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Friday, July 13, 2007

Easy as ABC: Asian-style Baby Carrier or Mei Tai

Baby-wearing is easy, convenient and brings you and your baby closer together. A simple mei-tai, or Asian-style baby carrier is easy to use and leaves your hands free while your baby enjoys the closeness of being carried.

Asian-style baby carriers (ABC) are remarkably easy to sew, though they are a bit labor-intensive. They also offer some marked benefits over Snugli- and Baby Bjorn-style carriers which are not ergonomic for either mom or baby. There is no crotch strap in an ABC like there is in Snuglis, Baby Bjorns and other commercially available baby carriers. Crotch straps are thought to contribute to spinal stress in babies. Newborns can be placed in a "frog" position within the carrier which will not contribute to spinal stress, and the bottom of the mei tai will provide a seat for older children who can wrap their legs around the wearer.

Materials Needed:
  • 2 Yards of Cotton Canvas, Duck or Denim (You may need more if you have a large waist size)
  • 1/2 Yard of Any Complementary Cotton Fabric
  • 1 Spool of Matching Thread
  • A Short Scrap of Complementary Ribbon or Trim (Optional for Pocket)

Tools Needed:
  • Sewing Shears
  • Yardstick
  • Sewing Machine
  • Sewing Machine Needles
  • Chalk Fabric Pencil
  • Iron
  • 4 Large Rubber Bands

General Construction Outline
1. Lay up and cut out your pattern using the layout guide.
2. Draft and cut a well rounded curve on the top of the Mei Tai's body.
3. Construct straps.
4. Construct optional pocket and apply it to the complementary print fabric.
5. Sew the straps to the solid fabric.
6. Sew the front and back of the Mei Tai right sides together, but DO NOT sew over straps.
7. Notch the curve on the top of the Mei Tai.
8. Turn the piece out.
9. Straighten straps and topstitch, closing the bottom of the Mei Tai and the strap spaces.
10. Wear your baby!

The full How-to at Instructables

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