Thursday, January 24, 2008

birther of babies

1. I am not the average woman.

I have seen many episodes of "Baby Story" that are very similar. However, I have never seen a woman on the show like me. As I entered heavy labor for Isla, I remember shouting, "I don't want to be like one of those women on Baby Story!" And I got my wish, I was not like one of those women, I was weirder.

I was replaying in my mind today some of my "discussion topics" aka things I was shouting while in labor with Isla, and I realized they really did not make any sense. While shouting, "I feel like an alien! I'm an alien! I can't control my body!" is already very strange, it really doesn't make any sense. What do aliens and intense pain have in common? Do aliens feel intense pain? I think what I meant was that I did not feel like myself, therefore, I was an alien. I think for a brief moment in time I experienced what it might feel like to be insane. I will keep that in mind when I think I am losing my mind some days. I'll just remind myself of the whole "alien thing" and then I'll think, "now that's crazy!"

2. I'm pretty cool.

After I delivered Isla without any medical assistance (drugs), I felt like I was the bomb. It was not necessarily my intention to go o-natural, but that is how things played out and I really felt like I deserved an award after pushing a baby out the "old fashioned way". However, I was not biting on a piece of wood at the time like they did in the olden days (I think I saw that on an episode of "little house on the prarie").

3. I really love talking about birth stories!

Today I heard the best story. To sum up what was by far one of my most favorite and amazing birth stories ever, this mom had a doctor delivering her twins (vaginally) that kept falling asleep while she was pushing, she had the narcoleptic doctor and another doctor coming in and out tag teaming, it took two hours for the second twin to be born after she pushed out the first, and the idiot doctor left 1 LB of placenta inside of her, from which she almost died when she returned to the hospital a week later with a serious infection. Now that is a birth story. That makes pushing hard for 11 minutes look like a cake walk. I don't think I will ever look at this woman the same again. She is a true rock star.

4. I think more women need to share their birth stories. It is one thing we as moms all have in common. Maybe I'll start a club...or make a t-shirt.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Mommy Brain" ???

Today I left my husband at the grocery store. To make a long story short, his car was in the shop and a coworker dropped him at the grocery store, where I happened to be (since we did not have his house key). As I loaded the groceries into the car, I urged him to go back in to the store for multigrain cheerios (very important item). As he hurried into the store, I drove away. It was not until I was bringing the last bag of groceries into the house and heard the phone ringing that I thought "I bet that is Andy! Who I left at the grocery store!" In a matter of minutes I had totally forgotten that Andy did not have a car, which is why he had met me at the store in the first place. Please keep in mind we live right across the street from the grocery store which should lessen the severity of this story.

This left me wondering...where DID the other half of my brain go? If I figure correctly, I lost 1/4 of it when Aislynn was born, and another 1/4 when Isla was born. SO, now I am left with half a brain. The term "mommy brain" is often used to describe this foggy headed mommy syndrome. However, I did read an article recently (based on a book) where the author suggested that this whole "mommy brain" thing is totally off, and that women actually get smarter after having kids. Well, I am looking forward to the day when that happens! To bad that day was not today.

I would like to say though, that I have come up with a small list of ways I have gotten wiser from baby number one to baby number two. Currently, I have not thought of that many ways as I am working with half a brain here.

Hope

Hope...
that things will get better
that your child will use the toilette before she goes to college
that your house will stay clean for more than 5 minutes
that one day everyone will take a nap at the same time (including you!)
that someday jeans will feel more comfortable than elastic waist pants (probably not)
that you will find the other half of your brain
that what you are doing now really does matter
that your children will be best friends
that you are a good mom even without a shower
that you will get through the roughest day
that things aren't so hopeless
in the Lord.

"Our problem is not so much that God doesn't give us what we hope for as it is we don't know the right thing for which to hope...Hope is not what you expect."-Max Lucado God Came Near

