Sew Your Own Universal
Shopping Cart (& High Chair) Cover!
These are quite handy to use
since babies like to chew on shopping carts and high chairs,
and let's face it... that's just gross. I've seen patterns
requiring a whopping 5-6 yards of each fabric, I'm not sure
why they need so much. This cover is plenty big enough for
high chair seats and Target carts (they seem to be bigger
than Wal Mart's). And best of all, you don't have to buy a
I use this mostly for shopping carts, because as you can see it's very generously sized for a high chair, which makes my baby want to grab and yank it off! But if you want to use it for both you can.
42" Fabric choice #1
42" Fabric choice #2
1 3/4 yards of 3/4 or 1 inch non-roll elastic
Optional: 1 yd Fleece or batting for squishiness*
If you don't have a serger: 1 package of double fold elastic OR extra-wide fold bias tape
*You can eliminate the third layer, unless you just want the extra squishiness. Or use one layer cotton, one layer fleece. I wait to use these til our babies are sitting very well on their own, so I don't feel the need to overly bulk it up. Both layers of mine are just plain 'ol cotton, so it's a thin cover- which makes it easier to stuff into my diaper bag.
*If you want to make an optional velcro strap to secure the baby in place, then you'll need a few extra inches of fabric. I just made large button holes in the back of the cover to allow the shopping cart's straps to slide through the cover so I could use them to secure baby.
Trim your fabrics down to 42" x 42".
Round the edges. The easiest way to do this is by tracing the edge of a bowl.
Cut a piece of paper to
5x5 inches and round the edges. This will serve as your
leg hole template.
With your fabric folded in half vertically, place your leg square template one inch from the fold, and 13 inches down from the top.
Trace the square onto
the fabric and cut it out.
Lay your fabrics right
sides together. Pin around the leg squares to line them
up, then pin all around the edges.
Serge or sew around the edge of the entire cover, except for just a couple inches at the center/back of the cover. Remove ALL pins (even those around the leg holes).
Turn the cover right
Press your edges. Trust me, this will make the next step easier.
Next, top stitch (sew) 1 to 1 1/2 inches away from the edge. Just make sure you're far enough away from the edge to string your elastic through.
Finish the leg holes.
You have a couple options, the best two options are
either to serge them or to sew on fold-over elastic with
a zig zag stitch, both of which allow for some stretch.
Your other option is to sew on extra-wide folded bias
tape, though this doesn't allow for stretching.
Fold the cover in half with the leg holes centered, facing you. (Mine has the elastic in the edge casing already in this picture, but yours should not!)
Mark a line a couple
inches long on your inside fabric (you can see it
through the leg holes). It should be centered vertically
along the outer edge of each leg hole. I am showing you
where with my fingers:
Open the cover back up
and mark each end of the line with a pin. Finish this
out as a big button hole. These button holes will allow
you to string the highchair / cart seatbelt through the
cover to buckle your child in. The longer you make these
button holes... the better, because there is a very big
variation between different carts and high chairs on
where the buckle comes out. My machine doesn't make
button holes this insanely long, so I just had to make a
ghettofied button hole, using a series of zig zag
stitches on top of each other.
Variation: Make your own straps. My original thought on
this was, why bother making your own straps when there
are already straps there on the cart or high chair??
Since having and using this cover for the last 6 months
or so, I do see an advantage to making your own strap: a
lot of carts have dysfunctional straps or missing
buckles, which of course I don't notice until AFTER
loading both kids and the diaper bag into the cart.
(Perhaps I'm a bad cart-picker, since every one I pick
also seems to have bum wheels and steers hard one way or
the other.) Anyway, if you want to make your own strap,
I'd cut a piece of fabric 6" x desired length, then fold
it in half, sewing the two long sides together making a
tube that's 3" x desired length. Turn the tube
right-side-out, sew velcro to both ends, then sew both
ends shut. To use it, I'd first put the cart cover on,
put baby in it, then feed the belt/strap front-to-back
through one button hole, behind baby's cart chair back,
and forward through the other button hole. Then when you
velcro it closed across baby's tummy, the strap is held
in place by the strength of the cart, not the strength
of the cover.
String your elastic through the casing. I originally used two yards, but I think that 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 yards would be better to accommodate smaller carts or high chairs, especially if it's really stretchy elastic. If you're going to be using it for high chairs, you'll want the elastic to fit more snuggly.
Sew the elastic ends
Sew the casing shut.
Or, leave that little bit open until you try it out on a
few carts and high chairs in case you decide you want to
alter the length of the elastic. I almost did that, but
then I didn't and wished I did.
toy pockets or a ribbon loop to attach toys to, or other
To use: Insert baby. Push cart.
And here's my boy using it at a restaurant. It's pretty poofy on a high chair, so if that annoys you (or your baby) then you may prefer to just use it on carts. But seriously, don't you just want to squeeze him? I do.
Last, if you decided to
do this project yourself, please send me a photo of your
little one using it, along with your names and what
state you're from! I've recently decided to start
featuring my readers' finished results.