Car Seat Canopy Tutorial

Learn how to make the cutest car seat canopy with Ric Rac and bows!

Hi Everyone! I am Ashley from Mommy by day, Crafter by night. I am so excited to be here!! I LOVE The Ribbon Retreat! When I saw this Fly a Kite fabric by Riley Blake, I fell in love and totally envisioned a darling car seat canopy. So I got to working and this tutorial is what I came up with.

I know car seat canopies have gone around the block or two in blogland, but I decided to throw in a little of my own flair and added the bows up top for a little girly vibe.

But- never fear… if you are making this darling little car seat accessory for the little boys in your life, leave the bows off and add a cute button… How darling would a jumbo fabric covered button be?? You could even leave it plain… either way would be so cute!


1 yard main fabric (I used pink ice cream)

1 yard coordinating fabric(I used the cream main)

2 fat quarters- one for the straps and one for the bows (I used pink ice cream for the straps and brown damask for the bows)- if you aren’t making the bows to go on top, you will only need one fat quarter.

4 1/2 yard jumbo ric rac (I used brown)

two 3 inch strips of velcro

To start, iron both yards of your fabric.

1: Put your fabric right sides together and make sure they are exactly the same size. Once they are all lined up, use a plate and rotary cutter and round off all 4 edges of the fabric. (be sure that your fabrics are totally smooth so that when you are cutting everything turns out the same size)

2.Sandwich your jumbo ric rac in between the two layers of fabric and pin it around the edges.

3. Once your ric rac is all pinned in place, take it over to your sewing machine and sew using 1/4 inch inseam.

4. Be sure to leave a 4-6 inch opening to turn the fabric right side out.

Turn it right side out and press so that your edges are nice and crisp. Be sure to push out the corners all the way so they are nice and round. Put the edges of the un-stitched place inside and press the seam nice and straight. Now you are going to top stitch all the way around as close as you can to the edge. (I moved my needle all the way to the right for this part.)

Ok… you are done sewing the main part. Set this aside so we can make the straps.

To make the straps you will need one of the fat quarters. Cut two strips that are 8.5×10 inches.

1. Pin both pieces so they are folded in half right sides together. You will have two pieces that are approx 4×10 inches.

2. Sew around the edges of both pieces but be sure to leave an opening to turn them right side out.

3. Turn each strap right side out and press the corners out really well. Press with your iron to make things nice and crisp looking. Top stitch around each strap.

4. Sew your velcro on. I did this by folding the straps in thirds (actually not quite thirds- refer to picture above to see how mine were folded) and figure out where the straps are going to overlap and pin velcro in the appropriate places.

Ok… now you are ready to sew your straps to the main piece. If you have the car seat you plan on using the canopy with, customize exactly where you want the straps to be placed on the main part and also how far apart you want them to be placed. Or you can follow my measurements below.

I placed my straps approx. 20 inches up from the bottom of the canopy and then 11 inches in from the sides. So they were just slightly off centered as far as the length goes. (longer part in the front)

I pinned my straps in place and sewed a 3×3 inch box in the middle of the strap. When you are pinning your strap in place, fold it up and figure out where the 3×3 inch area is that lays on the canopy- place your pins there to mark where you need to sew.

Ok… you are done with the main canopy part! If you aren’t going to add the bows then you are all done. If you are adding the bows, follow the steps below.

To make the bows for the straps, take your other fat quarter and cut two pieces that are 9×12 inches. Next cut two pieces that are 2×3 inches.

1. Fold and press your 9×12 inch strips in thirds. You should have two strips that are 3×12 inches.

2. Fold the end in to the middle.

3. Fold the other end to the middle so it overlaps the first end by 1/4 inch.

4. Stitch one line down the middle to hold the folded ends in place.

(do step 2-4 on the other strap and then set these pieces aside)

1. Take both pieces of fabric that are 2×3 inches. Fold and press the edges towards the middle so that you have 2 strips that are 1×3 inches. Top stitch on each edge to hold the folded edge in place.

2. Fold the strap so that it is right sides together and sew along the end to create a tube. Turn tube right side out.

3. Take one of the pieces that you made in the previous steps and fold it like an accordion to feed it through the tube. The picture above is what you will want the bow to look like when you have fed it through- so fold accordingly.

4. Feed through the tube. This will be extremely tight! Don’t get discouraged… just wiggle that fabric through. It will look pretty rough once it is fed through, but it is easily remedied.