Monday, January 21, 2008

I love Mondays

I love Mondays. This is a phrase you will never probably see on a t-shirt in any language, in any country, on any continent. However, if you are looking for a conversation starter, I recommend you get yourself one of these shirts made. Most people dread the weekend to be over as they must return to work bright and early, Monday morning. The reason I love Mondays is actually rather stupid and in no way deep and insightful. It is simply because my favorite show is on from 8-9 which I find to be inspiration for the week ahead. Currently, I am in love with the show, "John and Kate Plus 8." The show follows the life of a real family living in Penn as they raise their three year old sextuplets (that's 6) and twin, seven year old girls. Hence the John (dad) and Kate (mom) plus 8 (children). It should be fairly obvious why I find this show inspirational. When I feel overwhelmed sometimes raising and taking care of my 2 little girls I just think, what if I multiplied them by 4, or what if I had 6 Aislynn's. Whoa. Those thoughts help me shake off the stress and be thankful I have only birthed 2 babies and am not driving a commercial van. While things could always be calmer, cleaner, and quieter, they could also always be crazier, messier, and louder. At the end of one episode of the show, Kate said, "Every day is painfully the same, yet drastically different." I completely agree. Sometimes I feel like I am doing the same thing over and over each day, yet each day is unique and different than the day before. I am learning to embrace the newness of each day, view the monotonousness as consistency, and be thankful I do not have 6 two year olds all at once!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

matching pajama pants

The meeting of my non-biological twin was a very stressful and exciting day. Especially since I did not know that I was meeting my non-biological twin on that day! If someone would have told me, "When you go to college you are going to meet your best friend. You will have tons in common, sometimes lead parallel lives, make similar mistake and triumphs, marry college roommates, work together, have babies at the same time, oh-and by the way-she will be your "randomly selected" freshman year college roommate," I would have never believed it. I think that Angie and my pairing as roommates has to be the most successful match in all of roommate selection history.

There was a survey, a phone call, and then, the infamous introduction. On taking the survey I thought, "I am going to get the left over roommate that I have nothing in common with when we are the last two people left that they have to pair together. Or I will end up with a home schooled missionary kid with a stuffed animal collection." On making the call I thought, "Wow, I am glad she knows what Doc Martins are!" On meeting her I thought, "She looks pretty cool in her Tommy Hilfiger tank and jean shorts. I think she might be normal." I should have known, when we went to bed that night and had matching pajama pants, this was the real thing!

If there is ever a doubt in my mind that God knows what he is doing in my life, or that he has somehow forgotten about me; all I need to do is think about my best friend. I went to college a somewhat unstable girl with an identity crisis. I needed a true friend and confidante. Someone to dance with and share crazy stories. Some one to cry with and share hard times. Someone to kick me in the pants when I was being an idiot and help me see bad choices. Someone to pray with me and encourage me to make good choices. I did not know I needed all of those things when I went to college, but God did, and He decided why not bring a person into my life to be all of those things I needed.

It did not take us long to discover that we were very much non-biological twins simply birthed from different mothers. Hardly anyone believed we were randomly matched college roommates. It seemed like we had known each other our whole lives. Today I realize we will know each other for the rest of our lives. She will always be my best friend. If my daughters ask me someday, "How do I know if she is my best friend?" I will say:

A best friend...
wears matching outfits with you even if they do not find it to be as exciting as you do.
A best friend...
shares clothes with you and teaches you that there are more laundry categories than simply "dark" and "lights."
A best friend...
dances with you at 2a.m.
A best friend...
tells you things you don't want to hear.
A best friend...
lets you color her hair with a marker in class so that you can both stay awake.
A best friend...
keeps your secrets and tells you hers.
A best friend...
lets you sleep with her on your birthday even though thats not her thing.
A best friend...
saves you when you need to be saved.
A best friend...
stays your friend even when she's not sure who you are.
A best friend...
finds you when you are lost.
A best friend...
trusts you even when trust has been broken.
A best friend...
stands up for you on your wedding day.
A best friend...
embarrasses you when she tells your wedding guests you wear men's underwear.
A best friend...
knows you don't have to talk every day to stay friends.
A best friend...
visits you in the hospital when you have your first child.
A best friend...
travels to the opposite end of the globe from you so you can truly rule the world!
A best friend...
dreams big dreams with you and for you.
A best friend...
always tells you what you need to hear.
A best friend...
just knows.
A best friend...
will always be there for you no matter what.
A best friend...
knows that your friendship can withstand anything.
A best friend...
wears matching pajama pants.

