How to sew a Fully Reversible Turned & Topstitched Mei Tai

9 05 2008

I love to wear my babies.  I use ring slings, pouches, wraps, mei tais, podegis, onbuhimos, chunei… you name it, i have tried it!  Becasue i dont have alot of extra cash floating around to BUY carriers, i have had to MAKE my own carriers.  I have started a small business making custom carriers to make a little extra cash…  and in the interest of helping other mamas and daddies who want to wear their babies without spending too much money, here are my directions for making a Fully Reversible Turned & Topstitched Mei Tai!  You can make this whole thing for $10 if you can find the appropriate fabric on the $1/yard table at WAlmart or Joannes… not a bad price!


2 yards of bottomweight fabric for inner hidden layer & for straps.  Twill, denim, canvas, home dec fabric (think couch covers) or even well-broken-in wraps are suitable (in a pinch, try a nice heavy jacquard tablecloth as long as it is 72″ or longer)

2 fat quarters of coordinating fabric for front & back panels – this can be WHATEVER.  Quilters cotton, fashion fabric, Minkee, silk, velvet, patchwork, anything goes! just remember, the fabric will get a lot of abuse, so choose wisely. 

small amount of cotton batting, polar fleece, old blanket, or something similar for padding

coordinating thread.  I like Gutterman’s becasue it is very strong & durable and comes in nice colors.

1) Find a pattern you like, trace an existing carrier, or make something up.  General measurements are 17″ 20″ for the body, and 7″ x72″ each for the shoudler straps, 5″ x 24″ each for the waist straps.

2) cut 2 shoulder straps of the bottomweight fabric and 2 waist straps of the same fabric.  Cut 1 17″x20″ of bottomweight and of the 2 decorative fabrics. (17″ wide, 20″ high)

3) Roll &  hem the long edges of all the straps.  Leave both short end unhemmed until later.  You need to be able to adjust how long you like the straps after you finish the carrier.

Now for pictures to go with the instructions!!  Please note, the carrier in this tutorial is being made with knit jersey straps as an experiment THIS DID NOT WORK!  DO NOT USE KNIT FOR STRAPS! IT RIPS ALONG THE STITCHING LINES, MAKING A VERY UNSAFE CARRIER! Please only use a sturdy bottomweight fabric for the straps.  Thank you.  Now, on to the rest of the instructions!

Here are my two decorative fabrics, cut as a contoured mei tai.  I am using vintage home dec fabric and grass green Minkee Dot.

4) Take your mei tai body piece you cut from your bottomweight strap fabric and sw your straps on as shown.  Sew leaving at least 1″ free to the edge of the mei tai body (to allow for folding under during the topstitching) and reinforce by sewing an “xbox” – a box wth an X of stitching from one corner of the box to the other.  Please use  triple-straight stitch (usually found in the stretch stitches) or by sewing over three times, for safety.  Look closely at the straps, you’ll see my Xbox stitching.

5) Now, layer your decorative fabrics right sides together and the canvas layer on top.

6) Stitch all around, leaving open by your straps to allow for turning the straps to the right side. You will close these openings when you topstitch.

7) Now, open up one of the strap openings and reach in between the two decorative layers…

8) and turn the whole thing inside out…

9) so it looks like this:

10) press the seams, and fold in along the strap openings, nice and neat.

11) topstitch around the whole thing, paying special attention to the strap openings. You may need to manually turn your needle to go through the number of layers of fabric at the straps.   

12) and you’re done!  a fully reversible, turned & topstitched mei tai!  go ahead, pat yourself on the back! you deserve it!





24 responses

19 05 2008
renee - 21st century parenting

thank you for posting this!! your instructions are clear, with simple and logical steps. the photos are very good too!

i LOVE your choice of fabric, too! 😉

i may just have to try one of these. i’ve only made the scandi style, and i seem to THINK i absolutely need the straps padded. we’ll see how it works.

btw, i think i found you on TBW. (though my baby brain may be playing tricks… i never know.) lol


17 09 2008

This is marvelous! I just had a huge babywearing celebration on my blog, but I love to sew, and I can’t wait to try this project! YOur instructions and photos make it look so easy!! I hope to get really good at making these, so I can make a nice carrier for my friend who just recently found out she’s having a baby! 🙂

Thanks so much!

