How to Sew a Fleece Babywearing Jacket

babywearing jacketBabywearing jackets are expensive and hard to find, but you need to keep yourself and baby warm. I copied a jacket I saw online to make this jacket to keep my daughter warm when we took  my son to the bus stop. Now you can sew your own fleece babywearing jacket too, starting from a basic pattern you can buy online or at fabric stores.

This jacket features a finished hole in the back for your baby’s head and ease built in to accommodate baby. Above and below the baby, the jacket remains sized to you for warmth. There is no closure for the baby’s opening, so you’d only want to wear this with a baby on your back.

This tutorial assumes you have some sewing experience. You don’t have to be a master seamstress, but this probably shouldn’t be your first sewing project either.

Click on any photo to see it larger.


  • Basic fleece jacket pattern such as Simplicity 2480 (View A) or McCall’s 5252
  • Fleece (might need a little more than your pattern calls for. I used 1 5/8 yds for my size XL)
  • Whatever supplies called for by pattern (zipper, etc.)
  • For altering the pattern: paper, scissors, pen/pencil, ruler, french curve (optional)

Alter the Jacket Pattern:

To turn this jacket into a baby-wearing jacket, most of the altering will be on the back pattern piece, along with a little on the front piece, and the creation of two new pieces.


The only change to the front piece is to lengthen it by 4 inches. Your pattern may have a line that says “shorten or lengthen here” and if so, that’s where you’ll want to add the length. If not, anywhere underneath the armhole should be fine.

(Note that you may want to buy a longer zipper than called for in the original pattern)

Back Center and Back Side

  1. Extend Center Back (CB) by 3″.
    babywearing step 1
  2. Make a mark 5″ down on original CB.
  3. Draw a perpendicular line 6” long at that mark, 3″ inside the back pattern, 3″ outside the pattern.
    babywearing jacket step 2
  4. Add ¼” seam allowance to CB line above the 6” line and true it up with the neckline
  5. Mark the new CB line to be cut on the fold. Cross out any line above the 6” horizontal line and the original CB line below the 6” horizontal line.babywearing jacket step 4
  6. 5 inches from the original CB line, make a mark on the bottom line of pattern. Approx 3 inches along armhole line, from the side, make a mark.
    babywearing jacket step 5
  7. Draw straight up from the bottom mark about 8” long. Draw a curve to the mark on the armhole. A French curve can help with this or you can freehand it.
    babywearing jacket step 6
  8. Make a mark on the line 6” from the bottom, about 1 ½” from the armhole, and then 2 more marks evenly spaced between the first two. Just eyeball it. Make sure the marks extend onto both sides of the line.
    babywearing jacket step 7
  9. Cut along this curved line. The smaller piece is the Back Side pattern piece. Add a 1/4″ seam allowance along the curve and now this piece is complete.
    babywearing jacket step8
  10. The other piece is the Back Center pattern piece. Now draw 4 horizontal lines, perpendicular to the CB, between the bottom 5 hash marks.
  11. Cut along each of those lines and add 1” to each section. True up the lines.
    babywearing jacket step 10
  12. Add 1/4″ seam allowance to the curve.
    babywearing jacket step 11

Final Back Center pattern:

babywearing jacket final back center pattern

Back Bottom

  1. This is a new piece, and it’s a simple rectangle. The height is 4 ½”. The width is the same as the width of the original back pattern.
  2. Mark the left line to be cut on the fold.
  3. Measure the width along the bottom of the back side pattern. Make a mark along the top line at this measurement from the right line.
    babywearing jacket back bottom

Child Opening Neckband

  1. This is also a new piece, and a simple rectangle. The height is 2 ¼” and the width is 9 ¼”.
  2. Mark one short side to be cut on the fold.

Cut the Fabric:

Following the cutting guide in your pattern with the following changes/additions:

  • Back Bottom: cut 1 on fold
  • Child Opening Neckband: cut 1 on fold
  • Back Side: cut 2
  • Back Center: Cut 1 on fold. Cut along the 3” line that extends into the pattern.
  • Make a 1/8″-1/4″ snip at each hash mark.


  • Seams are ¼” in the following instructions. When you assemble the rest of your jacket, use the seam allowances called for in your pattern.
  • Sew with right sides together unless otherwise specified. Since some fleece looks the same on the right side and wrong side, you might want to mark the wrong side of each piece.
  • Seams can be finished with a serger or by cutting with pinking shears, but since fleece doesn’t ravel, it’s not really necessary and they can be left as is.
  • Press all seams open or to one side unless otherwise specified.


