We’re full steam ahead with getting everything prepped for the upcoming arriving of our first baby (codename Pip).
Now that we have a car seat I was keen to make my own version of a very cleverly designed car seat blanket that I’d seen online here. I did basically follow the tutorial provided except that I didn’t include a hood.
I used two different spotty brushed cotton fabrics. I didn’t include any batting at all between the layers. This was partly because I thought it would be warm enough for our climate with just the fabric layers, and also because I didn’t want to add extra fluffiness underneath the harness.
My reason for wanting to make a bespoke car seat blanket is that I’ve seen a lot of warnings about the dangers of wrapping babies up warm in lots of layers or fluffy suits before putting them in the harness. In the event of an accident, the fluffy layers will just compress and mean that the harness is not tight enough to hold the baby. There have been reported cases of babies then slipping out of the seat at the exact moment you desperately need them to be held securely. The advice given is to make sure that any blankets or warm layers are outside the harness so you can tighten it securely against the baby without worrying about extra layers creating slack. Of course the practical problem with blankets sitting outside the harness is that they can be kicked off or dislodged by a squirming baby. So when I came across a design for a blanket that had just one flat layer beneath the baby and then lots to wrap around the outside of the harness for warmth it seemed like a fantastic solution.
I ordered a metre of each fabric. The first one I lay out right side facing up. The second one I squared up and then folded into quarters. I trimmed the outside edges to round the corners and bring the middle of each side in a little bit.
I then unfolded the top fabric on top of the bottom fabric (right sides facing). I then smoothed them both out and pinned all around the edges to secure them together. Don’t forget to mark a opening space to help with turning later. I use two pins perpendicular to the edge to mark the start and end of the opening I want to leave.
Then I simply sewed all around the edge of the top fabric, leaving approx 3/8″ seam allowance. I then trimmed the bottom fabric to match the shape of the top fabric and then turned the fabrics inside out through the hole.
The next job was pressing the seams flat and then top stitching all around the blanket (including the opening). This both helps to stabilise the edges and prevent bagging, and it seals the hole neatly.
The next step was a little fiddly. I lay the blanket into the car seat and marked all places where the straps came out. I double and tripled checked my marks carefully here. I extended each line to make them a little longer than the holes in the car seat to give me a little flexibility. I also double checked the symmetry down the centre of the blanket to catch any weird wrinkles or ripples that might have introduced distortion.
When I was confident with my marking I then used a tiny tine zigzag stitch to sew a rectangle 1/4″ on each side around each line. You can see in the picture below I tried a straight stitch for the first one, but quickly changed to a zigzag. I just thought it would be better for preventing fraying or distortion during use.
Once I’d stitched all the boxes I then cut open the lines in the centre of each box. I found the best technique for this was to put a pin at the far end to ensure I didn’t accidentally cut too far. I then used the seam ripper to make an initial hole for the start of the cut.
Then I used a small sharp pair of scissors to cut a neat line up to the pin.
Then it was time for the moment of truth. I installed the blanket into the empty car seat. At the moment it lies underneath the newborn insert. This means it will still work once he has outgrown that initial extra protection and we’ve removed it. **Don’t ask me why it is okay to have a massive padded newborn insert beneath the harness, but not a snuggly snowsuit. I don’t understand that inconsistent logic**.
All of my cuts were in the perfect place. Whoop Whoop!!! I did a little happy dance to celebrate and then tested the blanket using a conveniently newborn sized teddy bear named Alfred.
Doesn’t he look snuggly!
I can’t wait for my little Pip to use this himself when he decides to come and join us out here in the big wide world.