So, my littlest guy HATES the car seat. HATES it. His big brother hated it before him. For the past few years, dread creeps into my heart every time we consider leaving the house, because I know it will result in a screaming baby. Alas, everyone has to leave the house some time, and thus the car seat toy was born. Yes, you can buy them at the local baby store, but they are super expensive and, in my experience, tend to go the way of baby socks and other small baby items - they get lost. So, I decided to make a bunch to have on hand in case they get lost, and also to be able to change toys frequently to keep my little man from getting bored.
10x10 scrap of fabric (this is enough for 2 toys)
1/4 inch elastic (6.5 inches per toy)
Computer printable fabric OR Cute fabric to use as the main feature of the toy. Fabric featuring animals, flowers, trucks, etc. would be good choices.
Step 1: Decide on the "main attraction". What do you want the main body of your toy to be? This will be the part of the toy that attracts baby's attention the most, so it should be colorful and engaging. I created several images using Picnik and then printed those images onto printable fabric using my home computer. If you would like to use these images, I uploaded the full size versions here for you, or if you want to try your hand at creating some, homemade by jill has a great tutorial on how to do this.
If you're printing images on printable fabric, follow the instructions for your fabric and print. If you are using preprinted fabric, cut out the main body of your toy, making sure to leave your preferred seam allowance around the edge. You should have two pieces - a front and a back. Also, now if the time to gather your other supplies.
Step 2: Measure your car seat. You want two measurements here. You want to measure around the handle, where the toy will attach to the seat. Then, add for seam allowance AND total velcro overlap. So, if your handle was 3 inches around, and you wanted a quarter inches seam, and were using 1 inch velcro squares, you would have 3in + .25 +.25 + 1 + 1= 5.5 inches long. I cute my strip 2 inches wide, so my final measurement for this piece was 5.5 inches long by 2 inches wide.
Then, measure the distance from the handle to where you want the toy to hang. For me, this was about 6 inches.
Step 3: Cut your fabric and elastic. Cut TWO 5.5 inch (or whatever your measurement was) by 2 inch strips of fabric. Then cut a 10 inch x 1 inch strip of fabric. This will be the "dangly" part covering the elastic. At this time, I also cut my 6.5 inch (added a half inch for seams) elastic.
Step 4: Fold your 10x1 in strip in half, right sides together, and sew closed. This will be the casing for your elastic.
Step 5: Use a safety pin as a bodkin to help turn your casing right-side out. Do this by attaching a safety pin to one end of your casing.
Then push the safety pin down into the casing, taking the fabric with it. Scrunch the fabric up over the safety pin until it pops out the other side.
Step 6: Thread your elastic through the casing. I do this by attaching the elastic to one end of the casing via safety, and attaching a safety to the other end of the elastic to help thread it through.
Step 7: Sandwich your elastic and casing in between your main toy pieces, right sides together. Stitch around the edges and secure the elastic to the main body of the toy, making sure not to catch your strap in the other seams, AND remembering to leave an opening for turn right-side out. Probably the best way to do this is to pin the strap in the middle of the toy body, but I just sort of moved it around while I was sewing to avoid catching it in the seams.
Step 8: Turn your toy right side out, and lightly stuff with your stuffing of choice. Also, if you wanted to add a bell or rattle to the inside of the toy, now would be the time to do it. I opt not to do this, because with three boys, I have PLENTY of noise happening without creating more! Once your toy is stuffed, hand-stitch the opening shut using an invisible stitch (I like the ladder stitch).
Step 9: You're almost done! With right sides together, sandwich the other end of your elastic strap between the SHORT ENDS of 5.5 x 2 inch fabric strips you cut. Stitch all around the strip, leaving an opening to turn.
Step 10: Turn right-side out. Press flat, and topstitch all around the strap.
Step 11: Take your velcro and attach one piece right above the hanging strap. Then, flip the piece over and attach the other piece of velcro on the OPPOSITE SIDE SHORT END from where you just attached the first piece of velcro.
Step 12: Attach to carseat and enjoy your handiwork!
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