Ready,Set,Go! ~ Patchwork Car Shade

on June 14 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 34 Comments

Melissa from Happy Quilting joined us last year with her fun Game Time Picnic Quilt. Since her first intro on the blog she’s developed a line of PDF quilting patterns. You can also find more from Melissa on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Today Melissa has a new Ready,Set,Go! tutorial for you. It solves a few problems with one easy project! This Patchwork Shade keeps the sun out, keeps the kids entertained and it’s nicer than the ubiquitous vinyl shades (with those gigantic kid-stuff company logos that show when the shade is down!).

Hello, fellow Sew,Mama,Sew! Enthusiasts! I am Melissa from Happy Quilting and I am so excited to be able to share with you my little tutorial for this awesome Ready,Set,Go! Series.

Now, I love the sunshine just as much as the next gal but when we are on a long trip, the beautiful bright sun shinning through the windows of the car can sometimes cause the kids some major drama. So I thought the perfect little solution for our family to get Ready, Set, and Go! would be a Patchwork Car Shade. And it has the added benefit of doubling for tic-tac-toe. Shady and entertained: I call that a double bonus!

So, what are you going to need?: Well you can either pull out a stack of larger size scraps (I used 10 Little Things by Jenn Ski) or a charm pack would work just as well. (* After I finished I thought it would have been super cute to use novelty prints so that the kids could play I-Spy as well as tic-tac-toe– Just another idea.) You will also need a large piece of fabric for the backing, a few pieces of felt, and 4 suction cups.

Got it all? Okay, first some math. Start by measuring the window for the shade. Please remember to leave a gap for checking your blind spot if this curtain is intended for the rear driver’s side window. Now, decide the size patchwork square you want. If you make the size divisible by your measurement it is a little easier. My window measured 16 x 24. So I decided to do 4” finished patches in a 4 x 6 layout. Once you figure out your patch size and layout, go ahead and cut the corresponding number of patches ½” larger than the finished size. So for my example, I cut 24 – 4 ½” squares.

Now that you have your squares all cut, go ahead and place them in your designated layout. Mine is 4 x 6. Arrange the fabrics until you have a color layout that is pleasing to the eye.

Sew your squares into rows. Press each row in the opposite direction.

And now sew your rows into your pieced shade. (If you are a beginner and would like some more detailed instructions on how to sew together a square patchwork please see this post.)

Go ahead and set your patchwork top aside for a moment. Now you can make the backing. You will make the backing piece the exact same size as your top. So mine will be 16 ½” x 24 ½”, my unfinished top size. As far as backing, you have a few options. You can simply cut a piece from yardage that is the same size as your top. You can do a little improv patchwork as I have done here (mainly because it is what I had left in coordinating prints). Or, if you are really ambitious, you could make a duplicate patchwork top and make your curtain reversible. (This is what I would do if I was using novelty prints so there was that much more to “Spy.”)

Now, with the back and front done, you are ready to put your shade together. Place two pieces with right sides together. Align the edges and pin all the way around them aside from leaving an opening at the top. Stitch a ¼” seam around the pinned edge, once again leaving the opening at the top. Remember to back-tack at the start and finish.

Turn your shade right side out through the opening. Press the edges of your shade flat. Also, press the raw edges of your opening in readying them to be tacked down.

Pin your opening closed. Now sew an 1/8” seam around the edge of the entire shade. This will close your opening and keep things from shifting.

Now, using the 1” mark on your sewing machine, stitch a seam 1” in from the top edge across the entire top of your shade.

Using your ruler, mark a dot 1” in from either side of the shade in the ¾” section you just created. Now measure the distance between the 2 marks and divide by three. Measure in the number you just calculated from each dot and mark an additional dot on each side.

Sew a button hole over each mark. And now your shade is done, you can set it aside for the moment.

Now onto making the pieces for your tic-tac-toe game. Simply cut some squares out of felt about the size of your patchwork squares. Cut X’s and O’s out of the squares. (It is easiest to cut them out of folded pieces of felt.) No one says you have to stick to X’s and O’s! For the girls (in more girly colors of course) I did stars and hearts. You can also cut some straight 1” strips if you like to mark off the section that they will play tic-tac-toe in. (Helpful for little ones). Just have fun with it!!

