My project this week was a Mei Tai. I needed a baby carrier that wasn't going to be as hot as the Moby wrap I have. I love the Moby wrap I have, but it's like strapping an oven to me! I'm going to baseball games this week and to Target Field in two weeks to see the Twins play and a hot carrier really wasn't an option. I asked around and everyone says a Mei Tai is the way to go.
I used several tutorials to create my Mei Tai. I would create my own tutorial, but to be honest, it's been done a 100 times and there are some fantastic resources already out there.
So, I'm posting about what modifications I made to the various tutorials. I used Kimber's Ball Baby Overall Mei Tai pattern for the most part. I then took some advice from various other tutorials to make my modifications. After all is said and done, I would recommend this tutorial from Still Learning Life. It seems to have all the modifications I ended up making in the end. (I of course found this after I did mine...I plan on using it for my next one)
The front of my Mei Tai
Reverse side of my Mei Tai
First, I used this tutorial for the cut pattern. I used a heavy duty canvas for the carrier. This is important because you don't want the fabric to rip while you have your baby in it. However, I used such a heavy duty canvas that I ended up breaking my sewing machine! So, if I make another it will definitely be with a bit lighter weight canvas. Also, since I used such a heavy weight canvas fabric, I'm going to have issues tying the fabric. Therefore, I'm going to install buckles instead. (I plan on picking those up here in the next few days)
The total cost of my Mei Tai = 0$ !
I used fabric I already had sitting around the house (hense the overly heavy weight canvas..it was what I had!). However, you only use about 2 yards of fabric, so you are spending about 16$ to 20$ if you get nice heavy fabric. The entire project took me two evenings (and that is with a baby needing to eat every 2 hours!)
I did make one change to this tutorial's cutting suggestions. I did a slight curve to the top of the body.
I used this tutorial for the suggestion on the top straps. I added polar fleece to the top straps for a bit of cushion. (I had batting, but not enough..either would work). I did sew the straps right side-to-right side and then turned the straps through the opening as suggested in the first tutorial. I added a stitch down the portion of the strap with the padding to avoid shifting as suggested in this tutorial.
I made my Mei Tai reversable so each body piece had different cotton fabric added. This is one body with it's added fabric.
Here is my strap with it's added cushion.
After cutting the fabric, sewing the top and bottom straps, sewing the fun cotton fabric onto the canvas body pieces, I had to make some decisions on how to do the body. Some tutorials have you sewing the two body pieces right side-to-right side and leaving a little opening and turning the entire body (including straps) through a hole in the bottom. That would definately give you a nice finished look. However, I don't know how you wouldn't sew the straps to the body (they are so long and thick!). So, I decided to follow some tutorial's advice (can't remember which one) and mark where your straps would be, then sew right side-to-right side except where you will be adding the straps, then turn the entire body through a strap opening. I then slipped the straps in their respective openings to attach them.
So, you have your body turned, straps slipped into their holes, you now just need to attach the straps. You must do a X-square over the straps to make them strong (this is the part that broke my sewing machine!)...take it easy if you have lots of fabric layers! I triple stitched my straps to make sure they are secure. Then I top stitched the entire thing. Now, I think I'm going to add buckles to the straps.
Whew...that was lots of text with not so many pictures! It sounds complicated, but with a good tutorial with pictures it's not hard at all.
Now, I plan on doing this project again but I'm going to use this tutorial so I get a little bit different carrier. I then can see which design I like the most. I think this tutorial is my favorite out of the bunch, but isn't the traditional design and I wanted to try the traditional design first.