So I started to investigate costs and whatnot and fairly quickly concluded that I couldn't justify the £90+ price tag for a soft structured carrier in the UK. Instead I discovered the awesome SweetPod Baby Carrier pattern by Seedpod and decided to have a go...
1. Sourcing supplies in the UK
The incredibly talented designer of the Sweetpod, Jessica Croker, is based in the US and unfortunately for us in the UK, the supplies required are a bit harder and more expensive to source so I've compiled a list of the stuff you need, where I got it from and how much I paid. Hopefully this helps someone out there!
- 1/3 yd. home decorator print fabric (for main body decorative panel) (You’ll need 5/8 yd if your fabric has a directional print.)
- If you make curtains or cushions, the chances are you have a big enough offcut knocking around. You actually only need one panel 9" wide by 19" long.
- 1 yd. 60” wide heavy weight solid fabric in a coordinating color (7-10 oz. denim, canvas, or twill)
- I decided I wanted black canvas (aka duck cloth) for the main fabric of my carrier. I found this incredibly hard to find in the UK. A lot of suppliers sell white canvas but not dyed. I eventually sourced it from Calico Laine for a fairly reasonable £6.99 per metre.
- 1 yd. 42-45” wide quilter’s weight solid fabric in a coordinating color (for lining and sleeping hood)
- I used 1m of Moda Bella Solids in Dark Teal from Fabritastic which was also £7/m
- 18” x 20” piece of cotton batting (Warm & Natural)
- I already had an offcut of cotton batting so I didn't have to purchase this but the best prices I found were on eBay. Unfortunately the smallest size I could find was a cot quilt piece which makes it quite expensive. If you have a local haberdashery, that try that first as they may be able to sell you a smaller quantity off the roll.
- 4 yds. 1” wide nylon webbing
- 1 yd. 2” wide nylon webbing
- I found nylon webbing really hard to source in the UK. I found it on eBay but the prices were going to be pretty high so in the end I bought polypropylene webbing from the haberdashery stall on my local market. I bought both the 1" and 2" webbing for a total of £4.
- 6” x 24” piece of 1/2” thick high density closed cell foam for hip belt (this foam should feel stiff)
- Sourced from Easy Foam in a custom cut size for £8.70.
- 12” x 24”piece of 1/2” thick high density open cell foam for shoulder pads (this foam should be squishy)
- Bought from my local market in a custom size for £1.11. After cutting what I needed I realised I could have purchased just 10" x 17" since I had quite a bit leftover.
- 2 heavy duty 1” side release buckles
- 1 streamline 1” side release buckle
- I decided to just buy 3 identical 1" side release buckles. Purchased a quantity of 6 from eBay for £1.72.
- 1 2” side release dual adjust buckle
- Purchased a pack of 2 from eBay for £2.50.
- 2 sternum strap adjusters with 1” slides and 1” loops
- I couldn't find anywhere in the UK that stocks these, including online retailers who specifically sell gear for making outdoor equipment. These bits are to fix the chest strap onto the shoulder straps and allow you to move the chest strap up and down. Since I'll be the only person using the carrier, I decided to go without this and I just sewed the chest strap into the position I wanted it on the shoulder straps instead of having it be adjustable.
- 2 heavy duty ladder lock buckles
- Purchased a pack of 10 from eBay for £1.08.
- 16” 1/4” elastic
- I used some 5mm elastic that I already had. Readily available from your local market or John Lewis for around £1 or less, depending on the length you buy.
- 7-9” invisible zipper
- Based on the instructions which say to trim the zip to 7.5", I went for an 8" zip. Again, purchased from my local market for £1.
- 10 snaps (size 16 or 20 will work)
- I bought 11mm snaps (poppers) in a pack of 12 from eBay for £3.49.
- • high quality polyester thread (I like Gutterman polyester thread.)
- Readily available from the market or John Lewis or online for about £1.
Based on the above and including the cost of purchasing the Combined Sweetpod Carrier and Saddlebag pattern, I spent just under £55 on materials. Although this is still fairly expensive, it's a considerable saving on buying a new carrier!
2. A few notes on making the carrier
For the most part I didn't deviate from the instructions which are very thorough. One which I've already mentioned was the chest straps since I didn't purchase strap adjusters. These are my straps - at the moment they slide up and down because I haven't been able to properly fit the carrier (since I'm still pregnant!). Once I've fitted it and determined where they need to be, I'll fix them in position.
The other area where I deviated slightly was the sleeping hood and the sleeping hood pocket. The zip for the sleeping hood pocket is supposed to attach onto the decorative panel without the ends of the zip spilling over onto the canvas (you'll see what I mean when you get there). I think I must have gone slightly wrong on my seam allowances or my cutting but I ended up needing to put in a 7" zip, instead of 7.5". That caused a knock on issue where the hood would always have been rucked when it was pulled out of the pocket since it was designed to pull out of a 7.5" space. I got around the issue after I had made up the hood by putting a couple of small pleats in the hood before attaching it to the inside of the pocket. This makes the neck of the hood just a smidgen smaller so that it fits better as shown here:
And here is the finished article! I'm really excited to try this - now all I need is a 15lb baby. Oh, and to not be pregnant anymore :)
I'd love to hear if any of you have done or are planning to do this project. Happy sewing :)