Friday, January 18, 2008

a young old woman

I recently went to the doctor's office to see if my 78 day old baby ( I heard them refer to her as 78 days old when they were checking something with my insurance) had conjunctivitis-aka-pink eye. As I proceeded to the reception counter to check in, the nurse (who looked like she was in her early thirties) gasped, "You look so young!" I did not hear what she said at first as I was bending down to shove back in the pacifier that had popped out. I was sure she must have said something like, "You look so tired!" or, "You look so bad!" Both of which were very true at the moment. I stood back up and said, "I'm sorry, what did you say?" She repeated, "You look SO young!" I didn't quite know how to respond, one, because I do not think I look that young, two, I did not know if she was happy about this declaration or mad, and three, I have never been greeted that way at the doctor's office or anywhere for that matter before. My immediate response was a somewhat defensive, "I'm 27!" I did have to think for a split second to make sure I was in fact 27. The nurse half smiled as she proceeded to pull up my daughter's file. After a couple more typical doctor's office check in questions she laughed, shook her head, and declared once again, "You just look so young!" I wanted to shout back, "WHAT the heck are you talking about! Do you not see the lines starting to form under my eyes and the patch of gray hair sprouting out of my hairline!" Instead I again, somewhat defensively replied, "I also have a two year old (like that some how makes me look older) and a husband, and I had the husband before the babies." I hoped that reciting my stats might age me in her eyes. She just smiled. I went to sit down in the waiting area and thought to myself, "That was weird."
Here are a few reasons I am not That Young:
1. My body has been producing gray hair for 8 years. I now officially have more gray hair than I can remove with tweezers. I try not to look at my face too close in the mirror for fear of discovering even more gray hair.
2. When I hear current rap music as I am flipping through the radio stations I think to myself, "What IS this crap! This is the most pointless song ever."
3. I look at my sister who is currently turning 20 and a college student and think that she and all her friends don't look old enough to drive!
4. I have suffered a serious decrease in brain power. Recently at the store I was asked how old I was and I replied, "28." I did not even realize until I relayed the story to someone later that I am in fact, not 28.

I guess I am a young old woman.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

a nanny day

This morning as I slowly opened my eyes and rolled over towards my stirring baby girl I was met by projectile spit up right across my chest (ironic that it should land where it originated from). Immediately it soaked through my shirt and through my favorite nursing bra. I was particularly sad about this part, since I would now need to do a load of laundry to wash this bra. That was how this morning started.
On this particular morning, more so than other mornings, I felt like I had been hit by a 5 ton truck. Not a good way to start the day. Before I even had a chance to think about a cup of coffee my 2 year old was complaining and whining about something the little einsteins were doing. Apparently, she did not want them to help the little blue car and this was very upsetting to her. Well, what started out as a simple protest of the the little einsteins, turned into a 3 hour tantrum which brings us to this point in time where I am hurriedly writing down this experience before Isla grows tired of looking at her tiny love animals on her activity mat. Finally, Aislynn appears to have stopped crying and fallen into the sleep which she so desperately needed this morning. And so I have learned four important lessons all before noon.
1. Aislynn should not go to bed at 10pm. She will wake up early the next day and she will be in a bad mood about it.
2. Aislynn should not watch the little einsteins when she is in a bad mood. She will have no patience for their adventure.
3. Owning 20 bras but having one you currently like in the rotation is not a wise idea when you are lactating and have a baby that spits up as a part time job. Buy a new bra.
4. Having a nanny is a wonderful idea. Never judge anyone for having one. Instead congratulate them for being so smart and rich.

Monday, January 14, 2008

stop it

Aislynn just started saying, "stop it!" to me in a very snotty voice. Now there are certain phrases that I use that she repeats or models, but "stop it" is not one of them. This one is all her. She has been using this phrase quite frequently-when she doesn't want her diaper changed, she doesn't want me to touch the toy she is playing with, she doesn't want my help with something, she does want my help with something, I am not giving her something she wants. So we have begun the dialogue on how to talk to mommy and how not to talk to mommy. This is a conversation that I have a feeling, we will be having about 13 years down the road when my two year old with attitude becomes a teenager with attitude. I really hope that day does not come, but if it does I will do one of two things: Take her bedroom door away or send her to mountain camp. Or I could come up with a less harsh solution. Its a good thing I have thirteen years to think about that one.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

