Here is how to customize your carrier with no sewing machine needed. I customized a Beco Gemini with a goldfish fabric I had. I like to switch it up every year or so, and definitely give each new baby their own fabric on my Beco.
1. Gather your supplies. You will need a needle and thread, scissors, straight pins, and a piece of fabric about 2 inches bigger on all sides than part of the carrier you want to cover. For me, this was the center panel of the Gemini. If I was customizing a Mei Tai I would have covered the entire thing. The fabric should be woven, not stretchy, and should be washable.
2. To get the fabric the right size, spread it out and lay it down on the Beco. Make a small cut in the fabric to mark where you are going to trim it. I laid it out with the bottom end hanging over where I wanted it by about 2 inches, then made my cut at the top about 2 inches past the top of the Beco.
3. Cut the fabric to size. DO NOT attempt to cut the fabric while it is on top of your carrier – you could accidentally cut through the carrier and that would be so sad. Move your carrier off the work surface and then trim the fabric to size. I used a measuring tape to make a straight line for a cutting guide.
4. Fold the extra 2 inches under and pin it. You want to end up with a piece of fabric with ends “hemmed” under by the pins that is exactly the size you want to sew on.
5. You can see I laid the fabric on the Beco to make sure it was the right size. Make sure you don’t cover the snaps!
6. Iron the creases in. This is also a chance to get any wrinkles out of the fabric so it’s nice and crisp when you sew it on.
7. Pin the fabric panel to your carrier. This will hold it in place while you sew it on.
8. Make your first stitch go up through the fabric so the knot will be tucked under and not visible. Slip stitch around the edge of the fabric. Small, even stitches are the key here. When you put your needle in you want to put it alongside the stitching, towards the center. This will preserve the flexibility of that seam and allow the carrier to curve around your child’s body without straining the fabric you are sewing on.
9. You will need rethread your needle at least once. When you run out of thread, leave about 4-6 inches of loose thread. Push the needle down through the pretty fabric so the knot you’re about to tie will be on the underside and not visible. Cut the needle off and tie a double knot. Pull it snug and cut off the loose ends.
10. Continue to stitch all the way around until the fabric panel is securely sewn on. You’re done!