Car Seat Cover Tutorial-Infant and Toddler

When I found out I was having my 4th boy last year I knew I needed some projects for the new baby since there was nothing to buy. A girl’s got to have a little fun getting ready for baby right?

One of the projects I came up with was to recover the infant car seat by covering the existing cover with cute fabric just because it was old and dingy and it would be fun to give it an upgrade.

Now that he is about to move to a toddler car seat I decided to recover that too.

How to recover your infant or toddler car seat

And you might recognize this fabric. I used it for this project too. I just really love it. Plus, it should hide the dirt well.

Toddler Car Seat Cover Pattern Tutorial

Here’s the infant one from last year.

Infant Car Seat Cover Pattern

I’m going to teach you how to cover a baby car seat using the existing cover.

OK, first of all, this isn’t too terribly hard, but it’s not super easy either. It took me probably at least 4-5 hours of sewing and it didn’t turn out perfect. But it looks really cute when it is all done.

You are going to do this by using the existing cover and sewing the new fabric right over it.

What You Need:
Existing Car Seat Cover
Seam Ripper
1-2 yards of fabric (mine took about 1)
A couple packs of double wide folded bias tape
Replacement elastic if yours is shot in the car seat


How to Cover a Baby Car Seat:

(This works for infant or toddler seats. Also probably swings, high chairs, etc.)

**The very first thing you need to do is take some pictures of your car seat cover for later reference. You are going to be taking it completely apart and you want to remember how to put it all back together. So, take some photos to help yourself out. Just in case. I needed my pictures. :)

Here’s my before:

Recover existing car seat cover

Then, take off the existing car seat cover and wash it and dry it.

Now, grab your seam ripper and a good movie, because the next part is going to take a while. It’s probably the most time consuming part.

Again, take a good look at how your seat cover is pieced together and memorize it so that you can put it back together.

Pick apart each and every piece of your car seat cover. This includes removing all bias tape edges and everything. Like I said, it could take a while, so settle in for the long haul. A good idea is to mark your pieces as you take them apart so you remember where they go when you are done. You can just write on them with a marker.

Take them all apart:

Instructions on how to recover a car seat

Next, lay and pin your pieces onto your fabric wrong side of the fabric touching right side of the car seat pieces:

Cut around them just the same size that the car seat pieces are. Do this for each piece of your car seat.

Now, zig zag each piece of the car seat to the fabric right at the edges. This just holds the fabric in place so that you can sew it all back together:

Sew all the fabric pieces onto the car seat pieces. For the seat belt slots do a button hole. I flipped it over so that I was working on the back of the car seat. Do a tight zig zag on either side of the hole, then cut the hole open.

Use your bias tape anywhere that your car seat had it before:

Replace elastic anywhere that needs it.

So basically you are just taking the whole thing apart, putting new fabric, bias tape, etc. on it and sewing it back together.

My one caution (other than making sure to remember how to put it back together) is to be sure to use the same seam allowances that your original car seat cover had. I didn’t do that super well on this toddler one and it came out slightly too small and it was a little tricky to get it back on the car seat. It worked, but next time I would be more careful.

He likes it! He started squealing with glee when I put him in!

Linking up here

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Hey there! I'm Amber, mom of 4 crazy boys, wife of 1 and non-stop, always busy, crazy project doer. (There's a reason why we call it *Crazy* Little Projects.) I love chocolate, reading, sewing and being with people!

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  1. says

    This is FABULOUS!!!! I really should try this.. Emanuelle’s car seat cover is so ”blah”!

    Thanks for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality!!

  2. says

    You have the cutest projects! My son would go bonkers over the dinosaurs! Thanks for sharing at the Pomp Party! Pinning to our Pomp Party board!

    Jill @ Create.Craft.Love.

  3. says

    I simply love this fabric!! I have been wanting to do this for so long…She’ll probably grow out of her car seat before I get around to doing it..LOL.. Thanks for the inspiration and tutorial and thanks so much for sharing this @ Fantabulous Friday!

