Thursday, April 15, 2010

DIY Carrier Resources...

As a look at my stash will tell you, I've made most of my carriers.  At first, it was because I didn't know if I would like specific ones, and couldn't imagine paying the prices for a good one until I at least knew I liked it.  As I gained experience and confidence, I continued making them because none of our trees grow money, and I loved being able to experiment and make something usable and durable.  I frequently get questions about making carriers, so I thought I'd round up some good resources that I've used...

Ring Sling
Original Maya Wrap Sling (NOT PADDED) Black - MediumI have one  Maya Wrap (pictured to left) style sling from this pattern, which is a great sling, and one sling from Jan Andrea's pattern.  They are both great carriers but I think that Jan's sling tends to be a little easier to get comfy on my shoulder.  I have ordered all my rings from, and have been very happy with both their quality, selection, and service.  It is essential to use good strong rings, not weak craft rings that may break under pressure!

Mei Tai
 I've used Jan Andrea's pattern, tweaking the body size to fit me.  Love her easy to follow directions!  That is my second one, to the right.

I've made two, one (loosely) from this pattern, then one with a much wider body but that same basic headrest.


So far I have had NO success finding stretchy wrap material, to my disappointment!  I love my Moby Wrap and wanted to be able to make a similar wrap to gift to new moms, but all the fabrics I'm finding either feel too thin, or are super stretchy and not cotton.  I have only been able to find doubleknit 100% cotton jersey one place online, in brick orange.  Any ideas there, readers?

As far as non stretchy wraps go, I made this one. I am happy with it, but  I'd like to upgrade to a linen or other nice woven wrap this summer. We'll see if funds permit.  

I've been reading threads in the DIY forum of the Babywearer about woven wraps... so helpful!  The Babywearer is a great resource for babywearers, and their DIY forum is great as well...I definitely highly recommend it if you are interested in making carriers! :)

Small print: All the resources I link to (I think) discuss safe sewing techniques and fabric selection, but I'll just reiterate, chose sturdy, appropriate weight fabrics, rings designed for slings (not crafts), and good quality thread, and make sure to really reinforce and top stitch weight bearing seams.  As always, while all the info I provide is correct and safe to the best of my knowledge, I assume no liability for the use or misuse of advice, recommendations, or suggestions on this page. It is the reader's responsibility to research, make educated choices, seek assistance from local babywearing educators if needed, and always use common sense when using any baby product. Especially important when beginning to make carriers: always examine baby carriers frequently to make sure that they are not showing signs of damage or dangerous wear! And always make sure that you know the safe way to use your baby carrier.


Janel said...

Did you do this post especially for ME?! :) Thanks! Just curious though, for the moby wrap you did make, what type of fabric is it? If I would purchase fabric, would you suggest getting linen to begin with? It seems like this wrap could be hot in the summer....? What would be coolest? Have I asked enough questions? :)

natalie said...

You were a big part of why I wrote it, yes! :) For the wrap I made, I just used a cotton fabric, non stretchy. Since I haven't tried linen myself, I'm a little hesitant to say you should. For a beginning, see-how-you-like-it wrap, linen might be a bit expensive - and I've been told it can shrink... so maybe just do a cotton wrap and see how you like it? I did like the stretch of the Moby for the first few months, but lots of people start out with woven wraps instead, which don't stretch.

As far as warmth, I agree it could be a bit hot. I haven't wrapped much in the summer, and would expect that I might prefer my mei tai in the hotter weather... it seems like sticking to cotton or linen would be a good bet...

Janel said...

Thank you! I agree w. you about linen being kind of pricey! I will stick with a cotton to begin with.'s getting harder to wait till baby actually arrives!

natalie said...

Cotton should be good! A not too pricey way to dip your toe in and see if wraps are your cup of tea! :)

Okay, found some more wrap making resources... :)

I found that cotton gauze is recommended to make a light summer wrap good for infants, and this is on a good sale right now... (For a *non* stretchy wrap, go wider, like 30 inches, so better for back carries.)

Great thread on TBW (membership required)

Pat Grace said...

Ooh... I'd love to make my own mei tai or have it sewed by someone (since I'm not so creative...) especially since my baby's becoming heavier and a backcarry would be nice at this point.

natalie said...

Pat Grace, that is exactly why I made my first mei tai! :) Back carries are great for bigger babies.

I saw on your blog that you have a stretchy wrap. If you made (or bought) a non stretchy woven wrap you can use it for a back carry, and it is much simpler to make than a mei tai. Using a wrap for a back carry is harder than using a mei tai, but you already have some wrap experience so you might like using a non stretchy wrap for back carries.

I have a post here with a youtube video showing how to use a wrap to put a baby on your back:
And here is a page on making a no sew wrap:

If you're wanting to buy, I hear good things about the Babyhawk and Kozy brands of mei tai, and Storch, Hopp, and Ellaroo brands of wrap.

Hope some of that is helpful to you! :) Feel free to ask if you have any questions...

Pat Grace said...

Hi again, Natalie! Actually, the "wrap" you saw me wearing is not a wrap. It's a hybrid of sorts. It's a Baby K'tan. :) And while I'd love to learn how to wrap, it's not that feasible here because I'm in a tropical country. So, the mei tai is my next bet.

But, thanks for the tips! If ever we'd plan to migrate somewhere cooler, I'd definitely try a wrap (because I'm actually eyeing some but it's not really practical here so...). :)

natalie said...

Oops! Have never tried a K'tan so I didn't realize how much like a wrap it appeared. I can see why you would't want to get all wrapped up in the tropics... a mei tai sounds great then!