X-Back Baby Carrier Tutorial

Baby Carrier 008I’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
Matching Thread
Measuring tape or ruler

Step-by-Step Directions

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.
Baby Carrier 005I 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:
Baby Carrier 0025. 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:

Baby Carrier 011

In the end, you’ll have an assembly that looks like this:
Baby Carrier 0106. Trim the remaining large piece of fabric into a long tie with tapered ends:

Baby Carrier 007Hem the edges:

Baby Carrier 019And 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.

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14 Responses to X-Back Baby Carrier Tutorial

  1. Lauren says:


    Do you think this type of carrier would work with a woven, non-stretch material. I bought some cotton gauze that I was thinking about using since it is so lightweight and breathable. Let me know what you think!


  2. Christina says:

    I think that company has made other bloggers remove their tutorials. I’m glad you were wise enough not to use their name because I want to make one and your explanation was very straightforward. Thank you! It was worth the extra searching time.

  3. Lisa says:

    Love the tutorial! I’ve been looking for a k’tan tutorial and have only found a few. I’m wondering how it worked for you? I made a Moby and love it but it’s an awful lot of fabric anf I’ve only used it 3 or so times since my son was born 8 weeks ago. I have enough knit left to make this and am consideringit, just looking for your personal review on it :)

  4. mauriah says:

    I’m wondering how this ended up working for you? I feel similarly about the slings and carrier tutorials on the internet. Also being petite I like that you show the custom sizing. I want to make this, but want to hear from you first!

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  8. Melissa H says:

    I just made this and it was so easy! I grabbed some spare knit from my stash and whipped it together in just a few minutes, and it turned out great! I have an Ergo (which I love), but it is pretty warm for the Arizona summers, so this will be a great light weight alternative for my 4 week old. She right asleep the moment I put her in it, so I assume she likes it!

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  10. Trish says:

    Can you make one of these using the fabric from a moby wrap? I have one that I can use, but do not want to cut it up if not. :)

  11. Marijn says:

    Am almost done making this sling and the tutorial is great! Thanks very much

  12. Katie says:

    I found this tutorial a couple days ago and I couldn’t wait to try it! I made mine today and it works perfectly! I only had one hiccup and that was with my measuring, lol! Your instructions were fabulous, thank you so much for posting this!! 😀

  13. Brittany P says:

    For the smaller mommas—know that you might need to cut the “detached wrap” rectangle a little longer than the loops. I just made this in preparation for my soon-to-be-here little one, and realized after I’d cut it all out, that the detached wrap is just barely long enough to wrap around and knot. It will work (and I have extra fabric that I could add extra length), but just an fyi!

    Thank you, Lorriane, for posting this tutorial! It was super simple and helpful!

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