Tuesday, August 14, 2012

(Let's just set the record straight from the get go.  Remember how I promised to share with you my adventures AND misadventures?  This one straddles the line between the two.  The project itself turned out fine.  My sewing experience, on the other hand, was a misadventure to the nth degree.  I wanted to punch the sewing machine, rip every single seem out and throw the machine out the back door before running over it 42 times.  That being said, here's my tutorial!)

I had no idea there was such a thing as a Car Seat Cooler until two weeks ago.  Sis and I were at a consignment shop and she was on the hunt for one.  With the triple digit temps, a car seat can get pretty darn hot.  You can put a cooler in the seat so it's nice and cool when you come out and buckle the child into their seat.  The drawback is that these things run $60 and higher.

I decided to check Pinterest to see if there was one that could be made.  You know, that's how I roll.  I found this car seat cooler on Joy Inexpressible's blog.
She's got a great tutorial and you should probably follow her instructions instead of mine.  I'm going to show you some pics along the way, but because mine turned out kind of wonky, I am not going to go through the steps of adding detailed measurements, etc.

I used printed cotton fabric, knit fabric, fusible webbing, that silver pot holder type material, bias tape and cooler ice blocks.  I happened to have some of the silver thermal fabric from an old old project I never even started.  Her tutorial called for using a thick flannel or any fabric that will help insulate the blocks so they don't thaw as fast.  
(MISADVENTURE: I have no idea what made this beginner sewer at best think it was a good idea to use that stupid thermal fabric. It was sew thick it altered my measurements and was SUPER hard to work with.  I would definitely use a thinner (less difficult) material if I were to do this project over again.)
Cut your materials all to the same size.  I did mine 25" x 10".
(MISADVENTURE: In hindsight, I should have made it more like 32".  I ended up not having enough room for all of the this size blocks. I ended up doing so much seam ripping it wasn't even funny, but more on that later.)
Fuse one piece of printed fabric to the thermal fabric and one to the knit fabric.
(MISADVENTURE: For the life of me, I could not get the backing paper to peel off the fabric after I fused the webbing to the first piece of fabric. I ended up peeling it little piece by little piece. Ugh.)
Add bias tape to one edge of each piece of fabric.
(MISADVENTURE: I decided to do yellow bias tape (left over from a previous project). I cut it, pinned it and was ready to load the machine with yellow thread only to learn I did not have yellow thread.  In that stupid hindsight, I should have stopped there instead of thinking using aqua thread would be a nice accent. It showed every stupid little mistake.) 
Sew around the three unbiased edges to connect the two pieces. 
This allows you to form a big pocket.   
Line up your ice blocks to get a general idea for spacing.
(MISADVENTURE: I say general idea because I thought I had it down pat.  I spaced them all out, used a quilting pen to mark them all out, and sewed one line.  Thank God himself I did not sew them all because the pockets were not big enough to get the block in.  I had to rip the seam, and try again, then rip the seam and try a 3rd time.  In order to make the pockets big enough to fit the bigger blocks (that are ideal because they take longer to thaw and will keep the seat cooler longer) I would only be able to use 4 blocks.  Luckily enough, Sis had some thinner blocks I could use in place and fit 3 big and 2 thin in order to get all 5 blocks in.)
Once I finally figured out the right size to sew each pocket, I was golden.  This is what they ended up looking like.  You can see the difference in size below. 
Here's the finished project.  I was sooooo thrilled to be done that I hopped in the car and ran it over to Sis' house to see how it would fit. 
(MISADVENTURE: That's another misadventure, I did not have a car seat at my house in order to measure anything.  I should have taken measurements or had one with me to know how big or small to make things, but winging it worked for the most part this go around.) 
Finished product in place.  You put the thinner material facing the car seat so it reaches the seat and cools it off.  The thicker fabric faces out so it helps insulate the blocks and keeps them from thawing faster.

The general idea is that you freeze the blocks, then take them with you when you are running errands.  You put the cooler in the car seat while you're in the store, then take it out when you get back and the seat isn't 1,000,000*.  Sis wanted to see if it would work with Grant actually sitting on top of it since her car doesn't have a/c vents in the back seat.  It worked like a champ!  Here's the lil' man in his car seat on top of the cooler.  

This is a close up of where I ripped the seams out three times.  Because the fabric was fused and so thick, it left a line of holes.  Oh well, it's finished and that's all that matters, right?
This is a close up of where the aqua thread on the yellow fabric went so wrong. With the thick fabric, the bias tape missed some of the fabric so I had to sew it a couple of times and it was NOT pretty.  Do not judge me.  It's finished and that's all that matters, right?

And to distract you from my messy sewing adventure, I leave you with the handsome blue eyes of my nephew, Grant.  Knowing his cute little behind won't burn in the car seat anymore is really all that matters.  Who am I kidding? I'd give this little monkey the world if I could.

I've got a couple of much easier projects to finish this week and then that blasted machine will go back up in the closet for several months until I forget how much I loath machine sewing and take on another project.  So, go over to Joy Inexpressible and follow her post.  She has great instructions.  Trust me.

This tutorial is being linked up with the following blogs:
The Ivy Cottage, Tip Junkie, Chef in Training, Sugar Bee Crafts, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, New Nostalgia, The Gunny Sack, Two Yellow Birds Decor, It's a Hodgepodge Life, The Grant Life, Blissful & Domestic, Little Becky Homecky, 52 Mantles

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  1. I think this is a great idea, I have the hot car seat problem all summer. I've never seen them on sale anywhere though and I'm pretty sure I'd completely mess it up if I tried to make it lol. Maybe you should make some more and put them up for sale!!

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