You will need a table cloth here is the one used in this tutorial! Or you can just get fabric from your local fabric store. To figure out how much fabric you will need breakdown all the pieces and do the math. Here is my breakdown.
Body - about 20in by about 15-20in (need 3 pieces, two pretty ones and one heavy duty twill)
Shoulder Straps - 80in long by 15in wide
Waist Straps - 40in long by 15 wide.
Hood - 10in by 10-15in (I like a longer hood because I use the hood cords to scrunch it up and look pretty when not in use
The 84in by 60in table cloth is usually more than enough. If you are feeling ambitious you can always make some coordinating suck pads or a small bag to put on the waist strap. Or, extra brownie points for making a mini MT for your toddler to match you! If you are going to use a table cloth get 100% cotton... avoid all polyester! Its just too slippery and it wont be supportive or safe. If you are buying just fabric if it is 55-60in on the bolt you will need about 2.5 yards. Linen would make a great MT. If you have some really cute but not so sturdy fabric (like quilters cotton, there are always cute prints here but it is terrible for babywearing!) you want for the body that if ok too, just be sure that your straps and center panel are of good quality and medium-heavy weight.
I like to cut out and hem my straps first because this takes the longest and I like for it to be over as soon as possible. Pretty simple step. Keep in mind that about 4in of your straps will be inside the body of the MT so if you want 80in long straps, cut them 84in long. Same with the waist, add 4in to account for the straps being sewn to the body. You can make your straps as wide or thin (within reason... I'd say no less than 5in and no more than 20in) as you like. Keep in mind generally the wider the strap, the more evenly you can distribute the weight of your child. I like 15in. When I am using the 84in by 60in table cloths I like to cut out three 15in wide 84in (the full length of the table cloth) strips. I cut one of those three strips in half and use that for the waist straps. After all your straps are cut out do a simple rolled hem all around. You can press this if you are a sloppy seamstress or you can just roll as you go. I roll as I sew. I use my finger as my gauge. I fold the fabric once about to my first knuckle, then I fold that over one more time to completely seal in that unfinished edge (see the post on making a woven baby wrap)
|after all your straps are hemmed, pleat them or gather them however you like, press, and pin or tape them to have them ready to sew to the body|
There are many different options and designs you can go with for the body. Only you will know what kind of design and shape is right for you and your baby. I suggest using newspaper to make a "pattern" for your body pieces. Cut out a couple and see what you like best. The one in this tutorial is a curved body with a wider base, skinny middle, wide shoulder. This can make your mei tai last through infanthood to toddlerhood because you can roll the waist to make it shorter and also have the bottom of the body less wide or, leave it unrolled body is tall and wide where you need it. I use my own babies to measure to help make my pattern. You can do this by holding baby on you in the position that they will be sitting in the carrier. You can also wrap them on you and measure that way. Measure from one knee to middle of the butt-middle of the butt to other knee. Then measure from under their butt up to their neck. Keeping in mind for the height in this pattern you will want to add 4-5inches for the waist strap.
|I like to draw/put notes all over my newspaper pattern so I remember what I am doing or if I have any extras I plan to add.|
|fold your fabric and your pattern in half and cut, keeping in mind you can always cut something smaller but can't go the other way so cut big just in case!|
|You should have 3 pieces for your body, 2 pretty ones and one heavy duty canvas/twill. You can/should shorten your canvas/twill at the shoulder and waist openings so at the end you won't have a hard time folding in the pretty panels to |
When the time comes to put everything together it really takes no time at all! Pin your shoulder straps and waist straps in their respectable positions on the canvas body piece and get going! You are going to stitch an "x box" and go over each line of said "x box" four (yes, really FOUR) times. For each strap.
|sew only the sides and top and bottom!|
|after you have everything turned right side out, fold the edges around the straps inside the body and press then pin.|
|take your time getting this part tucked in, line every thing up nice and evenly so that your top stitch comes out nice and straight and pretty.|
|Say hello to my big girl... where has the time gone? I am about a medium/size 8 and with the 80in shoulder straps I am able to tie this Tibetan style.|
|Here's new baby in a different table cloth mei tai. If you weren't familiar with these, they work on your front or back.|
Here is also a couple break downs of how and where to cut your fabric for both a table cloth and a size 6 wrap.
Happy Crafting everyone!