I have now been using this method for a few months and are loving it. The only variation i can say that i’ve made since doing this video is i have done one egg yolk wash. After a couple months of doing this i was starting to get a waxy feel to my hair. This was fixed by doing an egg wash using 2 egg yolks whisked with a bit of water. This fixed it right away. I think i’ll be doing this every month or so.
For those interested in the science of eggs contain lecithin which is a natural emulsifier. This allows the oils from your hair to mix with the water which allows you to remove them. But eggs also contain protein and other vitamins that are great for your hair. You don’t want to use eggs too often however otherwise the protein to moisture ratio of hair will get out of balance. The protein strengthens the hair but too much can mean it dries out. From what i’ve read about once a month is ok though but it really depends on your individual hair.
I had a couple of polar fleece throw blankets in in my linen cupboard, and now i’m so very glad that I did as these have been fantastic for a number of sewing projects for my baby and have really helped us out with some cloth diapering issues.
So without further a due here are all the things i’ve made from my blankets so far:
1. Sleeping Bag. I already did a whole post on this including the pattern i made up but the inner layer of the sleeping bag used most of one whole fleece blanket.
2. Diaper Liners These have been invaluable for several reasons. Firstly they wick away moisture so have really helped prevent nappy/diaper rash. And when Finn has had a rash then using these have allowed me to use some heavier ointments without risk of it getting on our cloth diapers and them getting wrecked.
Secondly now that my baby is on solids poos are a much bigger deal and need to get flushed down the toilet. While they do make disposable flushable liners these I found not good to use as I am then left with a liner that I have to dispose of every diaper change regardless if there is a poo in it or not. Whereas using a fleece liner i can put non-soiled ones in the diaper bucket along with the diapers which is no extra effort. When they are soiled a lot of the time all i have to do is walk it over to the toilet and often the offending poo just falls off it into the toilet. Sometimes I have to use the diaper sprayer but that isn’t always and isn’t much trouble.
3. Fleece Soaker Pants
So i have a very heavy wetter especially at night and often even the most absorbent diaper isn’t enough – disposables are no better either. For a while i had a knitted diaper cover over everything and that helped but he outgrew it. My polar fleece scraps again came to the rescue and I made some fleece soaker pants. These were so easy to make too and very quick – about 20mins work in all. What is cleaver about these is they exploit a completely different property of the polar fleece. While in diaper liner form they wick away the moisture (this occurs as the liquid is warm), by the time it gets to the soaker pants it is a lot less warm and the pant hold back the moisture from getting through! It is quite a magical fabric!
Mei Tai Baby Carrier Padding Finally my handy polar fleece came to the rescue again this time as padding for a mei tai baby carrier that i made. I used it to pad the arm straps, around the legs, the neck and also the waist band. It is a very comfortable carrier!
So I hope this inspires you to look around your home for odds and ends that can be repurposed, such as old blankets or sheets. And in particular do not throw away polar fleece blankets – they have so many uses! I haven’t even got into other more obvious ones such as making warm clothing!
I might also now keep an eye out for blankets on sale. I’ve seen some really cute print ones at kmart online for only $5! They are probably something easy to pick up at charity stores as well.
Sleeping bags for babies are a great invention. To buy them new however is a huge expense and honestly I don’t know why as they are a very simple item of clothing/bedding. Having looked at a few commercial ones I think the best designs are those that are really big but adjustable so they last several years rather than being just one size the baby grows out of.
Now I am not the most experienced of sewers, in fact until my baby was born I had only ever sewn about 2 skirts and some boxer shorts in Home Economics at school. I can barely follow the instructions on a commercial pattern. But sewing for a baby is easy! The items are small, and if they don’t look great then they are too young to complain! haha.
So far i’ve sewn various babywearing carriers (see my previous posts), some simple dribble bibs and now i’ve made a new winter wight sleeping bag which is what i’m sharing with you now.
I don’t have a craft store nearby and I think purchasing fabric for craft projects often makes them more expensive than just buying items from a store. So this sleeping bag is made from 3 old blankets I had lying around the house. The only craft items I used were a zipper and some snaps. I think velcro would also work, possibly better as it is a bit worrying doing snaps and making sure they are secure and not a potential choking hazard. However I didn’t have any velcro on hand so i’ll be monitoring the security of my snaps until i can replace them with some velcro.
