Time: About 2-3 hours (I had a LOT of interruptions so I have to guess a bit here)
Materials: Old jacket a size or two too large. Velcro. Sewing Machine. Serger. Pins. About a yard of extra fabric. Thread. Seam ripper. Dressmaker's dummy or a second person about your size, and a doll/pillow about the same size as a baby/toddler.
Skills: Just basic sewing skills.
I needed to make a babywearing jacket or babywearing coat to go over my Ergo. Thanks so much to the people who made these and posted pics of what they did! I wouldn't have been able to make mine without that help. I'm posting my pics because I did things slightly differently and maybe it can help someone else. I started with an older Eddie Bauer lightweight l lined jacket, size XL. I normally wear a M to L. At the end you'll see how I added a quick layer for warmth underneath of it by simply using an old fleece jacket from my husband. I'd prefer a fleece that zipped all the way down, but this was what I had on hand. I needed this to be done in time for a vacation.
This is my ergo and "test subject" on my dummy. My baby is a little larger than this, but it worked well.
This is the back of the jacket before cutting. It had shaping seams in the back and along the top. I seam-ripped down the back side and back top seams, but left the bottom 4 inches intact.
This is the jacket flayed open.
At this point I serged all the raw edges of the liner I had to cut through on the inside of the jacket. After finishing the rest of the jacket, I went back and tacked the liner back in. It worked pretty well.
After seam-ripping the jacket, I fitted it onto the dummy and pinned rectangles of my insert fabric (jersey I had on hand), to get a rough fit estimate. I didn't take a picture of the rectangles, but they were about five? inches wide and a bit longer than the length of my seams. I've seen other tutorials that have taken good pictures of them, and mine were similar, but I just used rectangles at this point and didn't worry about any curving.
Then I sewed the insert fabric rectangles to the back flap panel only. Not to the body of the jacket or on top. Then I fitted the jacket back on to the dummy and looked at how much room I had. My daughter sits slighter higher up than Yoda, and also her legs are bigger, so I adjusted a little for that. I had a lot of extra fabric and I adjusted my pins accordingly. These pics show the pins still in the back, so pretend I already sewed that part and removed the pins, and you'll see the idea.
I need the jacket to close up when the baby is not in it, so I removed Yoda and the Ergo and figured out how I wanted to close up the jacket.
Then, pretty happy with how things were looking, I marked the seam lines I desired.
I sewed along all the seam lines I marked. I serged as much as possible since for me it's so much easier to serge when working with knits. I sewed the sides first, then the top. I added a folded flap of insert fabric to the top open edge, and a larger folded flap all along the bottom open edge. Because of the way I opened the jacket, I had to re-sew a small part of the sleeve and shoulder. Then, I added velcro in three spots to close up the top of the jacket when I am not wearing the baby.
This is how the jacket looks afterwards, closed up:
This is the jacket afterwards, with Yoda but without any warm liner in it. There's a bit of extra room, and my baby fills this up better than Yoda. I considered putting some elastic through the top to make it snugger, but it turned out not to be necessary with the baby in it.
To add warmth, I used an old XXL fleece jacket of my husband's. This is a short-term solution because I didn't have a fleece that zipped all the way down, but I need help to get it on. All I did to alter it was to fit it over Yoda and the dummy and cut a slit. It fits pretty well.
With the fleece under the jacket, the fit is good. It's really warm for both of us. For someone without much sewing skill, I really think it would be possible to just get a really big fleece jacket that zips all the way down, and just cut a slit. I don't see a cheaper solution than that (for someone without basic sewing skills).