Swiftly Sewn Sarong

Say that five times fast.

Swiftly sewn sarong,swiftly sewn sarong….

There are lots of tutorials on how to wear a sarong (as, for example, here, here, and here), but this post is on how to take a plain piece of fabric and make one.

Sarongs (aka pareo, aka many other things) are pretty simple to sew for yourself. You need a solid piece of cloth (light cotton works well) wide enough to cover you, armpit to knee (or longer) and long enough to wrap around your body (not too tightly) one and a half times. You want it to cover you as well as have some overlap, so it stays shut.

So, you’ve got your fabric. (Mine was about 5 feet high by oh, 10 feet? Not an exact science, here. Mine is extra huge, because I measured generously when making it.)

After measuring, cut your fabric. Using a scrap piece, test the tension on your machine. Sew a swatch of the fabric, double or triple thickness, and look at both sides of your swatch. Are there loops of thread? Tighten the tension. Is there puckering and tightness in your threads? Loosen the tension.

All right, start your engines!

I would recommend against hand-sewing this. It’ll go on forever as it is.

I kept the selvage on my piece of fabric, since it actually looked nice and I was using the full width of a bolt. Doing so is an affront to the ladies who taught me about fabric and sewing, (and as such, I am ashamed) but, hey. It works. The only real sewing here is to sew the cut edges (rolled hem is best for a thin fabric, as a sarong ought to be made with.) Just keep it straight, and keep your tension regular.

Have fun with your new sarong! A lot of people love them for beach covers, but since mine is so long, I love wearing it over a shirt as a more comfortable dress for semi formal settings. Whenever I’m dragging my feet to get out of my pajamas on a Sunday morning, my sarong is a nice choice.


DIY baby wraps!

For a while, now, I’ve been a big fan of babywearing. For while the baby is small, there’s nothing better! You can keep your little one close, safe from creepy strangers, and still do everything you need to do.

So, in my third trimester, I made a moby wrap, using a tutorial from A Load of Craft.

Since it was 100% cotton, and the right measurements, I used a bandanna for the fabric panel she suggests. I also used 5.5 yards of turquoise jersey (the thick kind).

Simply cut the fabric 20″ from the edge, in order to have a 5.5 yards by 20″ strip. Then launder it, fold in half lengthwise to find the center, and sew your fabric square directly in the center of the strip. For directions on how to wear it, go here. (Since this is basically a moby wrap, the same directions apply.)

Her head is nicely supported in this wrap, honest. She was just arching her back at the time, because she had hiccups.
Her head is nicely supported in this wrap, honest. She was just arching her back at the time, because she had hiccups.

I must say, it came out pretty nice.

Then, a little bit ago, I stumbled upon a video about how to make an x-back wrap using 3 t-shirts. The lady who made the video made it abundantly clear that after she’d made it, she realized that you need to use t-shirts that fit you, not ones that are too big, like she said in the video.

3 t-shirts, huh? I can do that! So, I got out a few extra tees, lopped and tied, and I had a new carrier in about ten minutes.

This one's pre-hiccups. See, her legs are in sitting position, the sling supporting from her bum to under her knees.
This one’s pre-hiccups. See, her legs are in sitting position, the sling supporting from her bum to under her knees.

The only issue with the original was that the two load-supporting tubes were of different stretchiness-es. (So not a word.) The point being that the weight of my daughter was unevenly distributed on my back, and can certainly say that it made me paranoid and sore the whole time I was testing it out. And as for how my back fared– I’m still feeling it.

If you do try out the t-shirt method, (which I recommend) here’s some tips:

  • use t-shirts that are thick, stretchy, and (preferably) without side seams.
  • Find 2 tees that have almost identical fit, fabric thickness, and color. This will ensure good weight distribution and safety.
  • Try to use at least 1 long-sleeved shirt; the sleeves are good for tying  the two loops together in the back, and if you use  the sleeves of  the front panel’s shirt, it’ll color-coordinate with the front panel.
  • If you do use long sleeves to tie the X in the back, use both the sleeves to make the tied portion of the loops even longer. This creates even better weight distribution. (Save your back the pain, eh?)
  • The same lady who made the first video also made a follow-up video on how to use it safely, and I would recommend watching it, as well.
  • For your baby’s safety, as with all homemade baby gear, pay close attention and use common sense. If the fabric doesn’t seem stretchy enough, or you don’t feel comfortable using tees with side seams, or you think you ought to buy new shirts to use–adapt this to meet what you need. The most  important thing about babywearing is that both you and your little one feel safe with the situation.