Ok – This post will be long & picture heavy but I want to get the ruck-bu instructions out in one post. Imay do a follow-up post with adjustments I would make it creating another. So far I LOVE it! I love the wicking inner (which you can do with any mei-tai/SSC style carrier). I love how EASY it is to get the baby up! I love the extra support from the wrap straps. What I don’t love so far – wrap straps are long…. which means they can drag on the ground (similar to a wrap) & I would make my shoulder straps wider & probably add thicker padding if I had a do-over. Then again it is summer & I am wearing sleeveless shirts – when I have longer sleeves on that may not bother me at all.
You can see my initial post for more info on supplies & inspiration/why here – Ruck-bu …. no I wasn’t sneezing I meant ruck-bu!
Here is the body PATTERN for my ruck-bu. You could easily use this same body for a mei-tai or other similar carrier. I actually started with the body pattern from Barefoot and Pregnant, Esquire and modified it. If you just want my adjustment system print both & overlay them.
Just for fun – a few pictures of my sketches & mock-ups.
Hidden Inner Layer
- 1 – hidden body layer cut from the pattern & transfer all pattern marks
- 7 – 3″ pieces of webbing – strapworks.com (I used the polyester)
- Parachute Cord (18’/5.5m package; will have leftovers)
- Block style cord lock – strapworks.com
- Padding scraps
- Cut webbing into 3″ sections
- Line each webbing piece up on the body marks
- Tack down with multiple lines of stitching (I just forward/reversed across several times)
- Thread parachute cord thru the loops as shown in the picture
- Attach block-style cord lock and trim the ends leaving plenty of excess
- Cut out & baste your padding into place (I used 3 layers & followed the instructions on Barefoot and Pregnant, Esquire but she has other steps not necessary for this pattern)
- Cut 3 layers of each padding area (legs & neck)
- Baste padding “sandwiches”
- Pin into place & sew down with straight stitches (I stitched down the middle & around the outside so it doesn’t bunch up later)
- 1 – size 5-6 wrap or suitable fabrics
- Body panel (use hidden layer as template) – mark eyelet hole opening
- 2 hood pieces (line these up with the body panel if you have a printed/striped wrap like mine)
- 2 hood straps (23″x2″)
- 2 shoulder straps (6.5″x28″) – I would make these wider if I did this again
- 2 wrap straps (14″x80-90″) – this is half of the wrap – so cut everything else first & use what is left but don’t go too long – I used all of my leftover & had to go back & cut off 24″!!!
Sew the bits & pieces
First of all – ALOT of the patterns out there do this crazy fold & iron & sew thing…. seriously turning right side out isn’t that hard & will look SO much nicer! Plus – no ironing required! Well – I did at the end to make it lay flat but not before I sew!
- Fold right sides together & sew along the long edge & one short edge
- Trim the corner (see picture)
- Turn right side out (I use a plastic chop stick & push the sewn/finished end into the tube – starting can take a bit but once you start it & scrunch up the rest of the fabric on your chop stick it will turn super fast.
- Iron strap flat
I followed the instructions on Barefoot and Pregnant, Esquire step 24-33.
- Hem 2 long & 1 short edge (I cute my wrap so I only had 1 edge to hem on each & had tapers built in from my wrap)
Ok – these took some work & alot of thought!
- 2 shoulder straps you already cut (6.5″x28″)
- 6 padding strips 3″x8″ (or more depending on padding thickness)
- 2 – 3/8″ webbing pieces 12″ long – strapworks.com
- 2 – 3/8″ webbing pieces webbing pieces 34″ long
- Baste 3 padding strips together & baste other 3 together to make 2 padding stacks (I zig zagged down the center)
- Lay out your shoulder strap & pin padding 1/2″ in from the long edge & 5.5″ from the end (I sunk my straps 5″ – should have placed these 1/2″ deeper to make sewing easier – if you are only sinking straps 4″ place the padding 4.5″ in)
- Sew padding onto the strap – I didn’t want mine to bunch – so I quilted it in straight lines starting in the center & then out to the edges. I moved my needle all the way to the edge & lined my presser foot up with the last row of stitching to get even lines
- Turn right sides together (padding will be ON TOP) and sew a 5/8″ seam down the long edge (note in my picture I hadn’t “quilted” my padding yet – I didn’t take a picture doing it right)
- Turn right side out & press your seam
Shoulder adjuster – top part
- Thread the 1/2″ strap adjuster (strapworks.com) thru the 12″ piece of webbing (strapworks has a good video here – http://bit.ly/1sgSCPd)
- Tack the strap adjuster down near the end of the wrap (make sure the buckle will be OUTSIDE your seam allowance by a few inches)
- Tack the strap adjuster down near the buckle end
- Sew a zig-zag the length of the webbing to keep it all in place well
Shoulder adjust – bottom part
- Mark the center of your shoulder strap (where the rings will hang)
- Line the 34″ piece of webbing up with the strap adjuster &several inches from the far end of the strap
- Tack down the far end and sew a zig-zag down the length of the webbing; stopping at the strap center (where the rings will hang)
- Thread thru the strap adjuster
- Determine your final length of the loose webbing, trim & burn the end (melts the webbing together & stops the fraying)
Thread your rings on & press flat.
You CAN sew your ring “in place” with a decorative or straight stitch line across the strap near the rings (similar to a ring sling) but it isn’t required. I sewed mine after I tried it out loose. Not positive it changed the function any.
Finish the inner body layer
- Cut inner fabric (wicking for mine) using the hidden layer as a template – set aside
- Attach your wrap straps along the waist (I pleated mine) & pin in place
- Sew Xs or other design to keep straps tacked down VERY well
- Attach your shoulder straps similarly – see how the strap adjuster is facing up at this point
- Turn over & sew your inner fabric onto the hidden layer (you want to have wrong sides together & sew around the entire body panel – no turning required
Finish the outer body layer
- Thread hood straps thru the hood if you haven’t already
- Line up the hood on the “right” side of the outer body panel & pin
- Sew a basting line across the top edge of the wrap/hood to hold in place
- Find a scrap of fabric & using WonderUnder or similar double sided interfacing attach to the wrong side of the body panel where your eyelet will be (pink in my picture)
- Punch a hole – I used my Crop-a-Dile II Big Bite on the larger hole punch setting
- Install eyelet according to directions (SUPER easy – I was surprised!)
Finish the carrier
- Build your carrier “sandwich” & pin
- Lay out the inner body panel with wicking layer up, adjustment down & straps out as your bottom layer
- Lay the outer body panel on top with the “right” side down & “wrong” side up (we are sewing right-sides-together here)
- Sew around the wrap leaving an opening in the center of the waist for your hand to fit through (to turn it right side out) AND ALL STRAP POINTS!!!! You can sew up to the edge of the straps but DO NO sew across them! There are other methods for this – but I got excited & kept sewing across here… I ended up pulling stitches… don’t do what I did!
- Turn right-side out using your waist opening (or if you are really good & have small hands you could try to use one of your waist strap holes)
- Reach in & pull your parachute cord thru the eyelet (I removed the cord lock at this point & reattached it on the outside. It won’t fit thru your eyelet but I wanted my cord together as I did the previous steps)
- Pull 2 waist & 2 shoulder straps thru to the outside
- Smooth out your seams, iron if necessary & topstitch the entire carrier – paying special attention to those areas you didn’t sew already (waist opening & 4 strap openings)
- Trim parachute cord again if necessary – BURN ends to melt & stop fraying
YOU ARE DONE!!!!!!!!!
I hope I caught all of the steps in this write-up – let me know in comments if anything doesn’t make sense & I will update the post.