Oh dear – my poor bike seat has seen better days! The silicon padding is still good, but the lycra cover has ripped beyond help.
So when I dropped off my bike for a well-deserved service, I kept the seat with me and whipped up a funky seat cover to hide the rip. The result was so nifty I thought I would share it with you in a quick tutorial. It’s also a great way to use up some scraps of stretchy fabric!
- Fabric with 4-way stretch such as performance lycra, spandex or supplex
- Elastic (or ribbon or cord)
- Pattern paper (you can really use any kind of paper!) & pencil
- Scissors, pins, thread, and a ballpoint or jersey needle for your sewing machine.
The pattern you are about to draft will include a 1cm seam allowance.
Use a small, narrow zig-zag stitch to sew this item.
STEP ONE – DRAFT THE PATTERN
If you don’t want to draft a pattern yourself, I’ve made a downloadable template of the pattern piece I used for my bike seat, which was approx 28cm long and 16cm wide. (My first time using design software! It was hectic, but I'm pleased with the result even if it's not quite as professional as I'd like!)
To draft the seat pattern, place the seat upside-down on some tracing paper.
Firstly mark the centre of the top and bottom points of the seat. Start drawing around the seat at the bottom and top, but don’t go all the way around yet.
Roll the seat to one side (I’m right handed, so I used my left hand to roll the seat towards the right so I could draw with my right hand.) Continue to draw the rest of the way around the right-hand side of the seat. This captures the contours of the seat and ensures the pattern piece will have enough coverage.
Move the seat out of the way, and smooth the curves of your pattern (freehand or use a pattern drafting curve).
Add a 1cm seam allowance around the outside of the pattern.
You can do either of these options to complete your pattern:
Method 1. Draw a line connecting your two centre points. This is now half of your pattern.
Fold your pattern paper in half along the centre line, and trace through onto the other half of the paper. Open it up and voila – a perfect mirror image!
Method 2. Draw a line connecting your two centre points. Now draw a second line, parallel to that centre line, and add some arrows. You’ve now got a ‘cut one on fold’ pattern!
Whichever option you chose, you can now cut out your paper pattern.
You’ll also need a casing pattern piece. Use a flexible tape measure to measure the circumference of the seamline of your pattern (not the outside edge). Cut a piece of pattern paper that length + 2cm, and 4cm wide. Mark the centre point of the pattern.
For example, the circumference of my bike seat pattern seamline was 85cm, so my casing pattern piece was 87cm x 4cm.
NOTE: You can make this seat cover without the casing piece, and just use the hem as an elastic casing, but I think the fit is better and the finish nicer, if you use a separate casing piece.
While you’re measuring the circumference of the seat pattern piece, grab your calculator and work out the quarter marks (ie. halfway between the two centre points) and mark those on your pattern as well.
STEP TWO – CUT YOUR FABRIC
Lay your pattern pieces out on your fabric. If you have enough fabric to work along the grainline, great. Whichever option you chose above, the centre line is the straight grain. However, if you are using up some scraps from your stash, it’s actually not going to be the end of the world if the pieces are off grain!
Cut out your pieces. Notch the top and bottom centre and quarter points of the seat piece, and the centre of the casing piece. (It will be easier to mark the quarter points of the casing once the end seam is joined, so we'll do that in a later step.)
STEP THREE – CONSTRUCTION
Take the casing piece and fold in half. Sew the two short ends together, but leave a 1cm gap in the centre – this is for threading your elastic through later.
Lay this piece out on your table so the seam and centre notch are lined up. The folds at each side are now the quarter points, so put a little notch at those two points as well.
Fold this piece in half longways. If you’re using a slippery fabric, you may want to baste the two long edges together, but you can skip that step if you wish.
Match the seam of the casing to the centre back point of the right side of the seat piece, raw edges together and pin in place. Match the other casing centre point to the front centre of the seat, pin, and then match and pin the quarter points together.
Because you’re sewing some funky curves, you may want more pins than this. It’s helpful to pin halfway between the quarter as well.
Head over to your sewing machine and start sewing. Go slowly – you may need to stretch your casing piece a little as you sew, because you are sewing a straight edge to a curved edge, but be careful not to pull too much or it will go all wobbly.* If you have an overlocker, you could use it for this step for a nice clean finished look.
Grab a piece of elastic about 40-50cm long and use a safety pin (or an elastic threader) to pull the elastic through the casing.
Once you have it all way through, knot the two ends together.
(I had one one of those little aglet-squeezer thingies I'd salvaged from an old tracksuit, so I thought it would be cute to use here!)
Place the cover over your bike seat and tighten the elastic until it is nice and snug, then knot the elastic again.
You can trim the elastic now if you want. (You don't need to use elastic – a piece of cord or ribbon would do the job just fine; you'll need a piece 10-15cm longer than your casing to get all the way around with some length to work with at the ends.)
And that’s it! You have made a funky new cover for your bike seat. Well done!
Time to hit the road!