Sew the Babywearing Jacket:

  1. Sew Center Back seam.
    babywearing jacket sewing step 1
  2. Sew short ends of child neckband.
    babywearing jacket sewing step 2
  3. Fold neckband in half, right side out, so long edges meet. Press. Baste long edges if desired.
    babywearing jacket sewing step 3
  4. Fold neckband so that edges meet and seam is on one fold. Place a pin perpendicular to the unfinished edge at the fold opposite the seam.
    babywearing jacket sewing step 4
  5. Now fold neckband so that the pin and the seam meet. Place a perpendicular pin to each fold. The three pins and the seam divide the neckband into fourths.
    babywearing jacket sewing step 5 babywearing jacket sewing step 5
  6. Divide and mark the opening in the back into fourths in the same manner.
    babywearing jacket sewing step 6
  7. Holding the jacket back right side out, pin the neckband around the outside of the opening, lining up raw edges, matching pins as follows:
    • Line up the seam in the neckband with the bottom center pin
    • Match up the three remaining pins
      babywearing jacket sewing step 7
  8. Add more pins if necessary to stretch the neckband around the opening. Sew seam. Press to the inside.
    babywearing jacket sewing step 8
  9. Laying right sides of Back Center and Back Side together, match the curved seams where the notches are and pin at the notches. Notice the Back Center is longer than the Back Side.
    babywearing jacket sewing step 9
  10. Use additional pins to distribute the fullness of the Back Center as evenly as possible between the notches. Sew. Repeat on other side.
    babywearing jacket sewing step 10 babywearing jacket sewing step 10
  11. Using a long stitch length, sew 1/2″ from bottom edge between the Back Side seams. These stitches will be used for gathering this seam.
    babywearing jacket sewing step 11
  12. Right sides together, pin the Back Bottom to the Back Center, matching the side seams and notches. Pin at the notches. Notice the Back Center is longer than the Back Bottom.
    babywearing jacket sewing step 12
  13. Gently pull on one thread from the long stitches to gather the seam. Move the fabric along the threads to distribute it evenly between the notches. Pin as necessary.
    babywearing jacket sewing step 13 babywearing jacket sewing step 13
  14. Sew 1/4″ seam. Remove gathering stitches after seam is sewn.
    babywearing jacket sewing step 14
  15. The back is now assembled. Follow the instructions in your pattern to assemble the jacket.


How do you get the jacket on when baby’s on your back? Of course, it’s easiest if you have a helper to pull the opening over baby’s head, but it can be done if you’re alone as well. Rather than wrap the jacket around your back, bring it down your back from over your head and put your arms partially into the sleeves. You can get the jacket pulled down over your baby’s head and then finish pulling your arms through the sleeves. If your baby protests greatly about having blankets covering his/her head, you might not be able to get this on yourself.


babywearing jacket on the frontAlthough this jacket is designed to used when carrying baby on your back, it can be turned around to used when wearing baby on the front. You have zip the jacket up part-way and then pull it on like a sweatshirt. If you’re flexible enough, you can get the zipper up fairly far in the back, but you may need a helper to get it all the way zipped. Alternatively, use a scarf or shawl to cover your upper back/neck.



The Family that Reads Together…

My husband and I are big readers. Hopefully that will rub off on our children, too. 🙂 Many of our Christmas gifts are books.  Here’s our haul this year:

My Books

stack of books

My stack of books generally isn’t very big because I do most of my reading on my Kindle.  In addition to these books, I got a healthy amount of Amazon gift cards which I’ll use throughout the year (or as long as it lasts!) to work through my TBR list (which is sitting at 257 books long at the time of this writing).

Here’s what was under my tree:

My husband also bought me  by  as a Kindle book.

With my Amazon gift cards, I’ve already purchased the following on my Kindle:

I’m planning to buy several Josh Lanyon books, probably starting with  and .

What will I read first? Not sure yet. First I have to finish  by  which I have on loan from the library.

Hubby’s Books

stack of books

My husband usually receives a huge stack of books for Christmas. This year’s stack is small compared to previous years. Here’s what he got:

Not pictured:

Son’s Books (3rd grade)


stack of books


My son isn’t as big of a reader as I’d like, so I was happy that he got some books, too (that he asked for!):

Not Pictured:

Daughter’s Books (2 years)


My daughter didn’t actually receive any books for Christmas, but she did get a book sling to hold all the books she already owns.  (Hopefully they will all fit — we’re still gathering them together.)  Organization for the win!


