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How do I Choose the Best Car Seat Fabric?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated May 23, 2024
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Comfort, durability, and overall good value are important considerations when choosing car seat fabric. Your car seat upholstery will obviously last longer if it is strong and easy to clean. A stain-resistant option is worth considering, but stain-protectant treatments are also available. The fabric can also fade over time, so fade resistance will likely play a role in your choice as well. Appearance is very important and some options allow for better customization, such as allowing a bit of stretch to appropriately cover unusually shaped seats.

If you plan to cover your seats in a permanent manner, rather than simply purchasing or making slip-on car seat covers, you will need long-lasting fabric. High-quality fabric is available from many sources, such as online vendors, fabric, or upholstery shops, and custom automotive stores. It is a good idea to shop around and compare types, styles, quality, availability, and price. You can find great colors in solids, stripes, or even funky prints. Also, ask about car seat fabric with foam backing for additional comfort.

You can be a little less demanding with slip-on car seat covers, especially if they will be switched out with the changing seasons and will not take constant wear. For hard to fit seats, you may have to place a special order or have seat covers custom made. Velour, vinyl, nylon, or saddle blanket fabric may create a look that pleases you and provide comfortable seating during cooler weather. During hot summer months, you may prefer to switch to canvas or cotton.

The cost of the fabric will likely also play a role in your decision, since most people want the best value for their money. If the material you are interested in is not treated for stain or fade resistance, consider purchasing treatments for these purposes. You may also want to make or purchase window shades to further protect your investment. It is a good idea to include these costs when deciding how much to spend for your seat covers.

If you wish to cover a baby car seat to complement your vehicle’s interior, it shouldn’t be hard to find an appropriate car seat fabric for such a project. In fact, you may even be able to find a match. You can then have a custom car seat cover made or make one yourself using the existing cover to create a pattern from which to work.

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Discussion Comments
By irontoenail — On Dec 17, 2011

You can actually make your own covers, using your own car seat material if you happen to be good at sewing.

I know a friend who made some custom baby car seat covers for her kids. She made them out of fleece so that they would help keep her kids warm in the winter and they actually look pretty good.

I don't know how to make them myself, as I'm a terrible seamstress, but I know there are tutorials online if you want to give it a go.

Just be cautious if you are making them for your kids that they can't be harmful in any way. Make sure little fingers can't get trapped, for example.

By KoiwiGal — On Dec 17, 2011

One thing I want to point out is that leather and vinyl might look nice, and even be good quality or long lasting, but you don't want them in your car during the summer.

My aunt had a car with vinyl car seats and it was awful having to sit in there for any length of time during the summer when we were all wearing shorts and T-shirts. Every bare bit of skin would stick to the car seats, so whenever you moved or tried to get out of the car it pinched you.

I mean, it wasn't torture or anything, but it was really annoying. It's just something to consider if you are getting new car seat protectors.

There's no point in making a drive miserable, and this is especially true if you are planning to use your car for long distance drives.

By pastanaga — On Dec 16, 2011

You do need to make sure you get the right size for your car seats. My poor mother went out and bought several matching car seat covers without even guessing that they weren't all the same size.

Unfortunately, she bought them on sale, and when she tried to fit them on to the car seats, it turned out they were too small.

Getting the largest available covers isn't really a good option either, as they will slide around and can be very annoying and even dangerous if they get in your way while you are driving.

Best to figure out what size your car seats are and get the appropriate covers. If you aren't sure how to do this, try asking at a garage or car accessories specialist.

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