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DIY mini mei-tai baby doll carrier

There’s just something so sweet about a toddler and her baby doll (or his, for that matter; my son loves his doll and animals, too).

When we were first preparing to bring home baby number two, I decided to make a baby carrier for my daughter who was just over two at the time. I had loved wearing her in my handmade mei-tai, a gift from my sister-in-law, and decided to draft a simpler version for her to use with her favorite doll, Molly the Dolly.

Now my third baby is almost two, and just approaching that perfect age for baby-doll-wearing. She loves going in the Ergo with mommy and thus was sweetly excited to put on this mini mei-tai and carry her own baby around.

This is a simple project– easily completed in two naptimes for me.

How to sew a mini mei-tai baby doll carrier

This mini mei-tai is the perfect size for a two- or three-year old but my almost-six-year old still likes to squeeze into hers as well.  All you need is your basic sewing tools and some cute fabric that’s at least 31 1/2″ long and about 18″ wide.

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First you’re going to cut out your fabric. I used a rotary cutter and rulers but scissors and a measuring tape will work fine, too. Be careful to note the direction of the print if your fabric is a directional one.

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)

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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.

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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.

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Press your straps and top stitch around three sides. A contrasting thread color looks cute here.

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Yay! Four finished straps.

Now comes the part that appears tricky, but really isn’t. Just refer to the photos to see what it looks like.

pinning mini mei-tai

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.

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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.

mini mei-tai finished

Top stitch around the top and put an X through the middle for extra stability.

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To wear, tie the short straps around the waist. Position a baby doll in front; long straps cross in the back and tie in front. You can also put a mei-tai on the back– just reverse it (with or without crossing the straps)!

Super-simple mei-tai doll carrier tutorial. Good for cutting your sewing teeth!

Voilà! Enjoy your little mama as she wears her baby doll.

The mini mei-tai would make a great big sister or brother gift if there is a new baby coming, or toddlers who enjoy being worn by mom or dad might love being able to wear their babies around, too.


Nicole lives near the beach in Southern California with her husband and three young kiddos. She writes a a lifestyle blog about creativity, family life, community, and all sorts of other fun stuff, and also keeps a homeschool journal called The Bennettar Academy. Her most recent (free!) ebook is about why and how to make more time for reading.

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  1. Oooh! I might have to get my sister to help me sew one of these for Eleanor. She always “wears” her babies by shoving them down the front of her shirt, so that just their face pokes out through the neck-hole. 🙂

    This might be the perfect “big sister” present for when the baby arrives in October…

  2. Oh my word, that’s cute. We have a new baby in our house and I’m sure my two year old daughter would LOVE to be just like Mommy and wear her babies. Pinned!

  3. This is the sweetest thing! My two oldest are boys (not that they can’t enjoy baby doll-wearing, but they are much more into trucks and trains and blocks right now), but I will remember this when my baby girl gets bigger. I love it! The smile on your daughter’s face is just radiant. Thanks for the post!

  4. This is precious! Love it and am tempted to go make it right now :).

  5. I love this! I have a bad track record for finishing sewing projects, but I think I could manage this. 😉 Thanks for sharing!

  6. That is adorable. I am not the best on the sewing machine, but this would be perfect for some practice.

  7. I am due in Dec and this will be perfect for my little girl who will be almost two by that time! thanks 🙂

  8. Christina says:

    what perfect timing! my 2 yr old was just talking about carrying her stuffed animals on her back like she has ridden on mine, and I said, hm, well, I’m sure I can figure out something…this looks just right, thanks!

  9. My younger girls are always making up some concoction to wear their babies, they would love this. This would be a great sewing project to do with my middle girls who are just learning to sew. Thanks!

  10. Oh. My. Goodness. That is so sweet that I might have to tax my very limited sewing skills and try to make one of those for my 5-year-old dolly mama. Sweet, like a good cookie. Thanks for the dear idea!

  11. Super cute!…both the mini mei tai and the little one. 🙂

  12. Just made this for my daughter’s birthday. She absolutely loved it and is using it daily. I used an old pair of my husband’s jeans for the fabric.

  13. Jessica says:

    Thanks for this pattern! I just managed to eke out enough time with my sewing machine (I had to dismantle my sewing set-up to make room for baby #2) and make one of these. The front fabric is a patchwork I assembled from decorator swatches and it’s nice and colorful. I did add a slight round arc to the top, so it looks more like my baby carrier. My daughter and I took our babies on a walk this morning, and it worked great!

  14. Nicole, I am in the middle of making this mei-tai, which is quite beautiful, by the way.

    I have a technical question: I can’t quite understand how to sew the straps. I can’t read the picture very well.

