Do It Yourself (DIY) Carriers: General Overview
There are a lot of ways and types of carriers you can make yourself, if you are a crafty person. It is highly recommended that you use Gutermann's thread or Heavy Duty due to the amount of weight and wear that occurs at the threaded areas. Also due to safety and liability issues, we only recommend that you make your own carriers (or for family members). BCIA and CPSIA are two standards organizations that you should be aware of and compliant with in order to sell or make carriers for others. These standards are becoming even more strict and including lead, chemical and weight testing for all fabric/thread used. If you have questions about these standards, please message C.J., Ashley, or Somer and we will be happy to point you in the right direction if we cannot answer them ourselves.
Stretchy Wrap (such as a moby, sleepy wrap...) - Very easy to make and no sewing is even required. You can use 5.5-6 yards of cotton knit fabric (with stretch no more than 30%), cut it down the middle length wise and you're done! You can hem or serge it all the way around for a more finished look but it's not necessary at all. This does create 2 stretchy wraps.
Water Wrap- This can also be done very easily and no sewing is required. You get 5.5-6 yards of football mesh, cut it in half length wise and you have 2 wraps. You can serge the edges all the way around if you want, but it's not necessary at all.
Woven Wrap- This can be done with minimal sewing skills. You can use gauze (great for newborns in the summer), osnaburg or 100% linen (other fabrics can be used, though they do need to be considered bottom weight). All 3 are safe for front, hip and back carries. The amount you need will depend on the length of wrap you want. If you want a standard long wrap (approximately a size 6), you'd need 5.5 yards of the fabric you choose. You should be able to cut it down the middle length wise to get 2, but this will depend on the width of the bolt. We recommend 24-27 inches wide for a wrap when finished so it would need to be at least 50 inches wide to get 2 out of one piece (most manufactured wovens are 27in for reference). After cutting it length wise you can also "taper" the ends which is cutting them at an angle. This will help when tying it when you wrap as it won't be so bulky. A difference of 5-6 inches cut at an angle is a decent amount. You create the tapers opposite of each other (meaning, on one end of the wrap the "top" is longer with the "bottom" shorter, on the other end the "top" would be shorter and the "bottom" would be longer; laid flat the direction is the same /==/). Then, you'll hem it all the way around the length and width of the wrap. It may also be helpful to add a "middle marker" which is easier to do prior to cutting the tapers. This can be done by just a short decorative stitch, a small scrap piece of a decorative fabric to mimic a tag, or just a few stitches. This will help you when wrapping to know where you should start from depending on the carry you choose to do.
Ring Slings- This can be done with moderate sewing skills. We only recommended to purchase the rings used for slings from slingrings.com as they have been weight tested for babywearing (though o rings used for horses can be used they are heavy compared to sling rings). Sling rings are also not welded so they have no weak points in them which under pressure could cause them to break. There are wonderful tutorials on how to make ring slings on sleeping baby production's website. Fabric choices are numerous but the fabric does determine the type of sling that needs to be sewn. A bottom weight fabric can be used in one layer only. A pretty quilter's fabric we recommend in a double layer with a bottom weight. A medium weight fabric we suggest using two layers. Multiple layers can also be warmer and more difficult to adjust.
· One Layer Ring sling- http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/sling.html
· Reversible Ring sling(same fabrics) http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/reversible.html
· Reversible (different types of fabrics) http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/reverse2.html
· Two layer with lightweight fabric- http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/doublelayer.html
· NO SEW Ring sling- http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/no_sew.html
|8 Steps to create an X Box Stitch|
Mei Tais- This can be done with a moderate to higher level of sewing skill. Thread choice is very important as the thread carries weight. Also reinforcing all seams, extending the straps at least 6 inches into the carrier, and using "x boxes" (shown above) on the shoulder straps where they extend into the body of the carrier is important to insure the likeliness of the carrier ripping is minimal. Also if using a lighter weight fabric a bottom weight support panel between the layers of the body is suggested (can be a full panel or an internal X or U support panel, see below). Using multiple layers or bottom weight fabrics are also suggested for all straps. There are a lot of great tutorials and patterns out there on how to make a MT and many threads over on thebabywearer.com. Here is the link to a post there with numerous patterns and directions.
· faux ball baby overall MT- http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/bbo.html
· wrap conversion MT- http://www.wrapmeitai.blogspot.com/
o(You could do this with 100% linen and Osnaburg fabric as well.)
· "Hood to Headrest MT"- http://www.stilllearninglife.com/2008/01/diy-hood-to-headrest-mei-tai-tutorial.html
· Scandi MT Tutorial- http://scanditute.blogspot.com/
|Internal X Support Panel|
Soft Structured Carriers- This can be done with moderate to higher level sewing skills. Just as with a MT, thread choice is very important. Also seam reinforcements, straps sunk into the body, and "x boxing" on connecting areas are important. We also suggest that double or bottom weight fabrics be used as straps and if using a light weight fabric that a support panel be used. It is also recommended to use only weight tested buckles (to the weight limit that you feel comfortable with; I have found buckles tested to 90lbs for a $1 each).
· SSC tips- http://www.thebabywearer.com/forum/showthread.php?117666-SSC-(Soft-Structured-Carrier)-Tips
· Chelsea and Shira's SSC Pattern download- http://www.thebabywearer.com/forum/showthread.php?233690-Free-SSC-Pattern-now-available!-Have-fun-)
· SSC PDF download pattern- http://www.mediafire.com/?whdfr3hbm9t
· SSC tutorial on blog- http://latebloomercrafts.blogspot.com/2008/11/ssc-tutorial-1-cut-list.html
· SweetPod SSC tutorial- http://www.thebabywearer.com/forum/showthread.php?393607-sweetpod-ssc&highlight=buckles
· Tip to turn MT into a "half buckle" without sewing- http://www.thebabywearer.com/forum/showthread.php?418472-Converting-a-MT&highlight=buckles
Podaegis (Pods)- This is a blanket type carrier with straps on the top. These can be made with moderate sewing skills. As the same with a MT, thread choice is important as well as sinking the straps and "x boxing" them to reinforce them. Straps should be a bottom weight fabric or a double layer as well as the blanket.
· Wrap Pod- http://wrap-pod.blogspot.com/
· Straight strap pod- http://www.thebabywearer.com/forum/showthread.php?93216-Pod-directions-draft-version
· Angled strap pod- http://www.thebabywearer.com/forum/showthread.php?114473-Silk-Pod-sew-along-directions!-Finished-yay!
· PDF download straight strap pod- http://www.thewahmmall.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=46_56
Angela Miller is an extraordinary mother to 4, including a rambunctious boy, an adorable set of twins, and new, little girl that likes to keep her on her toes. In Angela's very little free time, she enjoys DIY carriers and is aspiring to purchase a loom!
C.J. North is a Babywearing Institute Scholar who is also a certified elementary teacher. She stays home with her three kids; 6yo stepson, 2.5yo son, and 6mo daughter. C.J. has a love/hate relationship with cloth diapers and is crunchier than she ever thought she would be. She also manages the allergy and special needs of her family, while being overly addicted to research.