It has been a while since I broke out my sewing machine. In fact, it has been at least since August when I started packing up our old house for the move. Our craft room/office is a shared space that is still a work in progress and the current home of several papers and boxes that need to be sorted, but over the long weekend I managed to create enough space to dig out my sewing machine and make my little guy one last Christmas gift in time for Epiphany Sunday!But before I get into this project- I want to praise my old, trusty sewing machine. I inherited this machine from my mother who tells me she had it since before I was born. I LOVE it and feel so lucky to have it. It’s not plastic like the majority of machines these days- it is metal and it is solid. I am still figuring out little tricks and tips for using it but at this point I have the basics down and there is something profoundly calming about hearing the whir of the machine and watching something come together before my eyes. We don’t have a lot of wiggle room in our budget for craft supplies or fancy machines so if it weren’t for receiving this one, I’d be on a super low quality plastic one or possibly wouldn’t have started sewing at all.
I got into sewing when my son was just old enough to really start loving his exersaucer- it was the perfect place to put him while I sewed. He would amuse himself with the toys and laugh at the sound of the machine and happily oblige when I’d take measurements if I was making something for him. I really had no clue what I was doing. I got help from a sweet friend who agreed to give me lessons via Skype- talk about patience, dealing with a machine she’d never used before and trouble shooting over the internet.
Now… things are a little different. My son is way too big for an exersaucer and still too little to understand why he can’t push the really fun pedal on the machine that makes it go… or play with scissors… or throw fabric everywhere. And it isn’t much fun for me to be in a position where I constantly have to tell him NO. So I mostly sew during naps or after bedtime now, though for this project my husband gave me the gift of a lot of time all in one weekend.
I was inspired to create this doll carrier because when I was practicing to become a Volunteer Babywearing Educator with my local BWI chapter, my little guy wasn’t exactly into being worn so much as he was into wanting to play with the practice doll and all the carriers. He was delighted when I tied a Mei Tai on him with his mickey doll but it of course engulfed him so I knew right then I had to make him his own that was a better size! Plus, I already had all the materials I needed for a Mei Tai without having to worry about ordering rings or buckles to make versions of other carriers.
I based by pattern off of this tutorial but made a few tweaks. I used felt instead of quilting batting as the stuffing in between the outer layers to make it a little more sturdy without having to top stitch and worry about the batting moving around (plus, more economical), I made the seam allowance a little less (thus changing the width of the fabric I cut and the height of the panel piece I cut), and I made the waist strap longer to actually tie instead of velcro, though I am debating adding velcro to save myself the retying every time little guy changes his mind about wanting it on or off… I chose fabric to match the Tula carrier I have that has carried my son so often. I know, it’s a little cheesy to be so match match but it made me REALLY happy and he seems to get excited seeing his mini version hang right next to my full size!
This project had more steps than any sewing endeavor I’d tried to date but all of the steps were super easy so the project was easier but more time consuming than anything I had done before. It was totally worth it and I wouldn’t be surprised if I tried my hand at it again with how many friends I have that babywear and have or are expecting adorable little ones! More importantly, I hope that my son keeps wanting to be involved with my sewing projects and keeps wanting to show affection to his stuffed animals. Maybe some day he will inherit this same little sewing machine from me, maybe not, but at the very least I want him to know that I’m happy to nurture these kind, creative, inquisitive interests.