life in a moment

I find it interesting that there is a game called "Life." I don't even really remember how to play it...I just remember that there were a lot of pieces that went with the game board. I do remember that you basically tried to plan out your life, get a lot of money and end the game with the most stuff. Obviously the choices you made in the game for your chosen "life" impacted the outcome and your chance of winning. Isn't funny how many times we have our minds made up about how real life should work and what should come next, yet seldomly does it turn out that way at all. I remember praying earnestly on hands and knees as a seventeen year old girl that I would marry Thomas Yates. Thankfully God did not answer that prayer. Then I remember praying a similar prayer a few years later that I would marry my college boy friend. I could not see how things could really turn out any differently. Thankfully God did not answer that prayer either. Sometimes we want things to turn out so badly a certain way, but God has other plans. Sometimes it does not make any sense to us in the moment, why life is the way it is. But there is someone who sees the bigger picture. He sees past the moment, down the road. And thankfully sometimes He does not answer prayers the way we would like him to. Sometimes I wonder, "What would my life look like if everything went according to my original plans?" I don't really have to wonder though. My life would be a mess! I would not be where I am with the man I am married to. And I would not have two beautiful little girls. I am in a moment. Things do not make perfect sense, but I can see that someone else knows what is going on and if I look at our history, I can see that He knew/knows what He is doing. And all I can do right now is live in this moment because if I look down the road with my human eyes I am afraid. So instead I look behind me and am encouraged to see what has brought me to this moment.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

DIY HOOD TO HEADREST MEI TAI TUTORIAL is back!


BROOKE'S DIY HOOD TO HEADREST MEI TAI TUTORIAL
(private use only)



The Finished Product...



A little background...
PS: If you don't really care and want to get right to it, just scroll on down to the tutorial!
I have been making carriers for almost four years. I discovered the world of “babywearing” when my foure year old was just a few months old. I was looking for an alternative to the baby bijorn I had at the time, that was starting to hurt my back. Through surfing the web, I stumbled onto numerous unconventional carriers and was amazed and excited. I wanted to purchase a mei tai right then and there! Money was tight at the time, and I didn’t feel I could justify the purchase, especially without being able to try on the carrier or even see if my daughter liked it. I wondered if I might be able to find some instructions on how to sew one, and sure enough, I stumbled onto a DIY pattern. Of course I did everything wrong, made every mistake, and used the worst materials! But in the end I had my first mei tai. I felt so proud of myself, especially when my daughter loved it.
I still have that carrier. I had a lot of great memories with it. I remember feeling a sense of freedom in discovering the concept of “hands free.” I remember feeling so much love for my daughter when she snuggled up close to me the minute I put her in the mei tai. And most importantly, I remember feeling like I had succeeded at something-which as moms-can mean the whole world sometimes when you feel like you are doing everything wrong.
I decided it was my turn to “pay it forward.” So this is my Do It Yourself Tutorial for a hood to headrest mei tai. I loved the concept of a hooded mei tai, and wondered if the hood could do more than just be a hood. So I added padding and some additional loops to allow the hood to fold down into a padded headrest. I am a very visual person and so I have tried to be very vivid with my description, especially for that mom who only has sewn straight lines up until now! I also tried to include pictures and a few video clips of some of the trickiest parts in the assembly process. I hope you find this tutorial helpful in your attempts to make this mei tai whether it is your first one or your fourteenth! Above all I hope you feel successful and proud of yourself. If you have questions about any of the steps or need clarification, you can email me at bfuller@meilawrap.com and I will try to answer your question.
If you are interested in finding out more about babywearing, styles of carriers, or DIY patterns, www.thebabywearer.com is a wonderful resource.
Happy Sewing!
Brooke

(Above) My first DIY mei tai with my 3 year old when she was 9months and 14months

3 Years later! Isla 1o months, Aislynn 3yrs
and is for PRIVATE USE ONLY.
_______________________________________
PART I: ASSEMBLE YOUR SUPPLIES
Supplies:

  • Rotary cutter or sharp pair of sissors (maybe this is silly, but I thought I’d offer it anyway…don’t use your sewing sissors to cut paper…they will be sewing sissors no more and incredibly dull!)
  • A fabric marking pen or chalk to mark on fabric (I use chalk, a chalk pencil, a invisible ink pen, and a white marking pen all interchangeably).
  • A tape measure and ruler or yard stick
  • High quality thread (I use guiterman)
  • Iron/ironing board (sometimes I use spray starch too)
  • Long straight pins
  • A piece of paper or something for cutting out your pattern (I use my daughters 11x17 construction paper and I just tape a few pieces together)
Fabric:
  • 2 ¼ yards long of a sturdy fabric such as canvas, denim, twill (for straps), at least 33 in wide (as you will cut three straps a little over 10 inches wide each)
  • Between 5/8-3/4 yard a decorator fabric, apparel fabric, or quilters cotton
  • Between 5/8-3/4 yard sturdy fabric for center stabilizing body piece (a canvas or dense denim)
  • Between 5/8-3/4 yard a fabric to go on the inside panel that your child will be against. This could be anything you want ( the material you used for straps, a d├ęcor fabric, something super soft like a microfleece or flannel, etc.
  • Padding material: I use nearly natural batting, I love it. I have also used regular fleece, foam, nu-foam, and regular batting. You will need ½ yard of warm and natural batting (if you are using something else for padding you will need to calculate how much padding you need based on the dimensions of the padded items). Warm and natural batting usually comes 60 in wide.
**5/8 yard is enough for a smaller baby. For an older baby or toddler you should use ¾ yard and make the body longer (I will explain how to do this later.)
PART II: CUTTING EVERYTHING OUT

