I made a whale meh dai over 9 years ago. It was one of my favourites, made from a Didymos Eisblau which is a gorgeous cotton, wool and silk blend.
Now that my youngest child is 10 it seemed a shame to have it lying around unused and why buy new fabric to make a bag when there is lovely fabric that could be repurposed? I made a bag for my sisters birthday a few years ago (it was the first bag I made) and she was very happy with it so I decided to make another for myself. The pattern I used is the Shine on Sling Bag by Little Moo Designs. The bag has a ring closure on the strap and a zipper pocket inside.
This is the first time I have made a bag with wrap fabric and the fabric is quite thick so next time I think I'll change some of the interfacing as it made the seams quite bulky. I lined it in some dark blue starry fabric. I had to piece the feature pocket as there wasn't enough fabric in the hood to fit, but I quite like the effect. I also had to add some extra fabric for the other crossover front pocket as there wasn't quite enough fabric in the carrier. Overall I am quite pleased with it. It's sturdy and the shoulder strap is quite cushy so will be great for carrying my library books. I'm glad this carrier has a new lease of life (which is white I love about upcycling).
This carrier has gone on lost of adventures with us including to Anakie fairy park and strawberry picking!
And now it will accompany me on new adventures as a bag.
I came across a vintage baby carrier on ebay called the Maral which led me to discover an interesting bit of babywearing history. This carrier was patented in the 1969 in New Zealand and was part of a revival of interest in babywearing that occured in the late 1960's. Baby carriers were especially popular among Le Leche League members.
Marilyn Campbell in 1969 ran Maral with her husband Alistair and also organised the first formal La Leche League meeting in upper Hutt.
Diane Hildreth "Yes Maral. When I was with Parents Centre Upper Hutt we promoted them in our magazines. I had one for my son Iain when he was a baby. They were fantastic. You could wear them back and front, adjust the straps and they provided head support which others on the market did not. I could do the veges for tea, vacuum, do the washing, all while I had in safely close to me." (Facebook comment from You know you grew up in Upper Hutt, Zealand when you remember.........' on the 29/30 September 2017
Christine Oliver "All of my 4 babies were carried in a bright yellow one of these in the 1980s. I offered to sell them in Perth WA as I had so many queries about where to purchase but Marilyn was content to keep the business small and local." (Facebook comment Upper Hutt Heritage Facebook page on the 29/30 September
Photo by Wilfred Revelle Jackson 1970
Photo by Revelle Jackson 1970
Maral baby carrier back and front view.
A different baby carrier from the same era from the Upper Hutt City Library Heritage Collections. There is not much information about this one, possibly handmade.
Lynne McLellan and bay Tascha. Photo by Revelle Jackson date unspecified.
Some parents made their own carriers, the Le Leche League offered a pattern (printed in their magazine)
Do you have any memories of the Maral baby carriers or of babywearing in the 1960's or 1970's in New Zealand?
This is a comprehensive article covering the history of babywearing in New Zealand.
I love to sew. I have five curious and active kids who keep me busy!