Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to Make a Baby Wrap! (A.K.A. Moby Wrap)

So I've been promising for weeks to upload a tutorial on how to make a baby wrap.  I've finally finished taking and editing photos of the process (making a wrap is really SO SIMPLE... I can't believe it's taken me this long, but life with a toddler is full of interruptions! :)  Anyway, without further ado, here's my advice on how to make a baby wrap...

STEP 1:  Choose your fabric

There are several things to consider when choosing your fabric, such as how thick and warm, or light and breathable, or how stretchy or taught you want it.  I have experimented with several different types of fabric, and here is what I've found:

100% cotton knit:  Cotton knits don't have much stretch.  This is can be a good thing if you're wearing a heavy toddler, because the fabric "gives" less and is more supportive.  On the flip side, the less it gives, the less comfortable it tends to be.  Another great thing about 100% cotton though is that it is very light and breathable.  I tend to use my 100% cotton wraps in the summer.

100% cotton gauze:  I personally haven't made a gauze wrap, but a friend from La Leche League made one because she said it is the most breathable fabric you can use for a wrap.  In her opinion, gauze is great because you can even wear it in the water.  The drawbacks to gauze is that it's not as stretchy or comfortable as some other fabrics, and you also have to finish the edge with a surger (which I don't have).

95% cotton, 5% spandex knit:  In my opinion, this is the most comfortable fabric.  It has the perfect amount of stretch to be supportive, yet comfortable.  The only drawback is that it is generally pretty thick and can be really hot in the summer.  However, I've found that the cotton/spandex rib knits are lighter and more breathable than the standard cotton/spandex knit.

60% cotton, 40% polyester:  This fabric is softer than 100% cotton, but not as stretchy as a cotton/spandex blend.  It's also more breathable than some cotton/spandex blend fabrics, but I'd have to say that overall it's probably my least favorite fabric to use.

STEP 2:  Determine how much fabric you need

The first wrap I ever used was a Sleepy Wrap, which is 5.5 yards long and 20 inches wide.  I found that the width was great, but it was a little long.  Moby Wraps are even longer... according to different search results I found online, Moby wraps are between 6 and 6.5 yards long and between 24 and 30 inches wide.  That's a LOT of fabric in my opinion.  It's no wonder so many people feel that Moby Wraps are difficult to tie and uncomfortable to wear!

I've found that for me, 5 yards long is the perfect length, and that 20 - 23 inches wide is the proper width. (To give you a frame of reference for determining how much fabric you might need, I'm about 5' 3" and usually wear a size 4.)  The width of the fabric I use varies depending on how wide the bolt of fabric is.  Bolts of fabric are usually 45" or 60" wide, so if I get one that is 45" wide, I cut it in half and if I get one that's 60" wide, I cut it in thirds.

STEP 3:  Fold and cut

This part is really simple, but I took some pictures, since I sometimes have a hard time explaining things... 

Fold the fabric in half, length-wise. (Yes, my craft room is tiny... I guess it's not much longer than about 2.5 yards, which is why you see the arm of the chair I'm standing on.)


(Notice that this fabric is 45" wide)


There should be a crease thru the middle of the fabric, where it was folded in half and wrapped around the bolt. 

Cut along the crease until you have 2 pieces of fabric that are 5 yards long (or however long you need).


This next step is optional... There will probably be a funny edge along the outside edge of the fabric with little holes in it.  I cut this off so that both sides of the fabric have the same style edge. (That style being, roughly-cut-by-dull-scissors style.)


(And please don't pay attention to the gross, cheap carpet... we're replacing it with wood soon!)

Next, you'll want to take one of the wraps and fold it in half length wise, then fold it in half again.  (So for me, that leaves me with a pile of fabric a little over a yard long.)
 

On the top of your fabric pile you should have what will be the two tail-ends of your baby wrap.  If you don't want to feel a little "thick in the middle", I recommend tapering these two ends.  
 

