Introduction: DIY Stretchy Wrap for Newborn Babywearing
Home made babywearing solution perfect for newborn wrapping.
You can find heaps more information on this topic on DIY Babywearing (https://www.facebook.com/groups/247329292025830/) and NZBMP (https://www.facebook.com/groups/NZBWBuySellTrade/) Facebook groups, particularly check out the files section.
Another useful online tutorial can be found here - http://www.make-baby-stuff.com/make-a-baby-sling.html
Thank you to these sources for helping me compile this instructable.
Step 1: Choosing Your Fabric
You are looking for a stretch cotton knit (like a tshirt material), it can contain some spandex or bamboo or another kind of blend, but the key is that you are looking for something that will retain its stretchiness and bounce back into place.
Best practice advice is to make sure you have 6m, once you have got it home before you do anything else, give the fabric a wash so you can account for any shrinkage. A Moby wrap for example, is 5.5m long, but this is just a guide.
The wrap needs to be approximately between 60-70cm wide so most lengths of fabrics will be able to make at least two wraps.
To get away with the "no sew" option, you want something that will roll up on itself when cut, otherwise you will have to overlock the outer edges.
Once you have washed and dried you fabric, your ready to go.
For more about fabric options for DIY solutions see this flow chart - http://wp.me/p6RKSX-1H
Step 2: Measure and Cut
This grey material is approximately 1.3m wide so I am going to make two wraps out of it. I laid out the material and using some pegs and pins have marked a middle line which I have then cut down the middle line to create two wraps, approximately 65cm wide each.
As you can see in the last picture, I have managed to find a material that rolls up on itself when cut which makes it very forgiving to work with and means I did not have to cut a perfectly straight line. Easy!
Step 3: Mark Out Your Wrap Centre
Fold your fabric in half length ways and mark your centre marker.
For a truly no-sew option, you could probably find an iron on transfer or something similar. Another simple solution would be to just sew a few stitches by hand with a bright coloured cotton to make it stand out. If you want to use a decorative front panel it is not necessary to sew this marker stitch, I have just done so to show an alternative solution though I did find it helped me fit my front panel (you can see my green stitch below the front panel in the second picture).
I have chosen to use a piece of printed material as my front panel marker for these wraps as I think it is both an attractive solution but one that also makes fitting the wrap easier for first time babywearers.
Skip straight to step five if you wish to leave your wrap without a decorative front panel.
To do the same as me, find a cool fabric to mark your front panel, this will become a feature piece of the wrap when you wear it.
Step 4: Attaching a Front Panel
It is not important what kind or thickness of material you use as this is not a structural element of the wrap but just decorative. I have actually found that "fat quarters" used for quilting are a good solution that provides enough material and also a range of cool prints in a thin cotton fabric.
Measure out your front panel. The dimensions of this is really up to you and the fabric you have/how you want to showcase the print. The height will largely be determined by the width of your stretchy material.
Here I have shown four different options I had to chose from for my front panel on this particular wrap. I selected the blue fabric with the coloured feather prints and so have cut this relatively narrowly compared to the other options I had selected.
The feathers piece measures 23cm by 39cm. The dinosaur piece measures 32cm by 35cm. The monster stripes measures 27cm by 45cm. And the white sketch panel measures 30cm by 40cm. Any of these would be appropriate for a front panel depending on the look you are going for, you may want to tie the wrap on and when wearing it (baby optional), hold the panel piece up to get an idea of what kind of size you prefer.
I have then folded the edges over and pinned these before using a small discrete stitch close to the edge of the panel piece. Cutting back any excess overhang, this panel piece can then be pinned at the centre of the w
rap. Ideally the panel could first be ironed but it is not necessary and I have not done so in this particular example.
This panel piece is then pinned in the middle of the centre of you wrap and use a loop stitch to attach it to the stretchy wrap.
Step 5: Wash and Wear!
These first pictures are without the front panel, I was testing length and in this instance chose to shorten the wrap by a further meter as there was little shrinkage and the "tails" where excessively long once I wrapped it.
My baby is now nearly 9 months and actually a little heavy & big for a stretchy wrap (the sag from heavier/older bubs would make a woven material more comfortable for the wearer) but he obviously still found it comfortable as he fell asleep in it!
It is optional if you want to iron front panel.
Wrap middle part, with front panel out around your tummy, lift each piece over your shoulder and spread and tighten. Grab both ends together in front of you and slip them under the front panel piece. Tighten again, you want to achieve a fitted tshirt kind of effect. cross them over in front of you and pass around to tie at the back.
Here is a link for a good YouTube tutorial - https://youtu.be/WEhqszyOi-4
Remember to follow the TICKS guidelines for safely carrying your baby - http://babyslingsafety.co.uk/