Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Scandi Mei Tai: Take 3 (and make 3) - with Hood Modification Tutorial

I love my Scandi Mei Tai I made when my son was younger (not this one, which the mama I gave it to uses daily with her now 6-month old, but the one I kept).  It is super comfortable, and really lightens the load of my toddler, just like she promises in the tutorial.  I took off the hood, though, because it didn't close nicely.  I also modified the first hood (the one that gets tons of use) to add elastic to the sides and make it bigger. I also added a cell phone pocket and a little snapping pocket on the end of one of the straps that would fit a credit card or similar.
 I just found some really cool heavy-weight cotton fabrics at Ikea.  They immediately made me think of Mei Tais.  Having everyone I know (well, almost) tell me they are 14 weeks pregnant within the same two weeks also got me sewing Mei Tais.
 In the first two (the green and black one and the grey and hot pink one), I used the heavy cotton on the outside and for the straps and neutral hemp fleece on the inside.  The padding on the shoulders and waistband is cheap JoAnn's fleece scraps (which I buy from their remnant bin).  The interior hidden canvas is the bottom of a friend's curtains.
 I have recently begun using my iron extensively when sewing. I read on someone's blog (sorry, I don't remember whose!) that the difference between hand made and hand crafted is often if the pieces are pressed throughout the construction process. I am seeing my work look a LOT cleaner since then.  Plus, my iron makes a really cool blast of steam when I push the button and my son loves watching and helping with ironing.
 I modified her pattern to add a pocket to the front.  The pocket of the hot pink and grey Mei Tai has a zipper.  The others have a snap.  After doing the one with the zipper, it seemed that it wasn't worth the extra effort to have it zip up.  I made the pocket on each 10" by 8" and cut two pieces, stitched them right sides together, then turned and topstitched. I made sure the hole for turning would be on the bottom.  Before attaching it, I edgestitched the top, open seam so that it would match the other three stitched sides upon completion.  I chose to use the same fabric as the body for most of the pockets so that the main body fabric wouldn't get lost behind the pocket.
 I also modified her hood.  I really like this iteration of the hood (my fourth try at a hood for this Mei Tai pattern since I did then re-did the one on my first).  This is basically an imitation of the Ergo hood.  It is as wide as the opening between the straps at the bottom (10") and widens to 18" at the top.  It is 18" tall and tapered from the bottom to the top.  I kept the straps as she suggests, two at 2" by 14" to attach to the wider side and two at 2" by 3" to attach on the shoulder straps starting at 7" up from the main body.

To make the hood, I cut two of these pieces, then stitched them right sides together with the shorter side left open for turning.  I made sure to sandwich the two longer straps into the wider edge.  I then chose which side would face out and stitched the elastic onto that inside seam allowance (exterior side facing up) using a zig-zag stitch and pulling the elastic tight wile sewing. I used Lastin. You could stitch it either side up but choosing the exterior side will help determine which way the hood will roll once completed.

I then turned it and pushed out the corners.  I topstitched along the wider edge only. You could do all three sides, but I didn't want to make the elastic any less stretchy, which seems to happen when topstitching after attaching it like this.  If you really want to topstitch three sides, then you could attach the elastic using a casing method instead.

I attached the hood as per her tutorial.
The third Mei Tai I made is reversible.  I used the heavy canvas fabric on both sides, and added a pocket to both sides.  I opted to have the hood fabric the same as the body when off rather than on the baby, and like how this looks.  The choice could have very easily been made to go the other direction. I did two sets of straps on the shoulder straps for the hood to attach onto-- one on each side.
These feel a lot thicker to me than the last two I made.  Those were both made with light cotton, though.  I think these will stand up to washings a LOT better. I am also really liking the hood adjustments.  I will have to see if the pocket works properly or if its size and location need further refinement.

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  1. Hello, I'm very interested in getting the pattern of these Baby carriers, where did you get the pattern. I'm from Argentina. Thanks

  2. http://nicollesoriginals.blogspot.com/2009/09/scandi-mei-tai.html There is a link to it in my first post about Mei Tais, which includes the modifications I made.



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