Tuesday, November 8, 2011

No-Sew Fleece Car Seat Poncho

A poncho for use in a car seat? Huh? Why, you ask? Well, I'll tell you why! The quickest and easiest explanation is to just watch the video below. 

(I did not make this video. I think it's an excellent video and have shared it with lots of people. Kudos to the Mama who made it!) 

So. Big coat = bad idea. Enter the car seat poncho! Now, there are plenty of sites that sell fleece ponchos for kids. However, most of them are $35.99 and up. That's not really in my budget right now. My awesome friend Kim found a no-sew tutorial on how to make one yourself, which I was alllll over. Because, I can't sew! Like, at all. So I needed something a monkey could do, and this is it. It's cheap, quick, and easy! I spent about $15 on everything. I'm sure you can get it cheaper, I didn't really shop around or look for coupons. The fleece was 30% off at Hobby Lobby, and that was good enough for me!


2 coordinating fleece fabrics. (I bought a yard of each. I then cut it down to a 36x36 square, so you could get less.)
Ribbon for neck. Or you can use a piece of the scrap fleece. I can't cut straight, so I went with a coordinating ribbon. Either works!
Sharp scissors.
Measuring tape.

I chose a fun robot print fleece, and then a coordinating solid for the back. This poncho is reversible! You could use just one piece of fleece, but two is much warmer. 

I laid the fleece out and used my measuring tape to measure a 36" by 36" square. Before I cut the square I tried to match up the fleece pieces as well as I could, so I'd have less trimming later. I also trimmed off the remnant edge, since it was kind of curled up. I trimmed it up as best I could, but it was definitely not perfect. In the end, it doesn't matter though, since it will be fringed. 

Here is the finished square. 

After cutting the square, I folded one corner over to the opposite corner and matched up all the edges. This is when I did a bit more trimming. Again, it doesn't have to be perfect! 

I used my measuring tape to find the middle of the long edge of the triangle. I put a small snip with my scissors there, or you could mark it with a pen or pencil. The center is where the hole for the head will go. I chose to find something round and 3-4" in diameter to use for the cut out. The bowl to my Santa Scentsy warmer happened to fit the bill. I told you, this is a fly by night kind of operation. I won't judge you if the base of your bong happens to be the right size. 

Since the fabric was folded in half, I knew I only needed to trace half the circle. I put the bowl down on the fabric (just half of it!) and traced it with a pen. Because the blue is going to be the "inside" of this poncho, I wasn't too worried about a pen mark. If you have two fun fabrics and you do plan to use both sides, you might want to use chalk. Or, you know, just wash it. That is one step too many for yours truly, though. 

I then cut out where I had traced. Voila. Instant head hole. You want to cut neatly, but exact precision isn't totally necessary. You can't tell when it's being worn. 

Now enters the more tedious work. Still easy, just takes a bit of patience! You want to fold the edge of the opening over about 1". I just eyeballed it. This is not exact science! This is no sew for bitches like me-- who can't thread a needle. AKA: ghetto crafting. :)

Once you have the opening folded over about an inch or so, you are going to put in small snips around the perimeter of the opening. At most 1/2". I did mine an inch-ish apart. This is where you are going to weave the ribbon or fleece strip, to keep the pieces of fleece together. Make sure not to cut all the way to the edge. Smaller is better here. I know. Goes against everything we know when it comes to men and things like diamonds. But, just trust me. 

This is how it looks after you have snipped, and woven the ribbon through the openings. As you can see, mine are not all exactly even. Ok, let's be honest. Mine aren't even at all. But you know what? It still works! Please note: You can absolutely take more time with this project and measure things out precisely. That is not at all my bag, and if I tried, I would lose interest 1/3 of the way through. I am an instant gratification girl, and I just want to get it done! Really, it's pretty incredible that I didn't just chuck a piece of fleece at the kid and tell him to cover up. f

This is where I kind of forgot to keep taking pictures. However, there is really only one more step, so you aren't missing much. The fringe!!!