(do step 2-4 for the other bow)

Once your have fed both through the tubes, fluff and wiggle your bows to make them look nice.

Now you are ready to put them onto your straps. You can hand sew them in place… or if you are in a huge hurry like I was, you can just hot glue them in place. Just put a dot under the bottom of the tube and then place it on the top of the strap to hold it in place. Take care to not have your glue gushing out from under the bow or it will look sloppy.

That’s it- all done!! Yahoo! Ready for your little baby or a cute shower gift!

I gave mine to a close friend for her baby shower. I just folded it up and tied it with some cute ribbon I had laying around the house! It was a hit- she loved it!

Thanks so much for letting me come visit! Be sure to stop by my blog and say hi anytime! I am on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest too!! Let’s be friends! 🙂

xoxo, Ashley

Thank you so much Ashley!

Mommy by day… Crafter by night is full of amazing, beautiful tutorials just like this Car Seat Canopy Tutorial. I have met Ashley and she is absolutely wonderful and so talented. You have to check out her blog and see all the fun things she has going on. She also has a Zig Zag Quilt Along that The Ribbon Retreat is sponsoring.

The Ribbon Retreat has new fabrics coming in weekly! We have some beautiful fabrics that would be absolutely perfect for a Car Seat Canopy (or just about everything…). If you haven’t browsed our new fabrics, check them out by clicking the link.

And as always, if you have a fun blog and wonderful tutorials, we would love to have you on The Ribbon Retreat as a contributor! Check out our Project Submission Page for more details and to apply.

Have a great day! ~ Shirley, The Ribbon Retreat Blog Editor

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  1. Lucia
    Posted July 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Great work Ashley, I loved how the the bow complemented the design of the car seat.

  2. Tanisha
    Posted July 13, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    love it, thanks so much. i made one for my daughter but winged it and used left over fabric. think i need to go shopping for some cute fabric. remember seeing some purple fabric with bikes on it that i was trying to figure out what i could make. now i know.

  3. Alissa
    Posted July 16, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I love the bows! I am keeping this for if we adopt another baby, thanks!


  4. Jennifer M
    Posted September 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    I just wanted to say that I just made this today for my granddaughter (due any day). It was the first thing I’ve EVER sewed (project wise). It was a super easy tutorial to follow. The only thing I had difficulty with was the ric-rak, but it was still overall a successful project! Thanks for sharing!!

    • Shirley
      Posted September 10, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Jennifer, congratulations on your first project being a success!! I’m so glad the tutorial was easy to follow and your granddaughter has a beautiful canopy to cuddle under. 🙂 The first time I used Ric Rac was difficult too. Hopefully next time will be easier. Thanks for your comment! – Shirley 🙂

  5. Posted January 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    wow…I wish I had someone to make this for me! I am not crafty, I have a one year old and I am 35 weeks pregnant! No time 🙂 Maybe I’ll try to coerce a friend into making it. 🙂

  6. Miranda
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    I am 37 weeks pregnant with my second little girl and can’t wait to make this tomorrow! I purchased my fabric today and think this is the best tutorial I have found!

  7. Laura McLauchlin
    Posted March 1, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I was wondering if you cut your fabric to a specific width and lenght before cutting the rounded corners?

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted March 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Hi Laura, the fabric is just one yard so 36″x42-44″ depending on the fabric. Just place the two pieces together and trim the excess of the other fabric if needed. Hope this helps! – Shirley 🙂

  8. Sharla
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    You should amend your instructions for the size of the fabric used. I thought I was supposed to make the whole cover 36″ (1 yard), so I trimmed both fabrics and it ended up square and a bit too short. I wished I had seen the last comment about the size. Also, in another tutorial using ric rac, the person had sewn the ric rac to the top piece (right side up and corners already rounded) first. Mark the two pieces with a pin on each so you remember which way they had fit together. When sewing ric rac, try to sew it down the middle (missing the waves—or at least hitting the tops and bottoms with your seam). Once done, put the second piece back on and line the corners up. If you flip the blanket over and sew using the last seam as your guide of where to sew, you will have perfect ric rac positioning. My blankets look awesome, but are too small. Since I am a perfectionist, I may have to make new ones and use these ones for blankets. Hope this helps everyone!

  9. Pam
    Posted May 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Hey awesome tutorial! Love the carseat cover, just wondering what type of fabric you used? Flannel or what. I’m going to try to attempt this but not sure what type of material to buy

    Thanks in advance!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Hi Pam! Thank you so much for your question. I am so glad you love this carseat canopy as much as we do and that you are going to make one. The fabric used in this tutorial is cotton. She used the line Fly a Kite by Riley Blake. I hope this helps. 🙂
      Have a wonderful day!

