* I just started a flickr group for any projects made using my tutorials. Please feel free to stop by and post your finished or WIP!
So with the baby coming really soon, I have whipped out a few baby carriers to try. I have a pouch sling, mei tai and a podaegi. I love the idea of carrying your baby, and not having to haul that enormous and awkward car seat around if I don’t want to! :) There is even a site dedicated to babywearing.
I had read that pouches and podaegi’s or pods are really great for little babies. I lent my pod to a friend and she came by today and told me that she is really liking it for the stage her baby is in right now. I am so excited to try it soon with my own baby!
When I made my pod, I wrote up directions on how I did it. I am going to share them here on my blog.
Please note that you must take extreme caution when making baby carriers with safety being the number one priority. For straps and other weight bearing fabrics (like the body of a mei tai) you MUST use a bottomweight fabric that weighs at least 8 oz. with an internal layer as well. I like to use denim or canvas or duck. You must triple stitch all your weight bearing seams and sew x-box’s on your straps. By triple stitch I mean go over it 3 times or I have a stitch on my machine that goes forward,backward, forward which makes a sturdy triple stitch.
When you use a carrier you must check for loose or broken stitches and check for any damage that could be dangerous. I cannot stress this enough.
For a podaegi, you don’t need a bottomweight fabric for the blanket portion since you will not be supporting the weight of the child with it, that will be done with the straps.
There is a learning curve to using any baby carrier. Please use caution and if possible have someone help you get the baby into and out of the carrier at first. There are lots of videos on youtube on how to use several different carriers. Make sure and do your research.
Ok, on with the tutorial!
*Please note that I have found a better source for padding since making this carrier. I have found that high density foam in 1/2″ width is perfect for carriers and a lot easier to deal with than fleece. I buy mine at Joann fabrics but even a camping mat will work.
1. Establish how wide you want your body to be and then you will adjust it according to that. Here were my measurements for the angled straps. This drawing doesn’t include the seam allowances. So for the straps you will add 1/2″ seam allowance and the body will need 1″ seam allowance.
So if you don’t want it quite that wide then subtract what size you want from my bottom measurement and then subtract that amount from the rest of the measurements and it will work out.
2. You will cut your straps and your headrest pieces. I usually cut my straps longer because I like having more tying options. I make mine about 82″x4.5-5″ finished. You can certainly shorten them if that is too long for you. Don’t shorten until you have tried them first, you can always cut off but can’t add it back on ;)
3. For your straps, cut them 1″ bigger than your allowance and use 1/2″ seam. You will fold them in half, iron and then sew. You can angle them at the ends if you wish (opposite end from padding). If you want padding then you cut approx. 20″ of it and sew it on when you are sewing your straps together. You want to leave 3″-4″ unpadded at the end of the straps to go into the headrest. You need at least that much to safely attach the straps into the headrest. I use this sewing spray adhesive by sulky but you could baste them on to the straps about 3″ from one end. That end is where the straps will enter the body of the carrier. So once you sew the straps together right sides together with the padding added to the outside (wrong side) then I use my broom handle and turn it right side out. I use a chopstick to push out the corners.
4. Press the straps and make sure the padding is laying down flat. top stitch the straps. Sew the padding in place using rows of stitches. I go horizontal catching a bit on both ends of padding and then I go in the middle vertically and then half it again and sew down the middle of the two sections so I have 4 rows.
5. Fold and iron a 1/2″ along the bottom of the headrest pieces so the raw edges will be tucked up inside of the headrest.
6. You will lay one of your headrest pieces down right side up and layer your straps in and then lay the top layer of the headrest wrong side up on top and pin into place.
7. If you are going to pad the headrest, baste or adhere the padding on top of the top layer on the wrong side so you are looking right at the padding. Cut the padding so it ends right at the part where you folded 1/2″ so you won’t see it from the outside. You can place it right up to the edge on the top and sew it right in. You can also use high density foam for padding and then add it after you have sewn it together or before, it won’t make much of a difference.
8. Use a 1″ seam to sew around the headrest (not the bottom). I triple stitch where the straps are so they are reinforced right from the start
9. Flip right side out and iron.
10. Now your blanket. You want your blanket to be the same width as your headrest.
So cut your blanket 1″ wider than the headrest to allow for seam allowance of 1/2″ on each side. I added a 4″ of scrap fabric to the top of the blanket where it will go into the carrier so it won’t cover your pretty fabric. If you are doing strips, sew them together using 1/4″ seams and press. I ironed on some lightweight interfacing to the back so it would be nice and sturdy.
11. Lay your blanket back (I used no whale cord) and the top (right sides together) and pin. I got a small salad plate and on the bottom of the blanket traced the curved edges on each side but DON’T cut the curves out.
* you can use minky or chenille or pretty much anything for the reverse side.
12. Sew around sides and bottom of blanket using 1/2″ seam including going around the curves at 1/2″ allowance. Trim off excess around the curves leaving 1/2″. Clip notches into the curves and flip right side out and press. Top stitch your blanket. I used a triple stich 1/2″ into the carrier.
13. Place your blanket into the carrier covering the scrap fabric as your guide and pin into place. Make sure that you catch all layers with your pins and make sure the bottom headrest edges match.
14. Use a triple stitch if you have it, or you can sew over it 3 times. Using between 1/8″-1/4″ allowance sew all the way around the whole head rest. As you are sewing the bottom, make sure you are catching both layers of the headrest in your seam.
15. Once done with that, sew some xboxes where the straps are using a triple stitch or go over it three times.
and that is it! It is pretty easy. I put my 5 year old in it and it was pretty comfy still! For a child that big I would really recommend a mei tai though to help distribute the weight a little more onto your hips. You can see some other carriers I have made in my flickr stream. I highly recommend checking out The Baby Wearer website, it is a wealth of knowledge!
**PLEASE note that with a baby who cannot hold their own heads up you will need to support their bodies with the straps, meaning wrapping around their bodies and also under their legs and bum. So you will need longer straps to be able to go around a few times and still have enough to tie it off securely. Please comment with ANY questions and I will do my best to help you out :)