Saturday, July 20, 2013

Zippered Car seat Canopy Tutorial

One of the gifts that I received for my first daughter was a car seat canopy from my Aunt Jodee.  I loved it and I used it all of the time to shade my daughter from rain, bugs, strangers and the sun.  One day while on a walk I was thinking how it would be nice to be able to adjust how much of the canopy was open or closed rather than having it be all or nothing.  I considered the various ways to make a slit down the front and to close it (buttons, ties, zipper, etc.) and decided on using a zipper.  Making my first car seat canopy was all trial and error but I loved having the zipper.  While walking my daughter I could zip it all the way or unzip it partially and move the flaps around to block the sun.  My second attempt was for a friend that was expecting her second baby.  She loved it so much that she asked me to make one for her friend that is expecting.  I have received numerous requests for a pattern or tutorial, so I was glad she asked me to make this one and therefore I could use it to document my process. 

2 yards of fabric (I normally choose one pattern and one solid)
20-22 inch zipper (I generally choose a longer one and then just cut off the excess)
2 inch wide grosgrain ribbon
3/8 inch grosgrain ribbon (optional)
Corresponding thread

To start you need to cut you material into 3 different pieces each.  You want one piece that is 21x36 inches and two pieces that are 21x18 inches.  The easiest way to do this is to fold the material in half so that you have a piece that is 22x36 (this assumes your fabric is 44 inches wide) and then fold it in half and half again so that you piece is 22x9.  Cut off the inch or two on the end so that you piece is 21 inches folded.  Then cut along the seam so that you have 2 pieces that are 21x36 and cut one of those pieces in half so that you have two 21x81 inch pieces.  Repeat with second piece of fabric.

After you have your fabric cut you want to start by putting in the zipper.  Take your pattern piece (from here on out I am assuming the pattern is on the outside) and lay it right side up on your table with the 21 inch side at the top.  Place your zipper face down along the top of the fabric.  You want the bottom of the zipper up with the end of the fabric and any excess should be at the top of the zipper.
Then lay your solid fabric right side down on top of the zipper and line up the edge of the fabric with the eds of the zipper, pin in place.

After you have it pinned in place, using a zipper foot, sew as close to the zipper as possible.  Turn the fabric right side out and top stitch the material onto the zipper. (I the tops stitching on the inside below as the brown thread blends in with the pattern)

Repeat with the other side of the zipper.

Once you have the zipper sewn in, move the zipper down below the material line and cut off the excess, if you cut the excess off before moving the zipper you will remove the zipper pull from the zipper and be in trouble, so be sure to move it first!

Now turn the pieces attached to the zipper so that they are right sides together again.  Sew along the bottom edge (the side where you cut the zipper) and along the side.  Leave the top open (where the zipper stop is) as this will be the open edge at the center seam.  After sewing the two sides, snip your corners and turn right side out.  It should look like the picture below.

Next take your two 21x36 inch pieces and pin them right sides together.  Sew down both sides and along one of the 36 inch edges for about 12-15 inches on either side, leaving about a 6 inch portion of the edge open to turn it right side out later on.  Also leave one of the long edges open as this is where the center seam will be. 

Leaving this piece inside out, place the piece with the zipper inside of the non zipper piece with the patterned fabric touching the patterned fabric and the solid touching the solid.  Match up and pin the raw edges. 

Now it is time to start the ribbon loops that will be used to hang the canopy from the car seat handle.  When it comes to this part you have a few different options, you can include Velcro loops only on the patterned side, you can include Velcro loops on both sides so that it is reversible or you can include Velcro loops on one side and also include plain loops on the other side to hang toys from.  For this canopy I choose to do Velcro on one side and ribbon loops on the inside for toys.

For the Velcro loops cut your 2 inch ribbon into four 10 inch long strips (8 if you want it to be reversible).  For each cut, fold the ribbon back on itself and sew along the long edges and the folded edge.

To insert the ribbon, I measure about 2.5 inches from the zipper and mark it, that is where I want the inside edge of the ribbon to be.  Insert two pieces of ribbon at the marked place so that the sew edge is inside and the raw edge lines up with the material raw edges.  You want the ribbon to be in between the two pieces of patterned material.  Pin in place.
If you want the canopy to be reversible repeat this step and place the ribbon between the solid fabrics.  Because I was doing toy loops (which toys can hang from the Velcro loops too, FYI :)) I cut two 6 inch pieces of grosgrain ribbon (I used 5/8ths because that is what I had but 3/8ths would probably be better).  I folded each piece of ribbon in half and inserted it between the solid pieces of fabric so that the raw edges line up with the raw fabric edges and the loop is inside. 
Sew along the edge ensuring that you catch all pieces of ribbon.  I also like to serge this edge for added strength.  After you have the edge sewn, you can turn the whole thing right side out through the 6 inch opening you left in the fabric.
To close the opening, fold right sides together and top stitch.  I like to start my top stitch at one end of the zipper and go all the way around finishing at the other end.
Now its time to add Velcro to the ribbon.  I like for my loop to have the edge facing away from me so I attach the Velcro so that its a clean loop from the front of the car seat perspective.  Note that the Velcro will be facing the same way on both strips of ribbon so that it makes a clean loop.

Finished canopy!!  I have mine on a Chicco Key Fit 30 and the fit is perfect!


  1. Thank you for this! I searched high and low for it it's surprisingly easy! I started one last night and had to make myself stop because it was so late before i even started. I had to add a flap at the zipper part becuse my zipper was about 5 inches too short ut that was the only change i made. This one is a gift so i didnt want to mess it up but for mine, i plan to add piping and a few snaps in the back as well as the front. We plan on getting the keyfit 30 so i was happy to see it on one... Well anyway, thanks for the tutorial!

    1. I'm glad you found the tutorial helpful. Piping would be super cute on this!

  2. Thanks for this! Been lookin everywhere for a zipper one, only got 3 weeks till due date
    , now i can finally get my canopy made :D x

  3. Thank you for this pattern it is super easy to follow and super cute