  1. Once you have all your materials gathered, it is time to cut out your pattern.
  2. Referring to my pattern diagram cut out your own pattern. You can make half a pattern you are planning on folding the fabric in half (which would help it to be more symmetrical)
a. You can make a basic mei tai by eliminating the hood.
b. For a taller mei tai simply lengthen the body 1-3 inches. For a smaller mei tai you can shorten the length of the body pattern 1-2 inches.
c. Make sure you label the top of your pattern and the fold.
(Above) Pattern:Half the body
to clarify dimensions-starting at the top and going clockwise,
6 in, 21 in, 9 in, 5 in, center 1/2 width 8 in, strap angle 5.5 or 6in, 2.5 in

Full body once unfolded (above)
Hood dimensions
Step 1: Cutting out the body pieces
  1. Lay your pattern on top of your fabric. Make sure the top of your pattern is at the top of your fabric. If you made half a pattern, make sure to fold your fabric in half (the fold will be the center of the body and the other side will be the edge of the carrier)
  2. Use your chalk to trace your pattern onto the fabric. Then cut out the body, or lay the other two body pieces underneath the piece you have traced and cut all three out together. This is ideal, but only if you have very sharp scissors or a rotary cutter.
Step 2: Cutting out the padding
  • You will need ½ yard of warm and natural batting (if you are using something else for padding you will need to calculate how much padding you need based on the dimensions of the padded items). Warm and natural batting usually comes 60 in wide.
  • Cut out the following pieces of batting with the following dimensions: 2 straps 16x22, 1 waist strap 15x28, 1 hood 15x13 (two layers for this one)
  1. Take the two strips of 16x 22 batting and fold the short ends (16in) into the center.
  2. Then fold the whole strip in half. You will fold the waist piece the same way, short ends into the middle and folded in half.
  3. You will end up with 2 pieces of padding for the straps approx 4 in wide, and a piece of padding for the waistbelt 3-3.5 in wide.
  4. Make a small stitch in the two bottom corners and the center edge, just to keep the layers together when you stuff them.
  5. The hood pieces you will set aside
Folding the padding into the center (below)

