In Which I Make a Babywearing Jacket


September 6, 2012 by Leah

Elias and I are heading to Alaska in a couple of days. Since we have been softened by the incredibly mild climates of Southern California and Eastern Washington, I am thinking about warmer clothes. I remembered seeing a babywearing jacket my friend Leigh Anne made a couple of years ago and thought, “Hey, that would be perfect for walks on the Coastal Trail!”

So I said to Aaron, “I’m going to go buy a jacket today. Extra-large black fleece, I think.” And he said, “You mean like the extra-large black fleece jacket we already own?” And I was like, “What?” And he said, “Yeah, it was the liner of a jacket I got from TetraTech – a reward for a stellar safety record or something. I got rid of the outer part because I didn’t like it.” And I was like, “Oh, I had no idea we had one. I’m going to cut a hole in it.” And he said, “That’s fine, it’s just at work as my in-case-of-emergency warm garment.”

So. I started with one XL Land’s End (corporate) black fleece jacket. I put Elias on my back and put on the jacket, as a way to eyeball where I might need to cut a hole for the baby’s head. Then I randomly hacked a hole in the jacket, flipped it over my head, and deemed it a good hole (I was still wearing the baby during this test). After which I measured the hole and went to the store. I purchased a 12″ black zipper, some black ripstop nylon, and black snaps and snap pliers. I came home, sewed up the hole with a zigzag stitch, taped the zipper in place, sewed the zipper in blindly and by feel, broke a needle, replaced it with a new needle, cut open the previously stitched seam, cleaned up the edges around the zipper, and sewed nylon flaps on both sides of the zipper opening, one attached above the hole on the outside and the other attached below the hole on the inside. Then I added snaps so that I can snap the flaps closed if the zipper is closed, or around the zipper if the zipper is open (otherwise the zipper might chafe baby’s neck, and we can’t have that). I had some trouble with the snap installation, but after removing and replacing the one socket  I bent, all the snaps work. More or less.

Trying on before cutting.

Outside of jacket, flap unsnapped.

Inside of jacket, flap unsnapped.

Inside of jacket, flap snapped.

Outside of jacket, flap snapped.

Zipper unzipped, flaps snapped around.

Also, if anyone else wants to do this, here are things I suggest you do that I did not do:

  • Mark where you want to cut, then measure and make a straight cut.
  • Don’t sew any seams back up. Just sew the zipper in while it’s visible.
  • Figure out how to install snaps so they actually snap.

And there you have it. A babywearing jacket that still retains the ability to be worn as a functional jacket sans baby.

Two-headed monster! Augh!

Now I’ve gotta go knit some mittens for the kid. He seems to have inherited my circulation, poor guy.


4 thoughts on “In Which I Make a Babywearing Jacket

  1. lahancock says:

    I like your design. I have no experience with snaps other than when I used a friends snap press. Have fun in Alaska. You and Maggie will be there at the same time. Wish I could go. I also wish it was cold enough to wear my jacket, freaking 90 degrees here today.

  2. Joelle says:

    I am so impressed!! Way to go!

  3. insidenanassewingroom says:

    Genius, my dear.

  4. disappointed says:

    This looks unsafe and potentially could smoother your baby. As a qualified babywearing consultant, I would not recommend this–use one designed with safety features for such a purpose. There have been 14 sling deaths to date and one was with a baby getting smothered in mom’s coat–she too thought she had plenty of ventilation

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