    Thank you for your help.

    • Hi Dina,
      Sorry if it was confusing!
      The photo after the “You need to cut” instructions shows the straps already folded, inside out, and pinned together.
      To get them like that, you’ll want to fold them so they go from 3″ x 31″ and 3″ x 15″, to 1.5″ x 31 and 1.5″ x 15″– does that make sense? Then you just sew them on the long side that’s pinned and one of the short ends (leave one end open) and turn them inside out. Does that make more sense? Let me know if I can help more. 🙂

  15. I love this for christmas presents this year!!! about how many yards did it take for one so I can order fabrics!!!

  16. My granddaughter came out of her room with one of her mothers bras on and her favorite baby tucked safely inside sideways. “Look Grandma, you can use these to carry babies too!” I think I better get busy sewing!!

  17. LOVE this easy design. I’m a hack of a seamstress who won’t do anything too complicated! I made one change, that was to put loops on the bottom and make the long straps longer. I cross the straps, run them through the loops and then tie them in the middle. My daughter (4) and her bitty twin Blossom love it. I increased the main panels by 2″ in each direction to be sure it would work on my slightly older girl.

  18. Just made this last night for my almost three-year-old. She’s getting a Bitty Baby for her birthday, and I figured she sees me carry baby sister around in a carrier enough, she should probably have her own. Thanks for the easy tutorial!

  19. I am so excited to make this for my daughter! She will be 17 months when her baby brother or sister is due so it will be going in her Big Sister bag! I bought minnie mouse fabric for the main and red with white polkadots for the straps. I am thinking i will have enough to make one reverse also! Thank you so much for this easy tutorial!

  20. Just whipped one up for my 4 yr old {I have a mei tai to carry our 4 month old in} I added 2″ of a solid color to the top to adjust for her long torso and to fit her cabbage patch doll! Thanks for the easy tutorial!

  21. Hi there–I just made this over the last two naptimes (as you rightly described) and I am NOT an accomplished seamstress. I have mostly made straight line stitched child blanks and quilts, some crooked curtains, that kind of thing. I looked at many different carrier tutorials, and this one looked the easiest. It really was! It gave me a great opportunity to practice making something unique and some new skills (like turning a tube). I am thrilled with the final product. I am going to make one for a four year old neighbor for her birthday. I am thinking I may need to make the straps (at least the shorter ones) a bit longer. Any reason I couldn’t/shouldn’t? Thanks! Katie

    • I’m so glad it worked out good for you, Katie! 🙂 I would definitely had an inch or 2 to the straps for a four year old. My 3.5-yr old can still wear hers but the straps are getting a bit short!

      • Hi again–I did add two inches to long straps, an inch to the main piece, and I think one inch to the short straps. I used the 4 yr old as a “model” to “try it on” for my daughter (so I could in reality size it up on her) and I’m so excited to give it to her for her birthday party next weekend. This really was a very user-friendly tutorial. Thanks very much.

  22. Carol Englemsn says:

    I am confused after laying straps on 1 piece of fabric, then placing 2nd piece on, pinning & sewing the two long sides & across top just over the 2 long straps…what about sewing the bottom? Do you sew all the way across bottom? So you actually have a pouch? Or is it left unsewn & doll legs stick out bottom? So it couldn’t actually be used for small toys?

  23. Thank you for great tutorial. I made this for my little girl today and she loves it. The tutorial was great, clear, concise and easy to follow. I added Velcro to the straps to make it easier for my daughter to put on herself and a pocket on front for babies toys. Thanks again

  24. How do you use a knitting needle to turn the straps right side out?! This part is turning out to be super frustrating, especially since I can’t use the safety pin trick as one short end is sewn.

  25. I made this today and it turned out great. Its for a 2 year old who is obsessed with mimicking everything I do with the baby. I also made her a mini nursing cover to match.

  26. I just made this on a 100 year old singer sewing machine, with a treadle pedal. Took me 4 hours, with a few tension issues to sort out and some unpicking of that annoying bunchy bobbin stuff. I didn’t sew around the edges of the straps after turning them inside out because that kept happening and i hope i don’t live to regret that, but i’m pleased i finished it and it looks good. I also made it a bit bigger for a 4 year old. Thanks for sharing this pattern, even a total beginner like me can build confidence with.

  27. brynna acuna says:

    I am making these for my 9 and 7 sbd 2 year old anything to keep them young!!!

  28. For the pictures it would be easier to see if you used contrasting patterns/colours. I just think it would be easier to follow the last pictures. I’m still gonna give this a try.

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