When my daughter was an infant, I used a purchased stretchy wrap baby carrier exclusively. After she outgrew that wrap, we used a sling that was great, but lately I’ve felt the need to be able to carry her on my back, especially when she’s feeling clingy and I need both of my hands free to do something. Before purchasing a lovely but expensive woven wrap, I did a little research, and was delighted by how easy wrap carriers are to make! Use the following instructions to make your own wrap baby carrier.

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First, you’ll have to choose your fabric. I used a length of 60 inch wide woven fabric that is sort of like linen, which I was able to make two wraps out of. My mother, who can be seen in the above photo with my daughter, actually bought the fabric, intending to make a duvet, and never got around to it, so she was happy to allow me to make a carrier from it. Here are a few things to remember when choosing your wrap fabric:

Ideal Fabric Choices For Wraps

  • Knits make great wraps for younger babies, but don’t always support older babies, toddlers or preschoolers. Choose a knit that stretches a bit diagonally, but isn’t too thin or wimpy. After all, it will need to be strong enough to carry your child! In my opinion, fabrics that are about 97 percent cotton and 3 percent nylon or lycra make the best wraps.
  • Fleece isn’t the best choice for a wrap, in my opinion. It’s a tad slippery, and gets hot very quickly.
  • Many Woven Fabrics make great wraps, but they will need to be hemmed in to prevent them from unraveling. Choose a woven fabric that is soft and lightweight. When you hold it up to the light, you should be able to see the light through the weave. Also, weaves that are mostly or all cotton work best.

How Much Fabric?

Buy more fabric than you think you’ll need, because it may shrink in the wash. My wrap is six yards long, and I am able to wear my toddler on my back comfortably with that length. I am a size 10, so if you’re much bigger or smaller than I am, adjust your fabric length accordingly. Too long is better than too short; you can always cut your wrap down to size if need be.

If your fabric is 60 inches wide, you should have enough fabric to make two wraps! I feel that the best width for a wrap is about 28-30 inches. DO NOT think you can save money by cutting your fabric in half lengthwise and sewing it together to make one long wrap. This method creates a weak point in the center of your wrap, exactly where baby sits! Not a good idea!

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  • Now that you have chosen your fabric, you should have a large rectangle that is several yards long and 28-30 inches wide. Spread the wrap out on the floor, and fold it in half, lengthwise. You’ll end up with a rectangle that’s about 14-15 inches high.
  • For these purposes, we will call the folded edge the bottom and the unfolded edge the top. Measure one foot from the top corner of one end of your wrap. Use a marker to make a dot at this point. Now, using a yardstick, draw a line from the bottom corner to your dot (see above photo). Make sure that the line goes from the outside edge toward the unfolded side of the wrap, so you’ll be cutting off about a foot of the unfolded, doubled-up side, but none of the fold.

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  • Cut along your marked line. When you unfold the fabric, the end of your wrap should look like the photo above. Repeat the same procedure on the other end of the wrap. You will end up with a long length of fabric that is pointed on both sides. These points cut down the bulk on the wrap’s ends, allowing you to manipulate and tie your wrap more easily.
  • If you are using a knit fabric, finishing the edges isn’t necessary. You can leave the wrap the way it is, and it won’t unravel. If you prefer a finished edge, move on to the next step. If you are using a woven fabric, you must finish the edges of your wrap, so that it won’t unravel.

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  • If you’re lucky enough to own, or know someone who owns, a serger, you can finish your wrap’s ends very easily and quickly. Just serge all the way around the wrap, and you’re done! Your wrap ends will look like the photo above.
  • If you don’t own a serger,  you can still finish your wrap’s edges easily, though it will take just a bit more time than it would with a serger. Make a simple hem by folding the edge of your wrap up 1/4 inch all the way around. Press with an iron, then fold 1/4 inch more. Use a sewing machine to sew the folds in place.
  • You’re done! Now you have a wrap that you can make many baby- or toddler wearing memories with!
  • If you’d like to make your carrier really customized and special, consider placing a painting or stencil in the exact center of the wrap. Below is a guitar stencil I added to my musician friend’s wrap.

To learn more about babywearing and making your own carriers, visit The Mamatoto Project and Jan Andrea at Home on the Web.

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