I do this by sliding a cutting mat underneath the ends (and on top of what will be the middle of your baby wrap) and marking the middle of the width of the fabric on the tail-end.  I line up my yard stick (mine isn't quite a yard) with the mark on the tail end and angle it towards the opposite end of the fabric.  Since my yard stick isn't quite long enough, I have to draw the first half of my line, then move the ruler to the opposite end of the fabric to finish off the line. 
 

Do the same thing on the other end, so that when you're done you have a nice little triangle.
 
(It helps if you have a toddler who likes to color... and if you use washable marker!)
 
Now, just cut along your lines.

 

I like to cut both ends together so that they are the same, or at least close to it.

STEP 4:  Optional finishing touches

It is helpful to to have a quick and easy way to find the center of your wrap.  I've done a few different things...

Make a loop from a scrap of ribbon, folded in half and sewn straight across:

This is great, because you can hang the wrap from a hook by the loop.  It's also a quick and easy way to be able to find the middle of your wrap.

You can sew a big pocket across the back of your wrap.

This is nice because it adds a bit of detail to the wrap.  You could also put a couple of diapers in the pouch, so that you wouldn't have to carry a diaper.  A word of advice though... I found that this particular pocket is WAY TOO BIG!  It took away too much of the stretch in part of the wrap you want the stretchiest, and diapers and cell phones get lost in a pocket this big.  I think it's best if the pocket is about as wide as your child's back.  Also, I sewed a smaller pocket inside the big pocket so that my phone wouldn't get lost.

My preferred type of pocket is a small one on the inside of the wrap, like this one:

After making this one though, I discovered two things:  

1) you need a flap on the top of your pocket to keep your phone from falling out


2) it helps if the pocket fabric is a different color from the wrap itself so that it doesn't blend in and so you can quickly find the middle of your wrap.

(I just realized this is a horrible picture, because the pocket doesn't blend in with the wrap, but the wrap blends in with the table!)

A few final thoughts...

I've noticed that Joann frequently has their knit fabrics on sale for around $4 a yard, so you should be able to make 2 to 3 wraps for $20 - $30 (depending on how many yards of fabric you need, and whether you get a 45" or 60" bolt).  Where I live, Joann doesn't carry 100% cotton knit fabric... I have to go to Hobby Lobby for that.  Hobby Lobby, however, doesn't seem to carry cotton-spandex blend knits... I have to go to Joann for that.

I use different types of fabric depending on the weather and the way I'm going to tie my wrap.  I have uploaded a few of my favorite ways to wear my baby and my toddler on my youtube channel.  For more tips, tricks, and how-to's on baby wraps, check out bobafamily.com (formerly SleepyWrap) and gypsymama.com.

31 comments:

Annie said...

Great tutorial! Pictures were awesome and seems super easy to follow, can't wait to find the time :)

xela said...

Thanks :) I know that whole trying to "find the time feeling" all too well! I seriously need to make my babywearing videos this week!!

Renata said...

Girl, you should start making money out of this, like selling it to the friends that don´t have skills to do something like this (me, for example)!!!! :o)))
What do you think???

xela said...

Haha, I don't know... maybe if I get enough demand for them I may consider making money off them. I can definitely make you a couple, if you send me your address. I'm not sure how hard it would be to get them thru customs in Brazil, but we could try :)

Flipfonow said...

i dont understand the triangle sides?? but thats just optional right?

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

Flipfonow, sorry it's taken me so long to respond! I was in the middle of driving my family across the country when you posted your comment, so it got buried in my email and I just saw it. Anyway, the triangle sides are optional. Taperin the ends like that just helps to make the wrap less bulky around your middle and to make it easier to tie. It kind of depends on the fabric though... the cotton-spandex blend I usually use is really bulky, but I made a wrap from a super lightweight poly-cotton blend and really regretted tapering the ends because it was too thin and kind of cut into me like a rope. I also didn't taper the ends of my 100% cotton wrap, so it is definitely optional :)

BringMeToLife said...

I totally want to try and make one!! Im gonna have to come back to this and read it as I go along! This is awesome, thank you!

kelly1982Ann said...

does the 100% cotton or the cotton/spandex material need to be hemmed afterward?

