When I was a little girl, my mom used to make everything herself from dolls to clothing and more. As an adult I look back on her craftiness and ingenuity fondly and seek to do more of that myself. While these days my mom and family would rather buy it than make it (or even think about making it), I think it’s empowering to do it yourself. I’ve wanted to teach and demonstrate to my children from birth onward how to think of the world and things differently. When you do it yourself, you take pride in your work and your things– you won’t invest the time in things that you don’t care about and you won’t just carelessly throw away these things either. We keep the skills of patching, knitting, crocheting, and perhaps even making your own fabric, thread, and all manner of clothing and toy alive. In less than 100 years we may have forgotten, but in less than a week we can remember.
To take this re-envisioning of life and things to the next step by making baby and children’s clothes, props, wraps, and so forth with my own initiative is to truly start my family and children on the path of living radically. Radically unbound and free from the limitations of what’s in their wallet or stocked in shelf at the closest store. Radical people only limited by their imagination. 🙂 Perhaps they will even take doing-it-yourself to the next level like “repair it yourself” cafes in Netherlands and San Francisco’s city streets!
With a fast paced culture, taking the time to make something yourself (through trial and tribulation) is important in itself! This is the slow-food of living: cutting fabric, pinning it, stitching it, assembling it… it’s much easier to just go buy the same thing but what do you lose in the process? What are you telling yourself (it’s easier, you have no time to do it yourself, you aren’t good enough to do it properly…)? What are you communicating to those who are watching you make these decisions? And in my opinion, in a way, when we tell ourselves that it’s easier to go buy something and that we just don’t have time, energy, *insert excuse here* we are preparing ourselves for making excuses about more important things in the future. I can’t play with my kid because I’m too tired, there’s no time, no space, … Teach yourself that you don’t always need to go buy something– that you’re skilled and crafty enough to do it yourself as well as start your parenting path off with taking some control back into your own hands. Amaze yourself that you found the time, energy, skill and ability to do it yourself. Set yourself up for success now when it’s just about cutting a piece of fabric and not tantrums and the myriad pitfalls of parenting.
After all, ability, energy, time… it’s all in your perspective.
So here is a list of some do-it-yourself tutorials on making baby wraps. While I don’t personally vibe with the term “baby-wearing,” I’ve used the baby Bjorn and now the Moby and I am truly a fan. It’s amazing how happy it makes you and the baby and how calm and free it keeps everyone. Some days nothing would get done without the fabulous freedom of a baby carrier or wrap. And really, I could often care less about accomplishing a bunch of tasks in the day, but when your baby is quite fussy and nothing seems to work but the wrap, you know you have something special. So, in honor of the spirit of radicalism, revolution, re-envisioning, reclamation and wrapping, here are some different wraps and how to make them.
For the Moby Mommies…
If you’ve ever seen a moby wrap, you’ll quickly realize you just paid what seemed like a good deal (around $50) for a really really long piece of fabric with a logo on it. So here’s a nice little tutorial on how to cut a really really long piece of fabric like a Moby Wrap (which is a really really long piece of fabric). Unless you’re smart like me in which case you already bought one and then realized that you could have just as easily cut some jersey cloth into a strip. So, if you’ve got material lying around your house or the low-cost-per-yard-hook-up, this is for you!
and because we don’t want to leave out brother or sister here’s a tutorial on a “no-sew” kiddie carrier (Moby Style): http://www.inhabitots.com/no-sew-diy-doll-carrier/
Other Excellent Wraps:
From the Maya Wrap website: http://www.mayawrap.com/n_sewsling.php which also sells baby slings for around $75 a piece:
and for the rings, http://www.slingrings.com/ seems to be the go-to source for DIY Sling making madres.
Here are some other slings:
a DIY Baby K-Tan sling from Crafty Mama: http://thecraftymamablog.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/homemade-baby-ktan/
and a super detailed accounting on how to make a Scandi Mei Tai: http://scanditute.blogspot.com/
There are so many tutorials out there when you have the mind to look! Many of these wraps (especially the Moby wrap) are so easy to make that it is almost a shame not to make it yourself. And with prices from $50 upward, if you’re looking to save some money (though rest assured if you’re not confident in your crafting, it’s so worth the money) you can empower yourself while pocketing some of that money you’d otherwise spent. Win-win, eh? Happy crafting & baby-wearing!