Tutorial: Baby Swing Cover

12.14.2010

When we had our first daughter, my Mom bought us an amazing portable baby swing. And Ella hated it. So we packed it away for the future. When we had baby Evangeline we brought it out and got it ready for some real use. And she hated it. So when we began packing for the 2,200 mile move from Utah to Delaware (while Evangeline was still a baby) we decided to give it away to someone who really needed it.

Now, with the birth of baby girl no. 3 we have sadly realized that this baby LOVES swinging motion and needs it to help soothe her into sleep in the late afternoon. As per the great East Coast tradition, we found this swing on the side of the road...for free. It's an old school Graco with the winding arm, no batteries or energy source needed.  I immediately cleaned the heck out of it, first with Clorox wipes and then with a Magic Eraser, but the fabric cover was beyond grossy-gross.


I'm not sure if any picture could truly capture how ratty and thread bare this thing was. Ick. So I set out to sew a new one and here's how I did it.

- 1 yard fabric of your choice
- 2 pkg. coordinating wide, double fold bias tape
- batting
- sewing machine
- button hole foot and walking foot (both optional)
- hand needle & thread


 - Lay out your fabric, folded it half so, as you cut, you are cutting two of your pattern.
- Lay your original seat cover on top of the folded fabric.  Use scissors or a rotary cutter to cut around the old cover.  If you want, you can trace it onto the fabric and then cut, but I'm much too lazy for that.


- Now lay your old cover on top of your batting and do the same, cutting the batting to the correct shape.
- Make a sandwich of a layer of fabric, your batting and top with your second layer of fabric.  Your fabric should be right sides out.  Pin around edges.


- Using a walking foot (if you have one) sew lines across your fabric, no more than 4 inches apart, to create quilting.  My fabric was quilted already, so I followed the existing quilt lines.
- Lay old cover on top and mark where the existing slits are for the seat straps to come through.


- Using the button hole setting on your machine (or a short zig zag stitch) create large button holes around your marked slits.  Set aside "fabric sandwich" for now.


- Using the old seat cover as a pattern once again, cut out the flap that is along the top edge of the seat cover. 

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Pause:  Let's stop and talk about Bias tape for a moment. 


When you get it out of your package you may, at first glance, just see it as an equally folded piece of bias cut fabric.  Not so.  One edge is slightly wider than the other.  That is the edge that goes on the bottom of your project. 

The shorter edge gets folder over the top layer.  This is made so that when you are sewing along the top, you are sure to catch the bottom layer of bias tape if it shifts slightly.  Now back to the program.

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- Cover the bottom edge of arched flap with bias tape.


- Grab your "fabric sandwich again".  Fold it in half and find the center.  Mark with a pin on the top edge.
- Fold your arch in half and mark the center point.  Match up the center points and pin the arch to the back of your seat cover sandwich.  Now you're ready to put this all together!
- With layers together, right side facing up, start sewing on your bias tape around the outer edge.  Be careful, take your time, and make sure you are catching all layers, including bottom in the tape.


 - When you have made it all the way around and get back to the beginning of the bias tape, fold under the edge of your bias tape onto itself and continue to sew..this will make a finished edge.
- My swing cover had these small plastic clips on the side panels to hook it securely to the chair edges.  If yours does too, cut them off and use a seam ripper to remove all stitches.  Lay it onto your new cover and mark where they go. 

- Hand sew on with a needle and thread.


- Cut the center out of your button hole seams.
- Your done!  Thread the seat belt parts through your newly created slots.
- Now put a cute baby in there and get swinging!


46 comments:

the emily said...

w.o.w.

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Christina said...

That's awesome- you did a great job! I love the fabric too!

Deanna said...

You are amazing!!! It looks great!

Our first two boys HATED the swing, so I sold it at a garage sale...3 mo later, BAM...we're expecting...and #3 LOVES the swing I borrowed from a friend. :)

Victoria said...

Fantastic!! I HATE the corny and tacky fabric they put on baby accessories! Great idea and great job! BTW, I'm a new follower.. YAY! :) If you have time, check out my new blog vixenmade.blogspot.com

Brittany said...

I just found a swing for $5 at a garage sale and did a bit of searching online to see how to make a new cover for it. Thanks for the great tutorial! I plan on making one today!

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Watson said...

Using the old seat cover as a pattern once again, cut out the flap that is along the top edge of the seat cover. This the great ideas to do this.Excellent post! it has very useful equipment for child. After seeing these articles it seems it is very comfortable for child.

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Great way to do so. Thanks for sharing that tutorial.

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angelique said...


I am just curious about you virtue.but as an outside working mom I can't make this types of work.But I really must have to do it...baby swing really act as an extra set of mother to cradle baby. Mamaroo can play an important role also

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