DIY: Baby swing cover

Sometimes I wonder if baby product designers make fabric choices by asking a psychic octopus to select a winner. We’re getting ready to welcome a new baby girl, and some friends gave us their little Bright Starts swing, which I was thrilled about — one less thing to purchase! However I was not thrilled by the baby blue cheesy printed seat cover, so dated and not in keeping with the modern neutral theme of her nursery. I decided to make my own, and it was surprisingly easy to do — I finished the entire thing in one evening!

Note: It’s actually more like a cover for the cover — rather than replace the original one I created a shell to go over it so it’s more aesthetically appealing. So here are some instructions in case you need to do this for your own swing..

Materials:

You just need the fabric of your choice - something pretty for the actual cover (I used some scrap designer upholstery fabric from Romo in a taupe/grey color to go with the neutral theme of the room) and then some basic plain fabric for the back crescent pieces.

Instructions:

- Use your current cover as a pattern for your new cover, take it off and flip it over. If it looks like mine below, you can use the same steps I did. (and if not, try to improvise!)

- Cut three pieces of your main fabric to match the three panels. I basically lined up my fabric against the cover and sort of loosely traced the shape. Note that the inner curves of the three pieces won’t exactly fit like a jigsaw, because the seat is three dimensional and the gap creates the curve in the seat cover.

- My swing had two little buckles on each side to secure the baby. Use a marker/chalk to note where those line up with your middle piece. You’ll need to leave a gap at that point when you sew the three pieces together.

- Now sew the three pieces together with two seams by putting the right sides together (wrong side facing outward) and sewing along the inner curved edges.

- At the point where the buckle straps come through, leave a gap and then fold over the raw edge and sew a little hem along the edge to prevent it from fraying.

- You should now have something that looks a little like a curved turtle shell.

- So far this has been pretty straightforward, now for the tricky part. The swing has a little harness to hold your infant secure and tucked inside the left and right of the “T” is the clasp for the safety straps. So you want to keep this entire thing intact, but cover it up with your fabric. I cut out two pieces of fabric the same size as the T and sold them together along the edge, right sides facing inwards, and then turned it inside out.

- Note that you need to leave the right and left sides of the “T” open so that the buckle still works. Again, fold those raw edges over and hem them.

- I don’t have pictures of this part, but you then need to cut a horizontal slit in the middle of your seat cover that is wide enough for the bottom of the “T”, and then sew around the hole made by the slit to attach the bottom of the “T” to the seat cover, sort of like attaching a sleeve to an open shoulder hole. The concept here is you’re creating a hollow space for the harness of the old cover to pop into so it’s forming the inside of the new harness.

- Finally cut out the two crescent pieces for the back that will be used to secure the cover to the swing frame. Only for the inner curve of each crescent, fold the raw edge over to make a little hem (the other outer edges will be sewn to the rest of the cover, so no hemming needed!)

- Now sew the outer edges of the crescents to your seat cover, with the right sides facing inward again, so you can flip it over and have the seams on the inside. The finished product should look something like this below, from the back

- and this from the front!

- Now the best part. Putting the new seat cover over the old. Push the old harness up into the new harness. Pull the side straps through the little gaps you created, and it should all line up to give you your modern, refreshed seat cover.

- And of course give it a test drive with an infant-sized teddy bear!