Friday, July 31, 2015

It is finished

 This is a wrap conversion half buckle with wrap straps. I'm not sure if this is considered a Mei Tai or a hybrid. The straps and waist band are padded with a soft high density foam, while the head rest and legs out sides padding is a little less dense.

The reason I went with wrap straps instead of a full buckle design is because I find buckles under my arms to be somewhat annoying. Now, if one were to have fixed straps without the buckle (such as with a Boba or Tula) than there is only webbing to contend with. Though I can still get a nice carry with an adjustable buckle carrier like Kinderpack and Beco's Gemini that allows you to wear the straps straight or crossed because of the buckle. Truth be told I miss my Gemini, which I sold to acquire a infant sized Kinderpack. I feel that right now the Kinderpack is too wide on the top and my little one doesn't seem as comfortable in it. While the standard size was a fabulous fit for her older siblings, I'm struggling to find the love with the infant version. I save it for times when I truly just need quick "ups" or errands.

 Meanwhile at home I'm more drawn to using a wrap to achieve a carry that's imitates what an arms embrace would feel like. Which brings me to the second reason I wanted wrap straps and this narrow contoured body panel was so I could adjust the carrier for a more custom fit every time. To narrow the seat I place the waist belt higher (where you'd want a new baby anyhow), and can spread the wrap passes in such a way as to hug the baby more snuggly than I could in my full buckle carrier.

I wish I could make more of these! I wish I could sell them... or donate them without fear of regulations and lawsuits should someone has an accident or something. I think that this design has some potential, but I don't have the time nor capital to test it in order to make it compliant... but if all I had to do was sew, I'd make one of these a week with whatever wrap someone wanted just for the thrill of accomplishing something.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Curtain Mei Tai: take two

Having two curtain panels, and a desire for improvement I had to try this again. Ultimately the goal is to make the dream carrier, but I need to be sure before I cut into a hand woven wrap. These curtains were free, I loose nothing but time, thread, and padding in making them. I hope to make someone very happy with this sometime in the future.

This child prefers
his arms in, but he
could put them out.
So the panel on this one is much larger than the first, both in length and to some degree the width as well. However, the slimmer contour design of my first one is still apparent. I want baby to be able to stick out his/her arms and for ventilation to flow from the sides of the carrier. The wrap straps provide the customizable support so additional fabric along the torso isn't necessary. To be sure the wrap straps can make this carrier very snug, almost too snug at times (and I loosen it some for a little more breathing room). I suspect that perhaps a woven wrap fabric will have a little more give than the canvas curtains.

I really like wearing these mei tais, but I'm not fond of fumbling with the straps, especially the waist straps. However, I do think the wrap straps are much better than the discomfort of hard plastic buckles and hardware which can sometimes dig into your underarms and sides. The dream carrier might end up being a half buckle, wrap strap hybrid. I can't decide.

Another thing I am not sold on yet is the tie hood straps. I think the adjustability of the hood is second to none! However, I haven't figure out how to adjust them while in a back carry without assistance. These straps can be tied up to four different levels, but I can't reach the bottom two. In the picture above the hood is tied off at the first level adjustment.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

No buckels, snaps, nor webbing

Back to the basics with a few updates; my latest project was the repurposing of some old drapes into a Mei Tai baby carrier. Having heard raves about wrap straps I gave them a go, however didn't quite get the right angle when I pinned them in, so they pucker out from the top somewhat, which isn't all bad in that it causes the straps to stick up like a side head wing for the baby. Padding was added to the waist band, shoulder straps, head rest, and legs out area, helping to eliminate digging and wrap lines. The body of this carrier is extra small to better conform to my new "squish."

I'm glad I worked with this old curtain before cutting into the wrap I have sitting in the project box, as I'd need to change a few things if I made another Mei Tai. The straps are great! The hood and body panel have potential, and the waist is very comfortable. Still, some lines would need to be drawn a little differently.