Thursday, February 3, 2011

On the Fly: Little Elephant Baby Carrier

Throughout most of January I was swamped with work and had very little time to do much of anything else.  Perhaps you noticed my very infrequent posting from last month?

One thing I did manage to squeeze into the small cracks of time I had was to whip out this little dolly baby carrier for Little Miss.  A few weeks ago she told me that she really needed a backpack for her baby.  [It's been awhile since we have, but both LM and Kee-ku have been worn in a variety of baby carriers over the years.  The two that I used the most frequently with Kee-ku (hence the ones LM was thinking of) were a Beco Baby Carrier and a beautiful rainbow Octi Mei Tai (I think it's an Octi . . . it's got wrap-like straps) that was made out different baby wrap scraps.  Is that confusing?]

Anyway, she got it stuck in her mind that she needed something to this effect for her own baby (which incidentally was MY baby when I was her age) and kept bringing it up to me.  Knowing this could be made fairly quickly and painlessly (especially because a dolly baby carrier doesn't need to be load-bearing, etc), I set out to make her one.  We worked on it together over the period of a few of Kee-Ku's naptimes.  He is a very brief napper, so if you have a baby that takes normal naps (like more than 20 minutes at a time) you could easily get it done in one sitting.

Can you tell someone has been watching "Heidi" a lot lately?

I didn't make up a tutorial for it, but it's terribly easy.  Here's the Reader's Digest version of the steps.  If there is any interest at all in a picture tutorial, I'll see what I can do for you.  :)
  1. Measure the baby in question.  If you think it will be used for a variety of different sized dolls, take the measurement of the biggest one.  I totally eyeballed this by just laying the baby on a piece of fabric and cutting a rectangle out around her. 
  2. Cut out a piece of fabric the same size as your first rectangle for the lining.
  3. Cut 4 pieces of fabric for the straps.  I don't have the thing in front of me at the moment, but if you've ever tied a mei tai before just pull it around your little person and see if it's long enough to tie in a bow.  Works for me.
  4. My straps ended up being terribly skinny because I was using a scrap piece of fabric that LM picked out and so I just worked with what I had.  Since her doll is not heavy this is not a problem.  I think the straps were probably 3 or 4 inches wide when I cut them and ended up being about 2 inches when they were done.  Since I didn't want to monkey with turning such skinny straps inside out, I just ironed the edges under, folded it in half, and sewed down one side.  If they had ended up larger, I probably would have topstitched them down on the other side too, but I wasn't going for perfection here and it was hardly necessary.  I turned one end tip down 2 times and sewed it down so as not to leave a raw edge.
  5. After I did this with all my straps, I made a little mei tai sandwich placing the outer fabric face up, then the lining face down on top of that, and then putting the raw edge of each strap in the four corners pointing inwards.
  6. Sew around the whole rectangle making sure you don't sew the straps down in the wrong spots (as in, watch what you're doing because those strap pieces are long and can easily get in your way) and leaving an opening at least 3 or 4 inches open at the bottom for turning.
  7. Turn it inside out.
  8. Iron the opening down and topstitch the whole way around.
  9. Tie it on your little person and watch them squeal with glee.  :)
Anyone out there reading a babywearer?  


Kathy February 4, 2011 at 9:21 PM  

What a cute idea for LM (and I LOVE her braids). Now she'll be happy until she thinks of another project you "both" can do. What a lucky little girl she is.

Also like your Valentine border by the door -- looks perfect!

Sammy February 6, 2011 at 3:39 PM  

What I really love about all this is the fact that LM is wearing a rainbow shirt and rainbow barette.

Oh, and the project is pretty cute too! See, you are sewing in the winter-time.

Two Shades of Pink February 11, 2011 at 8:34 AM  

I just got caught up in your blog but I had to comment here on this adorable baby carrier! How cute! And I love your Valentine...banner? Garland? What did you call it? Either way...I am in love with it! And your Heidi comment made me laugh! I have missed you girl! You still swamped with work?

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