  10. Carli
    Posted June 9, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the tutorial! I had to unpick and redo it a few times because I’m a beginner, but I’m in love with the final product. I tried tagging y’all on the pic I posted to Instagram but couldn’t find you 🙁 anyway thank you thank you! Xxx

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted June 10, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Hi Carli! Yay! I am so glad you made this canopy. I also made one for my new little girl, and I love it. I am so happy for you! Thanks for sharing your success with us! 🙂

  11. felicia
    Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I’m making this for a friend and was wondering if you have any suggestions for creating this cover with an opening in the front.
    Also, did you preshrink your fabric?

    Thanks! 🙂

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted October 22, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Hi Felicia! Thank you for your question! Ashley does not pre-shrink her fabric, she suggests that if you are planning on washing it a lot then she recommends pre-washing your fabric. She does not have any suggestions for creating an opening in the front; however, there a lot of car seat canopy tutorials that do teach that technique. You could easily couple one of those tutorials with this one to create the CUTEST car seat canopy. Good luck Felicia and thank you for stopping by! Michelle 🙂

  12. Beth
    Posted December 15, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Could you be a little more specific with the instructions for the straps? I have always just placed a seem down the middle of the strap to attach, then reinforced it. I really like the idea of the box in the middle but am having trouble with the placing…

    • Posted December 16, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Hi Beth! Thank you for your question. I found the easiest way, for me, to place them was to measure from the side of the canopy in on both sides and then measure in from the top and the bottom and then pinned my straps so they each had the exact same measurements in from all four sides. I then put the canopy on my carseat to make sure the placement of the straps was where I wanted them to be. If I had to make any adjustments I made them, repinned, and placed it on my carseat again. After I had my exact placement, I then sewed the box on my straps to secure them to the canopy. I hope this helps! Thank you again Beth and good luck! Michelle 🙂

  13. Amanda
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for putting this tutorial up!! It is so easy to follow!! I am not great at following patterns but the way you did it is just awesome!!! I am due in June with a little girl and I will be making a bunch of these for her so again THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

    • Posted February 18, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      Hi Amanda! Thank you for your sweet comment! Congratulations on your little girl…coming soon! That is so exciting and yes…this tutorial is wonderful! I have also made a couple of these following this awesome tutorial, and it is wonderful! You are so welcome and thank you for comment and for stopping by! Have a wonderful rest of your day and good luck with the remainder of your pregnancy and your new little girl, come June! Michelle 🙂

  14. Jamie
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the pattern. My cover turned out great! Word to anyone sewing with Minky…look up some tips first!!! I did the inside of my cover with minky and it was a real learning experience. I wasn’t prepared for all the stretching!!! Thankfully I cut my fabric larger as one of the comments suggested so it still fits fine, but it was definitely more challenging!!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jamie! Thank you so so much for your comment and your suggestion! Your advice is terrific and will be so helpful for those using minky! You are awesome, and I hope you have a wonderful day! Thanks again Jamie and great job on the Car Seat Canopy! Michelle 🙂

  15. Katie
    Posted April 15, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Did you line your at all? I’m using a dark fabric on one side and a lighter fabric on the other side and I think I may have to line it with a light muslin fabric. Do you think this will cause any problems?

    LOVE your tutorial. I made a miniature one for my daughter’s doll carseat 🙂

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Hi Katie! Thank you for your question. I bet your car seat canopy is going to be SO cute with your contrasting fabric. I don’t think you will have an issue with lining your canopy; however, I have used a muslin fabric before and it shrunk a lot when I washed it the first time. So, I suggest you wash at least your muslin fabric before you sew it into your canopy to prevent issues in the future when washing your canopy.
      What a cute idea to make one for your daughter’s doll car seat. I bet it turned out so cute and that your daughter and her dolly love it! Thank you again Katie! Good luck and have a wonderful day! Michelle 🙂

  16. Athena Andrzejewski
    Posted June 10, 2014 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    I just found out the gender of my baby this morning and immediately came home and ordered fabric to make this! I can’t wait to get this together!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted June 10, 2014 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      Hi Athena! Yay!!! Congrats on your pregnancy and sweet little bundle! I love this Car Seat Canopy and actually made one for my sweet little girl when she was born. Have so much fun sewing this and congrats again! Have a wonderful rest of your day! Michelle 🙂

  17. narissa
    Posted June 10, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    If using the minky fabric as a backing, is there any thing special about the prepping of it prior to sewing?

