DIY Seat Belt Pillow Tutorial for Car Seats

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This tutorial for making a DIY seat belt pillow comes from the now defunct site SuperJenn.com. I had included this DIY project on this page providing Easy to Make DIY Projects, but since the site is no longer live, I have moved the archived content here. If the original owner (Jenn Hethcoat) would like it removed, please contact me. I did this in hopes that this project could still be used even though the DIY site wasn’t available. Here it is in its entirety. 

Our total stay at Disney will include the three days of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, Thurs – Saturday, and three-ish additional days, Sunday – Tuesday morning experiencing the magic on our own.  Having chosen to extend our stay, we have to shorten our travel time.  Add this to the “It costs HOW MUCH to fly five people to Florida?!” factor and you have a family of five with three kids six and under driving to Walt Disney World Resorts …from Kansas….in less than two days.

The first and largest piece of our trip will be driven overnight (by she who drew the short straw) and in an attempt to keep my kids as comfortable and therefor asleep as long as possible …. I decide to deck out their car seats with these seatbelt pillows.

 

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I’ve seen such things around the inter webz….stores specializing in kid gadgets sell all kinds of versions of these…usually around $25-$30.  Hmmm…. 3 kids x $25 …. we are starting to defeat the purpose of not flying.  I figured I could make them myself.  I toiled.  I stressed.  I analyzed.  Then I came up with the simplest pillows that the SuperKids have fallen in LOVE with…

These pillows came out at under $5 each!  MUCH more reasonable!  A little brainstorming and I was on my way.

The pillows are roughly 4″ wide and 25″ long.  I stuffed the inserts with shredded foam and then made fleece covers with velcro tabs that wrap around the seat belt without interfering with the safety of the belt. There are no sharp pieces and the pillows down’t come between the kids and the seat belt.

I chose to make inserts because, well…. my kids are droolers….. and SuperBaby still pees UP sometimes when he sleeps.  I wanted to be able to take the covers off and wash them.

I used a standard Queen sized pillow case cut into fourths, lengthwise to 24″ long x 6″ wide.  (I left half in tact in this picture because I’m making a larger one for SuperDad and I to use also!)

When I had the sides sewed up I filled them with the shredded foam through one open end.  This may have been the most difficult part of the whole thing.  That foam wanted to go everywhere.  I ended up making a funnel of sorts out of a cardboard box that was headed to the recycling bin.  This worked MUCH-ish better.

When filling them with foam you have to compact the foam to get a nice firmness.  Pushing the foam down with the spoon is helpful.

*Side note:  While I was making these the kids kept bugging me, “What are you making? Is it for me?”.  I may have told them I was making “whacking sticks”….. While I was stuffing them I grabbed one end of the insert and started swinging the pillow like a billy club to get the foam to settle.  I turned around and SuperBoy was standing behind me with a look of horror on his face:  ”I thought you were KIDDING!”    Oops.

When the pillow is full you will need to slip stitch the end closed.  This makes a nice finished end. (Here is a great video tutorial on how to sew a slip stitch.)

Next, cut your fabric.  I cut my pieces 26 ½” long x 6″ wide.

*Another side note:  When I took these pictures I was getting VERY frustrated because I kept missing the focus.  I took about a million pictures trying to figure out what was wrong.  It occurred to me MUCH later that I was photographing FLEECE and the damn stuff looks out of focus because of how its made.

Next, cut 4 – 6″ x 6″ pieces of felt for the tabs.  Fold these in half  lengthwise with the right sides together and sew up the short ends.  Flip it right side out. These tabs will hold the pillow to the car seat.

Lay your long pieces of felt out with their right sides together.  place your tabs between the two layers with the raw edges matching up.  When you are spacing the tabs remember that you need space at both the top and the bottom of the pillow for it to fit freely in the car seat.  Place your tabs closer to the center of the pillow.

When you pin it all together it will be very thick where the tabs are, this is okay…just sew slowly to make sure you get everything sewn together neatly.

Be sure to leave 1 ½ – 2″ at the top of your slipcover un-sewn.  These “flaps” will tuck in/over after you place the insert inside.

Sew the fleece up, I used 1/2″ seam allowance and then trimmed it down after the seams were sewn.

Turn it right side out and add your velcro.  I used no-catch velcro so it wouldn’t stick to everything.  You will also need to use the kind you sew on, not the stick on kind because sewing through the layers of the tabs will give them more strength.

Place the insert inside your cover, fold the top flaps in on each other and tuck them inside and you are done!  The tabs will wrap around the seatbelt and velcro together like this:

I’m not a huge fashion designer, and this is the first thing I’ve sewn in over 15 years… so it is a no frills kind of project.  But you know what?  The SuperKids are THRILLED with their whacking sticks pillows!

The true test will be next week when we head out on the open road…. I’ll let you know how it goes.

And that is it from the original post on how to make a seat belt pillow for long car trips.

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