Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ring Slings

I got an email today regarding the learning curve with wraps and the person was looking to learn how to make their own ring sling.  Since I used to sell them, they figured I would give instruction, but I decided to pass this person along to Jan Andrea since she is very much the expert on DIY ring slings.  Her webpage has all the information you will ever need for making ring slings.  A lot of people do like ring slings more than wraps.  For one reason, they are much more easier to use when you are starting with babywearing.  I think it took a day or so to learn how to really get the ring sling where I liked it, where as the wrap it took a few weeks of trying different things, and sometimes frustration trying to get it just right.  However with an older kid I would rather a wrap because there is more support over your entire body, but for wee squishes, I'd take a ring sling. 
So for those looking for information on ring slings, I do sudjest checking out Jan Andreas webpage. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Slingin to Church

Our first really successful experience with babywearing in our home was with ring slings.  They were the first carriers we used that I found comfortable enough "to go the distance", so when I have the opportunity to borrow one from someone (since we no longer have any, they have all been passed on to other mammas), we take it... by opportunity to borrow on I mean I called my neighbour and told her I wanted to borrow hers *insert evil laughter here*

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Step by Step- DIY your own baby wrap!- Washing, and cutting, and sewing

Part two of my step by step diy wrap instruction
part one can be found here

After you have found your perfect fabric the first thing you need to do with it is wash the fabric.  This is very important because the fabric may shrink a little and if you wait till you are finished sewing it to wash, you are going to have a mess.  Your fabric should come with washing instructions, if it does not, ask one of the people working in the fabric shop the best way to care for your material. 
My advice for you is, if its going to be a challenge to wash it every time, you may want to consider another fabric.  Babies spit up, poop, pee, etc.  Wraps can get dirty, so washing usually happens time to time.  For the most part, natural fabrics are easiest to care for, so usually dont cause problems.

Dry your fabric in the dryer, this will help make sure it has done its strinking.

When you are done washing your fabric, you need to cut it to the width you want.  I sudgest making it between 27-32 inches wide. Rember you are going to be hemming it so I would make it about 1.5, two inches wider than you really want it.  Depending on the width of the material when you buy it, you may be able to get two wraps out of it! 

Now you will need to hem your wraps edges.  Some people like to iron their seams first making it a bit easier at the sewing machine... I am too lazy and I dont do it.  As far as thread goes, get the colour you want- most people like to get a colour that is the same colour as their fabric.  If you are dying your wrap (I will have instructions soon on how to dye a wrap soon), then you can buy a white cotton thread and it will dye up nice.  I always use Gutermann's 100 percent cotton threads.       They are very strong good quality threads.

At the sewing machine I fold the edge twice this way you are not seeing the raw edge

fold once                                   fold again

My sewing machine has markers on it so I can make sure that the seam is the same width the whole way down which is why I dont iron it first.  I sew a bit then I fold the next stretch, sew, fold, etc. 
Sew down the side of your seam near where you folded, that way it is closed. It does not really matter how long your stitches are, but a smaller stitch in my opinion always looks nicer.  It takes a bit longer, but in the end, I think its worth it.

Do this down the two long sides of your wrap and the two ends of your wrap and TADA you are finished and have a cheap affordable comfortable baby carrier! 

next in the series ~~ Dying your wrap

A strrrretchy morning

I wanted to gift a darling wonderful friend of mine a baby carrier for her and her wee little baby.  Her daughter is on the smaller side, so I figured a ring sling or a stretchy wrap might do her best since they are both new to babywearing and I always found ring slings and stretchy wraps easier to use when first starting out.  I happened to have a beautiful blue stretchy material up in our closet so I pulled it out and it was the perfect length and perfect width.  And now that I knew my sewing machine had a stretch setting on it, I was giddy with excitement.  Ofcourse, you do not need to hem a stretchy wrap if you dont want too since it doesnt fray.. but it does add that nice finished look to it.