Did you get any books this holiday season? Which are you itching to read first? (or have already finished!)

Road Trip Wednesday: Season Changes

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.

This Week’s Topic

October!! It is SO fall! How does your writing (place, time, inspiration, etc) change with the seasons?

My Answer

Although I’ve been writing since 2009, it’s only been since May of this year that I’ve been writing seriously and consistently with the intent to publish.  The major change in my writing due to seasons was simply that over the summer, my son was home from school. It meant more time traveling to activities during the day, more time playing referee between him and his sister, more time spent away from home on vacations… In short, less time to write.

Over the summer I took Candace Haven’s Comprehensive Writing class, hoping it would help me get Brotherly Love finished.  I did a lot of thinking about my story. Perhaps too much. I’m still lost in deciding which way the ending should go, and that’s freezing me up from revising any part of it as well.  *sigh*

Now that I think about it, the fall has changed my writing thought process, because NaNoWriMo is coming up. October will be about planning for NaNo…if I can get the Brotherly Love boys out of my head!

Diversity and Segregation on Bookshelves

acceptance, diversity, segregation

Acceptance ……………………. Diversity ………………….. Segregation.
Photos by photogrammy1, on flickr

My husband and I had a conversation about diversity and racism the other day. Our son (8 years old) is one of just a few white kids in his circle of friends, but he doesn’t even notice.

He doesn’t care whether his friends are black, white, indian, or anything else. They’re just … *gasp*… people. I love that our school and community has helped to teach him this, but it’s also lulled me into believing this is true everywhere. I mean, it’s 2012, aren’t we past racism and segregation by now?

Apparently not. Author Coe Booth writes about her experience in her article Separate, Not Equal at CBC Diversity:

I really thought the photo of a teenage boy looking out onto his neighborhood would attract the attention of the audience I had in mind when I was writing the book — teenagers, especially boys, who don’t usually find a book that speaks to them. And I’ve since heard from lots of teens who tell me that it was the cover that initially drew them to the book.

The thing I never imagined was that the cover (and the covers of my subsequent books) might create an automatic ghettoization of my work.

Read more of the article here.

I had no idea that there were separate genres called “Street Lit” and “Urban Fiction”. Why do we even need them? Why wouldn’t these books just be shelved with general Young Adult or Adult fiction?  Here’s the Goodreads description of Tyrell:

Tyrell is a young, African American teen who can’t get a break. He’s living (for now) with his spaced-out mother and little brother in a homeless shelter. His father’s in jail. His girlfriend supports him, but he doesn’t feel good enough for her – and seems to be always on the verge of doing the wrong thing around her. There’s another girl at the homeless shelter who is also after him, although the desires there are complicated. Tyrell feels he needs to score some money to make things better. Will he end up following in his father’s footsteps?

Do the words “African American” really need to automatically put this book in a genre other than Young Adult?  It sounds like this book is about a teenager who is dealing with some family, personal, and romantic struggles while coming to age. Isn’t that what the Young Adult genre is all about?

Race and Sexuality — Not So Different

Usually when I’m thinking about issues like diversity, acceptance, and equality it’s in the context of sexuality because that’s a common component of most of the stories I want to tell.  I hadn’t considered before now that my books, when published, could be shelved under LGBT or Gay/Lesbian fiction.

I really, really hope that doesn’t become the case. The stories I want to tell aren’t because my characters are gay or deal with issues that only someone who is gay would be interested in.  They’re stories about teenagers on their paths to becoming adults who just happen to be gay.  Just like a character just happens to have brown hair. Or is tall. Or short.  My character being gay is part of the story, but it’s not the story.

But most importantly, by separating books into these specialized genres, we’re sending the message that they wouldn’t appeal to the “average” young adult reader. That only “certain readers” would be interested. Well, of course only “certain readers” would be interested — no one person likes all books — but whether the reader is gay or black is not that deciding factor.

Shelving books with characters who are not white or not straight under general young adult fiction would be one small but important step towards normalizing what society considers “different.”

I’m proud of my son for knowing that people are people, regardless of race. As he grows older and sexuality becomes something he’s more aware of, I have confidence it will matter just as much to him, which is to say: not at all because people are people.


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