Baby Boy’s Car Seat Tent & Quilt

Before Nolan was born I made a car seat tent and a car seat quilt. I’ve made them as gifts for other people before so of course I wanted to have my own. Since my son was born in November I thought they would both be useful.

For my own tent and quilt I used mostly fabrics that I had left over from different nursery projects.

Car Seat Tent & Quilt 1

The tent was pretty simple. It’s just stripes of patterned fabric and white fabric with a white minky on the back. At the time I purchased the minky I would have rather had a grey on the back but the fabric store was all out. Even though it’s white it has only gotten dirty once and it washed up just fine.

Car Seat Tent & Quilt 2

Since I had my car seat already I used it to figure out where I wanted to place the straps.

Car Seat Tent & Quilt 3

Here it is all laid out.

Car Seat Tent & Quilt 4

To finish off the tent I did two rows of top stitching and used velcro on the straps.

Car Seat Tent & Quilt 5

If you want more info on how to make a car seat tent I’ve got another post you can check out <here>.

Car Seat Tent & Quilt 6

For the quilt I wanted to do a little bit of a interesting pattern but being pregnant and working on other things I didn’t want it to be too complicated. I ended up cutting out a bunch of squares of fabric that matched the tent.

Car Seat Tent & Quilt 7

Then I just assembled the squares into rows. I started every other row with a half size square so that the seams ended up a little offset.

Car Seat Tent & Quilt 8

I finished it up with some basic binding and some ribbon ties for attaching to the car seat.

Car Seat Tent & Quilt 9

I used a piece of warm and white batting in the middle and teal minky on the back so that it would be nice and warm.

Car Seat Tent & Quilt 10

We used the tent quite a bit when Nolan was a newborn, especially because it was cold and rainy out. After about 2 months though I don’t think we used it very much. Chris really liked it but I just found that it ended up being in my way more than it was useful. I was always having to push it out of the way when it was in the car or I was trying to carry the car seat somewhere.

As for the quilt it was great at first too but we stopped using it fairly quickly as well. Everyone talks about how cold babies are and how you have to dress them so warmly and I thought the quilt would be perfect. The funny thing is though we have a really warm baby. Every time I used this after the first couple of weeks we’d pull him out and he’d be so sweaty and I felt so bad. It almost didn’t matter how little we dressed him in he was still hot. As the weather got warmer this spring I just threw in a muslin swaddle blanket if I thought it was going to be a little cold. Of course he still rarely needed that.

So they were both nice to have, but they are things I could have done without. I know some people love to use both but they just seemed less than necessary for us. Who knows, maybe we’ll end up with another baby boy in the future and he’ll be chilly all the time and these will be great to have.

Anyone else have or used a car seat tent and quilt? Were they must have items for you?

Baby Rag Quilt

I have a confession to make. I really like rag quilts. I like to use them and I like to sew them. I’ve made quite a few over the years and many I’ve given away as gifts. Below are the ones that I have currently in my house.

Nolan's Rag Quilt 1

The size I make most often uses 10.5″ x 10.5″ blocks in a 5 x 7 pattern. I’ve found that it’s the best use of the flannel fabric so there’s less waste. When I’m doing these quick easy quilts I will usually use 2 or 3 different flannel fabrics.

Nolan's Rag Quilt 2 Nolan's Rag Quilt 3

Towards the end of spring I was wanting a small light weight quilt that I could put on my lap while I was feeding Nolan. The final quilt ended up being about 35″ x 35″.

Since I was doing a smaller quilt I decided to go with a little bit more involved pattern then I’ve done before.

Nolan's Rag Quilt 16

For my rag quilts I always use flannel for the outer fabric and muslin for the inner or batting layer. For this quilt I went through my stash of fabric and picked out three coordinating flannel fabrics. One print and two fabrics that were a little more solid. I already had white muslin on hand as well to use for the middle. Most of the rag quilts I’ve seen online use something else for the batting. I’ve always used muslin or another inexpensive solid cotton. I think it’s the perfect fabric. It’s lightweight, adds the right amount of warmth, inexpensive and it frays really well.

So lets get started on the quilt. The first step was cutting a big stack of blocks. For this quilt I cut 26 – 8″ x 8″ squares out of the main flannel fabric and 48 – 4.5″ x 4.5″ squares out of each of the solid fabrics. I also cut out 13 – 8″ x 8″ squares and 48 – 4.5″ x 4.5″ squares out of a white muslin for the batting.

Once the fabrics were cut I layered them up into the blocks. Two layers of flannel with one layer of muslin in between.

Nolan's Rag Quilt 4

After all the fabrics are layered in blocks I sewed an X on the front of them. This helps to keep the fabrics from shrinking at different rates which could make the quilt bunch up weirdly. I always do this and it’s especially important if you’re doing larger blocks.

Nolan's Rag Quilt 5

With all the blocks ready to go I laid them all out on the ground in the pattern that I wanted. I did this so that I could determine which blocks will be on the edges. Then I sewed down the edges of the blocks on the outsides with a 1/2″ seam allowance. It can be a tedious process but I have found that if I don’t do it now I have to do it at the end and then I have to sew all the outer seams flat which doesn’t look as nice. It’s totally worth it to finish the edges at this point instead.

Nolan's Rag Quilt 6

Here are some edges and corners all stitched up.

Nolan's Rag Quilt 7

With the edges done I started assembling the smaller squares into blocks. Just like with the edges I use a 1/2″ seam allowance in all of my rag quilts. I think it’s the right thickness of seam to fray well but no to long that it looks stringy.

