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Tablecloth Babywearing

Tablecloths can make for great baby carriers! They are often cheaper than bolt fabric at the fabric store, and a jacquard tablecloth is going to be the closest thing you can come to woven wrap material (short of buying Colimašon et Cie.) Just make sure your tablecloth fits the Four Rules of Fabric Selection and you'll be good! The most popular brand is the cotton jacquard tablecloths by Mahogany available on Amazon.com. These have been compared to even some of the nicer brands of purpose-woven wraps. Also popular are Target's Threshold brand printed tablecloths. Due to being printed, these will act more like duck cloth but can still be a great option for wraps, slings or structured carriers and are much more affordable than Mahogany.

What about curtain panels?

Brand new curtain panels follow the same rules as tablecloths - just make sure that they are thick enough, a proper fiber content, and not coated with anything. It can be hard to judge the thickness of "light blocking" curtains because they have a second layer sewn as a backing. However, unlike tableclothes, you should never use USED curtain panels. Sunlight damages the fabric fibers and weakens them, so fabric that has been hanging in a window may look fine but tear easily.

Woven Wraps

A 60" by 104" tablecloth can be cut in half to 30" wide and the raw edge hemmed to make two size 2 woven wraps. A 120" makes a long 2/short 3 and is a popular "shorty" size. Both of these can also be used as a no-sew ring sling if you get a pair of large sling rings.

Another option, although slightly controversial, is to take your two tablecloth halves and seam them together to make a longer wrap.The suggested methods for doing this are a french seam, a flat felled seam, or a 6"-12" overlap. Jan from Sleeping Baby Productions has a great tutorial for doing this. She also has a great video on french and flat felled seams. If you choose this method, inspect your seam regularly for wear. This is the same type of seam used for pouch slings, and is a very strong seam, but the seam will naturally be the weakest part of a wrap. Some people choose to cut one of their tablecloth halves in half again and seam each short piece to the ends of the long half (so there are two seams in the wrap, but neither are centered.) Some people feel that the single centered seam is safer (and makes a great tactile middle marker) because it is only one location of weakness in the wrap, and some people prefer the method with two seams but neither of them located directly under baby's bum.

60" Tablecloth LengthLength after 10% ShrinkageTotal length after seamingApprox Woven Wrap Size
120" 110" 218" Size 8 (220")
104" 95" 188" Size 6 (181")
84" 76" 150" Size 4 (146")
60" (Square) 55" 108" Size 2 (98")

If you love the idea of a long tablecloth wrap but don't want to seam your wrap, there is actually a Facebook group dedicated to ordering custom-sized "banquet runners" from Mahogany - that is, Mahogany jacquard tablecloths purposely woven to a custom size that happens to make a fantastic long wrap.

Ring Sling

A 60" wide tablecloth with a minimum length of about 80" can be cut in half and the raw edge hemmed to sew into a ring sling using our tutorial, or you can simply cut in in half, hem the raw edge, and then use it as a no-sew ring sling.

Meh Dai

A 60" by 84" tablecloth or larger is the perfect amount of fabric for a meh dai, as these two tutorials show:

All of the other tutorials listed for meh dais can also utilize tablecloths as a cheap source of fabric.

Onbuhimo

A 60" by 84" tablecloth would be plenty for an onbuhimo as well, although the Fine & Fair blog actually utilizes an 60" round tablecloth for hers.

Reverse Onbuhimo

A 60" by 84" tablecloth is plenty to make a reverse onbuhimo. These carriers are for babies who can sit independently and are great for quick and easy back carries! I have personally made this pattern using only half of a 104" tablecloth, leaving the other half of the tablecloth for a short wrap or ring sling, although I did utlilize some plain coordinating twill for two of the body panel layers in order to do this.

Nyia

A nyia can be made from a 60" by 104" tablecloth (or shorter; an 84" tablecloth will just have a slightly shorter but still very usable strap.) See the nyia tutorial for cutting layouts for tablecloths.

Other Carriers

Tablecloths can essentially be used for any type of babywearing carrier (other than a stretchy wrap.) Simply treat it as you would any other fabric!

-- Alyssa Leonard - 2016-07-26

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Topic revision: r6 - 2017-04-04 - AlyssaLeonard
 
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