DIY No Sew Fleece Poncho for Toddlers: A Warm and Safe Solution for Car Seats

by Bailey Bouwman

Looking for a way to keep your little ones warm and safe in their car seats? Many store-bought coats and bunting suits add extra bulk, compromising the safety of the car seat. But don't worry, we have a solution for you! Say goodbye to bulky snowsuits and embrace layers. In this do-it-yourself guide, we'll show you how to make a fleece poncho for toddlers that is both cozy and car seat-friendly.

When to Use a Fleece Poncho: A fleece poncho is a versatile garment that provides extra warmth for little kids all year round. It serves as the perfect top layer, trapping heat and keeping your child snug. Whether it's during the fall, on chilly summer nights by the campfire, or anytime in between, a fleece poncho is a practical choice for your child's comfort and safety in the car.

Important Note: Remember, a fleece poncho is designed to be worn over the car seat, not underneath it like a traditional coat. Simply drape the poncho over the back of the car seat and secure the straps underneath the front. This way, your child stays warm and dressed without compromising their safety.

Before You Begin: Skill Level: Basic No Sewing Machine Required Cost: 2-3 meters of Fleece (estimated cost $10-30 depending on your source) Time Required: 2-3 hours (accounting for toddler distractions) Supplies: scissors, toddler, fleece, measuring tape, marker

Step-by-Step Guide:

    1. Hood or No Hood? Adding a hood can be tricky in the no-sew version. We found it turned out too small, so we opted to skip it and have our little one wear a hat instead.

    2. Determine the Size: Measure from the nape of your toddler's neck to where you want the poncho to fall on their body. Add 4-6 inches for tying the fringe. As a reference, we're making the maximum size allowed by our fleece scrap, which is a 46" square. Our toddler is 40" tall and wears a size 4/5 at age 3.

    3. Layout, Trace, and Cut: Cut out a square of fleece in the desired size for your child. Fold it in half and then fold it in half again to create quarters. Using your measuring tape, draw a quarter of a circle with a 23" radius. Cut through all four layers of material using sharp scissors. Repeat with the second layer of fleece.

    4. Mark the Center: Before unfolding the fleece, mark the center with a pen. This will come in handy later.

    5. Flatten and Align: Unfold both layers and flatten them on top of each other. Clean up any edges and find the center to create the neckline. If you want to add a hood, refer back to the original instructions.

    6. Determine the Neckline Size: Use one of your toddler's shirts or measure their head to create a template for the neckline. Keep in mind that it's better to go slightly smaller to prevent stretching. Trace the desired size circle in the center and then cut in ties. We recommend cutting ties every 2.5 cm, using the marked distances around the edge of the circle as a guide.

    7. Tie the Neckline: Secure the neckline by double-knot tying each strand separately. Make sure the knots are tight.

    8. Pull the Fringe Through: Turn the fleece poncho inside out by grabbing the solid fabric and pulling it through the neckline.This may take a little practice, but you'll get the hang of it.

    9. Prep the Outside: Smooth out the poncho and prepare the outside by cutting in ties. The fabric may have some tension and bubbles from being tied at the neck, but that's perfectly normal.

    10. Finishing Touches: When cutting the ties, keep them skinny rather than thick, and make sure they are of adequate length. Shorter ties preserve length for your toddler, but longer ties (3-5 inches) are easier to work with and provide more fringe.

    You're Done! Congratulations!

    You've successfully created a DIY no-sew fleece poncho for your toddler. Now, enjoy its practicality and warmth when you're out and about. Don't forget to share your creations by using the hashtag #NorthernBCMoms. We can't wait to see your little ones staying cozy in their car seats, on their way to preschool, or just enjoying a day in town.

    The beauty of the fleece poncho is its convenience compared to coats with zippers and buttons. Dress your toddler in a long-sleeve shirt and hoodie, then simply toss on the poncho for added warmth during car rides and shopping trips. Stay snug and safe all winter long! 

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