A Fabulous Pram Re-make Part I: ’90s Emmaljunga “Viking” Stroller/Pushchair

So, it has been a little while!  I last wrote just before giving birth to my daughter and was rushing to complete my last project.  Well, I did finish that stroller chair the day after my last post as I’d hoped.  Today’s post is to detail that process.

Unfortunately I couldn’t begin the second portion of the project before Mini’s arrival, because I didn’t have the necessary fabric and wasn’t willing to tear apart the original bassinet.  Now I do have another one to use and the required yardage, so I began the pattern for the pram today Tuesday.  It seems I can only work on things for a half hour or so at a time these days, so I’m afraid it may be a while before I write about it in favour of actually finishing the piece in order to use before she grows out of it. Hopefully.

The timing was off, but I acquired another “viking” pram and stroller set with fabric in poorer condition than the first.  I only wish I’d had it sooner, because the better hood portion was torn apart to re-cover, and the second is very faded. It’s sad, but I’ll either fix the first one somehow or find some way of making it all work to have an original red set as an option besides what I’m about to show you…

This entire project was quite unnecessary but inspired me far too much to let go.  I had some fabulous fabric in mind to make a really unique and special stroller.  Did I need another pushchair? Not at all, but I wanted to show the world (or at least whoever happens to see it) the pretty thing I could make and to have a fancy stroller for my daughter.  Babies do have a tendency to make people want adorable little things, eh?  Reactions to the linen re-make of the Hedstrom pram has been fantastic, so I can’t wait to have the “viking” done!

Here again are the fabric and the stroller seat attachment:

I don’t know about anyone else’s taste, but I love this ikat patterned velvet!  There is a black colour-way that I slightly prefer, but this grey is reasonably neutral besides being fabulously bold.  Whatever colour I’m wearing should go just fine with it, but it makes a statement for sure.  So inspiring!  

Choosing how to use the ikat and plain grey velvet was a difficult decision, and I was very uncertain for days.  I didn’t have enough of the expensive ikat to use it exclusively, and I also felt it was a tad too bold not to tone down with a solid anyway.  It was an easy decision to use the plain grey for the underside pieces of the seat cover, but the hood canopy was a tricky matter.  I was afraid that using ikat as the outer fabric would look “too much.”  I wanted a fabulous stroller and to avoid an unnecessarily busy look in favour of something well planned and eye catching.  To achieve this I began by cutting out the pieces of the seat cover carefully positioned over the portions of the design I liked best and with matching in mind.

Then I tried to settle on the hood design.  I considered using the ikat outside with the inner portion lined with the solid grey.  I thought about doing the front crescent, inner and outer, with the ikat and the lower portion and bag section in the grey.  Then I thought about scrapping the pattern from the original and using a hood design better suited to the ikat!  I could make the bag section less tailored and of one shirred piece, like my Simo stroller, or I could create shaping in my own way with darts or at least make a few changes to the pieces to better frame a large print.  However, I chose to stick with the original, and when I was sure about some of the pieces cut them out to arrange final placement by pinning them to the frame before sewing.

Eventually I settled on the interior being ikat with the grey outside.  I felt it looked more intentional and liked the surprise inside rather than have it look like I was simply saving on material with lesser fabric inside.  (Even now that it is complete I’m not entirely sure I should have gone with this placement, but I do like it most of the time.)

The original cover had a little batting to pad the wooden seat support, but I wasn’t keen on adding a layer like that.  Instead I used a scrap of memory foam (mattress topper) and stapled it under muslin to the boards.  Cushy!

Next I worked on the seat cover.  It was pretty easy except that I mistakenly pinned the flap that secures the cover over the chair frame backwards and had to rip that section out to re-sew.  Due to the velvet and there being many layers I took a lot of time to hand baste each seam before stitching on the machine.  Even so, I managed to catch the edge of one side in a seam.  Drat!  Here you can see the backwards flap and the caught edge before I ripped them out and fixed it:

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Very soon the seat was done!

I was very pleased with the results and so tackled the hood.  It involved a lot of pins and hand stitching, and I’m still not thrilled with the way I worked around the riveted bit by slashing the fabric to slide around as best I could.  (This part is making me very hesitant to commit to starting that part of the pram now!)  The shiny metal bit is a distinguishing feature of the “vikings” but it complicates re-covering terribly.  I might have drilled out the rivets, but two are also anchor points for the weather shield, and I wasn’t confident about being able to replicate a secure rivet that would endure a lot of use.  Now I have a tiny unsightly flaw around them though, and it is driving me batty.

One things remains to be done.  I made a pattern for the weather cover, but I haven’t cut the ikat or vinyl for it yet let alone basted or sewed it.  I have time before this stroller will be used, so that is on hold while I try to complete the pram before Mini grows too big for it!

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You can see how adorable the red is too and why I wanted to have the option to use it also and not ruin it?

Today yesterday Tuesday I began to pattern the bassinet hood.  It only took a few minutes of pinning muslin to it and tracing the edges, but then I had to stop for other chores and to spend time with Mini and L.  It felt pretty good to finally make even a little progress though.  Today or in the next few days I’ll continue.  I plan to make Tyvek pattern pieces from the tracings, cut pieces from the velvet, and complete the hood section before working on the body of the bassinet.  (I bought a roll of Tyvek long ago to make patterns, because it ends up being much cheaper than Swiss paper but more durable than paper.  I can’t stand the feel of paper anyway. A drawback is how opaque it is.)  The seat of the stroller uses snaps and design to be able to take it apart and even switch out the covers, but unfortunately the hood pieces do not allow for that nor does the bassinet.  Mostly it does disassemble fairly easily by removing three screws, folding away some metal spreader arm things, and it is nearly the same construction as the Hedstrom bassinet.  It will be a fiddly project but hopefully not too bad.  The biggest wild card to deal with are various rivets to replace with something as similar as possible or to adjust the design a bit.  I’ll see.