ruck-bu part 2

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Ok – This post will be long & picture heavy but I want to get the ruck-bu instructions out in one post.  Imay do a follow-up post with adjustments I would make it creating another.  So far I LOVE it!  I love the wicking inner (which you can do with any mei-tai/SSC style carrier).  I love how EASY it is to get the baby up!  I love the extra support from the wrap straps.   What I don’t love so far – wrap straps are long…. which means they can drag on the ground (similar to a wrap) & I would make my shoulder straps wider & probably add thicker padding if I had a do-over.  Then again it is summer & I am wearing sleeveless shirts – when I have longer sleeves on that may not bother me at all.

You can see my initial post for more info on supplies & inspiration/why here – Ruck-bu  …. no I wasn’t sneezing I meant ruck-bu!

Laid out as it would be used (with the waist flipped up creating the babies seat
Laid out as it would be used (with the waist flipped up creating the babies seat

Here is the body PATTERN for my ruck-bu.   You could easily use this same body for a mei-tai or other similar carrier.  I actually started with the body pattern from Barefoot and Pregnant, Esquire and modified it.  If you just want my adjustment system print both & overlay them.
Just for fun – a few pictures of my sketches & mock-ups.

Hidden Inner Layer



  • Cut webbing into 3″ sections
  • Line each webbing piece up on the body marks
  • Tack down with multiple lines of stitching (I just forward/reversed across several times)
  • Thread parachute cord thru the loops as shown in the picture
  • Attach block-style cord lock and trim the ends leaving plenty of excess
  • Cut out & baste your padding into place (I used 3 layers & followed the instructions on Barefoot and Pregnant, Esquire but she has other steps not necessary for this pattern)
    • Cut 3 layers of each padding area (legs & neck)
    • Baste padding “sandwiches”
    • Pin into place & sew down with straight stitches (I stitched down the middle & around the outside so it doesn’t bunch up later)

Wrap Pieces


  • 1 – size 5-6 wrap or suitable fabrics


  • Body panel (use hidden layer as template) – mark eyelet hole opening
  • 2 hood pieces (line these up with the body panel if you have a printed/striped wrap like mine)
  • 2 hood straps (23″x2″)
  • 2 shoulder straps (6.5″x28″) – I would make these wider if I did this again
  • 2 wrap straps (14″x80-90″) – this is half of the wrap – so cut everything else first & use what is left but don’t go too long – I used all of my leftover & had to go back & cut off 24″!!!

Sew the bits & pieces

Hood straps

First of all – ALOT of the patterns out there do this crazy fold & iron & sew thing…. seriously turning right side out isn’t that hard & will look SO much nicer!  Plus – no ironing required!  Well – I did at the end to make it lay flat but not before I sew!

  • Fold right sides together & sew along the long edge & one short edge
  • Trim the corner (see picture)
  • Turn right side out (I use a plastic chop stick & push the sewn/finished end into the tube – starting can take a bit but once you start it & scrunch up the rest of the fabric on your chop stick it will turn super fast.
  • Iron strap flat


I followed the instructions on Barefoot and Pregnant, Esquire step 24-33.

Wrap straps

  • Hem 2 long & 1 short edge (I cute my wrap so I only had 1 edge to hem on each & had tapers built in from my wrap)

Shoulder straps

Ok – these took some work & alot of thought!


  • 2 shoulder straps you already cut (6.5″x28″)
  • 6 padding strips 3″x8″ (or more depending on padding thickness)
  • 2 – 3/8″ webbing pieces 12″ long –
  • 2 – 3/8″ webbing pieces webbing pieces 34″ long


  • Baste 3 padding strips together & baste other 3 together to make 2 padding stacks (I zig zagged down the center)
  • Lay out your shoulder strap & pin padding 1/2″ in from the long edge & 5.5″ from the end (I sunk my straps 5″ – should have placed these  1/2″ deeper to make sewing easier – if you are only sinking straps 4″ place the padding 4.5″ in)
  • Sew padding onto the strap – I didn’t want mine to bunch – so I quilted it in straight lines starting in the center & then out to the edges.  I moved my needle all the way to the edge & lined my presser foot up with the last row of stitching to get even lines
  • Turn right sides together (padding will be ON TOP) and sew a 5/8″ seam down the long edge (note in my picture I hadn’t “quilted” my padding yet – I didn’t take a picture doing it right)
  • Turn right side out & press your seam

Shoulder adjuster – top part

Shoulder adjust – bottom part

  • Mark the center of your shoulder strap (where the rings will hang)
  • Line the 34″ piece of webbing up with the strap adjuster  &several inches from the far end of the strap
  • Tack down the far end and sew a zig-zag down the length of the webbing; stopping at the strap center (where the rings will hang)
  • Thread thru the strap adjuster
  • Determine your final length of the loose webbing, trim & burn the end (melts the webbing together & stops the fraying)

Thread your rings on & press flat.

You CAN sew your ring “in place” with a decorative or straight stitch line across the strap near the rings (similar to a ring sling) but it isn’t required.  I sewed mine after I tried it out loose.  Not positive it changed the function any.

Finish the inner body layer

  • Cut inner fabric (wicking for mine) using the hidden layer as a template – set aside
  • Attach your wrap straps along the waist (I pleated mine) & pin in place
  • Sew Xs or other design to keep straps tacked down VERY well
  • Attach your shoulder straps similarly – see how the strap adjuster is facing up at this point
  • Turn over & sew your inner fabric onto the hidden layer (you want to have wrong sides together & sew around the entire body panel – no turning required


Finish the outer body layer

  • Thread hood straps thru the hood if you haven’t already
  • Line up the hood on the “right” side of the outer body panel & pin
  • Sew a basting line across the top edge of the wrap/hood to hold in place
  • Find a scrap of fabric & using WonderUnder or similar double sided interfacing attach to the wrong side of the body panel where your eyelet will be (pink in my picture)
  • Punch a hole – I used my Crop-a-Dile II Big Bite on the larger hole punch setting
  • Install eyelet according to directions (SUPER easy – I was surprised!)

