Babywearing is an art, like most everything in life and the ability to physically connect with your child while hiking or riding the bus, well, for us it is both a joy and a necessity. Living on a farm it made no sense to purchase a stroller for the one time a month (or less!) that we all go together to the city, not to mention the fact that strollers don’t really fit on Hungarian buses. That too – we don’t own a car, just some bicycles to help take us where we need to go locally. Wearing Csermely on our fronts or backs was the option.
We found joyful inspiration in this book, The Continuum Concept, and fully recommend it to anyone and everyone becoming a parent for the first or fifth time today.
After many months we have finally found that elusive carrier that works wonderfully for us, so we just have to share…
Since our focus is on natural materials, organic when it can be found, the fabrics we chose for our new handmade mei tai were a densely woven Asparagus Stalk made from color grown organic cotton (as seen above) and another undyed woven fabric we had on hand – cotton warp with flax weft. For the padded areas on the straps we used a third fabric – an organic cotton terry knit.
Much of the carrier was sewn by hand, the straps by treadle sewing machine.
Based on a friend’s factory made mei tai here is our ecological version – which can be worn with the baby/toddler in back or front.
Knowing the basics of sewing, this mei tai can be put together in a matter of hours – in our (hand sewing) case over a few days – and the end result was that it performed quite well … make that far superior to what we used before! In the picture above you can see a little loop on the shoulder strap – that is where the small straps are tied (this extra head flap allows the baby to sleep comfortably while you are on the move). The measurement is not exact, put the loops where they feel comfortable for you.
Below is a small drawing with finished measurements in centimeters, please add your own seam allowance!
As for how to tie a mei tai … it does take some practice, but you will get the hang of it before long! There are plenty of resources/videos/instructions on the web, it just takes a quick search.
- Reinforce the padded areas with multiple lines of sewing.
- Make the back triple layered for strength and support.
- Choose fabrics that are somewhat pliable, not too stretchy, not too stiff.
- Be sure the straps are long enough – you can always cut them back later!
- Before you sew the shoulder straps on, test the carrier to find the best angle.
- Measure the head flap to the size of your own child’s growing head to make sure the top edge goes above the crown.
Get out and enjoy nature with your little one! How about taking your bike, too?
A book just for fun A Ride on Mother’s Back: A Day of Baby Carrying around the World
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