It’s international baby wearing week so to celebrate the loveliness that is having your baby close and your hands free I thought I’d do a tutorial on how to make a baby carrier for your little one to enjoy.
I remember when Peach first asked me for an ‘ergo’ to carry her baby. I wasn’t aware that they actually sold children’s ergo’s so I whipped up a little moby style wrap out of scraps for her to carry her doll.
Then (for her third birthday) my lovely friend Abbi gifted her the most beautifully sewn wrap which she has worn religiously this past year. We have often been stopped in public by people asking where to buy one and I get emails all the time asking how to sew one. Now, I am not quite as talented as Abbi behind the sewing machine and this isn’t exactly how she made the gorgeous wrap for Peach but here are two sets of photos and instructions to inspire you to make something for your little one to enjoy with their dolls. I’ve included two different styles a simple wrap and mei tai.
In my belief sewing should be an adventure. I am not an excellent seamstress. I don’t even know technical sewing terms. I hate patterns. I do enjoy creating things though so this isn’t a rule book, it’s a pictorial guidline. Have fun. Experiment. Let your little one help you (and try not to have a heart attack when they want to feed the fabric into the machine). Peach enjoyed this very much and we made at least half a dozen!
some jersey knit style fabric that does not fray
some fabric for the seat of the wrap or mei tai
useful but not imperative:
Whenever I start a project I rifle through my fabric stash. If you are a sewer you’ll likely have something handy already. You will need at least 1m in length for the knit fabric. Longer would be better too.
I’ll show you two different styles today – so lets start with the simpler option (and when I say simpler, these are both very simple basic carriers, this just has less steps).
Similar to the wrap that Peach was given this is just a long length of fabric that is wrapped and tied to support dolly.
First up, you’ll want to select your fabrics. I selected a map style fabric for the middle. Mine was cotton, but use anything you like. I tend to think non stretch is good for a heavier dolly but given it’s a doll it doesn’t matter too much if she sags a little.
You need two pieces of this middle fabric (one for front, one for back) Cut this to size for the doll/puppy/animal you want to be carried in it. For a smaller doll you can use a smaller square. I find this size works for most of our dollies. I then cut my knit to the same width as the map fabric.
After doing so I cut the fabric very roughly down the middle. As you can see I gave each end a wider piece to be sewn into the middle of the wrap and the ends taper to allow for easier tying (this also meant I could use less knit fabric utilising the one width for both sides of wrap).
Then I took the middle piece and laid it face up on my ironing board. I then positioned one side of the strap along the edge to be sewn inwards.
And folded that down and did the same for the other side. I then placed the opposite piece of map fabric facing inwards down on top. To be sewn together leaving the lower seem (where the straps are hanging down) open.
With the straps folded inside I sewed around three edges. Leaving the bottom one open for the straps. Once you’re done you should have a pocket with straps hanging out like above. You then want to turn it out the right way and you’re nearly done!
I then used an iron to fold the exposed seams inwards and press together neatly to be sewn over. To keep it neat and strengthen the wrap I then sewed a seam around all four edges of the map fabric. Peach helped me do this and was very studious about keeping the seam width neat.
Once you’ve done that – you’re done! A wrap for your little one’s little one ready to go. If you’ve never tied a wrap before you can watch a watch a video here
Exceptionally similar to what we did above is the pattern for a Mei Tai (traditional asian inspired carrier).
You start with your same cotton centrepiece fabric (of any design – it doesn’t even have to be cotton, play around with any scraps you have. Dolly probably won’t complain).
This time however instead of two wide straps we’re doing four thinner straps. Two angled from the top corners and two from the bottom sides. The two top straps should be longer than the waist ones. I didn’t have much spare knit fabric to do that so just used what I had. It worked okay but would allowed for more tying styles with longer straps.
Again, place all the straps on one side of the up facing middle piece. Pile them in the middle so they don’t get sewn into the edges accidentally and then lay the top piece (facing down) on top.
Then it’s time to hem around three sides of the carrier (just like we did with the wrap). I found that hemming diagonally over the top corner straps gives the mei tai a neater top edge (and more strength).
You’ll then have a pocket with four straps hanging out and you just need to turn it inside out. Press the exposed hem inwards again and sew along all the edges from the outside and you’re done! Ready to be enjoyed by your little baby wearer. Don’t forget your wee little papas who love to carry their babies too.