Trash to Treasure: Recovering a Walker Seat

Evidently there’s an unspoken rule in our neck of the woods. If you have junk in your house, throw it in your front yard out by the road. If you leave it there long enough, a city truck will come by and pick it up, saving you the hassle of donating it or taking it to the dump yourself.

I cannot tell you how many mattresses, couches, TVs, particle board furniture pieces, and miscellaneous pieces of wood I’ve seen over the time we’ve lived in this house. There’s one spot that seems to have a never-ending supply of mattresses and couches. Seriously, how fast can a family go through those things?!

But occasionally there’s a treasure in the midst of all that trash. Or, if not quite a treasure, at least something useful. For example, our neighbors swapped lawnmowers that way. She put it out on the road; he mows his grass with it now. Perfect!

I don’t know if our find counts as a treasure either, but I can’t wait until Camon’s old enough to use it! It’s a baby walker–perfect for those kids who want to be mobile but can’t quite balance yet. And it was filthy. Hideously filthy, but otherwise intact.

I thought to myself, “You know, pretty sure I could just recover this seat with new fabric.” So we brought it home and I went to work.

And if you want to know how to recover a walker seat for whatever reason, I’ll show you how I did it. It was not hard, but it did take some time. I did want to scream at it a few times. I think I did scream at it at least once. But I love the result :)

The gist of it: take apart the current seat, trace the pieces onto your fabric, cut them out, and sew it back together.

You will need:

  • an existing walker seat that’s not broken
  • fabric (1 yd)
  • PUL (1 yd)
  • low-loft batting (1 yd)
  • twill tape for binding
  • heavy-duty thread
  • fray check (optional; I didn’t use it but it might be nice)

Take lots of pictures.

I started out by taking a ton of pictures of the seat from every angle. I used them for reference points when it came time to sew everything back together.

Take the seat apart.

Start with the seam on the front of the seat where the plastic prongs stick out.

Oh, look! What a beautiful coordinating lining fabric that is! :/

Now remove the seam that attaches the side “wings” to the front. (It’s just to the left of the words in this photo.)

Take out the seam that connects the back (with the thick foam) to the bottom.

You should have a piece that looks like this. Told you it was hideous and filthy! Blech! :)

Now take out the curved seam that connects the bottom to the front.

Take out the seam that goes along the bottom of the back–the piece with the thick foam.

Inside you should find a very thick piece of foam and a hard plastic piece with the nylon straps attached. Save those. Clean them as well as you can, although they’re probably not that dirty. If you think they are, you may not want to continue with this re-do. :)

Now take the piece that the foam and plastic were in and finish taking it apart.

You’ll end up with two pieces.

Trace the pieces and cut out your new fabric.

Start with the front piece. (Oh, it looks so disgusting! Sorry! Promise I sanitized my hands after this :) ) I know there are some seams in the original one, but there’s no need to do the extra sewing. Just cut it out in one big piece.

Now cut the same shape out of your low-loft batting.

And do the same with your PUL.

Moving on…trace and cut the bottom of the seat.

Cut that one just a smidgen bigger than the seat, since it’s got to cover the batting.

Also cut out this piece from the batting and PUL.

Sew the layers of the front together.

Layer the fabric, batting, and PUL just like a quilt (top, batting, backing).

Sew around the edges to hold everything in place.

Grab the little nylon strap from the original seat and pin it in place. (Use the old seat to find where it should go.) Sew it in place.

Begin to attach the binding.

Pin the twill tape to the front as shown in the photo.

You’ll need to use a ton of pins, most likely. :)

Sew it in place, making sure to catch the edges of the twill tape on both sides of the seat. Only attach this much of the binding right now.

Make a buttonhole in each corner.

Using your original seat as a guide, make a buttonhole in the two top corners of the piece you just put binding on.

Layer and quilt the seat bottom.

I’m not sure why I don’t have pictures of this step, but I don’t. Whoops.

Layer the fabric, batting, and PUL for the seat bottom just like you did for the front.

Sew around the edges to hold everything in place.

Using your original seat as a guide again, sew straight “quilting” lines through all 3 layers to give it more stability and to keep the layers from shifting. (I know this pic is after the two pieces are sewn together, but you can see the “quilting” lines in it a little bit.)

And add two more buttonholes, just like the original seat has. These buttonholes are where the connecting straps will come through.

Pin this piece to the front piece and sew together. This is a tricky seam, because the two pieces will end up being 90 degrees to each other. Just use lots of pins and sew slowly. Ha. :)

Cut a length of twill tape to go around this seam. Pin (with lots of pins again!) and sew in place. (Again, this pic is from later. Yours won’t have the nylon straps or the binding at the top yet.)

Cut out the pieces for the back.

Using the yucky pieces as the guide, cut out the two pieces that will cover your foam and plastic to make the back.

On the piece with the buttonholes, mark and sew them as well.

Sew the two pieces together around the top, curved seam. (Leave the bottom straight seam open.)

Press that seam open so that it’s nice and crisp on the outside.

Sew the funny seam at each corner. I honestly don’t remember exactly how I did this. Just finagle it around until it looks right. :) (I sewed it before I put in the foam and plastic piece, but the picture came after.)

Insert the foam and plastic piece.

Pull the nylon straps through the buttonholes and pin the two pieces of fabric together.

Sew them together as best you can. Pretty sure this is where I started wanting to scream at this project. :)

Attach the back to the bottom.

Sew it in place.

Then add the binding over this seam. Pretty sure this binding is where I did holler at this project. Hang in there–you can do it! Take a break if you need to. :)

This binding should go all the way around to the front of the seat–don’t stop at the edge of the foam and plastic.

Finish the front.

Fold down the front of the top over the stiff plastic piece with the prongs.

Insert the side edges that are still unbound and pin in place.

Sew along the binding to hold it all together.

And you’re done!

Clean the rest of the walker really well and attach your newly-covered seat. Hope you like the result as much as I do!

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