I’ve been browsing the internet for the last few months trying to decide how to lug the baby around after he’s born. I knew that I wanted a carrier of some kind, but I wasn’t sure what kind would be best. I found ring slings, pouch slings, mei tai carriers, wraps, baby bjorns…there is a truly overwhelming variety available for the mom-to-be. Etsy is another treasure trove. Being myself, of course, I wasn’t content to actually purchase a baby carrier, unless I decided to go the bjorn-style route.
This website has instructions for nearly every kind of do-it-yourself carrier, but I still wasn’t satisfied. My specifications were fairly exacting–I wanted something simple, without complicated straps, buckles, or long, involved winding. It had to be machine washable, so no big metal rings to clang around the washing machine, and no fine silks. It had to be man-friendly, so that Tim would be happy to wear it. Finally, it had to be reasonably ergonomic and comfortable to wear. I’d seen one carrier in particular that appealed to me, but I couldn’t find a pattern or tutorial anywhere. I decided it was up to me to reverse-engineer the design. So here we have the great X-back baby carrier tutorial.
This carrier is constructed from four pieces–two large loops attached with a small connector, and one detached wrap that is only used for some carrying positions.
2.25 yards 56″ 100% cotton jersey knit
Measuring tape or ruler
1. Wash and dry your fabric to preshrink it.
2. Measure yourself from one shoulder to the opposite hip. If you’re pregnant like me, try to avoid the bump, since this is for after the baby is born. Multiply this measurement by 2, since it will be going around you like a loop, and subtract 5-10% to compensate for the stretch of the knitted fabric. You will be sewing this measurement into a loop, and you want the lowest point of the loop to fall somewhat above your navel. Thankfully, my husband and I aren’t that different in size, but if that were the case, we’d need two different carriers with different measurements. My final number was 52″.
3. Cut your fabric to your measurement lengthwise, then cut it in thirds widthwise.
I ended up with three rectangles measuring 52″ x 18″. Set two of the rectangles aside, and cut 4″ off the end of the third. This will become the connector for the back of the carrier. The remainder of this rectangle will become the detached wrap. Trim the small piece to measure 4″ x 8″.
4. All of the weight-bearing seams in this carrier are overlapped and sewn with three rows of zig-zag. For the connector, overlap the two ends, sew the triple seam, then fold the edges over and zig-zag over the raw edge. You will have a piece that looks like this:
5. Take the two long pieces of fabric and thread them through the connector, then repeat the procedure of seaming and hemming, creating two independent loops that are joined by the connector. You’ll have to pull the fabric loops through the connector as you hem them. Here’s a close-up of the connector, seam, and hem on one of the big loops:
And that’s it! I’ll put a post up after the baby is born, showing it in use, but it’s fairly simple. It can be worn as an X to cradle the baby in the front, both loops can be put over one shoulder for a sling-style carry, or an older baby can be carried in chest-to-chest, outward-facing, or hip-slung positions. The wrap is used anytime the baby isn’t completely secured by the two attached loops. This website has instructions for wearing the similarly-styled carrier that was my inspiration for this one.