I had videoed the whole process of me making this, but unfortunately I accidentally deleted it from my camera. So written descriptions will have to suffice instead.
Materials: See pattern below
1. Inner Fabric: polar fleece (I used an old lap blanket but you could buy fabric. Probably about 2m worth)
2. Outer Fabric: Something decorative but warm also if possible. I used some flannelette baby blankets that i had (2 of them). You’ll need the same amount of material as the inner fabric.
3. Sewing Machine Thread
4. Snaps or velcro
5. A fairly long zip. Mine was 65cm. Less could be ok but you want it to go at least half the length of the pattern.
If you wanted to you could even add another layer, perhaps to line the inside which would make it warmer and also look a bit nicer. I didn’t do this though. But if you go this route just cut out the same amount again in another fabric.
1. Cut out your fabric. There is about 1cm of seam allowance already built into it.
2. Put together the inner and outer fabric for the front and back (note front and back are identical at this point in the pattern). Now quilt the inner and outer fabric together. You can do this however you want. For example you can run a series of straight parallel stitches through the fabric. Or you could do checks or some other shape. You might like to be inspired by whatever print is on the fabric.
5. Make a rolled edge around the arm holes and the neck. On the front piece fold the neck hole down a little deeper. You may find it best for the neck to make a series of perpendicular cuts into the fabric to help it fold over as it is a steep curve. A fancier alternative to this is to make piping with some extra fabric to encase these edges. You will want to cut away about 1cm or so of the fabric though to do this otherwise your neck and armholes will be too small.
4. Sew the zip on one side (thus also joining together the front and back). Then sew around the bottom and other side and at the shoulder on the oposite side to the zip. You don’t want to sew together and the shoulder near the zip as this gets joined with snaps instead.
5. Sew the shoulder flap pieces together then sew onto the main sleeping bag body.
6. Add snaps or velcro. You want some at the arm holes to make them smaller and also some on the shoulder flap to attach to the sleeping bag body. And your done!
So if you’ve been in the babywearing world for a little while you may notice everyone is going nuts about Pavo. Pavo is an American made textile brand making high-end woven wraps for babywearing. their designs are georgous, they have amazing wearing properties that have given them a reputation as ‘the toddler wrap’ brand including fantastic grip, cushiness and support for even the heaviest bubs. They also have extremely limited edition runs that sell out seconds after they are listed for sale. Parvotees (as fans are called) will literally sit at their computers counting down the seconds to a listing and even them will more often than not miss out. So with the hype comes the price tag to match and due to their rarity they often gain in value when they are traded inthe 2nd markets!
However there is one way you can get your own little piece of Pavo at a fraction of the normal price. In most countries woven wraps and other babywearing paraphernalia is sold and traded in Facebook groups. Often owners may decide they would like a shorter length wrap and rather than purchase a wholenew wrap they ‘chop’ it smaller. The offcut is then often sold either as ‘wrap scrap’ for sewing projects or depending on the length as a ringsling piece. That is what to look for if you want to be able to actually wear your little piece of Pavo: a ringsling piece which should be around about 2m long.
While you could send it off to get commercial converted, if you have a sewing machine ringslings are very easy to make yourself. Jan from Sleeping Baby Productions is kind enough to share her sewing instructions here
Now it is important to use the real deal rings on your sling as only these are safe. Look for the brand ‘Sling Rings’. and it is also good to use high quality threas like Gutterman 100% polyester.
And then you have a beautiful, imsanely comfortable wrap converted ringsling!
The one I made above is from a piece of Pavo Zebra Spearmint. It is the loveliest ringsling I’ve ever owned and i picked the wrap piece to convert as it looks good with one of my dressy dresses I wear to weddings and special occasions. I’ll be wearing to a few events coming up but it is far too comfortable to save just for special events.
Well I take back a lot of what I previously said in my last blog post about DIY babywearing. At least the negative stuff, because I now have the most fantastic homemade ring sling!
Ring slings are simple carriers that allow you to carry your baby in a single layer of fabric and adjust it with some specially made metal rings.
