How to Make Car Seat Covers

DIY Car seat cover

Whether you need to cover stained upholstery or want to add some custom style to your vehicle, learning how to make car seat covers can save you a lot of money. Because each car is different, you can't easily purchase a pattern for your seat covers. However, you can do some basic fitting to create a streamlined appearance. The result is attractive covers that protect your car's interior.

Step-by-Step Instructions

If you're handy with the sewing machine, car seat covers are an easy project. These car accessories are also a great way to learn to sew. No matter your skill level, all it takes is a few hours and a few dollars to customize your car.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing machine
  • Several yards of fabric
  • Thread
  • Flexible measuring tape
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Iron

What to Do

  1. Begin by measuring your seats. Measure the depth and width of the seat base, the height of the seat back, and the length of the rear part of the seat. Use your measuring tape to find every dimension of the seat, and record the measurements on a piece of paper. It may help to draw a diagram and note measurements on that.
  2. Choose and purchase fabric based on your needs. Now that you have the dimensions, you'll have an idea of how much fabric you need. Estimate the yardage, and round up. It doesn't hurt to have extra fabric to make up for any mistakes you might make.
  3. Next, use your measurements to cut out fabric pieces. Err on the side of making the pieces too large and don't worry too much about making the shape perfect. You'll adjust the shape as needed.
  4. Head out to the car and place the fabric pieces where they will go on the seat. Use pins to attach the pieces together and adjust the size and fit. With the scissors, trim the fabric near the pins, allowing about an inch for your seams. Mark the places where the seat belt comes through the seat cover.
  5. Use the sewing machine to sew the seams where you pinned them. Double stitch the seams if you are concerned about durability, and top stitch the area around the seat belt. If your seat is tapered and you're worried about being able to get the cover on and off, use elastic to give the bottom of the cover some stretch.
  6. Iron your seat cover according to the fabric directions, and you're done.

Simple Variation

simple seat covers
Try these simple seat covers too.

If covering every surface of the seat seems a bit overwhelming, try a simpler version. You can use a single measurement of the widest part of the headrest to cut the hole and then sew together a beach towel and a vinyl tablecloth. The result is simple but functional, especially for trips home from the beach or pool.

Helpful Tips

Now that you know how to make car seat covers, you're ready to get started. Keep these tips in mind as you work:

  • If you are new to sewing, choose a fabric that is easy to handle. Avoid patterns, since you will need to match those as you work. Pick a fabric that isn't too slippery or likely to fray.
  • If you want additional flair and have sewing experience, consider adding contrasting piping to highlight the seams.
  • Pay attention to the washing instructions on the fabric. If you have kids or pets, you may want to choose a fabric that you can machine wash and dry.
  • Consider fitting the seat covers a second time. Sometimes the fit changes as you work, so you may want to double check everything before you finish.
  • Have fun, and get creative. Seat covers are a great way to show off your personal style.

The Options Are Endless

Making your own slipcovers gives you complete control over the materials for your vehicle seats, and it also provides a creative way to save money. You can choose a fabric for its color, its durability, its easy care instructions, or simply because you like it. While purchased car seat covers only come in a few colors and styles, the options are endless when you create your own slipcovers.

How to Make Car Seat Covers