Finish the carrier

  • Build your carrier “sandwich” & pin
    • Lay out the inner body panel with wicking layer up, adjustment down & straps out as your bottom layer
    • Lay the outer body panel on top with the “right” side down & “wrong” side up (we are sewing right-sides-together here)
  • Sew around the wrap leaving an opening in the center of the waist for your hand to fit through (to turn it right side out) AND ALL STRAP POINTS!!!!   You can sew up to the edge of the straps but DO NO sew across them!  There are other methods for this – but I got excited & kept sewing across here… I ended up pulling stitches… don’t do what I did!
  • Turn right-side out using your waist opening (or if you are really good & have small hands you could try to use one of your waist strap holes)
  • Reach in & pull your parachute cord thru the eyelet (I removed the cord lock at this point & reattached it on the outside.  It won’t fit thru your eyelet but I wanted my cord together as I did the previous steps)
  • Pull 2 waist & 2 shoulder straps thru to the outside
  • Smooth out your seams, iron if necessary & topstitch the entire carrier – paying special attention to those areas you didn’t sew already (waist opening & 4 strap openings)
  • Trim parachute cord again if necessary – BURN ends to melt & stop fraying

YOU ARE DONE!!!!!!!!!

I hope I caught all of the steps in this write-up – let me know in comments if anything doesn’t make sense & I will update the post.

19 thoughts on “ruck-bu part 2

  1. So I’ve never sewn but have been desperately trying to find a ruck-bu with no luck. I can’t even find a wrap conversion onbu. My friend has agreed to help me try this. I sooo hope I can do it. Thank you so much for making my day!!!

    p.s. Any additional tips or info you want to add to this now that you’ve had it a little while?

  2. Sorry Rachelle – I just saw this today (I have been a bad blogger) – how did yours turn out? I had a hard time sewing over the shoulder seams because of how I had everything layered…. how about you? I wouldn’t bother with the shoulder adjustments – I never use them…. just make it to fit your size would be my best guidance!

  3. Hi, I love this and am going to give it a go. What is the parachute cording for? Extra support for baby? I’m just curious, sorry exhausted mommy brains:)

    1. The cording is for adjustment from small baby to large toddler sized. It works similar to the “string” trick used on some carries but it cinches the entire carrier & is adjustable as the baby grows.

  4. I’m excited to try this out since I have a new baby who I have a feeling is going to out grow many things rapidly. I was wondering if it would be ok to borrow parts of this design and add them into a similar design I may come up with in the future the more I look at designs and things? I have a habit of doing that a lot specially the more I sew and research things.

    1. Colleen – feel free but if you post a pattern please reference this and dont charge for it. Thanks!

      1. Thanks! 🙂 I always have the intention to start a blog with every project I finish but it never comes to light lol I will definitely reference and not sell. 🙂

  5. One question: Did you use a ballpoint needle? I was thinking I’d need to use a ballpoint needle for the wicking fabric, but didn’t know how well that would handle sewing through all those layers/ thickness. Just curious what you used….


    1. No I didn’t… a ballpoint can damage wovens, whereas I tend to forget ballpoints with knits alot & haven’t had any issues…. 😉 But then again I use universal needles most of the time & I think they are fine for both! I honestly don’t know which takes precedence in “proper” sewing techniques.

  6. Hi there. I am wondering if I could use wider webbing for the shoulder adjusters? I waited a month for my supplies to come in to make a different pattern, it was 1′ webbing, and I would rather make this one. Thanks!

    1. I don’t see why not! I wanted it to be unobtrusive, but wider would be more functional probably. I sized the arms for myself so it’s really not used on my personal carrier. 😉

  7. Thank you for the awesome tutorial, this looks amazing! I’m planning on making this with some minor mods (mainly shorter straps to avoid mud dragging, a flap of fabric under the rings, and wider shoulders), and wondering if you get a lot of use out of the parachute cord or if just building the panel with a narrower “waist” and either rolling or pulling the seat higher between us would be similarly adjustable from baby to toddler. Thanks again!

    1. Those mods sound wonderful! I wanted straps long enough for a full tibetan tie but they do get in the way 😉

      I like the parachute cord personally along with rolling the waist. It doesn’t do much to cinch vertically but does cinch horizontally great! I think if you make it more narrow you will limit the upper end size and still may not be narrow enough for a squish.

  8. I’m sorry if I missed it somewhere in your instructions but what size sling rings did you use?

    1. small. Sorry it took me so long to reply!

  9. Hi, thank you for putting up this great Tutorial! I was hoping I could make it with my size 4, What do you think?

    1. Oh my Ryanne – sorry for my delay! You could totally do this with a size 4, but will likely have shorter wrap straps. Mine were too long & I have shortened them a few times already. 🙂

  10. If I were to create this from any fabric that isn’t woven wrap, what would you recommend? I’m on a budget but I’m in LOVE with this design, and expecting in just over a month. I wanted to start this so when I get tired of the Moby (with my daughter that was around 2 months old) I can have something different that will also last and be less likely to need replacement in the first year.

    1. canvas/duck cloth or blue jean type fabric (I think it’s only available in the home dec area at Joanns). These are both woven & I suggest using them as the inner lining – you need 2 layers of that type of fabric for support – a woven wrap is just one very pretty example. Good luck!

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