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Why You Need a Poncho with a Zipper

girl wearing floral poncho with hand slits and hood
Elaine Searer Car Seat Poncho with Two-Way Zipper

If you’re shopping for a car seat poncho or a wheelchair poncho for winter, you need a poncho with a zipper! I’m not exaggerating. You don’t just want a poncho with a zipper; you NEED a poncho with a zipper!

When you’re buying an item that you’re going to use every day, make sure you buy the style that will benefit you most.

Elaine Searer car seat ponchos and wheelchair ponchos are all made with your comfort and convenience in mind. That’s why a two-way zipper that opens from the top and bottom is a standard feature in every poncho I make.

Five Benefits of a Two-Way Zipper

Put on and take off the poncho with ease. A zip up poncho can be easily slipped on your child by keeping the zipper partway open. You will never have to worry about the neck opening of your poncho being too small since you can adjust the opening with the zipper. If your child is one of those kids who does not like having clothing tugged down over his head, a zipper front poncho is the very best choice for you and your child.

In the words of one of my customers,
“A zipper is a must have. My kid has a giant head (he’s 2 and we wear the same size hat) and if there wasn’t a zipper I’d be fighting him to get it over his head.”

Quickly buckle your child into the car seat. The two-way zipper on your Elaine Searer poncho will allow you to put your child into the car seat, unzip the poncho from the bottom, and quickly and easily fasten the car seat buckles. Your child will appreciate your not having to throw the poncho up over his face to have access to the car seat buckles.
A happy mom writes,
I ordered my poncho from you because of the features (2-way zipper, snaps to create sleeves, slits in the front,etc). The 2-way zipper makes it really user friendly for getting him strapped in and out quickly.”

Unzip from the bottom to quickly and easily buckle your child into his car seat.

Adjust your child’s level of warmth without having to remove the poncho. If your child tends to get warm in the car, you have options in a zip up poncho that you don’t get with a slip on poncho! You can adjust the poncho coverage in the car or stroller by partially unzipping the poncho from the top or bottom. This works well, too, if your child is wearing the poncho in a store. You can even totally unzip the poncho without having to completely take it off of your child.
One customer says,
“I love the 2 way zipper. My kids usually get too hot in the car so I zip the bottom (2nd) zipper up to open the poncho without taking it off. Then when it’s time to take them out of the car I just pull the zipper down. “

No more bad hair days! Being able to enlarge the opening in the poncho will allow you to put on the poncho and take it off without messing up your child’s hair. I know you don’t want to spend time fixing that hair bow just to have it pulled askew by an over-the-head poncho.

Another customer shared,
” The zipper is great! It is a selling point and one of the reasons I bought your poncho. I….unzip the poncho halfway all the time to get it over my daughter’s head without messing her hair up. “

little girl wearing happy kitties poncho
No worries about messing up your little girl’s hair with an Elaine Searer zip front poncho!

A zipper front poncho just looks great! I know, I know. This post is all about the benefits of a zipper, but I feel compelled to add that you will get compliments all the time on your zip up poncho! The two-way zipper lends a classic appearance to your poncho that you just can’t get from an over-the-head or snap-up design.

navy blue poncho with plaid lining
Zipper front provides a classic look.

These are just a few of the benefits of owning a zip front car seat poncho or wheelchair poncho. In addition to the two-way zipper, your Elaine Searer poncho will include other premium features like hand slits and wrist snaps that make the poncho easy to use for you and your child.

Order your custom zipper front poncho right now here in my shop. You can also browse my ready-to-ship ponchos in my Etsy shop.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my ponchos with zippers. Please share a comment below or contact me directly with any questions.



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Fleece Car Seat Ponchos Are Getting Bigger!

car seat poncho with hood

We’ve probably all had the misfortune of ordering a clothing item online only to find that when it arrives, it’s smaller than we expected it to be. This situation is especially frustrating when ordering for a child because children grow so quickly. An item that just fits today may be too small in three months! I’ve always been up front about the fact that my fleece car seat ponchos run small. I’ve spent a fair amount of time during my busy season urging customers to size up. But I’ve still had some customers who were disappointed in the size when their order arrived.

That is why, after selling my handmade fleece car seat ponchos for four years, I’ve decided to make a change in the sizing of my ponchos. This decision was not made on a whim, but is the result of careful consideration and concern for my customers.

The ponchos will be exactly the same design — a circular poncho with a two-way zipper and hand slits — made from premium anti-pill fleece. I will continue to offer ponchos with hoods and ponchos without hoods. The difference is that effective March 1, 2019, the ponchos will all be one size larger than before. This means that my car seat ponchos will now more closely correspond with typical children’s clothing sizes.

Last year’s size 8 will be this year’s size 6. Last year’s size 6 will be this year’s size 4T, and so on. Ponchos will still be available in five sizes, but this year, the sizes and front zipper measurements will be as follows:

3-6 months 12″
12 months 13.5″
2T 16″
4T 18″
6 20″

I’m certain that this change is going to be a positive one for my business and for my customers. I look forward to offering a generously sized car seat poncho in my Etsy shop beginning March 1, 2019.

