How to Make a Mei Tai – Creating Paneling & Removable Leg Pads

This post is a continuation on how to make the Mei Tai from my post on Babywearing.

Create Paneling:

Step 1: Cut your paneling fabric the height and width of your panel opening, plus 3″ (1″ overlap on each side, plus 1/2″ seam allowance). Serge all four sides.

Step 2: Fold under twice and iron flat the sides. (each fold is 1/4″)

Step 3a: Lay the paneling over the panel frame.

Step 3b: In fabric marker, outline on the back of the panel where the hook and loop is on the paneling frame.

Step 4: Pin & sew the fussy pieces of the hook and loop down where you outlined them.

Step 5: put it inside and stick the paneling to the frame!

I will add here, that I ended up going back and adding hook & loop to the corners as well since I found the corners would often pop out of the frame once baby was in it.

Create Removable Leg Pads:

Step 1: Cut (2) a piece of fleece 10″ x 10″ (one for each leg padding)

Step 2: Cut (4) your leg padding fabric 11″ x 6″. Mark the fabric on each long end at 1″ (E), 3 1/2″ (E), & 9 1/2″ (T) (2 for each leg padding)

Step 2b: on one side, mark the “T” section “B” and put a dot about 1″ in from the edge.

Here are all your supplies cut and marked. You want the small elastics (1/4″ wide) to be cut approximately the length of twice the width of the waist strap. The wide elastics (1/2″ wide) you want to cut approximately the width of the body of the Mei Tai. Notice there is also a button for each leg padding about 1/2″ in diameter.

Step 3: Sandwhich your elastics between two layers of fabric. The small elastics get pinned at the “E” markings and the thick elastic gets pinned at the “T” marking. The button gets sewn to the right side of one piece at the “B” marking. You will be leaving the left side open for turning later, so start by serging that side (only one layer at at time)

Step 4: You will be leaving the side with the small elastics open for turning later, so start by serging that side (only one layer at at time). Then serge or sew the other three sides together, ensuring that you catch the small elastic at both sides and the wide one at just one side (opposite the button).

Step 5a: flip right-side out.

Step 5b: Fold your fleece padding in half then stuff in.

Step 5c: Fold end in and stitch shut.

Step 6: To hold padding in place, stitch a seam 1″ in from each long edge (being careful to stitch under and not over the elastics).

Step 6: (being careful to stitch under and not over the elastics)

Nearly completed leg pad

Step 7a: Place the leg pads over the waist straps and run the wide elastic across as shown.

Step 7b: tighten the wide elastic so it is slightly stretched

Step 7b close-up: Mark where the outside edge of the button lines up on the elastic.

Step 7c: Measure your button

Step 7d: Starting from the first marking on your elastic, mark up the width of your button minus 1/8″

Step 7d: With sharp siscors, cut a straight line between the two markings

Step 7d completed. Make sure to do this for both sides.

Now you can pull the elastic across and button it.

If you have a lot of excess elastic after the button hole, you can trim it

Step 8: Fold the pad in half lenghtwise and iron it flat (this will make it sit right on the strap more easily)

Completed Leg padding

This is how they go on the Mei Tai

Wide elastics button across the body and thin elastic slip over the waist strap

Finished Mei Tai! Notice the leg pads soften the area by her legs. (This is a more recent photo and Anastasia is actually getting too big for it. See the photo in the first post for a better fit).

Because the leg pads, paneling, and hood are all removable, you can create them in many coordinating fabrics to easily change the look of your Mei Tai without having to make a whole s

4 responses to this post.

  1. I don’t think she’s too big! Just too cute! Thanks for this tutorial, it was very thorough! I need to make me some panels to change out with mine for a little variety.


  2. […] How to Make a Mei Tai – Assembling the Straps and Paneling Frame How to Make a Mei Tai – Creating Paneling & Removable Leg Pads […]


  3. Hey! I just found your smiling face on a pinterest board! ( if you’re curious.) Totally getting into diy baby carriers, but I don’t think I’m ready for a project like a mei tai yet.


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