Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tutorial: Recover or Customize Your Baby Carrier

Babywearing is one of my favorite things.  I have actually made several of my own carriers using various tutorials all over the internet.  An option that many new parents are choosing is the market for soft structured carriers like the Ergo, Beco, Boba, and more.  There are so many options out there, and they are often pricy.  Chances are the cuter the carrier is, the more you will spend, but what about those DIY souls who don't want to break the bank but still want a cute carrier?  This tutorial is for you.  Please pardon the camera phone photos, it was the best that was going to happen that day :)

One of my friends found a used Beco Butterfly II that she bought at a great price, but it was covered in a peeling Moose Argyle print that she did not want to keep.  She asked for some help updating and recovering the front panel, and I was glad to assist.

Word of Caution:  Baby carriers are made to be structurally sound in order to hold something as precious as a small child.  Ripping out seams can compromise the integrity of your carrier and I do not recommend removing the fabric panels that are original to the carrier or ripping any seams on the carrier.

Step 1:  Measure the front panel(s) on your carrier.

This carrier measured 7.5" in width on the bottom section of the panel and 7.75" at the top of the panel.  I chose to use the 7.75 measurement and make my new panel square rather than try to match it exactly. 1/8" on either side does not make a difference.

This carrier has a panel sewn in for snapping on the hood, so I had to keep that intact and recover the bottom and top sections separately.

The tag was also getting in the way in this area.  I did need to use a seam ripper to unpick the TOP STITCHING ONLY so that the tag could move freely.  I did not unpick the tag completely or rip the seam the tag is encased in.

Since the fabric my friend chose to cover her carrier in was very light, you could see through the fabric to the lovely peeling meese underneath.  I had to back the fabric with white in order to completely obscure the pesky moose argyle.

Step 2:  Cut the lining fabric to the exact size of the fabric panels.

Step 3: Cut the cover fabric panels 1/2" larger than the lining all around.

Step 5:  Put the lining and cover fabric right sides together and sew the lining and cover fabric together on 3 sides, leaving the bottom open.

This is a little trickier, considering that one piece of fabric is larger than the other.

Line up on of the sides first and sew, then line up and sew the other side.

Then you will be able to line up the edges at the top and sew across.  You will notice that you have some extra fabric around the edges, that is supposed to be there, just line it up like the picture shows, it should overlap to the edge of the lining fabric.

When you turn it right side out, you will have a nice little trim around the edge of the fabric on the back, which ensures that the lining fabric won't peek through around the edges of your carrier and reduces the bulk a bit around that seam when you are top stitching later on.

Step 4: Pin your new cover panels onto the carrier!

Step 5:  Top stitch around the edges of your new panels.

The top section on this carrier was a bit tricky.  I machine stitched the exposed part on the top, and hand stitched the area on the sides and bottom next to the snap strip.

Don't forget to pin the tag back down and top stitch over it.

Much, much better than peeling moose argyle, eh?

Now go forth and beautify your baby carriers, while I search for the perfect accent fabric for my plain black Ergo...


Nix said...

I wanted to say thank you for posting this tutorial! I just purchased my first KP in the desired color but dislike the owl print! I want to customize it but am worried about ruining the integrity - I feel better about doing this now!! You're awesome!