What are your thoughts on this change to my car seat ponchos?

car seat poncho with arm holes
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Car Seat Ponchos Without Hoods

fleece poncho without hood

Help! My Kid Hates Hoods!

Last year, during the 2018 poncho selling season, I had a few customers contact me asking if I could make car seat ponchos without hoods. It seems that some kids don’t like hoods. Who knew?
Several moms who asked for ponchos without hoods said that their kids didn’t like the feel of the hood behind their heads while they were riding in their car seats. I agreed to consider adapting my poncho pattern after my busy season was over.

Let the design process begin.

Over the course of summer 2018, I made several attempts at a poncho without a hood. All of my prototypes lacked a neck finish that I would be happy to offer to my customers. I just couldn’t seem to get that neckband right!

I was determined to offer a poncho without a hood, but it had to look good. If I just removed the hood and finished the poncho with no neckband, the neck opening would be too large. I spent quite a lot of time contemplating how to make this work.

My light bulb moment

By August, I still hadn’t come up with a workable solution to my design problem. I had just one last option….I prayed. Yes, I’m a praying woman who believes firmly that it is God who has given me a talent for sewing and creating. I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me earlier in the summer to ask Him to help me with my dilemma. Not long after praying, I was lying in bed one morning, and a thought came to me about finishing the poncho neck edge with a method I had used before for finishing knit shirts. It worked!

fleece car seat poncho without hood

A successful product!

At the beginning of September 2018, I offered car seat ponchos without hoods. As an add-on purchase, I also offered the option of a detachable hood that snaps onto the neckband with six sets of plastic snaps.

During the last four months of 2018, my busiest time of year, I was surprised by the number of customers who chose ponchos without hoods. My ponchos with hoods still outsold the new hood-free ponchos, but not by a huge margin. Forty-two percent of the ponchos that I sold in those four months were ordered without hoods. I was pleasantly surprised by the success of this addition to my shop!

All of the feedback so far has been positive. Customers have appreciated the option to choose their fleece car seat poncho with or without a hood. I’ve even added hats to my shop, and they work beautifully with the hood-free ponchos.

The moral of the story

If you’ve got a need that a shop owner may be able to meet, don’t be afraid to reach out to a business owner. I’m very thankful that those customers made me aware of their need for a car seat poncho without a hood.

All of the improvements that I’ve made to my poncho design over the past few years have been made because of requests that I’ve received from past or potential customers.

If you’re not wearing a car seat poncho on your child instead of a bulky winter coat, you can head on over to my Etsy shop right now. I’ll be happy to work with you on a custom order.

Car seat poncho without hood
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Car Seat Ponchos Changes for 2018

new shape for car seat poncho

Change can be scary!

In spite of our fear of change, sometimes change is good.  That’s certainly the case with the car seat poncho changes that I’m making for 2018.

Ever since I began sewing and selling car seat ponchos in 2015, I have used the same pattern.  That pattern has been well received by my customers.  On occasion, I have had customers tell me that they wish their poncho was just a bit longer.

That’s why, when late last year, my pattern designer made a few minor changes to her pattern, I knew I wanted to make the same changes to the car seat ponchos that I offer in my shop.

New for 2018

The new ponchos will be slightly longer in the front and back and slightly shorter at the sides.  The new ponchos have an elongated shape with the extra length where needed.
The photo below is a “old” size 2T poncho that I made using the pattern that I’ve been using for the past few years.

Size 2T car seat poncho

Now, this poncho below is a new size 2T in a beautiful gray and purple feather print.  You can see the slight difference in the shape of the ponchos.

Size 2T car seat poncho

For comparison, check out the photos below.

Two car seat ponchos
New shape of car seat ponchos

In the first photo, you can see the old poncho is approximately two inches shorter than the new poncho in the front and back.

In the second photo, notice that the new poncho is not as wide at the shoulders as the old poncho.  This allows for a better fit with less bunching at the hands when using the wrist snaps.

Admittedly, these changes are not earth-shattering, but both of the changes are positive improvements in the car seat ponchos that you can purchase here in my store or in my Etsy shop.  Anyone who purchased a poncho after February 2018 already received this style.  The measurements in the listing descriptions in my shop will reflect these changes.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these changes to the car seat ponchos.  Rest assured that the features that set my ponchos apart from the rest — the two-way zipper, hand slits, and wrist snaps — will not change.  I will continue to make ponchos that you and your children can enjoy for years!

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Why I Became an Entrepreneur

Why I became an entrepreneur

When I was a child, I remember people asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I’m pretty sure I never once responded to that question by saying, “I want to be an entrepreneur.”  As a child, I had never once considered the possibility of owning my own handmade business.  Yet, here I am, sole proprietor of Elaine Searer, Sewing & Alterations, and I’m loving it!

