We all know what happens to kids the upholstery in the car over time. Those cheerios and cheez-it's combine with spilled water, juice, or milk shakes to form an impenetrable cement. Not to mention all the crumbs, half-eaten crackers, and other debris that falls between the seat cushions.
My sister is a single mom who spends a lot of the time in the car doing school and daycare drop-offs and pick-ups and weekend outings. It's inevitable that the kids eat snacks in the car, so she needed something to save her seats.
Her kids all have some sensory issues, so with the oldest about to graduate to sitting directly on the seat, and the middle child ALWAYS wearing shorts, something soft and comfy was a must, And since the oldest's favorite color is "polka dot" (yes...to her that's a color) the Bubble Dot Cuddle in Hot Pink and Teal was perfect.
You can see the related tutorial for the Seat Belt Comfort Sleeves here.
- 1 1/2 yards - 60" Cuddle Fabric - We used Bubble Dot Cuddle in Hot Pink and Teal from Shannon Fabrics This was for a smallish, 5-seat car. If the seat you are covering is wider than 60 inches, you will need Extra Wide Cuddle and may need 2 yards if your seats are deeper.
- 1/4 Yard coordinating Solid Cuddle 3®. We used Teal.
- 3 1/3 yards Support Soft Foam Stabilizer
- 1 2/3 yards Shield Moisture Barrier Liner Fabric
- 1 pack cord or durable ribbon
- Coordinating Thread
- Lots of Pins (preferably extra long)
- Rotary Cutter and Mat
- Sharp scissors
- Sewing machine
Time: 1-2 Hours without binding or 2-3 hours with binding.
Skill Level: Beginner-Intermediate. Beginners might want to make the version without the binding.
Start by thoroughly cleaning your seat from all previous debris.
Go inside and cut along your marking lines for the curves of the seat.
If you want your cover to go over the back seat a few inches to stop crumbs and spills from sliding between the seats, you'll need to cut another piece of foam the 6" wide, the length of the seat. (We opted not to have it go more than 6" up because we figured if was behind the kids' backs there would be much more stress on the cover and it might get bunched up lower.) We transferred our buckle and seatbelt markings to our 6" strip. We wanted the holes for those to come from the raised part of the cover to minimize spills or crumbs that can fall through.
You will need to cut your cuddle fabric in half, leaving the 60" width of the fabric complete. (So you're cutting it in half by cutting across from selvage to selvage. For us that meant we had two pieces approximately 3/4 yard long with a whole 60" width of fabric.
Layer your fabrics and interfacings. Start with one piece of cuddle FACE DOWN, followed by the support soft foam stabilizer, followed by the Shield Moisture Barrier, and finally followed by your other piece of cuddle FACE UP.
I found it helpful to use a slight amount of basting spray to keep the layers from sliding. (Be sure to protect you workspace from overspray.)
This picture my look like I'm cutting with appalling scissors safety...but I'm actually using one hand to feel through the layers for the edge of the foam while I cut with the other hand. I found this more effective than marking since Cuddle is so plush.
Without moving your work, pin thoroughly. We found that about every 2 inches was effective.
Set your sewing machine to a very wide zigzag stitch and sew around all raw edges (meaning around the whole cover and around the openings we cut for the belt and buckles.
Once you've sewn around the edge, you'll want to add some quilting lines to keep all the layers together and snug. It's difficult to tell in the picture because the cuddle hides the threads so well, but I sewed three horizontal quilting lines the width of the seat about 6 inches apart. One of them is sewn right where the seat bottom and the back of the seat meet.
This will keep all of the layers securely together to make sewing our binding easier. You can also skip the binding if you want and just leave the edges as is, but we liked the look that a coordinating binding gives and it gives some added durability.
Now we're going to add the binding. I'm providing some quick directions for the binding, but you can go here for Shannon Fabrics Cuddle Binding Tips for more thorough directions.
To make your binding, cut 3 - 2" wide width-of-fabric strips of Cuddle 3. (Cuddle comes 60" wide, so if you're using another kind of fabric that's only 45 inches, you may need additional strips.) Sew two of the pieces together end-to-end to make a long strip. Sew the strips to the curved side of your cover as well as any seat belt slits with a 3/8 seam allowance.
Turn project to the other side, fold the raw edge of the binding under 1/2 and pin in place.
From the front of your project, "stitch-in-the-ditch" to catch the binding on the back.
When you sew the binding onto the straight back of your seat cover, be sure to add ribbon or straps to help secure the seat cover and keep it from slipping around.
Sew snaps top of seat belt opening, so that you can snap the cover closed behind the seat belt.
See the tutorial for the related Seat belt Sleeves here.