Howdy friends! I originally posted this Car Seat Poncho tutorial several years ago. But it’s been such a popular post, and SO MANY of you have made these for your littles over the years… I thought it would be worth re-posting!! PLUS, my girl Cypress was sooooo itty-bitty and not-yet-sassy!
Before you comment or email me to ask if I sell these, the answer is no… BUT! Since making this poncho 3 years ago, there are a ton available on Amazon now. Check them out HERE! If you want to make your own with our simple tutorial, read on!
This post contains affiliate links.
This fleece car seat poncho tutorial will work for sizes 12m to 3T. You can easily adjust the dimensions slightly to fit a baby or bigger kid by measuring from their neck to wrist and modifying accordingly. Heck you could make one for yourself if you feel so inclined. They are pretty darn cute!
I decided to go with a solid neutral linen fabric in ‘Mushroom’, with a fun/colorful fleece for the cozy liner and accent colors. Since my toddler wears a lot of bright colors, I wanted the majority of the carseat poncho to be a neutral color, and then accent that with a fun colorful fleece print as the border and hood!
You could use anything though! You could even use two layers of fleece to make it warmer, and tie the ends like those ‘fleece knot blankets’ to make a no-sew version!
Supplies for car seat poncho:
1 yard Formenti Linen fabric in ‘Mushroom’
- 1 yard fleece fabric (plus 18” x 18” extra for the hood)
- Sewing machine (I have this one)
- Thread to match your fabrics
- Sewing scissors
- Super cute child model (I’m sure you already have this on hand, right?!)
Car seat Poncho Instructions
I started by cutting my fleece to a 36” x 36” square. Fold in half twice… and and then corner to corner, like so:
Using your super sharp sewing scissors (that you NEVER let your kids use to cut plastic milk cartons) cut through all the layers at a slight circular curve.
UPDATE! A lot of you were having a hard time knowing which edge to cut to make a circle, so I whipped up this little video for you using a piece of paper to demonstrate!
Open that sucker up and you’ve got a near-perfect circle! If it’s not a perfect circle, it’s ok. You’ll see why later!
Lay out your solid color ‘linen’ fabric (after ironing if necessary), and lay the fleece circle on top. Cut around the edges so you have two identical-sized circles.
I needed to cut a hole for the head, but I wanted to be really careful not to make it too big… because that can’t be fixed! You can always make a hole bigger later, but smaller? Not so much!
I’m glad I ordered extra fabric, because my first go ’round, I cut the head hole the size I THOUGHT would be appropriate… and it was wayyyyyyy too big. Like ridiculous.
So I used one of Cypress’ shirts and found an item that was a similar-sized circle as the head hole of her shirt. It happened to be a plate from the girls’ play kitchen, but you could use a lid or a saucer (which I call a ‘dessert plate’… but Nick corrected me and says it’s a saucer). #eyeroll
UPDATE: I’m getting lots of emails saying that you’ve cut the head-hole way too big for this car seat poncho for toddlers. I know that little saucer looks like a TINY hole that would be far too small for your little one, but it’s deceiving! When in doubt, use your child’s shirt hole as a template.
Find the center of the circle and pin it so you don’t lose it. Then place your circular item over it, trace with a marker, and cut out your circle!
Hem the outer circle under 2-3 inches or so. This part is tricky because you’re hemming a CIRCLE… not a straight line. So feel free to take some little ‘tucks’ along the way to stay on track. It will look like this on the under side.
Hem around the circle for the head hole too. Then lay it over the fleece circle and try to get it as centered as possible. This is a good time to think about whether there’s an ‘up or down’ to the print. Pin it down along the seem every 4-5 inches, then sew the two layers together right over the existing seam. I used a zigzag stitch so it would be a little forgiving, just in case I didn’t follow the line perfectly.
This is what we have now!
Now we’re going to get to work on the hood.
Cut an 18” x 18” square out of your fleece fabric. Fold the edges over and hem them (about an inch). Then fold the hemmed edges in toward each other with the pretty side of the fabric on the inside. Then sew across the folded edge.
My girl was napping, so I couldn’t try it on her head to make sure it would sufficiently cover her noggin, so I blew up a balloon approx the same size as her melon head, draped my circle poncho over a little trash can, and put the hood on. I crack myself up!
I measured my hood to be extra long so I would have some wiggle room. Stick the hood down between the fleece and linen material, and decide where you want to sew it on. I realized that I had about 3 extra inches of fabric that I didn’t want to bulk things up unnecessarily, so I whacked them off. Then pin the hood to the linen (outer) fabric, and stitch it up! I used the zigzag stitch again for this part,
NOW it’s finally time to cut out the circle of fleece! Cut it slightly smaller than the existing hole, because I’m going to hem them over too.
Fold the edge of the fleece over about 1/2” and pin every couple inches all the way around. When you stitch this up, TAKE IT SLOW! And just do an inch or so at a time, feeling as you go to make sure everything is staying in place just so. (sorry I forgot to turn the light off on my sewing machine for this pic)
When I went to try this sucker on Cypress for a test run, it wouldn’t fit over her off-the-charts giant head. But that’s ok! I expected that! It was sooooo close, but since there’s no stretch in this material, it just wasn’t happening. But at least it wasn’t too big. I can totally fix too small!
Fold the car seat poncho in half to find the center of the front, then cut a slit (I cut about an inch and a half). Sew around it close to the edge just to keep it from fraying. It doesn’t have to be pretty because it will be covered! Then cut a diamond shape out of your fleece material the same width of the opening between the two edges of the hood.
Tuck that diamond shape long-ways in behind the slit you cut, and fold it over in the front so that it’s folded exactly in half. Pin it down!
No folding or hemming on this one. Just stitch about a half inch from the edge! I took a scissors to it and added a little fringe on the point of the triangle. And I fringed the entire perimeter of fleece sticking out the bottom.
This darling hooded car seat poncho for toddlers turned out SO ADORABLE. I’m so glad I stepped outside of my sewing comfort zone on this!
And I actually think the little detail around the neck hole just adds to the cuteness! I love it when a mistake leads to something even more amazing!
I just can’t stand the cuteness!
One of my favorite parts about this design is that our girl can wear this in her car seat while still being securely buckled underneath. It’s the ‘law’ for kids to not wear coats in their car seat because they can’t be buckled tight enough. But with this poncho jacket, she can be buckled and still have a warm fuzzy BASICALLY BLANKET all around her.
Ok… ONE LAST PICTURE of my super cute Cypress:
I have a feeling a LOT of you are going to be making one of these car seat ponchos for toddlers for your little one, so be sure to send me pics or tag me on social media! (@RealityDaydream) …I can’t wait to see how yours turns out!
PSSSSST! Be sure to also check out our other sewing tutorials and projects!
Thanks for pinning!