Now the next time you are on a trip just use the suction cups to hang up your adorable patchwork car shade. Now, just make as many as you need for your windows and enjoy your complaint-free trips! And if you make your own Patchwork Car Shade I would love to see it. You can add it to my Inspired by Happy Quilting Flickr Group.

Comment on any post this week to win a copy of Sew What You Love: The Easiest, Prettiest Projects Ever or Improv Sewing: A Freeform Approach to Creative Techniques! For more information on these books take a look at our June Book Giveaways post.

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34 Responses to Ready,Set,Go! ~ Patchwork Car Shade

  1. Christie S. says:

    Great idea. We rolled up the state map in the back window just two weeks ago.

  2. Charlotte says:

    What a great idea! Now to get it done before our car trip this weekend 🙂
    Thank you for sharing!

  3. Lisa says:

    Great idea but wouldn’t it hamper visibility for the driver? I think the vinyl ones (while ugly) at least allow for the driver to see shapes through.

  4. laura says:

    This looks very dangerous to me. Blocking sight of driver is not a great idea.

  5. Ro says:

    While this may be a very cute game for the car, an alternate location would be safer – both for two children to reach & play while remaining properly seated, AND for the driver. It’s illegal in many areas to apply anything to block any windows in a vehicle.

  6. Kirsten says:

    Such a great idea!

  7. Dina says:

    While I think the mat part is a cute idea for a game mat, I would think it should be used on a lap, table or floor. It seems dangerous to me to cover up a car window. Also, tic tac toe is played with 2 people, so how does the 2nd child play, since kids should definitely be in carseats/seatbelts and would not be able to reach?

  8. What a great idea! Love the combination of the practical & the fun! This would make a great gift idea!

  9. Mom C says:

    Lots better than the towels hanging out the window. An added bonus is taking it down and playing tic tac toe in the motel too. Fun.

  10. Michelle says:

    Cute, but very unsafe for the driver, no window should ever be covered while a car it moving.

  11. dani says:

    Beautifully made and lovely colours but I would be concerned that having a game on one side window would encourage the child not alongside the game would be tempted to slip outof their seatbelt to play the game. Perhaps a cushion would be a better option?

  12. Megan says:

    Great idea. We do some long car trips and my boys need constant entertaining. This may be a silly question, but how does the felt stick on to the fabric??

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  14. Karen M says:

    What a great idea. I love it.

  15. Casey says:

    This is exactly what I need! Thanks for such a great project!

  16. Peggy Grow says:

    Super idea. Back in the 70’s, my sister and I used to stuff our blankets in the crack of the window for shade. Drove my dad nuts. Ha! Oh, car trips. Horrible, but somehow fun at the same time.

  17. Shirley says:

    Great idea 🙂 Works great in the camper too!

  18. Christine Bolin says:

    Very good idea.

  19. Fenna says:

    I like it! Very good idea 🙂

  20. Charissa G says:

    Great idea! I’ll definitely have to keep this in mind for the future!

  21. MarciaW says:

    This is a cute idea for older kids.

  22. Theresa says:

    What a fun idea. I need to make one for my nephew.

  23. Melody says:


  24. Marie says:

    Great idea for the grandkids- thanks.

  25. Beth A. says:

    This is such a great idea! Too bad my kids think they are too old for such things. Maybe for my grandchildren?!

  26. Jenni says:

    Super cute idea!

  27. Fabulous! My little one would love this. She cannot stand to have the sun shine in her eyes.

  28. Evelyn says:

    Great idea!

  29. Sharon says:

    This is such a great idea. I have the boring ones that don’t work very well from the store but this is sooo much better looking and covers the whole window. Thanks for the great idea.

  30. Erin says:

    This is such a great idea. I might have to whip one up for the car trip we are taking soon.

  31. chibidani says:

    i love this idea. i think i shall have to make it for my girls.

  32. krystina says:

    I love this. How do you attach the suction cups?

  33. Jocelyn says:

    Great idea!

  34. Miranda says:

    Cute idea. I would of loved this as a kid!

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