There’s loads of info on this out there, but I thought I’d chuck in my two cents worth from what I did this evening.
For a stretchy baby wrap, you will need something breathable like a cotton jersey. You don’t want to be swaddled in layers of polyester because you will just get all sweaty and nobody wants that.
All the places I looked at recommended using a width of between 20 and 25 inches. You want it to be reasonably wide without big folds hanging down all over the place.
Lengthwise, it depends on the size of the person who will be using it. The one I made took 4 yards of fabric, but it’s not for me. For myself I would probably be looking at around 5 or 6 yards, because I’m almost 6 ft tall and have the chest of seven women.
Because jersey is a knit fabric rather than a woven fabric, this project is a complete no sew, unless you want to applique a cute picture on for decoration. There’s no need to hem it unless you want to. The only equipment you need for this project is a tape measure and a pair of scissors.
Lay your jersey fabric out some where nice and flat. I stretched mine out in the hallway. Jersey is very slippery and fluid, so you need somewhere where you can smooth it out and make sure the cutting line is clean.
Once you have laid it out and you’re sure it’s smooth and even, measure the width of the fabric. You want between 20 and 25 inches width-wise. Then once you’ve measured it, begin cutting down the length of the fabric to make a sort of giant jersey bandage.
And that’s it, you’ve just made yourself your very own stretchy baby wrap.
I strongly suggest choosing some cute fabric to applique onto the centre. This has two purposes.
1. It looks really sweet and is a nice finishing touch.
2. It makes a useful marker for where the centre of the wrap is. Finding the centre of the wrap is essential for a lot of baby ties, so having a marker like this is very handy.
To make one, measure out where the very centre point of your wrap is. Again, I would lie it out flat in the hallway and use your ruler or tape measure to find the halfway point. Mark it with pins so you don’t lose it.
Then choose some fabric you like. It doesn’t have to be jersey/stretch, just plain old cotton will do. I chose one with a cute print of baby animals on it and picked out a really sweet little elephant. I cut it out as a rectangle with the elephant in the centre, but you could be fancy schmancy and make a love heart or a flower or whatever you like.
If you go with a rectangle or a square, you probably want to tuck the raw edges in and sew them. I went with a seam allowance of about a centimetre or so. I laid out my piece, finger pressed the edges under and pinned them in place, then pinned it again to the fabric, where I had marked out the centre. Because jersey can be very slippery, I would use a lot of pins to make sure it doesn’t slide about while you stitch.
Then stitch the feature fabric in place. I did mine by hand using a very simple running stitch in the same shade as the fabric. But you could machine stitch it in about 5 seconds flat.
Stick a baby in it, you’re done.
Here’s a website with instructions for tying a stretchy wrap. It looks a lot more complicated than it is. My understanding is that a stretchy wrap is good for the first year or so, but you may want something in a woven material if you want to carry your baby longer term. You can make one of those in the same way as I’ve described here, but you will have to hem the fabric as woven cloth will fray like the devil.
I carried Esme in my woven cloth wrap until fairly recently and if it weren’t for the exceptionally cold Winter meaning I really need to be able to wear my coat, I’d still be carrying her on my back now. I loved it and so did she. It’s very snuggly and great for bonding. And remarkably convenient when going out and about for short trips.
Anyway. Sorry for the lack of pictures. My camera is currently comatose until I can figure out where the heck we’ve put our battery charger. I will try and get Alex to grab some pictures tomorrow when we hand over the wrap I made to its intended recipient!
Oh, and Orlaith’s birthday was tops.
Good night :->