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Ah, the Mai Tei..

No, it's not a drink (well it is, but I'm pretty sure it's spelled differently). I made myself a Mai Tei a few weeks ago. It's a very basic Asian style front or back pack kind of carrier. Everyone loves them, and it is the only type/style of carrier that I didn't own (sad, I know). So I decided to see what all the hype was about. I wasn't willing to pay for one, though. You can find a pretty decent one for around $30, but the super good ones (some which technically aren't Mai Tei's because they have buckles, but are the same design and do the same thing) range from $80 to $100.

For example, check out THIS ONE. If I were going to buy one, this would be it. How cool is it that you can totally design the whole thing, and it's not like the lame FAO Schwartz design your own muppet, where they only had three things you could choose- there are so SOOOO many different fabrics you can choose. And, my favorite part, they have a good number of AMY BUTLER fabrics!

But I'm too tight to part with $80 for something I can make for, say, $6.12. Or how much I paid for the fabric for this one!

Here's a picture of the fabric before I cut it since the picture of me wearing the Mai Tei isn't all that good (I need to get some pictures taken when someone's actually home to take them for me:)

It's a really simple concept- two layers sewn together with four double layer straps (two sticking out at an angle and two sticking out straight), then turned. Kind of like making a pillow with straps. But my dimensions aren't quite right. My square needs to be narrower and possibly contoured (so it doesn't cut into the kids' legs- I may even pad that area), and possibly a little taller. And all four of my straps need to be longer. I have some more of the same fabric, so I may just partially take this one apart and add to it. But I got some more cheap upholstery fabric so I may just make myself a new one. The only problem is I don't like the new stuff nearly as well as I like this print, and I couldn't find any more of this print ANYWHERE. I need to check ebay. But I don't know the brand or the name of the pattern or anything (the selvage didn't say anything) so it may be kind of hard.


sara said...

So about the the mei tai worth all the hype. Do you recommend them compared to all your other slings and things!

Brandislee said...

Every carrier has it's purpose. Wraps are awesome for tiny babies, slings are great for quick in and out type situations (and good for tiny babies as well). Mai Teis and SSC's (soft structured carriers) are the most useful/effective/helpful for larger babies and toddlers. You can use slings and wraps (woven wraps) with older children, and you can use Mai Teis and SSC's with newborns, of course. But I can't imagine relying on my sling to carry my 25 and 35 lb kids right now, and my Moby wrap (being knit vs woven) was rendered useless around the time Oliver hit 18 lbs. I LOVE my mai (I still use the one in the picture, even for my 3.5 year old, who is 35 lbs). I have also added an Ergo (an SSC) recently. Definately one of the best investments I've made so far as child related items. But I still prefer the Mai Tei for certain applications- I don't love using my Ergo for a front carry (it gives me heartburn... kinda weird), but I don't like to use the Mai Tei for a back carry because the straps aren't padded and dig into my shoulders a little (since I refuse to cross the straps in the front because it makes my boobs look funny!).

So yes. Before I had one I was like you- I didn't get the hype. Now that I have one (two) I definitely get it, and I definitely recommend one. Look for used or make your own if possible, though, because they can get pricey.

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