About a month ago I discovered an adorable tutorial on Simple Mom about how to make your child a carrier for his or her baby doll. I thought it was an adorable idea and wanted to make one for my daughter for her fourth birthday. Problem: I didn’t have much left in the budget for buying her presents.  Solution: an old pair of jeans.
Ages ago I had started a scrap fabric bin for my sewing practice, since I am still a beginning sewer. In that basket were two pairs of my husband’s old jeans that had rips in the crotch or shredded pant cuffs. But one pair ended up being the perfect for this project.
Start with an old pair of jeans, at least 32 inches in length. If you don’t have an old pair of jeans available try a thrift store or garage sale. If you are worried about not having enough fabric because you want to make the project larger, buy the largest size you can find. (A sewing friend of mine said that she goes to the thrift stores and purchases the largest clothing she can find in good condition for the yardage alone, since fabric has become so expensive). My husband’s jeans are 32 X 32 and I had enough for this project plus enough to spare towards another project (more on that later).

Cut off all seam edges (don’t try to stitch rip and reuse the prehemmed sections, trust me).  Then follow the directions of the tutorial.

You need to cut: 

  • Long straps: 2 pieces that are 3″ x 31″
  • Short straps: 2 pieces that are 3″ x 15″
  • Main: 2 pieces that are 7 3/4″ (top/bottom) x 9 1/4″ (sides), or one piece that is 7 3/4″ x 18 1/2″ (folded in half)


To make the straps, fold each one in half lengthwise (“hot-dog style”) and press it. Pin along the long side and one short side, then sew a quarter-inch seam down the one long side and one short side.
I am not the best at pressing, Ok, in truth I can’t remember the last time I used an iron. I know it was sometime before my children were born (my oldest is 4).

In spite of using a rotary cutter and a cutting mat, I am still terrible at cutting in a straight line. Fortunately, this project is very forgiving when it comes to that sort of thing. In fact in some ways it makes a great first sewing project because it is involves basic sewing in straight lines. (Yes, that is a box of cereal in the background, I’m ironing on my kitchen table)

Turn straps inside out. I use a fat, dull knitting needle that I stole from my mom’s stash. Stick the knob end in rather than the pointy in if you use one.

Turning the straps right side out actually took longer than the whole rest of the project combined. I was beginning to regret using denim. I suggest making the straps a little wider if you are using a heavy denim to make this step easier. While the knitting needle was helpful initially I mostly ended up working with my fingernails and had very sore fingers the next day.

Press your straps and top stitch around three sides.

So with my apologies I will admit that I forget to take photos of this oh, so important assembly stage and now that it’s done and my daughter is using it, I can’t exactly take it apart so please refer to the Simple Mom post for detailed pictures. Don’t worry, I’ll wait here.

1. Start here by laying the long straps at the top of the main piece– sticking the unsewn ends out one of the shorter sides just so about a quarter inch sticks out. Gently fold them back towards that same side.

2. Do the same with the short straps– their unsewn ends will stick out a bit at the bottom of each of the long sides of the main piece. Line them up just above the fold or if you used two pieces for the main part, position them about 5/8″ above the bottom. Gently position all the straps so they are going out the top edge of the main piece.

3. Carefully fold over the main piece or lay the second main piece over all the straps (right sides together).

4. Pin where the strap ends are and in-between. Sew along both long sides and along the top just far enough to stitch down the top long straps but leaving an opening where all the straps are sticking out.
Now you’ll be able to magically turn the whole thing rightside out and you should see two long straps sticking out the top and two short straps sticking out the sides. Press, turning under and pinning shut your opening.
Top stitch around the top and put an X through the middle for extra stability.
This project was great practice for my sewing skills and denim is very forgiving at hiding crooked stitching as well. It won’t fit my daughter for too long, since she is big for her age. But I plan to add some velcro to the end of each corresponding strap so that as she grows the straps won’t need to be tied anymore.

I give full credit for the italicized portions of this post to Simple Mom where the tutorial was originally posted. This was their idea, and I am providing my own modifications of it and personal experience in this post. Please use their post for more details.