Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tutorial: Padded High Chair Headrest Cover

First of all, I LOVE the white flowered fabric you've used for the strap on Ollie's new purse. I keep eyeing it at Joann's and am just waiting until I can find the right project for it before I make the purchase. Maybe that X-Large Pom Pom Pillow you just posted on Facebook? 

How on earth are you going to keep that purse from her until Christmas? I would totally give in and hand it over the next time she tried to carry half the house with her to Target. I'm the pushover in our house. Can you tell?

So I'll start off my post with a picture of a cute baby. Here he is with his new high chair cover and his new bapron. I'm not going to do a tutorial for the bapron because you can get that here but I do have a few suggestions that I can share another day.

Tutorial: Padded High Chair Headrest Cover

There was a fat quarter sale at Joann's so I picked up two for $.99 each and grabbed a coordinating pack of bias tape piping. Yes, I could make the piping myself. But after a few recent forays into the world of bias tape I think I've decided my life was just as full without it. So storebought piping it is!! Not shown is the batting that I used. It was a scrap from a quilt that I started for my nephew and then never finished. (Sorry, Brad!) The high chair is a $20 craigslist find and despite being a little wobbly has turned out to be a good purchase. 

First you'll want to trace your high chair to make a pattern for cutting out the fabric. I laid mine on the floor and went around it with a pencil on some newsprint.

Next I used a plate to get my corners rounded and a ruler to connect all my corners with straight lines. The sharpie is just so I could get a dark enough line for the camera to pick it up. 

Since I could tell that my sides weren't symmetrical I found the center of my outline and then folded the paper in half before cutting so that I knew one side wouldn't wind up looking wonky. 

I used my new pattern to cut out one of each of my fabrics and two of the batting. You could save yourself the next step and buy the pre-quilted fabric but this whole thing cost me less than $5 since I already had the batting and elastic. Remember when cutting your fabric and batting that you need to leave a seam allowance around the outside of your pattern. Otherwise you'll be sorely disappointed when it mysteriously doesn't fit. Feel free to include a seam allowance in your pattern if you want to be precise or if you have a tendency to be forgetful about those types of things.

You can skip this step if you bought the pre-quilted stuff but I needed to attach my batting to my fabric so I just pinned the pieces together and did a rough quilting pattern across the whole panel horizontally and then diagonally. It created a bit of a rhombus shape but it's been awhile since I've had a geometry class so I could totally be wrong about that.

Next I pinned the bias tape to the right side of the brown panel and then did a quick basting stitch around the whole thing. This will keep the piping in place when you are sewing both panels together since the piping will be sandwiched in between the panels. (Ignore the fact that the fabric below is not yet quilted. I had already taken this picture when I realized that I needed to do the quilting first.)

After basting on the piping I did a quick 1/2" hem on each panel. Just fold the right side under, press the hem, and then give a quick line of stitching from one end to the other.

The next thing you'll want to do is attach your zipper foot. It will allow you to get super close to the piping while stitching the panels together. Your machine should come with one of these. If for some reason it doesn't just see if you can change the position of your needle and align it as close to the left of the presser foot as possible. You can use the hand wheel to go up and down to make sure you aren't going to hit the foot as you sew your first stitch since we don't want to break any needles today. If you don't think you're going to get close enough for your taste then feel free to hand stitch this part.

It's around this time that these two woke up from their afternoon nap and decided to see what kind of mess I was making in the dining room. Check out that hair. Someone's got a serious case of bedhead.

Sam was going to be my assistant for this next step. You want to pin the two panels right sides together. The piping will be sandwiched between. And this is why you don't want to use batting that's too thick. You're going to feel your way along the piping as you slowly stitch around the sides and top of the panels. Keep the presser foot as close to the piping as you can.

Seriously, someone get this kid a hairbrush.

Alright. This is where things get a little weird. The top of the high chair tapers a little as it goes down to the seat. So the top of my pattern is wider than the opening. There are many ways to get around this dilemma and I chose elastic for two reasons: I already had the elastic and it only required about 2" worth and Sam had just woken up so I had to scrap my original plan of making cute little ties. You could skip the next step by making the bottom of your pattern as wide as the top and then just sew a casing in the bottom hem for a drawstring or elastic. But I did neither of these things because I didn't want the extra fabric bulk that the gathering would create. Flat and smooth, just like my belly used to be, you know, when I was 16.

Soooo, moving on. I stopped my stitching about an inch and a half from the bottom and stitched about an inch of elastic connecting the front panel to the back panel.

And TA-DA!!! My finished headrest cover.

Hey Momma! What is this thing???

So there you have it. A semi-padded high chair headrest cover. I decided I needed this thing when Sam started throwing a temper tantrum and banging his head against the high chair whenever I would refuse to let him have the spoon I was feeding him with. It's not padded enough that it won't hurt his noggin if he throws his head back hard but I don't want to teach him that it's ok to act that way so if it hurts a little I'm ok with that. How's he ever going to learn, right? The store-bought high chair covers run around $30 and cover the entire chair and that just sounds like a ton of laundry to me so I'm pretty happy with it.

Any tips for starting solids with an 8 month old? He's been doing it for around 2 months now and he's getting to the point where he wants to feed himself and there's only so many Cheerios you can give a kid. What worked for you with Revel and Ollie? I've already given up on keeping things super tidy while he eats so we've got that going for us. Thank goodness for dogs, right?


  1. I love the high chair and the cover, great idea!! - Amie

  2. Thanks Amie! You just let me know when you're ready for yours! ;)