we have a girl, I've decided that I will pin on some big, white bows on either strap, because why not?!  BUT if we have a boy, which I believe to be the case, then this puppy is all ready to be put to work shading baby from the sun (and germs and rain and nosy people and on and on...).

IN OTHER NEWS: I realized yesterday that Baby could make his or her entrance into the world as early as 6 weeks from now. WHAT?!  As I still have a laundry list of DIY projects I am determined to do, I had a bit of a panic (thanks, hormones!) before my logical sensibilities kicked back in.  Baby will have a Mommy and a Daddy who love him, a place to sleep, and food to eat, and that's really all that matters. And let's be real, being the middle of summer, this kiddo will probably stay in there as long as he or she possibly can. You know, just to make sure I experience every discomfort pregnancy has to offer.  But regardless of timing, whether or not he or she will have a DIY Moby wrap, a super-cute, coordinated coming home outfit, or a groovy guitar sun hat is not what is important.

What IS important, though, is that I get my Go Bag together juuuust in case.

     Michael Scott: Go bag! Where's my go bag? Where's my go bag?
     Erin Hannon: There's nothing in it.
     Michael Scott: You are telling me now that there is nothing in it. Okay, great!


  1. Hi Sarah,
    Do you remember what dimensions you used for the length and width?

    1. Hi, Thanh!
      My project pieces were 41-1/2" wide x 47-1/2" high. I sewed the front and back panels together right sides facing with a 1/4" seam allowance all the way around (making the finished project 41x47"), then turned it right-side out and topstitched the elastic casing along the back portion. After I was finished with all the elastic work, I topstitched along the entire project to give it a nice, finished look.

      BUT, I had a Chicco carseat, which are a little bulkier than some others on the market. So I chose those dimensions based off of the measurements of my particular carseat; those dimensions may be too big for other carseats that are out there.

      The links to the tutorials at the beginning of my post give a LOT more detail and helpful measurements, etc., if you still aren't sure. :) Happy sewing!

  2. Trying to open the link for the partial elastic tutorial and it isnt working! Any chance you can get it to me please?

    1. Hm...I see that she has changed her blog to private. It has been a few years since the writing of this post (and a few months since the writing of your comment - apologies!). I will see if I can amend the post accordingly by finding an alternate tutorial. Until then, did you manage to figure out a way to make it work? Do you still need suggestions? Sorry for my late response!!

  3. Thank you! I found a similar one on Craftsy, so Im all set. :)