Sunday, January 6, 2013

Baby Doll Carrier Tutorial

My daughter LOVES playing house.  For Christmas she got a new baby doll that she was so excited to play with.  Of course, she wants to take her baby with us on every outing.  I'm not always thrilled about the baby buggy heading out the door with us.  And, unfortunately, we seem to have misplaced her baby doll front pack carrier.  When we realized it was no where to be found, my daughter begged me to make her one.

So this is what I came up with.  It wasn't too complicated.  My goal was to make something that didn't require any fuss over buttons, velcro, or snaps, though I have seen some great tutorials that use them.  I loved THIS tutorial at Sew Bossi.  This was my inspiration...
I love the looks of it, but was concerned that the open sides would not impress my 5 1/2 year old... so I had to make some adjustments.  So onto my tutorial!

Supplies Needed

- 1 yard Fabric, cotton or flannel
- Thread
- Cotton Batting optional


1. Make a Pattern
You will see the pattern that I created in the image below.  I placed my daughter's doll on top of a large piece of paper to get an idea of the size that I needed.  The top "half" of the pattern is the back of the carrier, and the bottom "half" will be folded up, and up next to your child's tummy when the carrier is worn.

My daughter's baby is a larger-sized doll.  If I was to go back and make this carrier again (for the same sized doll), I would decrease the width about 2 inches, as it ended up being a little larger than I would have liked.

2. Cut Your Fabric
- Cut 2 of your pattern from cotton or flannel  I chose to use two different fabrics
- Cut 1 of your pattern from cotton batting  optional
- Cut 2 strips 5" x 24" from cotton or flannel  for the straps
- Cut 2 strips 2" x 24" from cotton batting  optional

3. Make the Straps
You will sew two straps.  First, press about 1/4" under on each of your fabric strips.  Next, place a strip of cotton batting slightly off the center of your fabric strip (1st photo).  Fold the non-pressed side over the batting and pin into place (2nd photo).  Fold over the pressed side, making sure that you are covering the raw edge of the non-pressed side (3rd photo), and sew along the pressed edge to hold in place (4th photo).

I loved the finish look of the carrier straps in Sew Bossi's version that I wanted to do the same.  To finish off each strap, I added two more seams down the length, like in the image below.

4. Form the Carrier
To create the carrier, place the right-sides of your cut pieces together.  If you chose to add the batting (which I recommend just to give the carrier a nice soft shape), place your batting behind your outer fabric as I have done below.

Pin your pieces together.  You might have an eager little girl who would love to help out with this step.

Once pinned, I folded the "bottom half" of the carrier into place to see where the sides would meet the back of the carrier.  Mark those spots as I have indicated in the second photo with the red lines.

Time to start sewing!  Take a look at the photo on the left, below.  Stitch along the fabric as I have indicated with the red lines.  Notice that there should be some sections you do not stitch... these are to allow us to later add the straps and sew the sides together.

Turn your fabric right-side out.  The photo on the lower-left shows you what parts of the carrier are left open, or un-stitched.  I flipped the fabric over to show the outside, and pinned around the edges to make sure they were all lined up nicely along the seams.

See the image below... 
Next, place one end of each strap into place as in the image above.  After pinning them in place, make sure that the front and back fabrics are folded nicely, and stitch along the line I have indicated in the image above with a blue line.  You can see my seam in the image down below on the right.

See those fancy yellow dashed lines?  The two on the lower right and left sides are just a simple stitch to hold all of your fabric together... perhaps not really necessary.  I chose to machines sew this part as you will see in the middle image below.

However, all of the other places I recommend using a wide hand-stitch to baste your folds into place before you sew (Remember to fold each fabric under and baste... you want to keep the opening so you can piece together the carrier). You will be able to pull these stitches out after everything is sewn into place, and they will help ensure that you get a nice looking result in the end.  The first image below shows the basting stitch on the bottom section, though difficult to see.


5. Add the Straps
At this point, I needed my daughter to help me decide how long the straps would need to be.  (Yes, I did measure ahead of time, but I wanted to make sure that things fit perfectly.)  I carefully pinned the carrier together with some safety pins, and wrapped the straps around her (crossing in the back), and pinned them into place.  By in-place, I mean the opening that I had left for the other end of the straps.

Once I knew how long my straps needed to be, I was able to sew them into place.  With the straps tucked nicely inside the front and back pieces of the carrier, stitch along the edge to secure in place.  The blue line in the first image indicates where to sew.  The second image below shows the carrier with the back turned up into place.  It is now time to sew the sides together.

6. Connect the Sides
The two images below are showing the same thing... I just wanted to make sure you could see what was going on.  I took the raw fabric taps from the "front" of the carrier and tuck them the open sides of the "back" of the carrier.  Do this on both sides.  Pin into place.

Last... sew your last seam to hold the sides into place.  I have shown you where I stitched with the blue line in the image below.  You can't see in this angle of the carrier, but the seam extends from the bottom of the connecting sides on the left, all the war around the top, and to the bottom of the connecting sides on the right.

 That's it!  You're done!

Stick the carrier on a kid, throw a baby in, and test it out!  No fuss.. no velcro or buttons to hassle with!

As I mentioned earlier... this ended up being a little big around for the baby (though my daughter hasn't seemed to notice or care... it is serving it's purpose).  I had thought that the addition of some elastic along the back might be a nice touch.  That would allow for larger dolls, but gather the excess fabric if carrying smaller dolls.  When I have a free moment I'm thinking I'll add that.

One happy little mommy makes one happy big mommy!
Happy Sewing!


  1. Thank you for sharing such a great tutorial! Your instructions and pictures are lovely and clear. I am pinning this :)

  2. Baby Carrier is pretty outstanding and fitting for both gender.

  3. I really want to make one of these for my great-niece. She lives in Virginia, so I don't have a doll with which to measure :( Her Mom tells me her baby doll is 18 inches from head to toe, do you think this would work for that size doll? Thanks so much.

  4. Rachel, I just finished making one for my granddaughter. I love it. It was so easy. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Just cut all the bits out for my daughter made it a little big fir her doll at the moment as shes only 3 so it will last a while :) thanks really easy

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial, Rachel! I found you via Pinterest while doing a search for this exact thing. There were several, but I felt you had the least complicated carrier and the best tute. I am wanting to make one of these for my soon to be 3 year old granddaughter. She is kind of little, so I will probably cut the size down like you suggested. After I get it made, I will probably do a post about it and will be sure to give you credit and reference your blog. Thanks again!

  7. Hi....I am just wondering from the pattern you posted, how wide the area is that comes in where the top meets the bottom, so to speak? It is the narrowest part of the pattern. Please let me know as I am drawing the pattern up now. Thank you!

  8. that's my question, too, how wide is the area that comes in where the top meets the bottom? also, have you considered making a PDF of the pattern? thanks!

  9. I am about to make this and have made the pattern. It looks easy and your tutorial is great, wish me luck.

  10. I am nearly finished the first of two of these carriers. I have twin granddaughters. I was unsure what I was doing until I turned it right side out. In no way was this due to your excellent instructions, but me not thinking clearly. I just want to thank-you for this great idea.

  11. Thank you! I just stumbled across your pattern and was asked to make one for my granddaughter. Great design, easy to follow directions. You are right on the to big, I made this for a size 13" doll and she is swimming in it. I shall make another and narrow it down to fit her. thank you for sharing!!!

  12. Great design and easy easy easy.


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