Like me, my sister-in-law Nora loves to while away her (rare!) free hours at the sewing machine. She does everything with precision and care and her makes always look great. She made a beautiful pushchair liner a few months ago and said she was thinking of making another one, so I jumped at the chance for her to share with me (and you!) how to make one.
I was looking for a lovely pushchair liner for ages but didn’t want to purchase something that everybody else had, so I decided to make one. I read some tutorials online, but ended up mixing a few of them and creating a bespoke insert for my buggy. This is not the quickest way to create a pushchair liner, but it may give you some inspiration to create your own version.
You will need:
- 2 x 1m x 50cm fabric (depending on the size of your pushchair)
- at least 3m bias binding
- coordinating or contrasting thread
- quilting needle for your sewing machine
- 1m x 50cm wadding
- vanishing fabric pen
First of all, I had to find the fabric. You do not want anything that might be sticky or uncomfortable. Some tutorials suggest that you use oilcloth, but to be honest, I would not want to sit on a piece of oilcloth on a hot summer day, and neither does my daughter I suppose…
I found some soft fleece in my favourite fabric shop. It is a bit thicker than cotton and feels really nice (and soft – obviously). I bought 1m of two different pattern fabrics just in case I get bored with one side and want to flip it over.
I measured my pushchair and drew a “pattern”; basically just a square. (If you want, you can look at the measurements of the pushchair liners sold online for your brand of pushchair or borrow one from a friend and measure it.) You need to measure where EXACTLY the harness is on your buggy. This needs to be very accurate, as you will need to have the openings at the same places in your liner.
Cut out two rectangles from the main fabric (or one of each if you are using two different colours, like I did). My pushchair is about 90 cm long and 42 cm wide, so I cut two pieces of fabric measuring 90 x 42 cm.
To cut out the wadding, I placed one fabric piece on the wadding, pinned it and cut around it… I guess there is a more professional way of doing this but I find this one the easiest.
Now, you do not have to unpin the wadding, just turn it around and place the second piece of fabric on the other side, as a sandwich (fabrics must face the wadding with their wrong sides). I used these really handy fabric pegs that came as a freebie with a magazine a few weeks ago.
At this stage, you will have a rectangular liner, but it’s nicer to have curved edges (or so I think). As I thought I would never manage to draw four perfect curves on four edges, I cut one edge and then placed the fabric I cut off on the other corners and cut around it.
To mark the quilt lines on the fabric, I measured 1 line vertically in the middle of the fabric at 21 cm and then three horizontal lines at equal distances: as my fabric was 90 cm long, these lines were at 22,5 cm, 45 cm and 67,5 cm. If at this stage you start wondering whether I am crazy, in my defence, I am an economics graduate and love maths…
Sew along these lines with the contrast thread. I used quilting needles on my machine.
OK, so this is the part I found a bit tricky, but just because I am not good at quilting. I suppose that anyone with more experience can do this more easily but here is the way I did it. I opened out the bias binding and lined up one of the raw edges with the raw edge of the fabric, and then pinned them RS together.
I stitched around the entire liner using the machine foot as a seam allowance.
I then refolded the binding and turned it over the edge of the liner. I stitched it by hand as I was a bit worried that I could not accurately topstitch it with my machine. It took me ages, but at least I could keep all three layers between the two sides of the binding at all times.
Now, you have to create the holes for the harness, which are basically large buttonholes. Have a look at your pattern and draw the opening lines on the fabric with a vanishing fabric marker.
My machine does 1-step buttonholes, so this is how to do it on a machine like mine. First of all, I changed the machine foot to the transparent satin stitch foot, in order to see the marks I have drawn on the fabric while stitching.
Change your machine to the buttonhole setting and start at the bottom of the marked line. Sew all the way till the end of the line and then push the white leaver on the machine with your finger; this will make the needle start to go back towards the bottom of the line. It is probably a good idea to practice this first on some scrap fabric.
Once this is done, cut it open, just like you would with a normal buttonhole.
Depending on your harness, create the required amount of openings.