When Weston was born two and a half years ago, car seat canopys were just coming into existence. It's funny how almost every infant car seat I see now at Walmart or the gym has a canopy. I remember when nursing covers were the same way too, a brand new idea that became a staple for any new nursing mom.
1 1/2 yd main fabric (100% quilting cotton recommended)
1 1/2 yd coordinating fabric (100% quilting cotton recommended)
5 yd rick rack - 1 3/8" wide was used in this tutorial (optional)
From main fabric:
see step 1 to begin instructions for cutting gathered panels
From coordinating fabric:
reverse of canopy: 36"x42"
center strip on top of canopy: 7"x36"
The finished size of our canopy will be 35 1/2"x41 1/2". Most car seats will need the panel where the top of the car seat is to be shorter than the panel that covers the bottom portion of the car seat. I took a 42" blanket and determined that I needed 4 extra inches from the handle to the bottom than from the handle to the top of the car seat. Using newspaper, make a rectangle that is 36"x20 1/2", which will be the pattern for the bottom gathered panel. The pattern for the top gathered panel will need to be 36"x16 1/2", but you can just use the larger pattern and cut it down to 16 1/2" after you've used it for the 20 1/2" piece.
2. Cut slits approximately 2" apart across the widest side of the pattern, leaving 1" uncut along the opposite side. Sorry, Rudolf :(...
3. Place the 36"x20 1/2" pattern on your main fabric. If you're fabric is directional, you'll want the side with open slits toward the top of your print. Pin the middle strip to the center of fabric at the top and bottom, and then gently curve the bottom (where you did not cut), and pin the bottom corners. To get the most gathers for the width of the fabric, pin the tops of the outermost strips to the edge of the fabric, making sure the strips are as straight as possible. You'll notice that the bottom curve of the pattern will buckle a bit, but that's fine. Spread the remaining strips, pinning so they have fairly equal spaced between each one.
4. Cut along pattern edges, forming a gentle curve around the top and bottom of the strips.
5. To cut the top gathered panel, you have a couple of options. You can take your pattern and cut it down to 16 1/2", removing 4" off the top of each strip, and repeat steps 3-4. Or you can use your bottom panel fabric piece, fold it in half, and use it as a pattern to cut the top gathered panel. If you cut the top panel the same as the bottom panel, you can just trim 4" off of the outward curve afterwards and it is a big time saver. Remember that this time the outward curve should be at the bottom of the print if it's directional (opposite as with the bottom gathered panel).
6. Phew! You're through the worst of it! It'll be smooth sailing from here... Sew two lines of basting or gathering stitches along the outward curve of the bottom panel, at 3/8" and 5/8".
7. Gather the outward curve to approximately 36", and pin to one side of center contrast strip, right sides together, and adjusting gathers.
This is a good time to check the general fit with your car seat and adjust anything if necessary.
Remember to keep your baby ventilated when using the canopy, and always keep a close eye. Just sayin...