Folded in half again

The waist piece


Below are the spots to sew a small stitch

Step 3: Cutting out the Straps

  1. You need between 78-85 inches of fabric (lengthwise) for the straps. Approx. 2 ¼ yards. I would recommend making your straps 80-85 inches long because you can always shorten your straps. Longer straps also give you more options for tying. Remember that 5 inches of your strap will be inside the carrier.
  2. You will now cut three strips for the 2 straps, and 1 waist belt. Using a yard stick or ruler, draw a line as long as you are making your straps (approx 84 in), and 10 ½-11 inches wide. Your straps will end up being about 5 inches wide. If you like narrower straps, simply make your strips of fabric between 7.5-9 inches (that will produce straps 3 1/2 -4 ½ inches wide). Cut out the three straps.
  3. Fold your shoulder straps in half widthwise, with the wrong side out (right sides touching inside). Pin along the edge.
This video shows how you should fold the straps
video
Step 4: Sewing and Assembling the straps
  1. Using a straight stitch, sew all the way down all three straps using a ½ to 5/8 seam (meaning there is a ½ to 5/8 inch to the right side of the stitch you are sewing). Now you should have three long tubes.
OPTIONAL STEP: You can iron flat the seams which can make it easier to straight out the straps when you flip them if you like or you can just skip to step.
2. Flip all the tubes so they are right side out. Since I make my straps so wide, I usually just reach my hand all the way down the tube bunching as I go and flipping. The seam will now be one of the long edges of the strap.
3. Iron all three straps.
4. Lay the 2 shoulder straps flat . Using a ruler and a special marking pen or chalk, draw a
line 5-6 in from the left raw edge-horizontally.
5. Now draw a line 22in. from the line you just drew (essentially 29 to 30 in from the left raw edge of the strap).
6. Peel the left edge of the straps back all the way past the line 30 inches in. You should have wrong sides facing now pulled over part of the strap you turned previously. Slide a couple inches of the padding material into the opening.
7. With one hand firmly holding the portion of strap that is still right sides out, use the other hand to slowly “unpeel” the strap back over the padded material, trying to keep it as straight as straight as possible until the strap is completely unpeeled and covering the padding. You may need to reach your hand in and pull the padding down a bit or make some adjustments to straighten it out. Repeat this process with the second shoulder strap. The straps should fall in between the two lines you drew on the outside of the straps.
This video shows how to put the padding in the strap
video
8. For the waist belt, find the exact center of that strap and mark it. Then find the exact center of your piece of padding for the waist belt and lay it on top of the waist belt in the center. Draw a small line on either side of the padding. You will follow the same process used for the shoulder straps to get the padding inside, except you will have to peel the waist belt almost all the way back to get this piece of padding in the direct center.
9. Now you are ready to sew in the padding. Some people like to sew rows, some people sew rectangular boxes, I like to sew rows. I have included a short video clip explaining how I sew clean rows. You can follow these instructions or just sew your own straight rows across the padded portion. At least three of them.
10. Using a straight stitch, stitch straight down the center of the strap until you are one inch from edge of the padding (you may want to mark this spot before you start the stitch-you can also draw line straight down the middle for a guide if you are concerned about sewing straight!) You do not want to stitch over the edge of the padding as it will make it more difficult to keep your rows from bunching. Sew at least 1 row on either side of the center row you just sewed (see my video).
This video explains how to sew in your padding so you only have to break your stitch once!
video
***In order to create a nice clean edge for your straps (the ends where you are tying). Simply fold the edges into the tube about ½ to 1 inch. Then press them flat and stitch closely to the edge, to create a nice straight edge with sharp corners. You will do this while you follow my instructions to sew in the padding, or you can do it when you stitch around the perimeter of the strap after #19.
This video shows how to fold the ends down to get a nice clean edge
video
11. If you followed my instructions for rows, you should have already stitched around the edge of the strap all around the entire thing.
12. If you did not follow my directions, and just stitched over the padding, you will now need to stitch very closely with a straight stitch all around the entire strap (except the raw edge you will attach to the body.
13. For the waist strap, sew all around the entire perimeter of the strap, making two very nice sharp edges for strap ends (like you did with the shoulder straps).
14. Now you should have 3 straps ready to attach to the body. You will sew rows into the padding of the waist belt once you attach it to the body.
PART III: Making a Padded Hood
  • Front and back hood pieces
  • 2 layers of padding cut out
  • Bias tape or two strips of fabric for hood ties
Step 1: Making a decorated hood
(skip step 1 if you are just using two pieces of fabric for the hood)
  1. If you would like to make a fancier hood, you can take a strip of fabric that is the width of the hood (it can be fat or skinny). Press under the top and bottom edges so that there is a nice crisp edge on top rail going widthwise, and the bottom rail widthwise.
Strip of fabric with edges pressed under
2. You can pin this piece to the right side of the hood piece that will be facing out, and stitch very close along those pressed edges, so it is attached to the hood piece. I like to use a decorator stitch along the edge, but you can use a straight stitch very close to the edges or a zigzag
Fabric laid out (above) Pinned to hood flap (below)
Finished decorated top hood flap, ready for assembly


Step 2: Constructing the hood


  • Loops and ties:
  1. Press under the one edge on each of the two strips of bais tape or hood ties you cut out
  2. Stitch along this tiny edge then while leaving your needed down, turn the strip 90 degrees and sew along the edge of the strip lengthwise.
  3. Take your 4 inch strips of bias tape and fold the short ends under and press. Stitch around the edges. Now you should have 2 ties ready to attach to the hood and 4, 4 inch long strips to attach later.

the bias tape I use

Here are 4, 4x4 inch squares of fabric you can use for the loops in place of bias tape



Step 3: Sewing and flipping the hood
  1. Lay the 2 layers of batting (or other padding material) down.
  2. Lay the hood piece that will be showing to everyone, right side up, on top of the padding.
  3. Take your two hood ties and position them on either side of the hood sides about two inches from the bottom. Since the hood is rounded, there is not really a corner for you to place them in, and I prefer them coming out the sides.
  4. The ties should lay straight across the hood so that about ½ to 1 inch of the raw edge of the ties come out the sides.
  5. Carefully lay the inside hood piece (the piece that will show when your hood is use-the underside) wrong side up, on top of the ties, careful not to shift the ties.
  6. Pin all around the perimeter of the hood, especially where the ties are.
Layers ready for sewing:
padding, decorated piece (rightside up), ties, inside hood panel (wrong side up).

