After balls and food, car seat covers are probably the my most important pet accessory. With 180 pounds of dog riding behind me, my car can be a pretty big mess. So I need seat protectors that are durable and easy to take off and on and not so expensive that I'm going to worry about them. The car seat covers I made for this instructable cost less than $15 a piece, are double thickness and will hold up through many, many washings. Also, they only took me two hours to make - even with stopping to take photographs.
These directions are for making two double-sided car seat covers.
Step 1: Measure
Use a tape measure to get a rough measurement of your seats from top to bottom and across from side to side.
However, since the covers drape over the edges of the seat, an exact measurement is not necessary. Be very generous with your measurements since you can always trim off more later.
Any sturdy fabric will work as long as it comes wide enough. However, I used 135" x 90" inch black tablecloths. They were very easy to work with and very inexpensive.
Measure out the fabric you need for one seatcover and double that over. This will be your first cover. You will make two these.
I spread my fabric out on the floor because it was so big.
But it was hard to keep the dogs off!
Step 2: Cut
Cut a straight line according to your measurements. I used my brand-new laser-guided scissors :-)
You will end up with a giant rectangle to make the first seatcover. Use the measurements of this one and cut a second rectangle the same size.
Now you will have two really big rectangles of fabric.
Step 3: Fold Over
Fold each piece over the long way with the outside of the fabric facing in. This will be the size of the final cover, but it doesn't have a hole in it yet. If you want to check how it will fit, now is when you should bring the folded fabric over to your car seat and see how it drapes. Remember to press the cloth against the seat.
(For my covers, I decided the width was fine but I needed to cut off about a foot of the length.)
Step 4: Sew
When you have the size right, it's time to sew. This is pretty easy sewing with a machine, since it's just big straight lines.
Sew the three unfolded sides of fabric together. Leave about 1 inch seam allowance on the edges.
**It is very important to leave about 8 inches open (unsewn) on one edge so you can turn the cover right side out.**
If you have any uneven cuts, just correct them with with your sewing. All seams should be straight and at right angles to one another.
Step 5: Turn Right Side Out
When the three sides are sewn, turn the fabric right side out through the hole you left on one edge. Repeat the process of sewing with the other car seat cover. Once you have turned both rectangles out, ironing is optional. I didn't bother.
Step 6: Headrest
Now, you just need the headrest holes. I think of these as giant button holes. To measure them, start by taking a sewn seat cover back to the car and draping it over the seat. Figure out where you want it, from the bottom up. When you get to the headrest bunch up the fabric on top and see if the rest falls well. If it's good, make a mark or put a pin where the "buttonhole" should go.
Using a ruler, measure how wide the head rest is so you know how big to make the hole. I actually removed the headrest so that I could measure easily at my work table. Mark a line for the headrest hole, making sure it's centered.
Step 7: Sew and Cut
Sew a giant button hole using your guides. Then carefully cut open the hole.
Sew up the open part in the side seam, and you've got a car seat cover!
Repeat with the other cover.
Step 8: Install
Fit the cover over the headrest and tuck it in, leaving the buckles and arm rests exposed.
Now let the dogs in!