  4. says

    Awesome job!! So glad I found this! We are in the process of adopting a third child and would love to make a new cover when we get out little one! Found you on 504 Main!


  5. says

    I have always wanted to do this but have never been brave enough!! I love your cute fabric. A million times better than the original car seat cover! Thanks for sharing at oopsey daisy!

  6. says

    this is SO cute! however, many carseat manufacturers void any “warranties” (etc.) if you alter the original cover and/or use after market products! (I know this, because I’ve contacted some in the past) Their main thing is that carseats are tested as “original” (the way we buy them).

  7. says

    Great project!!!

    Thanking you for linking up to my craft, create and inspire linky party…..

    I hope you will stop by and link up another fabulous project, this weeks party is now live.

    Claire x


  8. says

    i did this many times with car seats and infant seats because the covers were just so unattractive and fabric rough. makes this a fun car seat cover.

  9. says

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  10. says

    I’m way late on this, I just found you. Adorable projects! However, recovering seats like this is simply NOT safe. It voids the warranty of the car seat, and you are covering up flame resistant material that will help protect you child in the event of a fire. You are altering the car seat from the original form that it was tested in, by doing so, you have no way of knowing how the seat will perform in a crash.

  11. Marissa says

    I just came across this. I have been searching for info on recovering carseats. I have 2 girls, and now have an 8 month boy. I didn’t want to have to replace the carseats I already have, but they are pink and flowery. The fumiest part is, I bought this exact same dino fabric a couple days ago! lol

  12. Tiffany says

    hello! i totally love this!! Thanks for the instructions! I am planning to do my nephew’s nasty carseat! Curious where do you all buy fabrics at? Thanks1

  13. Erin says

    Love this!
    I’m going to start tonight on covering the nice front facing/booster seat for my Bug Boy (some mice decided to nibble at the original cover while in storage….) with some BOY-ISH bug fabric! You have no idea how hard it is to find non- ladybug/butterfly bug fabric!
    I’m really excited to try this! Is there a link where we can share our finished project with you?

  14. concerned says

    This is so dangerous. Absolutely anything after market which comes between a child’s body and the back of the car seat and straps voids the car seat’s warranty, and heaven forbid you have an accident, voids your insurance also. Spreading information on how to make a product like this is putting thousands of innocent moms at risk who are unaware of this. This post should be removed from your blog, or at the very least, edited to add a disclaimer alerting readers to the fact that adding s cover like this will likely void their warranty and jeopardize their insurance.

    • says

      I’m going to leave this comment up so that others can read your concern but this is certainly no more dangerous than letting your baby have a blanket in the carseat. Warranties mean nothing in relation to safety. A warranty does not mean that the baby is any safer.

      • also concerned says

        I just wanted to add, warranties may mean nothing in relation to safety, but a quick google can tell you the numerable dangers of re-covering your car seat. The most important being:

        The fabric you buy is not flame retardant in the way manufacturer car seat fabric is, even if you buy flame resistant fabric (like for curtains). A few minutes of flame retardancy can mean the difference between life and your baby burning to death.

        The fabric you buy may not be of the same quality, thickness or durability that your car seat was tested in, thus nullifying the crash testing and potentially harming your baby.

        The seams and thread may not be of the same quality or durability either.

        It voids most insurances. If your baby was seriously injured and they find you were using an after market car seat cover, they will not pay for medical services for your child.

        It’s just not worth it, even if they are super cute.

        • Nicole says

          No, flame retardants are the real danger. Please do some research on PBDEs and their link to hormone disruption, lowered IQ, fertility issues, cancer — the list is endless. Not to mention the fact that they make fires more dangerous by increasing the amount of carbon-monoxide, soot, and smoke in the air — all of which are much more likely to kill you than burns. And these toxic chemicals are in every American baby item you can imagine (cribs, high chairs, bouncy chairs, nursing pillows, changing pads, etc), as well as adult items (couches, mattresses, carpets). Our bodies are being so flooded with this crap, that it’s even found in breast milk.