7. Using a straight stitch, sew all around the edge of the hood, careful to turn the hood as needed to keep the rounded shape. Leave the top of the hood, the straight edge where you will be attaching it to the body, open. This opening will allow you to flip it rightside out!
8. Flip the hood right side out, and press it with an iron.
9. Now top stitch very close to the edge all around the hood still leaving the top open.
***Tip: If your hood is two different colors, for example the top is piece is black and the reverse is white, you can use different colors of thread. The thread in the bobbin will show as the stitch on backside of your sewing. The thread going through the needle will show on the top. Keep this tip in mind for top stitching the body and x boxes later. You may want to practice this on scrap fabric to make sure your tension is correct. If the bobbin thread shows on the top, you need to decrease your tension. If the top thread shows on the reverse, you need to increase your tension.
Now your hood is ready to attach!
PART IV: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Step 1: Attaching the body and shoulder straps
1. Lay the interior, structure piece flat (this is the piece that will be sandwiched between the other two pieces).
2. On top of that, lay the piece of fabric that will be facing out for everyone to show, right side up. This means, you should lay it exactly as you want it to be seen.
3. On top of that, lay the hood piece, exactly as you want it to show when it is not in use.
4. Take one strap and lay it so that the 5 inches you are going to sew over, that are going to be inside the carrier are angled up, directly centered in the upper right hand corner. DO the exact same thing with the other strap. Angling the five inches you have marked, up.
5. Careful not to shift the straps you just laid out, fold the long portions of the straps up so they lay nice and flat inside the body and don’t get in the way while you sew around the perimeter.
6. Now carefully lay the last body panel (the one that will be against the baby on the inside) wrong side up , on top of the straps and the rest of the pieces. Remember, this piece should have the wrong side up, the side you don’t want to see. Line it up directly on top of the stack and pin all around the perimeter of the carrier.
Notice I have traced around the edge of the hood, so I don't accidentally stitch over it
Pin around the entire body
7. Now take a marking pen or chalk, and draw a line ½ to 1 inch from the edge of where the straps are coming out. Then trace around the sides of the straps underneath the layer. This will help be a guide when you stitch around the straps so that when you flip them they are nice and even. Draw a guide line all the way down the sides of the carrier and across the top approx ½ from the edge. Make sure you will be sewing over all the layers with the line you are marking.
8. Now starting where the corner of the strap edge meets the edge of the top of the carrier where the hood will be, begin to sew all around the carrier careful to watch the guidelines you have drawn. DO NOT sew across the bottom. This is how you are going to flip the carrier rightside out.
9. Make sure you sew nice neat lines along the edges and where the straps are going to come out so that your carrier looks nice and symmetrical.
10. After you have sewn around the body, go back up to where the straps are attached, and close to the straight line you sewed (across the 5 inches of the width of the strap), sew a zigzag stitch straight across this space. Do this across the top of the other strap too.
11. Now remove all the pins and flip the carrier inside. It should now look the way you want it to for use. If it seems to be getting a little bulky around the strap edges, flip it back to the way you sewed it originally and trim your hem a bit, careful not to snip your stitch.
12. Smooth out the shape and body of the carrier, and iron all around the entire body.

