I made a mei tai following the size and construction of one a friend bought and lent me. When I try it on, it feels a bit short in length - like it's going to sit above my hips rather than around my hips. When i look at pictures online, it looks like most mamas do wear it with the waistband sitting above the hips. I just can't tell if it feels right to me, because I'm pregnant, and obviously my belly is in the way. Also, I can't put my baby in it yet to see how it feels!
What do you think? Will it be okay? Should I make another one that's longer just in case? I'm assuming I won't be able to sew much after baby comes out.
I also have a Hoppediz wrap and am planning to make a good stretchy wrap, so I have other options for the first weeks.
The waist straps on a mei tai are tied around your natural waist -- even a bit higher, especially with a newborn. I don't know the pattern you followed, but if the body is a reasonable size I'm sure it will be fine. On a buckle carrier (aka soft structured carrier) with a support belt, those usually go around the top of the hips, but mei tais are worn around the waist.
You want to position your newborn in the same way you'd hold her in your arms, in what I call the "babywearing zone" -- between your collarbone and your waistline, with her head close enough to kiss when you bend your neck. Her froggied-up legs will be no lower than your natural waistline. After you get the carrier tied on around her and she's snugged up in the correct position, stick your hands in the sides of the carrier to make sure her feet are flat and toes are pointing out the sides rather than up and down or crossed over each other. Always make sure she's carried up in this snug position, although of course you can untie the top straps and lower her down to breast level to nurse.
There's a lot of versatility with a mei tai, and you can play around to see what's most comfy for you, but with any babywearing the more baby is positioned as she would be in your arms the more comfy you will be.
Thanks for the answer! I think it's going to work well to hold her - I can't wait to try and see which wrap I like best.
Also, from my sister who is a babywearer and a sewer: did you follow any tutorials in terms of fabric choices, thread choices, and construction methods, like X boxing or similar ways of ensuring that the straps are safely attached to the body of the carrier?
Here's a link to the DIY forum at the Babywearer with a list of useful links for making an asian-style carrier:
Yes, my straps are securely sewn in, and although I used re-purposed sheeting (with a cotton quilt batting for an interlining) rather than a bottom weight fabric, I feel confident that the construction is secure. I'm an experienced seamstress. It'll be intersting to see how it works out... May need a tougher fabric when baby gets to toddler size. Maybe I should try my 1 year old nephew in it? He's 20 lbs. He's not accustomed to being worn, though...VERY wiggly!