Choosing safe materials to make a weight-bearing child carrier is critical, though with so many choices available it is sometimes hard to know where to start. I often receive questions about using a certain type of fabric or hear something like, “will this work?” so this post is here to serve as a guide for choosing fabric.
Rather than going over specific materials, I’m going to breakdown some of the basic qualifications of what makes a certain fabric safe to use in the construction of a soft-structured carrier.
Fabric that qualifies as safe to use to make your carrier needs to have certain distinguishing qualities.
First, it shouldn’t stretch. When shopping for fabrics to make a soft-structured carrier, you will be shopping from one of the major classes of fabrics– woven fabrics. The other class is knit fabrics, often distinguishable by their stretchy nature. The fabric that you choose for your carrier shouldn’t stretch across the length and if the fabric does give at all, it should be minimal.
Second, it needs to be mid to heavy weight. I often use the term “bottom-weight” to describe suitable fabrics and some people may not understand exactly what that means. Simply put, bottom-weight fabrics are the type of fabrics that you’d use to sew “bottoms,” or pants. So fabrics like denim, linen, canvas, twill– all of these fit that category. They are sturdy and have strong weaves. You may have already guessed what the fabric on the opposite end of the spectrum from bottom weight fabric is called– top-weight (and dress weight). These aren’t suitable for the structural layers of your carrier, though you can use them decoratively.
Fabric weight is a critical factor after class and type. Measured in ounces per square yard– the higher the number, the heavier the fabric. For The Little Pick-Me-Up SSC pattern I suggest that bottom weights be 8+ oz. I often am asked about a particular fabric if it doesn’t have a weight, has a weight that is less than 8oz. per square yard or is displayed online without much information– and for these I have to say use your best judgment and if you have doubts, use something else.
This is a very basic primer of fabric knowledge to get you started. There are tons of great resources out there for sewers, whether regarding textiles, machine maintenance, or sewing techniques. I occasionally post cool resources that I’ve found to the Sew Toot Facebook page so be sure to check it out!