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

No, I never hem any of my wraps. The edges just kind of curl in... I've never had problems with them unraveling. Good luck!

Umm_Mahirah said...

Made this and I loved it thanks!!!

charharris said...

Do you place the loop in the very center of the fabric or center of an edge?

Beka Jo D said...

6.5 yards is too small for me 5'9" size 10 so I now going to cut my fabric in half and sew them together instead of having two wraps like I thought I'd be having...I don't understand 4 isn't that much smaller than size 10 :/ :(

Beka Jo D said...

Any suggestions for how to sew middle piece point together? For sturdy stretchy sem?

Beka Jo D said...

Never mind stupid lady misheard me at the store she gave me 3.5 yards not 6.5 yards I'm o mad but still need to sew these together grrrr why didn't I pay attention?! I'm an idiot

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

Sorry I somehow missed your message last month charharris! I placed the loop at the edge in the center, in case you were still wondering ;-)

Beka Jo, that's a bummer about the short fabric! I'm not really much of a seamstress, but I would overlap the pieces by a couple inches and then do a zig zag stich from top to bottom, and make several rows next to each other so that the stitching was about an inch wide. HTH!!

Beka Jo D said...

Thanks my mom in law came over and helped me over lapped about an inch and did zigzag stitch four rows worth and it seems to be holding up but the fabric I'm finding may have too much stretch to it...I'm on Instagram as froginmythroat if you wanna see it's purple with holes I thought would be good for breathing and so far so good but its just now snow melting...so who knows if it will last to summer or if it will be when summer gets here...anyways...thank you so much again for the help on how to...maybe someday I can afford over $20 to get name brand one...I'm in love with this concept for sure. Someone is trying to convert me from stretchy wrap to fabric wrap because I could do the piggy back hold with them but I am not thrilled about the not as comfortable part...anyway thanks again :)

Beka Jo D said...

Oh bonus I was charged for 2.5 yards and got 3.5 yards so rock on :) but still oh well got to experience the concept anyway

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

Beka Jo, I searched for you on instagram but it said no user found :( Anyway, it takes a bit of trial and error to find the right fabric. Does your friend have a few different types you can try?

And nice to hear there was a bit of a silver lining with the fabric store problem :)

Cassie K said...

Would the amount of fabric be the same if I am going to be wearing my twin girls?

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

I have to admit that I'm not 100% sure because I haven't tried it myself, but the boba/sleepy wrap website used to show directions for wearing 2 babies in one wrap. I would imagine that wearing 2 babies in one wrap would probably only be comfortable while they're infants though... After 3 or 4 months, you'd probably want them in 2 carriers (one on the front and one on the back). This website has lots of great tips: http://www.wrapyourbaby.com/wrappingtwins.html

Good luck!!

kayleigh joy said...

Woukd this hold a 25 pound toddler?

The Happy Hippie Homemaker said...

Yes, although it may not be very comfortable, depending on the type of fabric you use. I wore both my girls in my wraps till they were about 2 and a half. 100% cotton or woven wraps are much more supportive than stretchy wraps, but stretchy wraps were always my favorite because it felt like I was just wearing a t-shirt :) Good luck!!

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Iolo said...

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Phoebe Agundis said...
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bargainsandblessings said...

What would a jersey knit fabric be considered as far as blends? Do you think that would work as far as stretch and comfort?

bargainsandblessings said...

What would a jersey knit fabric be considered as far as blends? Do you think that would work as far as stretch and comfort?

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Deeba Troha said...

This site, these photographs make me feel so warm inside. Why more men are not attached to their babies as this beautiful family demonstrates is beyond me. Personally i find this sexy as a woman. Not him in particular just the act of a father with his child. This mother is sooo beautiful as well. I love to see you tandem nursing. SO many ppl neglect their families. I think your children are going to be the most loving most in deep family members ever. Sooo proud of you. Now, onto the wrap. Do you think that a silk blend with just the edges serged to prevent fraying will hold well all the way up through toddler times? God bless our mother earth for providing us all we need to raise our families granola. Much love to you all.

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