Pattern for No-Sew Sweatpants Baby Carrier
1. Use a pair of heavy fleece sweat pants. (Anything else will probably be too weak and you’ll be wearing your baby down around your knees.) Make sure that the waistband of the pants is big enough to go around your waist. If the pants ankles are elastic, cut them off. Cut the front in the middle from the waist to the crotch.
2. Cut off the fronts of the legs as shown. (The pink areas.) Leave the inseam (the seam that goes on the inside of the legs) on the back of the pants (don't cut it off with the pink front part), as that seam will help it not to stretch too much when you’re wearing the baby. Make sure not to cut all the way to the waist of the pants when you’re cutting up the side. Stop about 4” before you get to the waist—you’ll be leaving those angled segments at the waist attached to the pants back.
3. There; that’s all the cutting you’ll be doing! The pieces should look more or less like this when you open the pants. The waistband of the pants is going to be the waistband of your carrier (but the pants will be upside down.)
4. Next, place the cut off pieces at the ends of the legs (leg ends touching). Tie the cut off pieces to the pants legs where the arrows are pointing.
5. That is IT! It should look more or less like this.
To wear your baby in this (inward facing), tie the waistband around your waist (inside of former pants should be inside of the carrier.) The legs go up over your shoulders, cross in back, and then forward around your waist to tie under baby’s bum.
If you want to get fancy, you can sew the ends of the legs together instead of tying them. It adds some useful length to the straps, too. But if you're in a hurry, you can just tie them, hence the no-sew.
My baby turned out to hate having his legs up and sideways in the classic Mei Tai posture. (He was used to a wrap where his legs dangled down more). So I cut small vertical leg slits near the waistband so his legs could hang out. Now he loves it. It's the one I use to nurse him to sleep each night.
This turned out to be my favorite and most comfortable of my carriers, and it only cost me $2 because I found some cheap sweats.
I've since modded this a little by sewing the leg extensions on, but one could do it completely no-sew. Just a pair of scissors and a pair of thick sweatpants as above. In this picture the carrier was completely no-sew (see the knots at my back?) Here you can see his legs hanging down through the slits, but he could have had them around my waist in the classic ABC posture, if he would have tolerated that.
Here you can see how I've replaced the knots in back with seams for a sleeker look. (But they were still hand-sewn quick seams, though double-threaded to take the weight.)
Here I am wearing it on my back, with his legs as they are supposed to be instead of dangling down through slits:
*Update: As of 8/30/09 (possibly before, but I wasn't looking) this page now comes up #1 in Google for the search "no sew mei tai." Cool! I'm famous in an obscure way! ;D
**Update update: have been getting a lot of hits from a forum in which people discuss worries about whether this is strong enough to be a) durable and b) safe.
a) I used this sling every single day (and night!) until my son was 18 months old. And I frequently washed it in the washer, dried it in the dryer. Clearly, it was as durable as--well, a pair of sweatpants.
b) Safety: you have to trust your own judgment when you make or use anything to carry your baby. First, go with that. If you make something and it feels unsafe, then for Pete's sake don't use it. As for this carrier, the baby's weight is held by the legs of the sweatpants (in some ways more like a podeagi than anything else), rather than by the bottom of the carrier around your waist (you could actually untie that once you have the straps tied) so you have to make sure you trust your own knots and/or stitching on the straps/legs to carry the weight of your baby.