Car Seat Tent

I originally made the Car Seat Quilt because I thought it looked like a cute, quick project. I gave the quilts away and a few months later I saw my sister-in-law and she had the quilt attached to her car seat like a tent. It worked but not really well. After explaining how it was meant to work (yeah guess I should have explained that before, whoops my bad) it made a lot more sense to her. So after she left I got to thinking that she may like a tent and that I could make one to match the quilt! Yep that was crazy trip number one. I don’t know if I have ever had so many issues trying to sew something before. At every turn I would make some kind of miscalculation and be forced to fix it.

Anyway I did snap a few pictures of the process so here’s how I went about making a car seat tent. This is not so much a great tutorial but rather a hey this is what I did, maybe it will get your creative juices flowing.

Since I don’t have a car seat I had to rely on some tutorials I found on the internet. If you want to see some other cute and creative tents check them out here, here and here. I primarily used the tutorial on the Ribbon Retreat for the overall size as well as the strap size and placement.

First up, a gathering of the supplies I bought and gather to make the tent.

I used some solid blue, solid grey and solid green fabrics that went with car seat quilt I made. I also grabbed about 1 – 1/4 yards of a cute polka dot patterned fabric that matched to use as the back fabric. I think I had about a yard of each of the other fabrics but I don’t think I ended up having to use it all. I also had some velcro in white and blue and I bought some 3/32″ cording to make my own piping (yep crazy mistake number two 🙂 )

I sketched out a pattern of what I wanted the car seat tent to look like on the front. Apparently I was a little crazy when I did this too because my measurements were a little off. Then I cut out strips of grey, blue and green and cut them into half square triangles to make a chevron pattern with. Crazy trip number three, thinking I could handle cutting out and sewing all those half square triangles, there were seriously a ton.

Then I started arranging and sewing the blocks into rows to make the chevron pattern.

Now let me tell you up to this point is was just a little frustrated. I was trying to sew all the blocks using the serger so that the seems would last longer since I wouldn’t be quilting this. Well let me tell you, this is not easy with half square triangles and blocks, I did eventually give that up and just used the regular machine for a lot of it.

Up until I started the piping I just thought I was frustrate, oh but here is were the true frustration was. I used this tutorial to help figure out how to cut out the bias strips for the piping. Now nothing against Dana on Made, but I had the hardest time trying to figure out the directions to only using a 1/2 yard of fabric when it came to the folding part. There may have been a bit of yelling. Finally, a while later I came back to it and figured out how to fold the fabric to cut the strips and sew them together.

Then all I had to do was sew in the cording which was simple. I’ve done this before.

I did find that you shouldn’t try to sew really tightly against the cording because that caused the piping to twist a bit. So, here is the pile of about 4.5 yards of piping I made.

Next I cut out the rest of my fabric pieces to assemble the front and back of the car seat.

I made the tent so that it had a small strip of chevron, you can see that above, as well as lots of solid grey and a few colored stripes on the top of the front. (The pattern should make more since in the finished photos. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of the assembly process.)

So, next I sewed all my fabric pieces together to create the front of the tent. Then I went to lay it on the fabric for the back. That’s where the next mishap occurred.

Somehow I didn’t measure or calculate right. For some reason I thought I was going of 36″ wide but according to my quilted chevron strip I really had more like 38″ I think. So since I had already cut the back fabric and I didn’t have enough left I just decided to add  a green stripe down the middle. So I cut the polka dot fabric in half and sewed in the green stripe.

Then I found the biggest round object i could in the house and marked my corners to round them.

After I had the corners rounded on the front and the back fabric I attached the piping to the back fabric using a basting stitch.

Then I just laid the top and the bottom right sides together and sewed around the edge closely against the cording and left a large opening to turn it when it was done.

This is where I found the next issue, yep that’s right I’m still doing it! It turns out I miscalculated again and I cut the green stripe for the back too wide. Of course I only realized this after i had it all sewn together. Since it really bothered me that it didn’t lay flat and sorts of bubbled on the back I had to fix it. I ended up just ripping out the seems for the bottom and the top. Of course I didn’t want to rip it all out and redo the piping I just decided to serge off a 1/4″ from each side of the green stripe.

Finally I got it all back together and top stitched around the whole thing to secure it and close the open hole I used to turn it.

Then I used this tutorial to create some straps. I originally considered making my own pattern but I decided I like the look with the stripe so I went for it.

Since I am not the owner of the car seat and I didn’t have any dimension of the car seat I wanted the straps to have some adjustment. This is why I put two strips of velcro on the top side of one strip on the bottom. You’ll also notice that I made two sets. Somewhere Along the way I was afraid that the top with the chevron pattern would be too boring and maybe the owner would want to turn it over. So I decided to make it reversible.

After the straps were done I worked on placing them on the tent. I think I went with 11″ in and 20″ up.

Then I flipped it over and tried to match the second set of straps up with the first so they could be sewn at the same time.

Then all I had to do was add a few rows of stitches to secure the straps and it’s all done. Ready to be delivered to the new owner.

And finally no longer in my possession.

Even after all the mishaps and frustrations I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. It looks much better than I was expecting. Either way I guess I learned a few things along the way. Number one being that just because I’m engineer does not mean I can count. 🙂 Don’t be fooled.

Anyone else making a car seat tent? Have you ever been really frustrated with a project but then found you actually liked it once it was all done?

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