While there are various types of baby carriers available on the market, you might be interested in creating your own handmade babywearing stuff. Making a DIY baby carrier is quite simple and does not require much sewing skills.
In this article, I share a rundown of considerations, guidelines, tutorials, and patterns collected from various sources.
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Benefits of Making Your Own Handmade Baby Carrier
Making your own handmade baby carrier can provide a variety of benefits for you and your little one.
- Creating a handmade baby carrier allows you to customize it to fit your specific needs and preferences. You can choose the type of fabric, pattern, and design that best suits your style and functionality. This level of personalization can make the baby carrier more comfortable for both you and your baby, as it can be tailored to your body shape and size.
- Making your own baby carrier can also be a more cost-effective option compared to buying one from a store. You can often purchase the materials needed at a fraction of the cost of a pre-made carrier, and you have the added satisfaction of creating something with your own hands.
- Homemade baby carriers also allow for greater flexibility and versatility in terms of carrying positions and features, as you can customize it to include pockets, head support, or additional padding.
- Finally, making your own baby carrier can be a fun and rewarding project that allows you to exercise your creativity and sewing skills while providing a safe and cozy way to babywear your little human.
DIY Baby Carrier: General Rules
If you want to DIY a carrier, there are a few important things to keep in mind to ensure safety and comfort:
- Always select appropriate materials. While you can find good deals on the right type of materials, you may need to spend a bit extra to make sure you are making a carrier that can safely and comfortably support your precious cargo.
- Be mindful of construction. While carriers don’t require particularly advanced sewing skills (if you can sew a reasonably straight line, you can probably make a serviceable carrier), you do need to use the right sort of seams and such. It’s always a good idea to check out a number of proven tutorials, even if you are a seamstress, to understand how a carrier is put together before attempting to make your own.
- If you enjoy making carriers and are tempted to sell to others, do your research first. The WAHM (work-at-home mom) carrier market is not what it was like 10 years ago. Things are now regulated, which is good as it ensures safe carriers on the market (it’s worth noting that many carrier sellers on Etsy are in violation of current industry standards). If you do wish to sell carriers, you should purchase liability insurance and join the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance.
Stretchy Wrap Best Materials
The most popular and widely recommended material for stretchy baby wraps (preferable for newborns) is a high-quality, stretchy knit fabric. Look for a fabric with a good amount of stretch that will comfortably support your baby’s weight without sagging or losing its shape.
Fabrics like jersey knit, cotton-lycra blends, or bamboo/spandex blends are all great options for creating a snug and secure, stretchy baby wrap.
Opt for a fabric that is breathable and lightweight to ensure that both you and your baby stay cool and comfortable.
Woven Wrap Best Materials
Look for a soft, breathable fabric that provides good support for your baby’s weight. Popular choices include 100% cotton, linen, or a cotton/linen blend. These materials are strong and durable while still remaining comfortable against your skin and your baby’s sensitive skin.
Additionally, the fabric should have a slight stretch due to its structure and allow for easy adjustment while wearing.
Avoid fabrics with rough textures or excessive stiffness, as they can cause discomfort for both you and your baby.
Finally, choose a fabric with a pattern or design that you love, as you will be wearing it often and want it to be both functional and stylish.
How Do You Make Baby Carriers?
Making baby carriers involves several steps.
The process typically starts with selecting the appropriate fabric, which needs to be strong enough to support the baby’s weight but also soft and breathable.
Once the fabric is chosen, it is cut into the appropriate pattern pieces and sewn together to create the main body of the carrier. Different types of carriers, such as wraps, slings, or structured carriers, may require different construction techniques.
The carrier also needs to have sturdy and adjustable straps to ensure a secure and comfortable fit for the wearer.
Some carriers also have additional features like hoods or pockets for added convenience or padding in some areas. It all depends on which type of carrier you are making. We’ll review popular types of carriers further.
Finally, the finished carrier must undergo thorough quality control checks to ensure that all stitching and components are secure and safe for use.
#1 How To Make A Ring Sling DIY
Always use SlingRing rings or lab-tested sling rings like Cutie Carry or TOPIND; never use craft rings, as they are not designed to support a child’s weight. Utility rings will be too heavy and difficult to adjust (although technically, they are safe if they have a high weight rating). Always use a high-quality thread (like Gutermann).
Slings should be made from a thinner, bottom-weight fabric. Medium-weight linen is a great, easy-to-find choice. More information on selecting sling fabric is here from the talented Jan at SBP.
Slings should be around 30 inches wide (although a bit narrower is fine for a newborn, and you can certainly go wider). Length is largely a matter of personal preference and size. Check out great sizing info here.
✂️ I would recommend following the ring sling DIY tutorial from SeeKateSew. ✂️ There's one more excellent tutorial on ring sling sewing from Tori. ✂️ If you have the ambition to make something really unique and craft a thing with a story, I'm happy to share this naturally dyed linen ring sling tutorial by Rachel from Abeautifulmess.com.