I laid out the square again, and began cutting fringe along each edge. I made my fringe about 2" in length. I didn't want to mess with trying to cut the fringe at angles in the corners, so I cut out a 2" square in each corner. It worked perfectly! 

After cutting the fringe (it takes a bit, but it's not too bad), I began tying the fringe together. You can do just a regular square knot. I actually just did a half knot. (For those of you not up on your knot lingo, the first half of tying a shoe lace) Mostly because I'm lazy. I figured I'll see if that works, and if they start coming undone, then I'll go back and do the square knot. Now the poncho is woven together at the neck, and tied together around the bottom edges! 

Something to note: The 3" opening for the head and neck looked really small. It is NOT small. In fact, I could have done it smaller. Fleece stretches quite a bit, so there is plenty of give. I actually tightened up the neck some when I tied the ribbon after putting it on. And Carson does not have a tiny head.

And there you have it! Cheap, simple and easy! From start to finish it took me an hour to an hour and a half. And as you can see from the pictures, exact measurements truly don't matter in the end. There is nothing wrong with doing them, but if you are like me and want it done quickly, you can wing it and still get a great result! I'm going to test this out in the car tomorrow, and I'll get some pics!

Modeling his "yo-bit" (that's robot, for those who aren't fluent in Carson-ese) poncho! To use in the car, you can either put it on before getting in the car/car seat and lift up the poncho to buckle them, or buckle them in, and slip on the poncho after. 

PLEASE NOTE: The poncho should NOT go behind your child's back while in the car seat. Just drape it up on the back of the seat. Since their back is against the car seat, they will be plenty warm. 


Janine @ Alternative Housewife said...

Cute! Adding this to my fave posts roundup for this week. :)

Christie Haskell said...

Thanks for sharing my video!
Also, great tutorial. I tried making my son one a few years ago and the results were... abysmal. Then again, so are my sewing skills!

Megan R. said...

Christie, thank YOU for making the video! It is a GREAT video, and I share it a LOT. In my Mom's group, here on the blog, on Facebook, Twitter. It's awesome!!!!

Oh, and if you saw the poncho up close, you'd see it's pretty tragic! Luckily at 3, Carson is easy to please, and routinely tells me "I yove my poncho bwanket!"

Heather said...

Awesome! Totally doing this soon! I hope you don't mind if I blog mine as well, I will link back to you in the post!

Hobbit Mom said...

That's adorable! What a great tutorial. Thanks for posting!

I am very concerned about the use of a ribbon around the child's neck, however. It's important that we don't trade one hazard (coats in car seats) for another (strangulation). Keep in mind that federal regulations prohibit the sale of children's clothing with any sort of draw strings attached. For children age 1-7, strangulation/suffocation is the fifth leading cause of accidental death (after drowning, car accidents, being hit by a car, and fire).

It would be extremely easy to adapt these instructions to use a snap or a patch of velcro instead. That would eliminate the strangulation hazard.

Again, thank you for these great instructions. I look forward to making a poncho for my toddler to wear in the car (with some minor alterations, of course)!

Megan R. said...

If he was non verbal, or was unattended at any point, I might be concerned. But since he never stops yapping, and Im 6 inches away from him, I'm ok with the ribbon. We've been using it for 2 months now with no issues. Well aside from the fact that the ribbon came out and got completely lost. We are on ribbon number 2 now. Good luck with however you do it!

Hobbit Mom said...

If you're riding in back with him, I'm sure it's fine. But strangulation is completely silent, and can happen in only a minute or two. So for parents who are driving alone with the child (and therefore must be watching the road rather than the child at all times) it's still an important warning.

The Car Seat Poncho said...

I respect your desire to keep your baby safe and honor your creativity. Perhaps there is another way to accomplish your poncho without using a drawstring?

Drawstrings are an acknowledged strangulation hazard and it could be a tragedy for your family or any other for whom you do not responsibly warn for the following:


Thank you.

KMH said...

I just might be doing this and maybe making 2. One for my mom's car and one for mine. I hope to share the video when I am not on my phone

Carla said...

What about using the no-sew iron stuff... I have used it before to hem pants?

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