20 04 2009

Great post! I am attempting to make my first mei tai, and I’m a beginning sewer. I have a question about the straps. The measurements you gave (7×72 and 5×24) for the straps – how did you finish those? Did you hem the edges or sew the entire straps in half like a tube? Then would they be half as wide? Thanks!

3 05 2009

Just wanted to say that this about the cutest thing I have ever seen! And I’ve seen a lot of carriers! Good Job! Not to mention awesome fabric!

10 08 2009


I like the look of this and the instructions are great so I think I will give this a go, but….

You mention padding in the list of “ingredients” but I couldn’t find where you used it in the instructions…

Am I being daft/blind? Or did you decide not to use padding in that particular version? Can I leave the padding out? Where would the padding be if it was used?


24 08 2009
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[…] I found a rediculously simple guide to sewing one online and set to work. I actually didn’t spend anything to make this-I […]

25 11 2009

hi i live in western australia and we have hot summers. i love your sling. im making things for babies and selling them at our local small town markets and would love to make some of the slings to sell as we have a lot of new mums around. would this be ok with you or do you have copyright on them? waiting to hear from you thanks karen

20 09 2009

I have made a few mei tais, but I like yours because it has concave sides, two fun fabrics for the body, and the straps are connected to an inner layer and not box stitched right onto the back of the carrier.

10 11 2009
Nahuatl Vargas

I love your Mei Tai, is very pretty.

9 12 2009
Sarah Jane Butcher

I was wondering what are the measurements for the body piece of the one in the picture? I love the shape and would like to try and do that!

5 02 2010

I am very new to using a sewing machine, only made some little wipes before now, but I just successfully made this with your great instructions. Thank you so much for sharing this with the world!

2 03 2010

Hi, was just googling mei tai instructions and found this one. Thanks for posting it — the photos are really useful and helpful. 🙂

2 06 2010
Faux Domestic Diva

Thanks for sharing your pattern!

8 06 2010
house garden

You are a great tailor! I don’t think I can do that myself LOL. But thanks for sharing this. I will try it, not sure how it will come out.

22 02 2011

Thanks for these instructions! Baby and I love our new Mei Tai. I was following another tutorial and it was so confusing. I am glad I found yours!

29 03 2011
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[…] …and pull the straps through the holes you left at the sides (this bit of the method was inspired by Luna Moth’s mei tai tutorial here: Reversible Topstitched Mei Tai). […]

29 03 2011
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[…] …and pull the straps through the holes you left at the sides (this bit of the method was inspired by Luna Moth’s mei tai tutorial here: Reversible Topstitched Mei Tai). […]

9 04 2011

Thank you for the clear and very useful instructions. I made my first mei tai sling with your help!
Greeting from Turkey!

27 04 2011

very useful and a bouquet thanks coz u sharing with us…
my mei tai inspired from u if u dun mind i shared with my comunity and the rest are happy and thankful…

keep it up n give it more D.i.y

6 06 2011
I made a wrap-tai « Ashley Doodles All the Days

[…] I used the help of two tutorials as well as measuring a few of my favorite carriers to be sure I didn’t make the body of it too long or wide to be able to wear my kids easily.… […]

6 06 2011

I just finished my mei tai inspired by your design. Thank you thank you! I have a son who is 2.5 and one on the way, I wish I had done this the first time around. I designed the body based on a lot of different designs. To those out there who want a body that will allow the child to face out, have the crotch area taper down to 6″.
I also made the straps 9″ wide, and pleated them as you showed down to ~3″.
I added a lot of fusible interfacing and fusible quilt batting material so to make my life easier when I turned it inside out I left a larger hole in the bottom and topstitched that closed. Aside from my very very imperfect stitching it came out much like you show. I can’t thank you enough for your clear and simple instructions. I can’t wait to test it out!

6 06 2011

I’m so glad you found it useful! Happy babywearing!

6 12 2011

Thinking about doing this with a SSC-esque structured waist…think it would be impossible to turn?

19 03 2017
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[…] Einfacher MeiTai, im Beispiel aus Jerseystoff genäht. […]

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