I’ve always loved hand-me-downs. As a child, I refused to wear clothes without “stories” – either the story of how my Mama made it, or the story of the person who owned and wore it before me.
Having a baby has renewed my love for hand-me-downs. Recently, some friends of my husband gave us their old jogging stroller, and I believe they had received it in turn from friends of theirs. It seems to be an older generation of the BOB Revolution Stroller, which retails for nearly $500. It is certainly a much higher-quality stroller than we would have been able to afford on our own. However, while the stroller frame and wheels were in excellent condition, the straps had nearly disintegrated.
Once our baby girl, “Button,” turned six months old and began sitting up pretty well on her own, we wanted to try the stroller out. Before we could safely use the stroller, however, needed to repair the straps. (I should note here that my repairs are in no way authorized by BOB Strollers, nor can I make any promises that my straps are safety tested. If you decide to try what I did, you do so at your own risk!)
The first step of my repairs was a careful deconstruction of the stroller mechanism. I discovered that the straps were screwed into the frame. With a little elbow grease and WD-40 I was able to unscrew them. I discovered that the webbing had a metal grommet installed where it was screwed to the frame, which makes sense as a safeguard again wear and tear.
I then carefully unthreaded the straps from the seat and laid them out on the picnic table, doing my best to allow for missing pieces.
I had already purchased 1”-wide webbing from JoAnn’s for the project, and so I cut two lengths of webbing to match the main straps. I realized that I would also need a piece of more narrow webbing for the chest buckle, so I took some of the leftover webbing and cut two narrow pieces.
Although I am normally a natural-fibers-only kind of girl, I’m glad I went with polyester webbing for this project. I was able to burn the ends of the webbing, as well as the cut side of the narrow strips I had to cut. This saved me from having to do some fiddly, bulky sewing at the ends of the straps.
After melting the ends of the new webbing, I took all the buckles off the old webbing and began to assemble them with the new.
I installed one grommet in the end of each strap. I used an X-acto knife to slice through the webbing, and then pushed the grommet through the make the necessary hole.
I stitched the narrow webbing into the chest strap using a straight stitch and polyester thread.
I placed the various adjuster buckles back on the webbing, and the clips. I wanted to replace the plastic clips with some brass clips I had on hand, because I find the design of the original clips difficult to use with a squirmy baby. However, it occurred to me that metal clips would get quite hot between the baby’s legs during the summer, and so I kept the original plastic ones. (Update: after about a month of use, my husband broke the original plastic clips, so I replaced them with some coated metal clips. They haven’t been getting very hot and are much easier to use than the original clips).
Finally, I screwed the new webbing into the frame and rethreaded the strap assembly through the stroller seat.
We tested it out with a long walk in search of wild grapes. Button has been outgrowing her newborn stroller, and she loved being able to sit up, see the world, and kick her legs as we walked.
Instead of spending $500 on a new stroller, I spent $4 on webbing (and I could have saved that if I’d thought to ask my mother to mail me some webbing from her stash of sewing supplies!). All the other materials—thread, grommets, scissors, flame, etc.—I already had in my workroom.
This was neither my most creative nor my most elegant sewing project, but it has added an enormous value to our family, as we can now take longer, more adventurous walks. Even though I only stitched a few stitches, working with two simple lengths of woven fabric for the stroller straps reminded me how much we depend on textiles throughout our day.
Even more fundamentally, this project strengthened my resolve to “make do and mend” whenever possible. Any act of care, repair, or restoration challenges the wasteful extremes of our culture.
What have you mended or repaired lately?