Monday, 22 February 2016

DIY Shopping Trolley Safety Strap

Meet Archie... he's my littlest (expiring in 4 months)


What a little cutie! I bet you think butter wouldn't melt in his mouth!


Yeah right!

This little guy is a goer. He has some serious energy and determination. At 10months he worked out could get outside by crawling through the dog door ... he doesn't walk anywhere he runs ... everything is a climbing frame to him - drawers, chairs, stools, furniture ... not to mention he can barely sit still for a few minutes, unless he is eating and then even that's a struggle.


The other day while I was trying to buy shoes for my #2 Lillie, while my #1 Harry was at school, Archie decided that the strap on the shopping trolley no longer restricted his ability to stand up in the seat. I spent the next half an hour, looking slightly like a crazy person, pushing a trolley around the shopping centre with Archie standing up in the seat holding onto my neck and Lillie skipping around getting in everyone's way. Not to mention I'm 5 months pregnant, so I was getting a few sympathetic looks.


I thought it might have just been a bad day. That perhaps he would forget this new skill, but sadly no such luck. Now it's an hilarious game every time I strap him into the trolley seat to see how quickly he can manoeuvre his way out.

I can't be the only person out there with a part Houdini baby right? So of course I went straight to Google for a solution. Well you'll be happy to know that I'm not the only one. Here I was thinking I could just find what I needed, pop out and buy one, and problem solved - Mum=1 - Archie=0. But no I came up blank as to an actual product that did what I needed it to do. 

So I decided that it was going to have to be something that I made myself.

What I wanted was an adjustable backing piece that could wrap around the back on the trolley seat and then another adjustable strap that wrapped around Archie's chest/waist, that I could Velcro on tightly so he couldn't slip out of it.

Here it is...


I was so surprised how quick, easy and cheaply this was to put together. I was even able to make two so that I could keep one in the baby bag and wash the other one when needed.. Not only has it solved the problem as Archie hasn't found a way yet to get out of it, but I have discovered that there are so many other benefits to it.
  • It is so convenient that you don't have to be looking for trolleys without broken straps
  • You can washing this super easily and you don't have to use those disgusting straps, which have who knows what on them
  • The backing makes riding in the trolley so comfy for your baby,
  • And for those who are only just starting to sit up it provides extra support around their chest to keep them upright.
So let's get into a tutorial so that you can whip one up for yourself.

So what you will need is ...

Fabric (I used a quilting fabric)
Cream or White Fleece (or any light colour you wont be able to see through your fabric) - this just makes for some nice padding on the inside of the strap.
5cm (2inch) Width Sew On Hook and Loop Velcro
Thread

Cut your fabric as per the pattern measurements below. Don't forget if you are using a fabric with a pattern or picture, make sure that you keep all pieces with the pattern the same way up.



Start by creating your back strap. Pin the 2 fabric pieces right side together on top of the fleece . Sew around the edge with an in-seam of about 1cm or 1/4inch. Leave a 5cm/2inch opening at one of the shorter edges so you can turn in right side out.



Now clip your corners and turn right side out. Make sure you poke the corners out with a pencil or chopstick. Iron flat.


Pin the smaller pieces of Velcro, one on the end of one side, and one on the end of the opposite side. Picture it wrapping around and Velcroing together...



Sew, using a zigzag stitch, around the Velcro to keep it in place.



Carefully tuck in the opening and iron the seam flat. To keep it nice, neat and uniform, sew a straight stitch border around the whole piece.


Set this piece aside and move onto making the front piece.



Pin one of the fabric pieces to the front of the fleece with the right side facing the front. Pin the Velcro onto the front of the fabric to the right hand side.



Sew, using a zigzag stitch, around the Velcro as you did with the back piece.



Do this again with another piece of fabric, fleece and Velcro. Make sure you pin the Velcro to the same side as you will need this piece to be the right way around on the back (a lesson I realised a little too late my second time around, so ignore the upside down print on the inside!).

Pin the remaining pieces of fabric, right sides together, and sew up the short seam. You should have two pieces now that look like this...




Place the two on top of each other, right sides together, pin and sew around the edge with an in-seam of about 1cm or 1/4inch. This time leave a slightly larger opening at the shorter edge (around 10cm/4inches) so that the Velcro will fit through when turning right side out.





Optional ... you can add some loops of ribbon to the top side of your fabric pieces for hanging toys or dummies ect. on. I try to make sure that I reverse stitch a few times over these parts so that they stay put.

Again clip your corners, turn right side out, poke out your corners, tuck in the opening and iron flat.

Sew around the border again and you're finished with your front piece.




Now it's time to sew the two finished pieces together. Fold your back piece in half and mark the centre with some pins.



Match this up with the centre seam on the front piece and pin the two pieces together.



Sew a square evenly around the centre to secure the piece in place.




And there you go. It's done. Your very own Shopping Trolley Safety Strap.







Super quick, easy and useful. The perfect solution to those Houdini children out there who seem to be able to bet all those shopping trolley straps out there.



Here it is in action at the shopping centre. Finally Mum=1 Archie=0. Thumbs up from me!!!



I hope that this tutorial has helped someone else out there who was pulling their hair out trying to work out how to keep their baby in the shopping trolley, or someone who just has issues with those germ-filled straps!!!