Tuesday, May 10, 2011

tuttie tute: easy bike seat cover tutorial

I am a lover of all vintage things, but if they have a family history I love them even more. I have had my Nana's old Schwinn Suburban Bike from the 60's for about 17 years, I started riding it when I was pregnant with my first born because it sat up straight and my mt. bike was no longer comfy for my growing belly.  Well it has gone in and out of storage and I rode it here and there.  I now love this bike even more since my Nana recently shared with me how it was the first bike she ever bought with her very first paycheck as a working mom, well now I have to restore it! So I dusted it off, polished the rims and handle bars rubbed all the rust off with WD40 and sent the wheels in for an overhaul.  I was searching for vintage parts and came across some cute bike seats, then I saw bike seat covers in fun decorative prints, well ......need I say more? 

Here is my tute for making an easy bike seat:

1- choose fabric
    I am using Joel Dewberry Ginseng dec weight fabric because my bike is sparkly brown and this matches perfect.  Some people out there in blog land were using oilcloth, which is a great idea and waterproof, but it hardly rains where I live and I didn't think it necessary for me.

2- trace bike seat onto tissue paper with sharpie


3- add 5/8" freehand around your outline then fold in half to get a symmetrical pattern and cut out

4-cut out fabric and fusible fleece for added padding

5-I also decided to quilt a 2" diamond pattern at this point this is optional but adds a nice touch, plus I just love my walking foot and enjoy little details
6- take a measurement around the outer edge of seat top, and decide how wide you need the sides to be, because this is an old bike seat and not very pretty I wanted my sides to cover the springs on the back and go around the entire seat so I made my sides 5" wide, this also allowed for my seam and for custom trimming later.  Then I clipped the edges for easy curves.

7-Attach side piece stretching and curving around the seat top, I decided to stitch in the same manner that I do binding, starting about 1-2" from the beginning,  this is the binding tute that changed my binding life :) Follow this and it will open up a whole new world of binding.  I know this sounds crazy but really binding is amazing! hehehe, its the simple things that make me sooo happy.

ok back to the project
8- sides are attached and now its time to check the fit
yeah! it fits!!!!! I was totally winging it so I did not know what it would look like.

9- trim around the edges that are too long, my seat has a narrow front but needed more coverage around the back for the springs, so eyeball this step and cut half of the side then fold in half to get the other side so they match up

10- finishing it off: 2 ways this can be done.  Create a casing and add a drawstring (which I think might have been a better choice ) but I'm lazy and had tons of FOE on hand to I used it!
FOE (fold over elastic) in case you don't know is a wonderful elastic product that has many uses, skirt waistbands, ironing board covers, to name a few of the uses I have experience with but it was originally purchased by a friend who had an ambitious diaper cover project in mind and bought like a million yards of it, so I ended up with some.  Which I love.  So you place half on the back and fabric in the middle pull and sew at the same time, I do not use pins for this, though some may want to.  I also use an elastic stitch on my machine that runs a straight stitch in a zigzag pattern

I wanted the fit to be a little more snug so I decided to add a elastic strap in addition, this is why I thought the drawstring might actually work better.
this worked out too though

now I cant wait to see it on my bike and try it out. Waiting on the tires...thanks to my hubby who installed them and adjusted my brakes to make sure everything was put back properly after I disassembled it :-)

my next bike accessory project will be a basket liner.......so excited!!!


  1. I have never seen this before! How clever. Someday, when I can actually ride a bike again, I'm going to have to try this out...you know, to use up all of that FOE I have on hand ;)

  2. I have been tasked with a bike seat cover for a Christmas present...Thanks for the tute...I shall start tomorrow! Green with envy over your Nans bike BTW. Sadly I come from a family of 'clear out' types! Boo...would love a special hand me down like that...Thanks again, Nix

  3. thanks. that's very useful.
    i've been wnating a cover like this for such a long time. but never made one. until now.
    thanks you!

    I linked to your tutorial on my blog - thanks for sharing!

    doro K.

  4. Thank you! I can't wait to make one for my daughter. I am going to try the basket liner too. I will look for your post to see if yours is done. I guess the sew machine does a lot more than I know. Maybe you have a tute on stitches??
    Thanks again! Happy cruising!

    1. Here is my Bike Basket Liner in case you missed it!

  5. Thank you for all of your comments!
    I am glad I could help.

  6. Dear Shelly
    You may think I'm nuts But can "you" replicate the "original" covering in leather? You see I also have a Schwinn Suburban exactly as yours and exactly the same seat. I can tell from the pic! How ever it is a boy's bike. Some history, this bike was given to me new on my 13th birthday and at age 56 I still ride it regularly. How ever the seat covering is badly deteriorated. You see YOU have in your possession a perfect pattern of what I need made. And the machine that might do it. If you might be interested you can find me at james.engel50@yahoo.com

  7. This looks great. I came across this blog post on Pinterest while looking for some DIY bike accessory items. I have a Brooks leather saddle on my bike and usually protect it when left outside in the rain with a plastic shopping bag, but this post has inspired me to think about sewing something up myself out of some sort of waterproof fabric. Cheers!

  8. Really nice tutorial

    For all you bike riders and TV series fans here are some really nice handmade bike seat covers:

  9. Great tutorial! I love how the bike seat cover can give your bike a whole new look! You can pick a fabric that really fits your own personality :) Thanks for sharing this tutorial!
    It's featured on my blog today: http://www.sewingshop.net/blog/personalise-your-bike-seat-with-a-cover/

  10. You have made such a nice seat cover for a bicycle and the imformation and tips of making seat cover is so clear.Thank's for sharing.
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  11. Succeed! It could be one of the most useful blogs we have ever come across on the subject. Excellent info! I’m also an expert in this topic so I can understand your effort very well. Thanks for the huge help. harley magnetic phone holder

  12. I've never heard of FOE before and you've taught me a valuable tool. I hated making bike seat covers before because of having to make a casing and inserting the elastic. This sounds much easier.