We have an awesome stroller that we love - the Uppababy Vista (which I talked about in a previous post on our favourite baby products from the first year). It is one of our only luxurious baby products that we own, and my parents were kind enough to gift it to us. We have no regrets in selecting it, and we test drove quite a few models (over and over).
Many people switch to more compact umbrella strollers after the first year, but as much as I like the idea of something lighter and that doesn't take up so much space in the car, overall I still really love this stroller for what we use it for. At least a couple of times each day we walk our pooch, and we happen to back onto a ravine with great trails. The Vista handles these like a pro, and I don't foresee a smaller stroller doing the same. Beyond traveling (which we don't do at this point) and shopping in malls (which we also do not do much of thanks to our Amazon Prime membership and the Walmart Grocery Pickup service), I can't justify why we should change our stroller.
That being said, our little guy is now at an age (and has been from 12 months onward) where he is generally an awesome eater. And with lots of eating also comes lots of snacks. And there are definitely some days when it feels like he wants to snack all of the time. One of the reasons we liked the Vista was that it had a snack tray option that you could purchase. This makes it much easier to go out and do errands and provide babe with some nibbles.
However, as you can imagine, babies are not the neatest of eaters, especially at a young age. As the summer has worn on, I have watched with aggravation as the seat of the Vista (which claims it should only be spot cleaned) has gotten noticeably dirtier. Don't get me wrong - I've seen worse. But I would prefer to keep it nice and clean (and thankfully we happen to have an upholstery cleaner).
When I looked into getting a stroller liner, Uppababy was selling them for $50 + taxes. Not bad, if you have, I dunno, a second income and some spare $50's floating around. We, however, need to do things on the smallest budget possible. Also, this liner was waterproof, but happened to be a white fabric. Because if my gray fabric was having trouble masking the mess, white would do better? I next looked on Etsy, and was astounded to see custom fabric liners for the Vista selling for a cool $96 plus shipping and applicable taxes. Wowsers - definitely not happening! Finally, I did see some stroller liners being sold in Facebook parenting groups for around $40-60 each which were very nice, but again I was still hoping to save a bit of money.
As I was digging around on Etsy, however, I discovered a sewing pattern for a stroller liner on an Etsy shop. I had previously considered sewing a liner for the stroller when I was looking at options on Pinterest, but everything I found for the Uppababy Vista included creating your own pattern, which I wasn't interested in attempting. This pattern (link here) was only $6.72 CAD (at the time when this post was published) by local (Toronto!) artisan LouLou James Creative Studio, and it came with instructions on how to modify the size for different strollers. It also said it could be completed in the time span of a nap, which really spoke to me! A lot of the reviews indicated it was a perfect fit for their Vista strollers - also a huge plus. Knowing that I had enough extra baby fabric already on hand in my own supplies, it didn't take me long to be sold on this idea!
After purchasing the pattern I did pick up some additional supplies, which included some medium weight quilting padding ($5 CAD for half a metre, which will allow me to make both a stroller liner AND a car seat liner), as well as thread ($1.50 CAD), and bias tape ($5 CAD). So overall, total cost of pattern plus extra supplies was around $19, once you factor taxes in. Don't forget, this doesn't include the cost of the fabric (as I has some on hand in my supplies). But, the pattern does include details on how to make your own bias tape, if you want to save an extra $5,
The stroller liner pattern is pretty straightforward, and below I will walk you through some of the major steps, and my notes on it. Please keep in mind I would consider myself an introductory seamstress, so if you generally have a sense of how to use a sewing machine, you could definitely complete this pattern. If you have any skills beyond introductory, you could likely do this better and faster than I could. Hahaha!
Cut Out Pattern, Fabric(s) & Basting:
The first steps included cutting out the pattern, part of which includes determining on the pattern where the stroller straps match up. The pattern has multiple slots marked on it (to make it universal) and then you simply cut out the markings that worked for you. This was my biggest concern before purchasing the pattern - would it essentially be an "exact" fit? If I was going to invest this time into it, I wanted it to look really good. And the answer is it will.
After assembling the fabric(s) and quilt padding, baste them together so they won't slip. making sure everything was perfectly aligned (three layers) did take a bit longer than anticipated, but it was worth spending an extra few minutes here to ensure the process as I pulled together the following steps, and so that the finished product looked amazing.
Heather's Notes on Customizing the Pattern:
The pattern is easy to work with and definitely has enough flexibility to ensure that the final product will come out fitting right and looking like it was made for your stroller alone. Similarly, if you were making this pattern for an umbrella stroller and needed it to be shorter, it has a custom option for this as well. You could also do different fabrics on each side of the liner making it reversible and for more visual interest. Since I had a lot of one fabric print, I didn't do this.
Sewing the Stroller Liner
Sewing the stroller liner was the easy part. I found that the bias tape I bought was on the smaller side based on the seam allowance, and I admittedly somehow missed the note about buying slightly wider bias tape when I read over the pattern directions. This just meant I did a little bit of trimming, and I pinned on my bias tape to make sure the fit was "exact" and that it lined up perfectly (as it was little tight in some places, and there was not room for error). This extra pinning did take a bit more time, but made the final product look really great as everything lined up perfectly.
Heather's Notes on Sewing the Stroller Strap Openings:
When you are sewing around the openings for the stroller straps to come through, you are asked to do it with the zig zag stitch (or "satin stitch" as it was called on my machine, which was a tighter version of the zig zag stitch). I would recommend going over each edge twice depending on the size of your zig zag stitch. I set my stitch almost as small is would go, but still found that going over the edges twice simply made it look more finished and sturdier. However, it with nine openings, this extra step took me a bit more time to complete.
Finishing the Stroller Liner & Overall Thoughts
Finally, you need to cut out the holes that you trimmed with zig zag stitches earlier to actually create the openings you require. And, of course, install the liner on your stroller seat. Tah Dah!!!
I also appreciated that I was able to support a local business, and not stress about making my own pattern (thanks to LouLou James Creative's very clear and easy to follow directions). Moreover, when I emailed this shop about whether the stroller liner pattern would fit the Uppababy Vista 2015 model, she responded promptly and explained how the pattern could adapt to fit precisely.
Overall, the project took me (a novice sewer) about 3.5 hours to complete, which realistically is two naps in my world. If I had purchased larger bias tape and only done one round of zig zag stitches around the stroller strap openings, I might have been able to shave off 45 minutes, thereby possibly squeaking this project out during one nap. But, I do have to say that I LOVE the finished product and I would definitely make this as a gift for someone. It looks great, it fits great, and I was able to save a bit of money and indulge in a hobby I don't often make time for.
If you are looking for a stroller liner pattern, I definitely would recommend the pattern from Lou Lou James Creative Studios. It is easy to do for a beginner and fun to customize it with your own fabric. If I were to do a second one, there are so many fabric choices from superheros to really graphic prints - you could really get creative!
So - what do you think? Do you think you would make your own stroller liner? Or would you purchase one that's pre-made? I'd love to hear your comments! So far, the wee man and I are loving it!