Hello all! I've just completed a Sweet Pod soft structured carrier and I'm popping in to show off this beautiful carrier and my equally beautiful model, miss Norah.
I have been wanting to make some sort of soft structured carrier for awhile now, because I am apparently wrap impaired when it comes to back carries and because I hate the crazy long straps flying everywhere when I use my Mei Tai (which I mostly only use for back carries). But because I am wrap impaired and because back carries are sometimes simply life savers, I have been dealing with the flying straps. Well, here's my new Sweet Pod; I shall deal with flying straps no more!
I bought the pattern here on the recommendation of the lovely ladies at Diaper Sewing Divas.
Here is the result:
That's Norah and I showing off our lovely carrier. She's almost 16 months and nearly 23 lbs in that photo. And we're showing off my lovely skirt, too (just had to throw that in there since I finished that this week, too!) Garage sale pants 4 sizes too big + scissors + thread + needle = comfy, comfy skirt.
Here's a picture of us from the side. Not a terribly flattering photo of me, but it allows you to see how the webbing holds the carrier together and allows for the buckles and buckle adjustments.
And a back carry! Finally! The very purpose for which I made this thing! Also, as you can see, Elmo has become a very important participant in this particular photo shoot.
Here are some photos of just the carrier. Since I've not yet acquired a dress form, I attempted to model this on one of my dining room chairs. Humor me.
Close up of the front
Here's how it all hooks together.
This is the inside of the carrier, the place where Norah sits. You'll notice there is a panel that sits between her and I (which is why I took this photo). This is great for back carries. This panel allows you to put your child on your front then rotate them to your back without dropping them. I have gotten pretty good at hoisting Norah up onto my back, but I think this feature would be really helpful for mamas (and papas!) who are nervous about the 'getting the kid on my back' part of back carries. On the other hand, the panel will get in the way of nursing. I don't have a nursling at the moment and I'd probably be using a wrap for or a ringsling for a front carry anyways, but it's something to consider.
This is the sleeping hood. There is an invisible zipper at the top of the carrier where the hood lives inside a pocket. It's pretty clever, actually. I don't really get the whole sleeping hood thing as I never had any trouble with Norah being stable while sleeping in a carrier. But then, I never tried one, either. I seriously doubt Norah's going to be sleeping in this carrier, so I probably won't be able to let you know how this works until we have more babies. So, not for awhile anyways.
As far as actually sewing this, it wasn't bad. It looks daunting up front, but it really isn't. There are a lot of steps to follow and it takes a lot of time, but none of the steps are actually very difficult - its just taking the time to follow the instructions well. I have no idea how long it took me to put this together as I did it in bits and pieces here and there (with a 2 week gap while I ordered my hardware and waited for a backordered piece). I would say an intermediate sewer, or even a determined beginner, should be able to do this without a problem.
Cost wise, I believe I have $35-$40 in materials invested plus the price of the pattern ($14). It seems like a lot, but I'll definately use the pattern again for showers for friends and family, so I'm pretending the price of the pattern falls into my 'gifts' budget instead of my 'I really want this carrier' budget. And really, $40 + pattern isn't much at all compared to buying a new SSC. Most of what I have seen are easily double that. I got to pick out my fabric as well, which is another bonus. I bought plenty extra to make a matching bag, wet bag, and changing pad, which will be very nice (and, incidentlly, much less expensive than a purchased bag, wet bag, or changing pad). A purchased pre-made SSC wouldn't give me that option.
The carrier is very comfortable to wear, espeically compared to my Mei Tai. There are no crazy straps flying everywhere, and there is lots of padding. The shoulder straps are nicely padded and the hip belt is padded with a closed-cell foam which is stiffer than normal foam and prevents the hip straps from digging into my sides like they do with my Mei Tai. It took me a bit to get the buckles and straps adjusted so they were comfortable, but once I got them right it has been very cozy. It's also been easy to get Norah in and out of.
What else is there to tell you? I bought my hardware from Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics. They were lovely to work with and I'm happy with what I received. Try to order with a friend if you can, though. Hardware for one carrier ran $11 and some change, but there is also a $2.50 handling charge if your order is under $20, plus it was $10 shipping. I doubled my order and got rid of the $2.50 handling charge plus my shipping didn't go up at all. Waaaaay better deal to buy hardware for 2.
I will likely use this carrier mostly for back carries in place of my Mei Tai. There is free buckle carrier pattern out there I'm considering trying out mostly because it doesn't have an internal panel and would therefore be better for nursing. But I won't be considering it probably until we start thinking about more babies, so it'll be awhile. That one is here. If anyone makes it, let me know what you think.
I think that's about all I have to report. I will leave you with two last photos of my gorgeous model, for your viewing pleasure. Thanks for looking!