          This is the reason people like me are thankful for tutorials like this. I’m so frustrated that there is not a single car seat or booster seat without these chemicals in them. The last car seat I bought had such a strong chemical smell, that I had no choice but to buy an “after-market” car seat cover. There was just no way I was going to let my child breathe that in and touch his delicate, thin skin every day.

          Incidentally, wool is a natural flame retardant. So if you’re really concerned about slowing down a flame, that is a great material that you might consider using.

        • Kgbm13 says

          I personally love the idea of recovering and as for the flame retardant if it must be. Worst case get the fr spray from the fabric store and spray it down. Now it’s fire retardant. I use this spray on fr clothing fixes for SO. and it’s by FDA standards.

  15. Kelly says

    This is fantastic! I have an older toddler car seat that is out-dated by regulation standards for use in the car. I was going to recover it so my little man could use it as a seat in the livingroom. I’ll probably try to add more padding, so that it’s extra comfy, so I should probably cute the pieces a bit bigger to allow room for the additional padding, right?

    Also, in regards to the previous comment, I would agree that if someone just made a new cover, with no regard for the measurements and strap placement of the original cover, that it could be a bit hazardous- but this details that you’re measuring along with the exact pieces of original cover. It’s just like buying an alternate cover for your seat at the store. If it was a hazard, it wouldn’t even be an option to replace. Basically, calm down.

  16. Karen says

    What you did is beautiful just what I was looking to do you give me a easy way to upgrade my babies seat thank you for sharing it :-)

  17. Mom of2 says

    WOW! absolutely love this! With my second on the way, this is a great idea for re-using the products that I have kept from the first. I can’t see buying brand new products when recovering the one I have would be perfect. I have an infant, high back booster and regular booster and all can be redone using this wonderful idea. Thanks so much Amber! Keep up the good work! :)

  18. Mélissa says

    Thank you for this tuto ! I was so afraid to do this, and your example had help me… (sorry if i made mistakes, i’m french). I love your blog, i fund you very inspirating ( is it correct ?).
    Bonne continuation !

  19. julie says

    I was looking for a pattern to replace a cover on a car seat that my mother in law gave us. It is the exact same seat!!! I’m going to try it in a few days. I’m so excited now! Thanks for the tutorial!

  20. ria says

    Awesome tutorial.
    I was initially concerned not about the warranty, but getting fire retardant material. For moms concerned about this, you can buy a spray. However. I think people are also forgetting or unaware that fire retardant chemicals are known to be carcinogens and skin irritants too. Some children get rashes from regular car seat covers. (That’s why there’s a market for organic fabric).
    Everyone has different comfort levels… I personaly chose to skip spraying my new diy carseat cover with the spray.
    Thank you for the tutorial again.

  21. Serina says

    I’ve been looking for that multi colored bubble pattern so I can make a shopping cart cover. Does anyone know what it is called?

  22. Debbie says

    I’m thinking that while it’s all taken apart i would also cut a paper pattern and mark each piece so i could make another one down the road even if it’s for a baby gift for someone else. Just need to make notes about the padding that was used as well as pictures. I’m getting ready to make a Highchair cover as well and will do the same.

    As for the flame retardant…you can always check the specs on the fabric you choose to see if it has any flame retardant rating.

  23. teresa says

    I can’t wait to do this to my carseat that I bought for our soon to be adopted daughter which will be born in august!!! Girl superheroes and pink or purple jot sure yet !!!

  24. Kaitlyn says

    I just found out I’m having a boy and I can’t wait to try this! I already had a girl so instead of carting him around in a bright pink car seat or having to buy a new one I’m definitely going to try this. Quick question, I’m in love with the material you used for the infant car seat (the black one with the colored circles) and i was hoping you might be able to tell me where I can find it??

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