Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Sheep and Chevrons Car Seat Cover

So today I decided to FINALLY check out the fabric store that is (sort of) nearby. I trekked across Sheffield, which was a pain because of roadworks and a main road being closed and I had a bit of trouble getting around it, but eventually I made my way to Patchwork Garden. It's a really cute little store. Not really on the scale of fabric stores in the US in terms of quantity, but they had a lot of really cute fabrics and a decent amount of choice for how small the store was.

So I found some pretty cute fabric with little sheep on it, and a sort of matching stripey fabric. I didn't really have a particular project in mind when I went into the store but I had a quick look on Pinterest before setting out and decided this fabric would look cute as a car seat cover or a light quilt or something similar. So I got 1 1/2 metres of each fabric, so I'd hopefully have some extra depending on what I wanted to do with it.

So when I got home I eventually decided a car seat cover was a good project, and was something a bit different and would require a bit more engineering than just a standard quilt. I found a pattern on CraftStylish via Pinterest, and used this as a rough guide for measurements, but mostly I worked the size and everything myself, because I wanted a bit more of an intricate design.

My inspiration.

I decided to do a chevron pattern, so sketched out a rough estimate of how many triangles I'd need and the rough sizes, and decided on 6.5" squares to make 6" HSTs, to make an eventual cover that was 36 x 42" (6 x 7 HST squares).

The cute fabric cut into squares! Sheeps!

After cutting out squares, I used a fabric pen to mark cross corners of all of my gray squares. You can try eyeballing this if you prefer while you're sewing, but I don't trust myself to do that because I am a bit of a speed demon and tend to make mistakes that way.

Next I used one of my favourite techniques - chain piecing. I'm not actually sure if this is the proper name for it, but if you're doing something really repetitive like making a gazillion half square triangles, it speeds things up considerably, and also saves on thread waste as well.

Chain piecing in progress.

To chain piece, basically just don't break the thread in between pieces and keep on going. I sewed 1/4" to each side of the marked line. You can break the pieces after doing the first chain of seams, or if you're impatient like me you can keep them all chained up and just flip the chain around to sew the second side.

After sewing both sides, cut down the marked line, and press open - voila, a million HST squares!

Lots of squares! I did these all randomly, but if you have a directional fabric that you want to all be in the same direction, you'll have to do a bit more planning.

The next part I did a little bit oddly, and again this is sort of how you like to put things together, but I like to put bigger pieces together, so I basically just sewed all the squares together in pairs. I alternated them just to make sure I'd have them in the right configuration, but in hindsight I'm pretty sure this wasn't necessary.

The makings of chevrons!

I'll spare you the boring details, but basically I lined these bits up and sewed them into the top of the cover. I then pieced together the back using scraps, because I (once again) cut more squares than I needed. Sew the top and bottom right sides together, curving the corners if you want, leaving a space to turn. I then edge stitched the top all the way around, and lightly quilted along the chevrons just to keep the layers of the top from coming apart. You can embellish with rickrack or binding or whatever, but I just kept it simple. There are also some versions that have flaps to open the cover, but I like the idea of using this as a kind of light quilt or nursing cover or something as well, so I kept it as is.

I then pieced together some scraps for the handles, measured out where I wanted them - it turned out they were going in the exact centre of the top to fit my car seat, but if you have a particular car seat I'd advise measuring it to make sure it works for yours.

The inspiration used velcro, but as I couldn't find any non sticky velcro, I opted for buttons (also, buttons for Button - yay!). I had a bit of trouble with the buttonhole function of my sewing machine, so I practiced on some scraps beforehand, and used this tutorial which was quite helpful, and eventually I got 3 buttonholes on each strap.

I didn't take any pictures of this process, because my phone battery died, but basically the procedure in the tutorial on CraftStylish is pretty good, you may just have to alter the measurements slightly for your exact needs and how you want your cover to hang.

A finished car seat cover!

I think it's a little bit big, cause the edges are touching the ground, so if I made it again I might take off one row of squares from the length and then add a small border to get a better size, but overall I think it turned out pretty well. It's not got any batting in between the layers, so it's really lightweight, and I think it'll be useful for keeping Button asleep while we're out and about, and keeping the sun off him as well. Plus it will be useful for deterring random people from disturbing him while he's napping!

Still no signs of Button's arrival yet, although I've been feeling more and more intense Braxton Hicks contractions, so hopefully that's a sign things are moving along. This hot weather is killing me though! I can't believe I used to survive American summers, because it's only like 24 C (75 F) here and I'm dying! Granted we had air-conditioning pretty much everywhere in the US, so whenever I was inside I'd have sweatshirts on throughout the whole summer.

Despite no baby yet, A and I have decided to move back to Edinburgh to be nearer to family, which will be really nice once Button is here. Originally we were going to stay in England, because I absolutely love my job, but being on maternity leave so far from family and friends was a bit of a bleak prospect, and various things occurring at once that make it the ideal time to move back. Despite the sadness of leaving my coworkers here that have been so amazing and supportive, and leaving some of my clients and their pets that I've grown to love, I am extremely excited to move back to the greatest and most beautiful city in the world, and hopefully get back some semblance of a social life as well! It's all happening in the next month!

Cross your fingers Button arrives soon! :)

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