Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mei Tai Style Baby Carrier Tutorial


I've made up a tutorial on how to sew a baby carrier inspired by the Mei Tai or other asian baby carriers. I love this carrier because it is so comfortable for both mama and baby, and the best part is that it is easy to make yourself! Looking around online, I've seen mei tai's for sale for really high prices. After wearing one, I'd say it's worth it. But come on, you can totally make one yourself!

I have a lot of lower back pain, and I can tell you this carrier does wonders for my back. I've had one of those regular old baby carriers and I felt like a cripple every time I took it off. But this baby carrier is awesome.

So anyways, here is your photo heavy, super in-depth-ish tutorial on how to make a basic mei tai baby carrier! ((The measurements I use in the tutorial are for a small/medium size carrier. This size fits both me and the hubby quite comfortably. You may want to just sew on some extra length to the straps if you need a larger size.))

YOU WILL NEED:


Fabric! Sturdy fabric, like canvas, works very well. Here I have 3 yards of quilted fabric so that my carrier is nice and soft, but not too thick.

STEP ONE:


Cut the fabric length-wise so that you have THREE strips of 3-yard long pieces of fabric. Cut ONE of the strips in half so that you are then left with two 1.5 yard strips instead of one 3 yard strip. The width of the strips depends on how wide you want your straps. Make them a little more than double the width you want. So, for example, my strips were about 8 inches wide, giving me 3.5 inch straps once they were finished.

STEP TWO:


Now, fold each strip in half, length-wise, and pin it down.

STEP THREE:


Sew them all down along the open edges, length-wise.

STEP FOUR:


Then sew just ONE of the short edges closed.

STEP FIVE:


This is probably the most exhausting part of the whole project. Turn all four straps inside out. I find this to be easiest if you grab a bit of the fabric from the inside and pull it out as shown in the photo above.

STEP SIX:


Now you don't have to do this part, necessarily, but I like to sew the strap down flat by just sewing a straight line down the middle. Since my fabric is padded, this just makes it neater. If you have an already flat fabric, you might want to try top stitching the strap down all along the outer edges. But this step isn't exactly necessary, like I said.


When you finish, you should be left with four completed straps that look a little something like this:


STEP EIGHT:


Now, with your remaining fabric (or with a separate cut of fabric, if you are unfortunate), cut out two rectangles measuring about 18" x 20" for the body of the carrier.

STEP NINE:


Now we're going to get ready to sew together the body. So we need to pin the straps to new rectangles we have.

Start by pinning the short straps to the bottom. Leave a few inches hanging off the side of the fabric and fold the strap so that it fits inside the body. Copy the photo above. We are going to sew this thing inside out, so get ready for some awkward pinning.


Get the other shorter one on the other side of the bottom of the fabric.


For the long straps, you want to place them diagonally, like so. Fold them down diagonally so they don't get in the way of your edges, where you will be sewing soon.


Keep folding until you have all the straps tucked neatly inside.

STEP TEN:


Pin the other rectangle down over top of the straps now. Make sure you have the edges of both body pieces lined up perfectly. Squeeze it all in there.


I must emphasize the importance of having the straps away from the edges. Stick your fingers in the gaps to make sure they are not in the way. You do not want to sew them down except for where they are sticking out of the fabric.

STEP ELEVEN:


Now sew along the edge of the body, going over the straps as well. Take it nice and slow, one side at a time.

!!IMPORTANT!! Leave an opening at the bottom of the body so that you may turn the whole thing right side out afterwards! See below.


Here's what you'll be left with. Notice the opening at the bottom.

STEP TWELVE:


Begin turning the carrier by pulling the straps out. Then continue to flip the whole thing right side out.


We're getting there!

STEP THIRTEEN:


Fold the opening at the bottom back in and pin it shut. When we do the top stitch, this will be sewn shut.

STEP FOURTEEN:


Top stitch along the very edge of the whole body, making sure that you do indeed catch all of the pinned down opening to ensure that it closes.

STEP FIFTEEN:


For the shorter straps at the bottom, reinforce the straps by sewing a criss-cross shape over them, like I have done in the picture above.


And VOILA! You now have a mei tai style baby carrier!

For steps on how to wear one, check out the tutorials on the web. A good one can be found here. I will try and make a tutorial of my own as soon as possible.


Enjoy your new carrier!

[linked to]

5 comments:

  1. Great, easy to understand instructions. Thanks for sharing! :b

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great, easy to understand instructions. Thanks for sharing! :b

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great, easy to understand instructions. Thanks for sharing! :b

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great, easy to understand instructions. Thanks for sharing! :b

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm a novice sewer trying to make my own mei tai, and this tutorial helped answer a lot of questions I had. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting! I always read every single one of your comments, I just love hearing what you have to say! Please visit me again soon, or even Follow me so you never miss a thing!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...