After my less than positive experience with the Mexican Blanket fabric from Spotlight (a craft store in Australia), I though i’d try another fabric of their’s: Mexican Poncho. This fabric was a lot thicker and had a twill weave which gives it a lovely stretch, grip and cushiness that I expect from a commercially woven wrap. And it is fabulous! It got some sling rings in medium sized and whipped up this ring sling in probably only about an hour of work following the method outlined in Sleeping Baby Productions making a pleated shoulder and bam I had the most comfy ringsling i’d ever tried! In fact I like it better than the 100% linen commercial ringsling I own.
So there you go, comfy DIY babywearing is possible, it is just important to have decently fabric. Finding that fabric is probably the hardest thing especially at a price point that is worthwhile. When I made this I also made another with a different mexican poncho fabric from the same craft store. And while these were both from the same fabric collection they could not be more different in how they felt as a ring sling. The other was only a plain weave with some kind of embroidery on it and it felt quite stiff with less stretch. Not nearly as comfortable as the one in the picture although still wearable.
For reference purposes this ring sling cost me $20 in fabric and $8 for the rings. So that is probably at least a third of the price of the cheapest commercial woven ringsling and I have some offcuts I can latter use for some other kind of project as well.
If you don’t already know this, woven wraps are a type to babycarrier. They are basically a long piece of sturdy woven fabric that you wrap around your body to tie your baby to you. Of all carrier types I find woven wraps the most comfortable, probably as the baby’s weight is distributed all around your torso. Babies usually love them too as they are a lot like being swaddled and they can probably hear your heartbeat.
Woven wraps are generally purpose made either handmade or on a machine loom and given particular physical characteristics of stretch and grippiness that make them ideal for babywearing. I had always heard that it was not recommended to make your own from fabric bought at a fabric store as there was very few fabrics that would be suitable and those that were would end up costing as much per meter as a purpose build babywearing wrap.
Anyway I recently discovered an Australian facebook group devoted to DIY babywearing. Turns out there is more fabric options that I realised that is suitable. In particular a fabric called Mexican Poncho and Mexican Blanket were experimented with alot by the group in making wraps, mei tais and ringslings. If you are in Australia these fabrics are from Spotlight fabric stores.
Anyway someone in the group was selling 5.5 meters of Mexican Blanket and passed it on to me at the sale price they had got it at ($20). From this I made both a ringsling which i’ll be giving away as a gift and a shortish wrap.
The process of doing this was very quick. I washed the fabric on a hot cycle in the washing machine to make sure it did all the shrinking it was ever going to do. Then I cut one side lengthways so that it was 75cm wide. Then I split it into 2 pieces, one a bit over 2m for the ringsling and whatever was left for the wrap. The ringsling I followed the instructions for a gathered shoulder ringsling from Sleepy Baby Productions here and hemmed up the edges with a simple rolled hem. I think both the wrap and the ringsling only took me about 1hr to make in total and most of that was spent ironing the fabric and the pleats of the ringsling.
So to review the wrap. I’d say Mexican Blanket is a lot thinner than im used to for a wrap. It is a lot more slippery and diggy on my shoulders than i’m used to. I have to be very careful unwrapping Finn when i’m wearing him as it doesn’t have the same grip of a commercial wrap that kind of holds him in even when it isn’t tied. That being said for such a cheap wrap (less than $20 as i also got a ringsling out of plus extra fabric from trimming the width) it is kind of great deal. Being so thin it very easily folds down tiny and fits even in my smallest baby bag as an emergency carrier. I probably wouldn’t choose to wear this for extended periods of time as it isn’t all that comfortable. So overall i’d say i’d much prefer a commercial wrap. However this has given me a chance to try out what a size 3 or 4 wrap is like and now I know it would probably be really useful to have one down the track, especially when I get into doing more back carries.
That being said if you have not experienced any woven wrap I would not recommend a DIY job as your first as it takes a little more experience to get it more comfortable and secure than a commercial wrap. And I certainly wouldn’t want you to be put off babywearing because of it. However as an emergency wrap option it is pretty great. I’ll be making another ringsling from some Mexican Poncho material soon which I hear is thicker so i’m hopeful that one might be a little better than this.