Natalie got a baby doll stroller for Christmas and by Valentine’s Day it was trashed.
I am convinced that unless you drop real money on those things, doll stroller seats seem to always be made so cheaply! So, it wasn’t really a surprise that it met it’s demise so quickly.
Secretly (or not really so secretly) I was kind of excited that it broke…so that I could make it over!
Want to know how I did it?
Let’s get to it…
Materials:Old baby stroller Spray paint (optional) 1 package of wide double fold bias tape (3 yards – you will use just over half) Belting and belt buckles - 1 yard should be plenty (you may decide to use velcro instead of buckles) 1/2 yard pre-washed, heavy weight fabric, like duck cloth, home decor fabric, or canvas material (I used this IKEA fabric) Matching thread (all purpose polyester) Pins and/or clover quilting clips Fabric marking pen Seam ripper
PAINT THE STROLLER FRAME
First things first. If you decide you want to spray paint the stroller frame, do that first. You will have to apply several coats because there are a lot of nooks and crannies that are easy to miss on the first few passes. Let it dry about 20-30 minutes in between coats (just so it’s dry enough to handle) and then let it cure for a full 24+ hours before using it. I highly recommend using a nice quality spray paint like Rust-Oleum. Krylon paints are okay, but Rust-Oleum always gives significantly better coverage and even application…in my experience.
While that is curing, sew up the seat.
CUT OUT THE SEAT PIECES
Don’t throw that trashed seat out just yet. You need it to help you create a pattern for the new seat. If all doll strollers were made the same, I would just share a free pattern download. Since, they are not, I am going to show you how to use your old seat as a guide or pattern.
Be sure to mark where the belt pieces need to go onto your new fabric. (I used my disappearing ink sewing marker.)
Get your strap pieces ready as well. I used old belt buckle straps from an old bag. You can buy belting by the yard at the store, and sew velcro on the straps as well. Use the old seat belts as a guide for how long you need to cut them. Sew the velcro onto the straps or sew on buckles in similar fashion to the old seat. For the strap that comes up from the bottom of the seat, fold over the end and sew a little loop for the side straps to thread through.
ASSEMBLE THE SEAT
On the under belly of the seat, there is a likely a pocket that slides onto the seat frame to keep it in place. Prepare that pocket piece by folding and ironing over one of the long edges 1/4 inch, twice (so you are enclosing the raw seam). Top stitch in place.
Baste the side strap pieces onto the back seat piece as well, at the points that you marked earlier.
Now, you’re ready for bias tape…
There are a couple of ways to sew on double fold bias tape. We are going to go for the quick and easy method of just sandwiching the bias tape over the sides. Double fold bias tape comes folded with one side longer than the other. Make sure that the longer side is on the back , so that when you sew it from the front, it will be easier to catch all the layers.
Once you get bias tape pinned or clipped around the back seat piece (do not add it to the bottom yet), flip it over so you can see the back side.
Cut two small strips of bias tape following the length of the original seat loops (they will likely be around 7 inches each). Sew the length of the strips closed and then fold them in half. (To help them lay flat, fold them so that the same sides of the bias tape strips are facing up — see pictures above. )
Pin or clip them into the back corners of the stroller seat. Sew around once, securing the bias tape to the back seat piece.
Then…sew all the way around a second time for durability. On the second pass around, push the loops upward and sew over them so they stick upward. When you get to the corner loops and the strap sections, back stitch and forward stitch several times, before continuing on to make sure it’s nice and strong. You want this seat to last! :)
Now, you can sew the bottom seat to the back seat piece. Mark the middle of the back seat piece and the bottom seat piece (curved side) with pins. Match those pins up, with pieces right sides facing, and then finish pinning the pieces together. (The back seat should not completely meet up with the entire curved edge.) Sew all the way around with a 3/8 inch seam allowance.
Trim back the seam allowance down to about 1/8-1/4 inch.
Start at the back of the curved portion. Pin or clip around. When you get to the corner, just fold it over for now (see picture below). I will show you how to make this a clean mitered corner in just a minute.
When you make it full circle, fold the raw edge of the bias tape under, and sandwich it over the other side, overlapping it by about an inch.
Okay…now let’s address the mitered corner situation.
First, start to sew the bias tape on, starting at the back. Lift up the folded piece and start at the back the same way you started pinning/clipping (the bias tape length may shift a bit, so you don’t want to sew over the folded piece just yet).
When you get to your first corner, sew until you get 1/2 inch away from the corner.
Pull the seat piece off your machine and clip threads. Take out the clips or pins around the corner.
Now tuck the bias tape inward (almost like origami) into the fold of the bias tape until it hugs the corner just right and the fold looks mitered or completely diagonal to the corner. Make sure it looks good on both sides. Pin or clip it in place, and put it back up on your sewing machine. Starting just before where you left off, sew to the corner, put your needle down, lift your presser foot, and pivot the seat around.
Continue sewing the bias tape in place, repeating the same steps with the second corner. This is how your corners should look when you’re done.
When you get to the back or the end, make sure your bias tape is folded over, tucked neatly under and overlapping the other end of the bias tape.
Don’t stop there…Keep sewing around, for a second time, for durability. Make sure to sew back and forth over the strap portion several times.
Once the frame is ready and the paint is cured, slide the seat on and off you go!
You may notice that the spray paint doesn’t hold up that great on the wheels.
Even after curing it will wear off there. If you are extra cool, you could disassemble the wheel before spray painting it so that you only spray the wheel hardware, not the wheel itself.
This doll was made using the free Black Apple Doll pattern. See THIS post for more details.
Her shoes are also a fun, DIY. I posted about them HERE.
It has been a few weeks since making over the stroller and it has held up beautifully. It even has held up great to toddler passengers. ;)
Natalie is so happy to have her stroller back, and I am glad to not have to jimmy rig the broken seat into the frame every five minutes because she was upset that it was falling apart.
Plus, she now has a cute, one of kind stroller that is sewn to last. Wins all around.
It also makes me happy that it matches her baby doll basket, see below. THIS post has all the pattern details.
It’s the little things… :)