Three Reasons I Started My Own Business

My top three reasons for owning my own handmade business are as follows:
1. Opportunity to work in my own home
2.  Setting my own schedule (except during my busy season)
3.  Satisfaction of doing work that is appreciated by my customers.
Making fleece car seat ponchos

Not only do I make custom items, but I also do alterations.  I find it extremely satisfying to take a garment that someone couldn’t use and turn it into something that fits and works for that person.  I feel that same satisfaction when I take two pieces of fleece fabric and make a car seat poncho that will keep a child warm all winter long.
Paperwork is part of my businessMy husband and I have created a comfortable, practical sewing studio in the basement of our home.  It’s one of my favorite places to spend time.  I am very thankful that I can contribute financially in a way that is enjoyable and fulfilling.
Choosing snaps for a car seat poncho

Flexibility

Before I became an entrepreneur, I was a high school English teacher.  I liked that job, too.  The time I spent in the classroom with my students was especially enjoyable for me.  I did find, however, that I was not well-suited to running my life by a system of bells.  I craved an opportunity to be more in charge of my own schedule.

Owning my own business doesn’t mean that I can work only when I feel like it, but my schedule is flexible.  My husband, Jack, and I start every day with coffee and a “business meeting” in our living room.  We love our local customers whom we see face-to-face.  It’s fun to follow our packages that are sold in my Etsy shop and here in my own online store as they travel across the U.S.A. and Canada.  Our customers often make our day with their orders and positive feedback for my products.
Handmade fleece car seat poncho
For right now, I’m fully convinced that I’m doing exactly what God created me to do right here in the space that He’s given me.  If anyone would ask me what I’d like to be doing with my life, I’d proudly tell them, “I’m already doing it!”

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What Customers Say About Extra Warm Car Seat Ponchos


I’ve been selling fleece car seat ponchos in my Etsy shop  since 2015.  The first year that I sold ponchos, I offered only one style of car seat poncho.  My regular car seat poncho was and still is made of two layers of anti-pill fleece.  Here in Pennsylvania, my grandchildren have found them to be cozy and warm.

Extra Warm Poncho

But what about those kiddos in extremely cold climates?  Would two layers of fleece be warm enough for a child in Minnesota or Wisconsin or Canada?  I wasn’t sure it would be.  That’s why, in my second year of poncho making and selling, I offered the option of choosing a layer of cotton quilt batting that I added between the two layers of anti-pill fleece.

Last year, one third of my poncho orders were for extra warm ponchos.  Most of those extra warm ponchos made their way north to colder states and to Canada.

This fall I asked some of those customers whose children used the extra warm ponchos last year to take a short survey.  The results were overwhelmingly positive, and every one who responded said that she would make the same choice to purchase the extra warm poncho again.

Survey Results

1.  In what state or province do you live? 

The women who answered my survey were from Nebraska, Michigan, New Jersey, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and New York.

2.  Did the extra warm poncho provide adequate warmth? 

Everyone agreed that the extra warm poncho provided adequate warmth.  One mom said that on the coldest days in Michigan, she would layer the poncho over a fleece jacket.

3.  Where there times when the poncho was too warm? 

Some responded that the poncho was too warm for fall and spring weather.  Another mom added that if the temperature were forty degrees or warmer, the poncho was not a good choice.  The others assured me that the poncho was not too warm in their winter climates.

4.  How would you describe the weight and feel of the extra warm poncho? 

I wanted to get some opinions on the feel and weight of the extra warm poncho since I’m often trying to describe it to potential customers.  My survey-takers described the extra warm poncho as a thicker fleece, not too heavy or thick, warm and cozy, substantial without feeling stiff or cumbersome.  One mom was concerned that the extra layer would make the poncho stiff, but it did not.

5.  If you were to purchase another poncho, would you choose the extra warm style? 

All of the survey participants agreed that if they purchased another poncho, they would, without hesitation, purchase the extra warm poncho again.

There was that one mom who said that since she already had an extra warm poncho, she might choose a regular poncho to use in spring and fall weather.  I like this idea!  Everyone should buy two ponchos:  a regular and an extra warm one.

Contact Me About a Poncho:

If  you’re interested in ordering a regular or extra warm car seat poncho, please contact me.  You can use the contact form here on this site, contact me in my Etsy shop, or visit my business page on Facebook.  I’d be happy to work with you to create a poncho for that special child in your life!

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Car Seat Ponchos for Safety and Warmth


Here in Pennsylvania, we’re still enjoying summer weather with temperatures in the high 80s, but these warm summer days will soon be a memory.  When the temperatures start to fall, how can you keep your little ones safe and warm for fall and winter traveling?

You may need to swap out that heavy winter coat for a cozy car seat poncho for safety and warmth.  It’s so much easier to zip on a poncho than to fuss with a winter coat. 

Until a few years ago, I had no idea that buckling an infant or child into a car seat while he is wearing a winter coat is not safe.  A puffy winter coat will prevent the car seat straps from fastening tightly enough to keep a little one safe.  Here’s an article from Consumer Reports that explains exactly what can happen when a child is buckled into his car seat while wearing his winter coat.  (Consumer Reports article) 

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