Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mei Tai type baby carrier tutorial

A friend gave me her Mei Tai that she had made to get an idea of how to make my own. I am writing this down for future reference. I make no guarantees etc. but you may make your own using this tutorial if you would like.

I have made this very picture heavy. You can go here: Google Doc for the text only version.

you can click on any picture to make it larger

Fabric requirements:

I always buy much more than needed just in case.

2 fat quarters
1 yard for binding (22-24 inches)

2 yards for straps (I like to make them reversible so 1 yard of each) (30 inches each)

scrap batting

Preparing the fabric:

Body Panel: Take both fat quarters and lay them together (back to back or front to front) and cut to 22x16 inches

Cut off a triangle on each top side of the body panels. as picture shows.

I used the guides on my cutting mat making it 4 squares by 4 squares above the line.


Straps: cut 12 strips Width of Fabric (wof) of 5 inches each. (6 of each colour)

Sew into 2 strips together to make long straps. do this 6 times.

3 strips ready to go

Cut off 22 inches off of four of the straps. this will be the shoulder straps.
((humm- now that i think of it you could use one strip cut in half instead of 2 strips and cutting off 22inches....))

****if making for a plus sized person or a large man DO NOT cut off the 22 inches****


Batting: Cut 2 section of batting to 5x22 for straps

(I used double thickness for more cushion)

cut one section 5x16 for waist panel
he loves to help

(not shown)

Making the Straps:

1. Place one shorter strip face down, place 22 inch batting apx 6 inches from the end and place another piece of shorter fabric face up.

2. baste the strap where the batting is. 

3. sew straight lines down the length of the straps

recruit help when you can

4. repeat for second strap

5. for waist strap (the uncut strips) find middle of fabric and 16 inch batting. 

6. lining up the middle points sandwich the fabric and batting. 

7. Pin baste. I would pin baste up the the starting poing of sewing just to keep the fabric from getting puckers. 

 8. Trim

Making the Binding:

1. I cut my binding for this at 2 inches because there isnt much batting to hold in.

2. measure the total distance of binding you will need and cut and make one long strip to match that number plus some inches. In my case I needed 11 strips.

3. Press seams open
4. press in half

5. now take the raw edges and fold both to the middle fold.

6. press as you go

Binding the straps:

 1. for shoulder straps start binding apx. 4 inches from the end that the batting is on (dont need to place on whole thing due to it being hidden later)

2. secure end and sew binding on.

3. when you get to a corner:
stop sewing 3 or 4 inches from corner
Pinch binding right at edge of fabric

spread the binding open to make a right turn around the corner causing 45 degree mitered corner

this is with one side mitered and the other side open. 


I always add a couple extra stitches to secure corner
when you get to the end of the other side stop 3-4 inches from end and secure binding. Trim excess. 

4. follow the above for the waist strap but start in the middle.

5. bind the whole strap

6. When you come to the end:
Ensure you have a couple inch overlap

fold over the end

sew binding down and secure

Assembling the Carrier

once your shoulder straps are done....


1. lay your fabric 1 face up

2. lay your straps onto the fabric with 3 inch "tails (what will be on the inside of the back support) sticking out.
I used the batting as a guide to ensure it was straight across

3. Lay fabric 2 facedown onto the other stack and pin the 3 sides

4. do not sew the seam on the bottom where your waist strap needs to go. OR on the sides.

i used the arm strap to judge how much space I would need.

5. start sewing apx 6 inches from bottom and sew all around until 6 inches from bottom on other side.

6. flip right side out

7. push the seams out and press them flat.

8. while you are ironing fold over fabric and press for the side and bottom seams for easier sewing later

adding waist:

1. fold waist strap in half

2. measure the back panel to find the middle

3. match up the middles and insert into the back panel where you left the 4 inches open on each side.

4. Pin

5. sew from opening on side down, across, and up again to the other opening (securing ends)

6. Quilt the waist strap to secure it better.

Finishing up: 

Top stitch around the carrier to make it pretty and stronger.

On the straps that are inside the carrier you will need to secure them a bit more.
I like to sew a spiral square

 I used the same top stitch to make it prettier :)


I always give this link out as how to wear the carrier as mine is simular to this: also blogged about my first Mei Tai in February 

and I found this for my friends newborn and she LOVED it:

whoops- i  needed to tie around the butt more- not cut off the legs...

With my 25+ lb 1 year old 

With my 40+ lb 3 year old


Kim@Snug Harbor said...

That is very cute and your models are adorable!

Linette said...

Now that is cool and it looked like a lot of hard work as well.
I know what that is but, never knew what they were called and still find it hard to pronounce. lol

Awww big hugs! ♥

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