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted June 16, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Hi Narissa! Thank you for your question. I think you will be just fine using the minky fabric without any prepping done to it. If you haven’t made anything with minky before, it is so much fun but it tends to be super messy. You will love the finished product though! Thank you again Narissa and Happy Sewing! Have a wonderful day and thank you again! Michelle 🙂

  18. Tanya
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Hello. Just wondering what fabric is on the top? I love it an cannot locate it anywhere. Is is actually called pink ice cream fabric??? would love to use some for a car seat canopy. Thanks.

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted August 18, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Hi Tanya! Thank you so much for your question. Isn’t this fabric so cute? I love it too! The fabric line is called Fly A Kite by Riley Blake. Unfortunately, it is an older line. We no longer carry this line, because we sold out of it rather fast…bummer, but you may have more luck by doing a Google search and seeing if you can find it carried elsewhere. I am so sorry Tanya and wish I could be more help! Have a wonderful day! Michelle 🙂

  19. Ciena
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m a bit confused as to where the straps go. I have no children myself and am making this for a friend. Are the longer sides the top and bottom, or are longer sides the sides with the shorts sides being the top and bottom? I don’t want to sew my straps on wrong and not have it fit on the carrier properly.

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted October 23, 2014 at 4:42 am | Permalink

      Hi Ciena! Thank you for your question! I am sorry for your confusion. When you are ready to place your handles on your canopy, lay it on the ground in front of you. It should look more like a rectangle than a perfect square…barely. If you use stand above it so it looks like a vertical rectangle (so the longer sides are going up and down and one of the shorter sides is right by your feet) then you will see that the shorter sides will be your top and bottom. Now you can bend down right where you are and begin to measure where your handles will go. It is suggested to have more of the canopy to cover the front of the car seat so those cute little baby feet will not hang out the bottom of the canopy so if it will help, you could place something under your canopy to resemble a car set to ensure that you have the handles positioned correctly before you sew them on. I hope this makes sense. Good luck sewing and have a great day! Michelle 🙂

  20. marilee botos
    Posted January 20, 2015 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Ric-rac and bows make a huge difference!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted January 21, 2015 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      Hi Marilee! Thank you for your comment. Aren’t those bows and ric rac so cute. I agree…they totally add the finishing touch that makes this Car Seat Canopy so cute and fun! Have a wonderful day and thank you again! Michelle 🙂

  21. Jessica
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Two questions, what are the finished dimensions? And do you measure up for straps on longer or shorter side?

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted May 20, 2015 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Hi Jessica! Thank you for your questions! The finished dimensions are approximately 41″x34″. However, those dimensions could differ due to the seam allowance you use or how much you trim off at the beginning. In regards to the straps, I found the easiest way, for me, to measure them was to measure from the side of the canopy in on both sides and then measure in from the top and the bottom and then pinned my straps so they each had the exact same measurements in from all four sides. I then put the canopy on my carseat to make sure the placement of the straps was where I wanted them to be. If I had to make any adjustments I made them, repinned, and placed it on my carseat again. After I had my exact placement, I then sewed the box on my straps to secure them to the canopy. I hope this helps! Thank you again Beth and good luck! Michelle 🙂

  22. Aimee
    Posted May 29, 2015 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Hi I was wondering what car seat this was originally made for. I’m making for a friend and she has a graco but I live super far away and have no way to make sure the placement of the straps are correct. Was yours a graco?

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted June 1, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Hi Aimee! Thank you for your question. I have made this Car Seat Canopy multiple times and the car seats have been Graco and a few other brands. The canopy has worked perfectly for all of them…so I really hope that you find the same success with yours. I hope this helps. Thank you so much Aimee! Have a wonderful day! Michelle 🙂

  23. Jen Hill
    Posted February 28, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the tutorial. I made my car canopy today and it turned out adorably (and I’m not a seamstress)! Thanks so much

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted March 9, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jen! Yay! Great job! You are a rock star! Have a great day and thank you so much for sharing your success with us! Michelle 🙂

  24. Posted December 30, 2016 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    Excellent tutorial, thanks!

  25. Pat
    Posted August 6, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Have made several different designs as gifts. I make a window out of double layer of tulle. We live in Florida with bugs and heat. The moms love being able to see the baby without having to fold back the cover.

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