Recovering an Old Stroller Tutorial
This may be my biggest project yet. The church nursery strollers were in need of either some serious deep cleaning, or a recovering with all new fabric. The foam on the inside was all disintegrated and nasty. I offered to recover them, and was told to do whatever I wanted and they’d pay for it. *Squee* Being thrifty even when given a free pass, I got the cutest fabric on sale 50% off.
If I learned anything, it was the value of a denim needle and prayer. Seriously, if you want to work with ANY thick fabric. Go buy a heavy duty (denim) needle. Go do it. Now.
I’m sorry I don’t have a legitimate before and after picture, but I just couldn’t wait to get going. So, first step- Remove the old fabric seats. They are usually held on with little screws, which you ought not to lose.
I say usually because you should know that my stroller and any stroller you try to do this with are going to differ a bit. In fact, this one is a double stroller, so I will be leaving out any steps regarding putting the two together. For your project, should you decide to try this, use your old fabric as a guide. Plus measure distances between metal framing points. This will give you an accurate idea of what size to make your new seats. It will also give you a more intimate knowledge of how the stroller works, and hopefully increase your ability to put it back together correctly. If you are worried, take notes. Salvage anything you can, such as boning and buckles, and you won’t have to buy as much.
What You Need:
- **Two large rectangles of heavy weight fabric (Becomes main seat body)
- Quilter’s Batting (Gotta keep those crying children comfy.)
- Two smaller rectangles of similar fabric for crotch strap
- Buckle and 1” webbing
- Bias Tape for Trim
- A (Package of) HEAVY DUTY NEEDLE(s)
(Not all of that is in this picture, because I’m super forgetful.)
Do all the prep work- burn the ends of your webbing, cut things to required measurements, create a crotch strap, fix buckles to ends of webbing, etc…
Now you will be constructing a padded rectangle and then performing some origami to make it bend and fit. ^^
**Choose which piece of fabric will be the backside and make it about one inch shorter at the top than the front piece. Later you will remember this. Sew your batting to the part that will support the child’s back/butt (wrong side, straight stitch) on the outer sides of the batting piece. Then sew lines down it to make pockets for the boning.
Sew down the crease that will define the butt from the back. Pin the front fabric on, sandwiching the batting inside. Zig-zag down the outside edges of the batting and that butt crease to join the front and back together. It will look like a big H.
Sew a short piece of webbing (if needed for attaching the back to the stroller frame) to the back a little bit above the butt crease. (Remember, you measured your own, but mine was 3 inches up and a 16” long strip.)
Make sure you leave enough room for the boning to fit lengthwise down into its pocket.
Did you remember your denim needle? Because this is your last chance to not have to learn the hard way, like I did.
Sew the front strap to the front over the spot where your back webbing piece went. (Mine was 32” long, but you took your own measurements, right?) This is the part that holds the child in place by the waist.
You will break needles at this point and possibly feel like cursing if you did not believe me the first three times I warned you. Then you will go buy that heavy duty needle I told you about. You may even buy stock in them.
Insert your boning behind the batting, in the pockets you made in the beginning. Fold over that one inch extra allowance of fabric at the top half an inch. Fold again to hide the raw edge. Iron and sew. This way you won’t have to use bias tape here. (Want to use bias tape? Disregard the instruction earlier.)
I recommended creating the crotch strap earlier. If you don’t know how to make one, simply sew a long strip of fabric ugly side out. Turn inside out. Fold in ends. Sew down. Fold down one end and sew to make a loop for the belt to go through.
Now attach this down at the bottom before you sew on your bias tape. This is another moment you will be thankful for that denim needle.
Cut notches in the sides. I did mine four apples up and three apples in. Since apples are not a standard form of measurement, try inches. Or use the measurements you took at the beginning from your original piece. The part at the bottom turns into the pocket that goes on the end of the frame pole. The rest gets folded and screwed to the frame.
Reinforce that sucker! ^
Fold the wings behind and zig zag over your already present seam to anchor them down. The bias tape will complete the pocket.
Finish up the sides with Bias Tape. Then comes the origami. Fold the bottom corner of the top wing (that you reinforced earlier) down at a 45 degree angle behind the rest of the wing so that it forms a triangle. The reinforced edge should be in line with the outside edge of the pocket you just made for the seat poles. Sew it down on the reinforced edge.
Now, pretend that you are working with a triangle and you just made one side of it with the fold, the bottom part being that reinforced edge underneath. You are going to make the other side by folding similarly the top part of your entire piece to the front side. This will simultaneously form a triangle shaped piece to attach to the frame, and make the seat bottom into an actual seat.
Sew it down after you get it to look like that ^. Do the same to the other side.
Now start placement onto your frame. Re- attach everything with screws. Here’s where mine were done. The top pieces wrapped around the poles to be screwed in. The bottom pockets went where they belonged, and the triangles were screwed in behind the pockets.
Then, hopefully, you will have this. (Or at least the single version.) Borrow some kids bottoms to make sure everything is right, then adjust things as necessary to make sure the kids are comfy and safe.