Nolan's Rag Quilt 8

To make the seams less bulky, easier to work with and easier to match corners I made sure all the seams were laying toward the green blocks.

Nolan's Rag Quilt 9

When the seams lay in different directions it makes the seams thinner and it helps to lock the corners together when it’s being sewed so that the corners and points will match up really well. This is a great tip for any quilt not just a rag quilt.

Nolan's Rag Quilt 10

Once the smaller blocks were together I laid them out again with the other blocks.

Nolan's Rag Quilt 11

The I just sewed the blocks into rows and then the rows together.

Nolan's Rag Quilt 12

Just like with the blocks I kept the seams always laying toward the patterned blocks to lock the corners together and kept the seams from being to bulky.

Nolan's Rag Quilt 13

One of the last steps is clipping the seams. It takes forever and starts to hurt my hand every time but the seams will not fray well without this. And that’s the whole point of a rag quilt is to have the frayed exposed seams. I usually clip about 1/4″ apart  (I just eye it) along every seam as well as around the perimeter.

Nolan's Rag Quilt 14

The last step is washing the quilt to get the seams to fray up. I always make sure to shake out the blanket after it comes out of the washer and before I put it in the dryer. Otherwise I’ll end up with a ton of strings clogging up the dryer.

Nolan's Rag Quilt 15

So that’s it. One baby rag quilt. I’m really liking it and I’ve been using it throughout the summer. Hopefully once Nolan gets a little older he’ll like it and what to use it too.

Nolan's Rag Quilt 16

Quilt Festival Showcase (Fall 2012)

Update: Nominations are over. 

During one of my many rounds through Pinterest I came across a blog which hosts an online quilter’s showcase twice a year. Basically quilters from all over create amazing projects and link them back to Amy’s Creative Side. It seems like such a fun way to show off something you have worked so hard on as well as check out all the amazing creations that other people are making. I am already in love with so many and I’m sure before it’s over I’ll have a ton of new quilting pins.
So on with it. Here’s my entry.  It’s a car seat quilt.

I made it by combining two different tutorials that I found online. One was a car seat quilt and the other was a chevron pattern. (Update: Unfortunately I don’t think this link works anymore and I can no longer find the tutorial I used.)  I had to tweak both to get the size and pattern that I wanted. More info on that here.

I went with a bright blue and green for my sister-in-law who was due to have a baby boy.

I usually don’t machine quilt my quilts because I have so many issues with the quilt stretching and warping. I decided to this time because it was a small quilt and I didn’t want ties to distract from the pattern. I followed along the chevron pattern which created the fun quilting lines on the back of the quilt.

The ties are so that the quilt can be tied to the handles of the car seat.

I actually made two similar quilts at the same time. Both the exact same pattern just in different colors.

They are great little quilts that can be tied to a car seat to lay over babies lap in the colder weather.

Quilter’s Showcase Stats:

Finished quilt measures: 25″ x 30″

Special techniques used: Machine quilting

Quilted by: Me

Best Category: Baby Quilt, Home Machine Quilted Quilt,

Thanks for checking out my quilt!

Amy's Creative Side

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?

Car Seat Quilts

A close friend of mine and my sister-in-law were both due to have their second babies this summer. I love when other people have babies because it gives me an excess to work on simple, fast and really cute projects without actually having to have the baby.

It’s been a while since I made my last quilt, so two new babies was a great excuse to try a new pattern. After going over my Pintrest boards I found two different pins I had been wanting to try. The first project was this Car Seat Quilt.

I used the dimensions and basic directions from this tutorial to create my own car seat quilt from that. Although the pattern on this tutorial was cute I wanted to do something a little different.

I also had pinned this Zig-Zag Quilt Pattern a while ago as well and had been waiting for an excuse to try it. (Update: Unfortunately I don’t think this link works anymore and I can no longer find the tutorial I used.)

Obviously I had to make some size alterations to the pattern to make it mini sized but once it was complete it ended up being close to the size as the Car Seat Quilt Pattern.

So enough talk, here’s the quilt top after I had sewn all the blocks together.

If I remember correctly I cut the blocks into 3.5″ x 3.5″ squares for easy cutting and math. I choose grey and two other colors for each quilt. The one shown above is blue and green and the other is green and yellow.

The next step was to lay the quilt top out flat and trim it into a rectangle. I was careful to trim the quilt so that I would still have a 1/4″ seam allowance and my binding wouldn’t cut off any points.

It’s looking better already.

Up next I stretched the backing laid the batting on top and then finished it off with top and pinned all the layers together. I choose a different Winnie-the-Pooh fabric for the backing on each quilt and I used Warm and White for the batting. I love using Warm and White for all my quilts since not only is it warm, it’s easy to work with and it makes the finished project look great. When I can get it on sale or use a coupon the cost is totally worth it.

I don’t usually, but this time I chose to machine quilt the layers. I followed the zig zags and just stitched in the ditch. As usual when I machine quilts, these quilts became stretched and a little off square by the time they were done. Although, since they are so small it didn’t affect them too much. In the end I’m glad I went with the machine quilting. That way there is nothing to distract from the pattern, plus the chevron pattern shows up on the back which is a great detail.

The last step was to attach the ties. I placed them in the locations from the car seat tutorial and then I sewed on the biding and finished it off by hand sewing the binding down on the back side.

The car seat quilts ended up being a simple project that took much less time than a full size quilt. It was a nice excuse to get creative and make something different. Plus, they turned out pretty cute if I do say so my self . Since I don’t actually have a baby and thus no car seat I couldn’t take any shots of the quilts on the car seat.

Anyone else creating a mini project for a baby gift? Have you been bringing the chevron pattern into your projects as well?