The Explore pattern is one of the first things that inspired me to start this whole project I call Loulou James. It appeals to two sides of me: the practical me, that wanted to keep my stroller clean, and the fancy side that wanted to make my stroller stand out – after all, we aren’t the only UPPABaby in town, folks. It’s a good beginner project; something I like to think of as a kick-off to all the wonderful things you’ll make your little one over the years.

To accommodate the five-point safety harness of strollers, the Explore stroller liner has oversized ‘buttonholes’ to fit straps and buckles through. They are much like sewing a standard buttonhole on a machine without the automated option. To sew the openings you will need to use the zig-zag stitch on your machine and will need small scissors and one of the following shown below: buttonhole cutter (top), seam ripper, or rotary cutter. I like to use a buttonhole cutter to make the opening and then scissors to trim.

Buttonhole tutorial 6

To sew the openings, set your machine to zig- zag: if you were using your machine’s quilting or walking foot to accommodate thick layers, you may need to change to a basic presser foot (check your machine or foot’s instructions).

The stitch should be dense and short, like you are making a buttonhole, approximately 1/8” in width. After you have transferred all your markings, line up your fabric so the stitches fall outside the opening and just touch the line indicating the opening. It should touch the line on left side and extend out on the right (see below).

buttonhole tutorial 1

Sew down one side about 1/8” past the end; then, with the needle down, lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric 90 degrees.

buttonhole tutorial 2

Lower the presser foot again and sew across the next section to 1/8” past the end and repeat until you reach your starting point (some stitches will overlap in the corners). Backstitch and trim your loose threads.

buttonhole tutorial 3

This is what the openings will look like, completed.


buttonhole tutorial 4

To cut open, place pins at each end, just inside the stitching. This will prevent cutting through the ends. Use a buttonhole cutter, seam ripper or rotary cutter to cut through all layers and make an opening. I started near the edge since a buttonhole cutter is very accurate; for a seam ripper you should start in the centre.

Buttonhole tutorial 5

Then, using small scissors or your buttonhole cutter, begin in the middle, cut towards one pin, then turn and cut towards the other pin. Trim close to the stitches, being careful not to cut them.

Buttonhole tutorial 7

You may need to flip over and trim the back as well. Any loose threads can be gently pulled or cut. I’m using large scissors in the images, but I would highly recommend small, sharp ones for control.

Buttonhole tutorial 8

Don’t worry if your corners are not perfect – the loose threads will work their way out in the end.

Buttonhole tutorial 9

The Explore stroller liner can be found here in the pattern shop.