Seat Mat Tutorial | Mini Van Dreams

Seat Mat Tutorial

There is nothing I hate more than that salty, dusty stuff on the back of my car seats.  Especially in my new car with dark interior.  I decided to take my trusty sewing machine and do something about it.  Today, I am sharing the tutorial with you.  Make your own custom seat mat with optional pocket!  Ready?  Grab your tape measure  and let’s go!

Seat Mat Tutorial | Mini Van Dreams

Supplies (to make ONE seat mat with pocket)

  • Main fabric (size based on measurements) (ideas: canvas, denim, etc)
  • Thread
  • 1 fat quarter for pocket
  • 1/4 yard medium interfacing
  • 1″ elastic, similar color as your car seat
  • Velcro closure, optional
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Marking pen or chalk
  • Straight pins

Note:  WASH YOUR FABRIC before beginning. You don’t want the fabric color to transfer to your car seats when wet shoes and boots soak into it!

1.  Measure the BACK of your car seats for the mat size.  You will need to measure across the widest part of your car seat back (see arrows). Add 1″ to this measurement to allow for a seam allowance.  Measure from the posts for the head rest to the bottom of the seat back. The bottom measurement can be as long as you need or want.  Add 3″ to this measurement to allow for a seam allowance and the holes for the head rest posts.  (For example, if your seat is 26″w by 18″h, your final measurement will be 27″ x 21″).  Now, measure the front of the seat from the center of the head rest posts to where the seat makes the angle for your bum.  Jot this number down.  This is to determine your elastic location.

Seat Mat Tutorial | Mini Van Dreams

2.  Purchase your fabric.  You will need to purchase DOUBLE what your measurements were in step 1 to make a two-sided cover.  For example, a seat that measures 27″ by 19″ will need TWO pieces of the main fabric cut in those dimensions.  Usually, the fabric store will cut your fabric to the dimensions if you ask nicely.

3.  Based on your measurements, determine what size pocket you want.  This pocket is optional and can be sewn to be one large pocket or a divided pocket and can be as deep as you want.  You do not want your pocket to be as wide as your seat, however.  A good estimate is measuring is deducting 3-6″ from your seat width measurement from above.  Fold your fat quarter in half, outer sides together.  Trim your length (or deepness) of your pocket from the raw edges directly across from the folder.  Cut your pocket width from either side to your desired measurements.  Trim your interfacing to the same size as the pocket.

4.  With your pocket folded, with right sides together.  Place the interfacing on one side of the pocket.  Pin in place.

pocket step 1

5.  Stitch along the SIDES of the pocket and interfacing, and across the FOLD.  Leave the raw edges unsewn. Trim the sewn corners. Turn the pocket inside out.

pocket step 2

6.  Determine your pocket placement by laying it on the right side of one of your main fabric pieces.  (Note, we have not sewn the main fabric yet.)  Remember the top portion of your fabric will be folded over to hook to the seat rest posts.

pocket step 3

7.  Carefully, flip pocket down, using the raw edges as the “hinge”.  When you do this, your pocket will be moved “one pocket length down” from where your final placement will be.  (See drawing below.  Hopefully your pocket will be straight unlike my drawing!)  Pin pocket in place.

pocket drawing

pocket step 4


8.  Using a 3/4″ seam allowance, stitch straight across the raw edges.  Unpin pocket from main fabric.

pocket 4

9.  Flip the pocket back into its final place.  Adjust the bottom corners if needed to ensure they are enclosed within the pocket neatly.  Pin in place.

pocket 5

10.  Sew the sides of the pocket and across the bottom where you folded the pocket up in the previous step.  You can use a decorative stitch/contrasting thread, if you desire.  Leave top open to make the pocket.

pocket 6

11.  Using the ACTUAL width of your seat, cut a piece of elastic 2″ smaller.  Pin elastic to the right side of the second main piece of fabric at the measurement you jotted down above.

pocket 7

12.  With right sides together, pin main fabric pieces together, ensuring elastic is on the “inside” of the two pieces of fabric.  Stitch along the sides and bottom of the main fabric, leaving top open for turning.  Trim corners.

pocket 8

13  Turn seat cover inside out.  Pin around edges.  For top of seat cover, fold raw edges in and stitch.  Continue top stitching around entire seat cover.  As you get to where the elastic is secured, you will have to hold it out of the way and continue sewing until you get past the other side where the elastic is sewn.

pocket 9

seat cover2

14.  Back to your car… remove the seat head rest.  Usually, this can be done by holding the retracting button (the button that makes it go back down) and pulling straight out.  Place your seat cover on the seat, ensuring the elastic is in the correct place and the seat is evenly covered in the back.  Using chalk or a fabric pen, mark the holes where the head rest posts go at the top of the seat cover (Remember, when we measured we measured to the center of the posts?)  Return to the sewing machine and determine what size button hole you will need to make for the posts to fit through.  Sew two button holes, one for each post.  Cut fabric to create button hole.

seat cover 3

seat cover 4

15.  If you want a divided pocket, you can sew from the bottom of the pocket to the top as your desired widths.

16.  Attach Velcro closure to the pocket and main fabric.

17.  Install your car seat cover, placing button holes over the head rest posts, and elastic as the seat crack.  Tuck elastic into seat as needed and adjust on seat to ensure the entire seat is covered in the back.


Would you like a printable PDF of these instructions?  Click here.




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