#2 How To Make A Quick No-Sew Baby Carrier
For new moms and crafty mood moms-to-be, who never sewed or just don’t have sewing skills yet, there’s a great DIY baby carrier solution – quick no-sew baby wrap.
To make one you need just scissors, measuring tape, and stretchy fabric.
✂️ Check this no-sew baby carrier tutorial from TheTattooedMomma.
#3 How To Make A Woven Wrap DIY
Wraps are generally about 27-30 inches wide (don’t forget seam allowances when cutting); a size 6 wrap is 4.6 meters long (that’s the size an average-sized mama would likely start with). Length is dependent on your size, and the carries you’d like to do. Most wraps are tapered on the ends, but it’s fine to leave them blunt as well.
It’s best to use one long length for a wrap as opposed to piecing together shorter pieces. Wraps should be made from a single layer of material.
For hot weather, cotton gauze is a nice choice; you can simply zig-zag or serge the raw edges.
If you want to DIY a woven wrap, osnaburg is an easy-to-find option. Many people have luck with 100% cotton tablecloths as shorties.
In general woven wrap fabric should not have a wrong side, should have a bit of give on the bias (diagonal), and shouldn’t be slippery or stretchy.
Most wraps are 100% cotton, but you might also find a suitable linen or hemp blend.
A 6-8oz fabric is generally a good place to start. It is also helpful to check out a commercial woven wrap so you have some sense of what wrap fabric should feel like.
✂️ A great woven wrap DIY tutorial is composed by Lisa from FarmHouseonBoone.com. ✂️ Another nice tutorial on handmade woven wrap comes from the Crafty Homeschool Mom blog.
#4 How To Make A Stretchy Wrap DIY / Moby Style Baby Wrap
For a small baby, cotton jersey knit makes a nice stretchy wrap; usually, you don’t need to hem jersey knit unless you want to.
✂️ Penny Pinchin' Mom shared a guide on Moby copycat wrap here. ✂️ There's also a nice tutorial from mom Marissa about DIY Moby style baby carrier.
#5 How To Make A No-Sew K’Tan
Did you know you can make a baby carrier from three t-shirts?
Now you know! 🙂 See the video for the full tutorial on a no-sew K’Tan-like DIY baby wrap carrier.
#6 How To Make Meh Dais & Structured Carriers
Common fabric choices for meh dais and structured (buckle) carriers include cotton duck and canvas or similar materials (around a 9 oz weight); woven wraps are also an option.
Quilter’s cotton and similar fabrics are fine as accent fabrics but should never be the weight-bearing or strap material.
Most meh dais and buckle carriers are made from at least two layers of material in the body (depending on what material you use and the construction method).
Always use a high-quality thread like Gutermann.
If you want padded, fleece or cotton batting are good choices.
Strapworks is a good source for buckles and webbing for a structured carrier.
Always xbox or bartack straps to the body. Shoulder straps should be made from a continuous piece of material.
✂️ One of the best meh dais DIY tutorials I've found on FarmHouseonBoone.com. ✂️ And here's another detailed article on handmade DIY mei tai carrier by mom Brooke.
My Favorite DIY Baby Carrier Printable Tutorials & Exclusive Patterns
⭐ Adjustable Meh Dai Pattern & PDF from SewToot
⭐ Adorable baby wearing accessories & DIY patterns from TheFabricNinja
⭐ Onbuhimo Toddler Carrier Sewing Pattern from BabyBondaProductions
DIY Baby Carrier Safety
When it comes to DIY baby carrier safety, there are a few important factors to keep in mind.
First and foremost, it’s crucial to ensure that the carrier is sturdy and secure, with strong straps and buckles that will hold your baby safely in place.
It’s important to follow any specific instructions or guidelines for the particular type of carrier you’re using, whether it’s a wrap, sling, or structured carrier.
Make sure to test the carrier with a doll or stuffed animal before using it with your baby, and always keep one hand supporting your baby while they’re in the carrier, especially when bending over or moving quickly.
Check regularly for any signs of wear or damage, and never use a carrier that is worn or frayed.
Finally, always follow the weight and age guidelines for the carrier, and never carry your baby in a position that is unsafe or uncomfortable for them.
How to Use Your DIY Baby Wrap
Using a DIY baby wrap can provide a comfortable and convenient way to carry your baby while keeping your hands free. After you check that the carrier you made is safe, you can use it like any other commercial carrier.
I’ve written a guide on how to use a baby wrap. Feel free to check it out.
The great thing about experimenting with DIY-ing carriers is that you can tweak existing designs to get something that’s just right for you. For example, use elements of meh dai and soft structured carrier that you love and pattern your own creation.
That’s what mom Meredith exactly did:
Really all you need to make a great carrier is the ability to sew an (almost) straight line and knowledge of the right materials and construction techniques.
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Mom of 3-year-old superhero Michael and 7-year-old princess Stasia. 👩👧👦
Passionate about research and getting to the core, enjoying processing information & always hungry for more. 📖
Learning & sharing how to be a better mom. Join me, and let’s grow together! 🌼