northern momma sewing up a storm!

Dolly Mei Tai {a tutorial}

Bringing home a guest post from over at Ginger Snap Crafts! Enjoy! Also, y’all, I’m on Facebook. Yup. I think I have one like. Ha. Head over if you want: The Crazy Tailor

My daughter is such a little mommy. Always feeding, burping, carrying her dolly, and just lately, she’s been trying to stuff dolly down her shirt! When I asked her about that, she said she was trying to carry her dolly. Got me thinking…I use a mei tai for wearing my little boy and so I asked her if she would like a baby carrier. YES. In pink please. Alrighty then!

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I used an online tutorial when I made my own mei tai, but I was just winging this dolly one. Please do not enlarge this pattern or use it for carrying real babies. There is no reinforcement stitching that would be required to bear any weight. This mei tai is made for a 2 1/2 year old carrying a 12-15″ baby/stuffed animal, but it would fit an older child just by making the straps longer.

Let’s get started! You’ll need to cut the following pieces:

1 — 6 1/2″ x 7 1/2″ (center square)

2 — 2 1/2″ x 7 1/2″ (side strips)

2 — 2 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ (top and bottom strips)

2 — 5″ x 40″ (shoulder straps)

1 — 5″ x child’s waist measurement + 5 inches (my daughter’s waist is 20″ so I cut mine 25″ long)

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optional: 1 piece of very lightweight quilt batting. If you choose a heavier fabric than quilting cotton then this is probably unnecessary, but I felt it gave the carrier a bit more structure.

**I used a 1/2″ seam allowance throughout this tutorial**

Instructions:

1. Sew your shorter side strips (2 1/2″ x 7 1/2″) to the long side of your centre square piece right sides together (RST). Press open.

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2. Sew the longer strips (2 1/2″ x 9 1/2″) to the top and bottom RST. Press open. You should now have a 9 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ top piece, which makes up the body of your carrier.

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3. Looking at the back of your main piece, fold down the top corners to your seam line and press in place. This is where you will place your shoulder straps in a bit. (sorry, my photo is upsidedown…haha!)

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4. Using your top piece as a template, cut out one lining piece from a contrast fabric. (Optional: if you’re using the quilt batting, also cut one out using your top piece as a template, but then take 1/2″ off all sides – see photo. This lessens the bulk at the edges of your finished carrier)

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5. Fold your long strap pieces long edges together RST. Sew the long side and when you near the end, make a nice point. Leave the other end open for turning. Turn right side out (I like to use a crochet hook) and press.

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6. Pin your straps into place onto the front piece right over the folded corners, and be sure to fold the length of the strap up into the middle so it won’t be caught in the seams.

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7. Place your lining piece on top of the straps and pin all around. This is how your layers should be: outer piece right side up, straps in place, lining right side down. Nice little sandwich there. Again, make sure those ties are all tucked in so they don’t get caught!

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8. Sew the sides and top of this using a 1/2″ seam allowance. When you get to the corner where your strap is, be sure to sew JUST to the strap (feel for it as you’re sewing closer, or mark it with a pencil or fabric marker), then needle down, pivot, sew the angle to the edge of the strap, needle down, pivot and so on. This will make your strap lie just perfectly when you turn it out. Be sure to leave the bottom open.

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9. Turn right side out through the opening you left on the bottom and press well.

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10. If using the quilt batting, insert that now, making sure there are no lump or wrinkles in there!

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11. I decided to make this a little more fancy and did some topstitching around the sides and a bit in the middle (also, necessary if you used quilt batting as it would get all lumpy without some topstitching).

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12. Now, with your waist strap folded long edges together RST, mark the center, and then 5″ out from the center on both sides.

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13. Sew from the 5″ mark down to the corner and turn. Do this on both ends.

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14. Now for this next part, I blanked out and forgot to take pictures! Ok, so turn the waist piece right side out and press well. The 10″ opening should still be there, and be sure to press those seam allowances in 1/2″ on both sides. Then insert the bottom unfinished edge of your carrier into the opening by a half inch. Pin it in place and then topstitch beginning an inch before the opening, and ending an inch after. That will secure the carrier to the waist strap.

15. Add Velcro, snaps, buttons, whatever you prefer as a fastener. I used Velcro so the waist band would overlap by 2 inches.

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Now find a little girl that’s tired of toting that baby doll around, and tie this thing on her! I start by doing up the waist strap, situate the dolly just so, then bring the shoulder straps over, criss-cross in the back then around to the front again under dolly’s legs. Tie in a bow 🙂 This can also be worn on the back! My daughter loves to change her mind on the location multiple times a day 😉

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28 thoughts on “Dolly Mei Tai {a tutorial}”

  • This is so cute! I really need to make one for my little girl! Her big brother has his own mini carrier and she’s been asking for one of her own. I really like the velcro closure, my son’s has hard buckles so he usually needs my help with it.

  • Thank you so much for making this tutorial. I was able to whip one out in a few hours as a gift for a friend’s daughter. I made mine totally reversible and used fusible fleece pellon F987 on each side as padding and for more structure instead of batting. Super happy and in love with the finished product. Do you have a flicker group or anything where we can post photos?

  • LOVE this tutorial! Thanks so much for posting! I am planning on making this as Christmas gift. It is for a 5 year old with an 18 in baby doll. Do you think that the bigger baby doll (and bigger child) would work well using your dimensions?

    • Thanks! Glad this will get some use this holiday season 🙂 I think the carrier size will probably be fine. The only modifications I would make would be to lengthen the waist strap and the ties. For an average-sized child, I would add at least 3″ to the waist strap (and maybe do more Velcro to make it more adjustable, unless you know waist measurements) and 6″-7″ to each tie. For what it’s worth, my skinny-minnie 3 1/2 year old can still wear the original one I made here 🙂

    • I don’t remember, but it was just a quilting cotton from Joann Fabric. I checked their site and couldn’t find it – sorry!

  • I just made this and loved your pattern! Obviously the first one is always the most challenging as you figure you what you did and how but they came together so nicely! I actually made 5 with the scraps/extras I had laying around! My girls love them! Thanks!

  • Thanks so much for your tutorial. My 2 year old grandson carries one of his big sister’s dolls around tucked in his shirt so I made one for him and, of course one for his sister. They both turned out great. Your directions were very easy to follow and it only took a couple of hours to make both.

    • Thanks so much! If you’re on Facebook, feel free to share a photo of your creation to my Facebook wall: http;//facebook.com/thecrazytailor I’d love to see it 🙂

  • You inspired me, I used my Air Force maternity BDU uniform and some pretty purple butterfly material to make one for my daughter. My second daughter will get one made from the maternity ABU uniform I wore when I was prego with her. Thank you so much.

  • Just whipped one of these up. I am not sure if I did something wrong, but I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance and all the same cutting measurements. My straps and bottom piece are only 2 inches wide when finished. The ones on yours look wider than that.

    • Nope, that’s correct! The starting width is 5″, then folded in half and sewn with a 1/2″ s.a. should make them 2″ finished width 🙂 I’d love to see photos when you’re done! You’re welcome to share over on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/thecrazytailor)!

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