My husband came over to me and started asking about stretchy wraps etc and what the difference was because we didnt use a stretchy for very long..mainly because our children were all around the 10lbs mark when they were born!!!!  He then asked "why dont you use yours now..."  I had to demonstrate...

This is why... LOL.  Zayden is over 30 lbs now.  And I tied him up at my chest to start...this within a few bounces is where he ended up LOL.  

Mind you he thought this spot was great because he was right in front of his lunch.  Hense why he is laughing histarically in this photo. 

But my friends daughter is only 5lbs at 3 weeks, so I know they will get a lot of use out of the stretchy wrap we made for her this morning.  Then when her daughter gets too big for that, we can move her up in babywearing and get her hooked on some other carriers :D

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Step by Step- DIY your own baby wrap!- FABRICS

This is an extention of my webpage which is currently not up. sorry for any inconvience

I have been notified that getting this information on the barefoot buttercup blog would be a good idea.  So here it goes.  Over the next few weeks I will be posting all my DIY ideas and obsessions for my followers and peekers to see (I see you Carly, I know you are there)

Did you know that your local fabric store, thrift store or even department store could very well have the wrap of your dreams inside? The only problem is, its not quite a wrap yet! But it isnt hard to do!

The great thing about making your own wrap is that no one will ever have the exact same wrap as you. It would be your unique carrier for you and your child. It is something you can look at and say "hey, I made that!" And I think that is a terrific feeling! 
What should you look for in a material for making a woven wrap?
I sudgest using a cotton, or something made with natural fibers. They breathe better. You want it to be a relaxed fabric too, something flexible and not stiff, you dont want to wrap a baby in canvas or leather!! Think, "would I liked to be wrapped in this?"
Another thing to conisder is, does "the sun shine through?" When holding the material up to the light, can you see the light peeking through the weave? If so, thats good! you dont want a very tight weave (like in quilters cottons for example) ..that doesnt help it be comfortable.  You will most likley end up with pressure points. If the sun is shining through this means more comfort and breathablity... think table cloth like... and btw, woven table cloths make excellent shorter wraps!  For a woven wrap, you dont want a ton of horizontal or vertical stretch like jersey would have.  You want it to be able to be used with your child through the time you are wearing you child, and that means even when they are toddlers, maybe even preschool age.  Stretchy material is fantastic for wearing little ones who dont weigh a ton, but will sag with a bigger child and are not reccomended for back carries.  (click link to see why)
Here are some examples of what I have found in hopes to better help you find the right thing.  First lets take a peek in the fashion section of your local fabric store
 -dont go for fabrics such as quilters cottons, shiny polyesters, or satin. Although yes you CAN wrap a baby in them (because face it, you can wrap a baby in almost anything!) , it isnt as comfy as openly woven, natural materials that also go on sale quite a bit, so in the long run is better and cheaper! :D

Lets have a look at cotton gauze. Gauze usually sell for about 7$ a meter CDN, so 7 x 5 meters =35$
and sales happen frequently, so it can get even cheaper than this! 
100% gauze or crinkle cotton is an easy and practical choice. Crinkle cotton is slightly heavier than 100% cotton gauze. It is very breathable for summer, dyes easy . I reccomend buying at least five meters of the gauze or crinkle cotton. If there is too much, you can always shorten it. Better to buy too much than too little. with a wrap that is going to be thin like this, I reccomend cutting it to be around 32 inches wide, that way you have more shoulder padding.  Gauze, I find you have to wrap more careful when your children get bigger.  By this I mean you have to wrap them slower so its as tight as sloppy wrap jobs with a gauze wrap because then it can be not as comfortable.  But get a good nice carry with it and you're good to go.

Sometimes when browsing the fabric store you will come across amazing woven materials that are cotton or cotton blends or a blend of another natural fiber. The one in the picture shown below is a 55% linen, 45% cotton blend. It is a tiny bit thicker than gauze, and is breatheable, moveable, and has no stretch to it. This type of fabric will make an excellent wrap. Needs a bit more breaking in due to the linen, but works wonderfully. I would reccomend a material like this be hemmed between 27-32 inches wide and again, 5 meters long. osnaberg, woven hemp/cotton blends will work amazing as well, but like linen, they need to be broken in a bit more.  I dyed this wrap with Dylon Cold Water Dyes, which are safe for dying and are widley available in Canada at Fabric Land stores as well as other stores such as Walmart and craft and fabric distributors. 

Lets journey to the upholstry section!
****a few things to consider when looking here...

Some upholstry fabrics are treated with things like a stain gaurd, or are permanant press. They can be made of synthetic fibres just like you would find in other departments. Make sure you read your fabric label carefully. You do not want to purchase something that is treated with chemicals.. remember, you are wrapping precious cargo in your wrap. If you are unsure ask an employee of the fabric store. They will be able to assist you.

The upholstry section can be a gold mine!!! You can buy some amazing jaquard fabrics, that have no wrong side, are 100% natural fibres and are absolutly beautiful. Some can be very heavy, like in this example of a upholstry material I purchased.  As thick as this is, it is a very very comfortable wrap, in all honestly, the most comfortable wrap I own.  Even though it technically has a "wrong side".. which would be the lighter side, it is still quite beautiful on each side. So it can be worn either way.  It is not 100% cotton, however, it was an "unknown fibre"... but for the price I got it for, which was about 4$ CDN a meter, I grabbed it anyways... I did a burn test when I got home, discovered it is most likley a cotton/rayon blend. 

The pictures below show just how much thicker this wrap is from a gauze wrap.  Next to that is a photo that shows how the light shines through the weave.

This material that I have dyed using Dylon cold water dyes was also found in the upholstry section on clearance. It is 100% cotton, but called "linen look". It has made a very nice wrap. 32 inches wide, 4.5 meters long.

Get down and really look and take your time especially in the upholstry section.  Usually the bolts are stored in such chaos in some stores that a hidden treasure could be burried.  My blue woven wrap material was like that.  Hidden at the very bottom of the shelf, almost collecting dust. 

Next post will be about sewing your wrap.  Stay tuned and Happy Babywearing! 

Some of my favorite babywearing photos

Going through my albums recently brought back a lot of memories of babywearing moments that have passed through our household.  Each shares such a terrific story.  We have so much fun with the carriers that have come to life in our house.  I wanted to share some of them with you.

the first sling I ever made.  Made with fabric my Mom got at the thrift store and some sturdy hardware rings. Those puppies hold up to 300 lbs! LOL

Cinderella's first Mei Tai

dinowearing (this didnt last long) LOL

That was a long Santa Clause Parade

puppy wearing! Im a proud Grandma!
These were my "furry" sons children LOL.

Eyore wearin'

Spiderman hitchin a ride


dancin with Mom

Iron Mom

Planting my thrid childs Cherry Tree (he is inside the wrap snoozin away)


teach em young

Step away from the wife with the wooden spoon LOL

who is this weirdo who's wearing me?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Simulator Dolls, highschool, and babywearing

Remember those simulator dolls from highschool?
Remember bring these things home thinking this was going to be a peice of cake... and if you were like me bringing it back after 24 hours of being sick from nervousness from failing your parenting class, and luggin the car seat around, lugging the stroller on the bus, bringing the big huge diaper bag etc.

Man I really wish I knew about babywearing then. 

I think I would have kept the doll for as long as I was supposed to.  Instead I wrote an essay about why I knew I would never be a parent...

I have three amazing children as I type this who make me smile everyday.  Those dolls do work showing that babies arent easy peasy, but they lack character thats for sure!  

But I just sit here laughing because if I just had a sling, or a wrap, heck even a snuggli carrier I would have been soooooo less stressed.  

Those things werent even mentioned to me as an option! 

I kinda got excited tonight too because I know full out that if my children do have to use these simulator dolls during parenting class I am TOTALLY going to be pulling out the stash that I know I will probably never be able to part with.