Step 2: Sewing in the X boxes and top stitching

1. Now trace a nice rectangle around the inner edge of the straps that you attached inside the carrier. Draw a nice rectangle on top of the carrier surface with an erasable pen or chalk. Draw a nice X in the center of the rectangle, corners to corners. Now top stitch over the rectangle. Make sure you are using a matching thread, or two different colors-one for the top-one for the bobbin (underneath color) if you have different colors of fabric you are using. This is only important if you are trying to blend the X boxes in subtly.
2. Once your X boxes are sewn, top stitch, using a straight stitch, all around the entire bdy of the carrier, very close to the edge.
3. At this point, you can fold bottom edge of the body under to make a nice straight edge across the bottom, iron this edge flat, and pin. You can top stitch this edge closed when you are stitching around the body.
Step 3: Attach the waist belt
1. Now you will lay the waist belt directly across the bottom of the carrier on the outside, centered. Line up the bottom edge of the body with the bottom edge of the waist belt.
2. Pin all across the top and bottom edge.
3. Sew a straight stitch very close to the edge across the bottom edge of the strap and body, attaching the two. When you get to one end, leave your needle down, and turn the whole piece you are sewing 90 degrees, so that you can sew up the side, to the top edge of the strap. When you get to that point, leaving your needle down, turn the whole piece you are sewing 90 degrees again.
4. Now sew a straight stitch across the top edge of the waist strap, attaching it to the body. Leaving your needle down turn your whole piece you are sewing 90 degrees one last time to sew from the top edge of the waist strap to the bottom.
5. You have essentially sewn a long rectangle attaching the body to the waist belt. Now you can sew at least three rows, straight across the waist belt spaced out, or rectangles.
6. You can sew the rows from one end of the padding to the other end, careful not to go over the edge (this pattern uses a piece of padding extra long beyond the shape of the carrier body to add more comfort for your sides). Or you can just sew across the padding directly in line with the body.
Step 4: Attach hood and headrest loops! Last step!
1. Using a ruler mark a small line 8 inches from the edge of the straps on the outside of the straps. This is where you will tie the hood if it is in use. Use a little straight stitch or zig zag to attach the two edges of hood loops. One on the outside of each strap going lengthwise across the strap.
2. Now attach the head rest loops on the inside edge of the straps. Attach the same way up on the corners of the straps


Done!

Here is the finished product (left)
Here is the inside where the headrest loops are attached (right)
Using the hood as a headrest...
Fold down once,
Fold again for a high headrest. Pull tight through the loops.


Fold down again for the thickest headrest. Pull tight through the loops.
This would be the ideal for a tiny baby or newborn






Hood in Use:


2weeks old








*If you make and love this tutorial, I'd love to see pictures! I'd like to start posting a gallery of completed carriers to inspire other moms! Email me a picture or two.


My personal Putting on baby mei tais

411: EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT A PUTTING ON BABY MEI TAI

Style: All POB mei tais are unique. While I may use the same fabrics to create another carrier, I never create the exact same carrier twice. Your Putting on Baby Mei tai will be one of a kind, just for you! All carriers are reversible. Some reverse to create another pattern combination, some reverse to a completely plain side to encourage those husbands to wear it!

The Fabric:
Most POB (putting on baby) mei tais use a sturdy, but soft twill for the strap fabric. Some have a soft canvas or denim strap. Patterned fabrics are a quality cotton apparel fabric or quilters fabric. Some have a decor fabric for the patterned piece. All fabric has been machine washed and preshrunk by me. All carriers have a piece of canvas inside to stabilize for safety.

Washing Instructions: I use all machine washable fabrics. These carriers can be washed in the washing machine, but you should keep machine washing to a minimum to keep colors bright. To wash, put the carrier in a pillow case and wash separately in a gentle cycle. It is best to lay your carrier out flat to air dry. But you can put it in your dryer if you wish. However, air drying, or just fluffing it for a few minutes in the drier will reduce fading. Ironing of the straps might be needed.

Hooded carriers: Fold the hood up to keep a sleeping baby comfortable. All the hoods are rounded and long, which is different than a lot of hooded mei tais. This allows the hood to fit the baby longer into "toddlerhood!" You can also fold your hood in if you don't want to use it or don't want it hanging down. Some hoods are padded and fold down to create a padded headrest. If a carrier has one of these hoods, it will say so in the description. The "hood to head rest" conversion hood tie onto loops on the inside of the straps to create this cushion. See the May post entitled "Just sold" to see this feature in action. The hood also can be tied up provide extra support for a small baby. See post titled "Ty" to see a newborn in this carrier.

Straps: Most straps are cushioned. I use warm and natural batting for the cushioning in the straps and some cushioned headrests. Warm and natural has a high standard for their product using no glue or resins. It is extremely soft too. Straps are nearly 80 in long unless otherwise specified. This allows the carrier to be "one size fits all".

Wearing instructions: Links to Youtube videos I have recorded are coming soon! All carriers purchased include my own instructional dvd for wearing positions.

Pricing: Determined by materials, time and features. All carriers use a variety of quality fabrics that are purchased, washed, sewn, and ironed by me. Features such as padded straps, a padded hood, no hood, specialty fabrics, and reversible features add to the price as well. Each carrier is custom made and takes hours to create.


PS As always, if you have any questions about the tutorial, my carriers, or my personal creation-the one and only Mei-la Wrap, don't hesitate to contact me via email.


Mei-la Wraps at www.puttingonbaby.blogspot.com: