Lately I’ve been going a little crazy with the sewing projects (I have 3 on the go right now and at least 2 more in the ‘planning stages’), but I finally finished one I’ve been waiting on for a while.
Today’s tutorial is for a ring sling made with aluminum sling rings and stretch cotton twill fabric and is the ‘adjustable baby pouch’ style found on the UpMama DIY page.
2 Aluminum Sling Rings (medium for for most fabrics, large for heavy or thick fabrics)
3 yards Stretch cotton fabric (Sateen is best, I chose twill because it was on sale)
1. Cut your fabric length wise so you have two 3 yard sections. Put one to the side (or make a second sling) as you only need one length of fabric.
2. Trim the length of the fabric to your desired width. The sling should be between 22 and 30 inches wide when finished, so account for your seam allowances when trimming the fabric. I chose to do a 22 inch sling as I’m only planning on using it when she’s an infant, and as she gets older I’ll be using the baby wrap almost exclusively. If you’re wanting to carry older babies in the cradle position or hip carry toddlers, its better to make a wider sling.
3. Hem the long edges of your sling. I folded and ironed the edges over twice before sewing it down so that I would have a nice finished seam (and because I don’t have a hemming foot for my sewing machine).
4. On one end of the sling, iron down about an inch of fabric. This will be the end with the rings. Fold the fabric in half like a hot dog. Gather the fabric to feed it through the rings. Below is how I pleated the fabric to do so, but you can pleat or gather the fabric however feels most comfortable on your shoulder.
It should ‘cap’ your shoulder when in the proper position, so pin it down and try it out (holding the rings in the ‘corsage position’. Make sure you have the open edge of the sling facing towards your neck!
6. Sew down the fold using an extra strong stitch and do a couple of rows of stitches to keep the shoulder nice and secure. This is one of the seams that will be under stress so be sure it won’t be coming undone.
7. Thread the sling and try it on for size. If you’d like, you could hem the bottom edge of the sling and stop here. Alternatively, if you’d like to sew a pouch into the sling for the baby’s bottom to sit in, figure out where on your body you’d like the seam to sit. It should sit between your hip and your belly button. This can be a LITTLE difficult to do when pregnant as your belly button isn’t quite in it’s normal spot, but do your best to guess. Mark this spot with a pin.
8. Open up the sling and fold it in half like a hamburger at the point where you put in the pin. Fold it in half again so that all of your hemmed edges are together. Draw a half smile on the fabric. Now that my ring sling is finished, I think I made my smile a little big, although it does have a nice deep pocket for her little bum.
9. Cut through ALL layers of fabric along the line you drew. This is the scariest part of the whole project!
10. Unfold your fabric keeping the cut edge together. You should have the right sides of your fabric facing OUT (as in opposite of the photo shown below!). It seems counter intuitive to start hemming with right sides out, but trust me on this. Seriously, I had to rip out a row of stitches I had gone over twice because I didn’t think the seam through before sewing it. Trim the extra fabric next to the seam to within a quarter of an inch or less.
11. Flip inside out and iron down the seam. Sew another seam following the curve of the pouch.
12. Lastly, sew down this finished seam – this is a french seam.
13. Rethread your sling and try it out again. Again, I found my pouch to be a little excessive, but it will still work (I hope!).
- The sling isn’t actually 100% finished. I’m planning on sewing in a pocket at the end of the tail so I can carry around money, cell phone, a diaper, etc., and leave my purse in the car on occasion. I’m still looking for a good (cheap) fabric for the front of the pocket and will update the tutorial when this part is completed.
-I picked a stretch cotton twill for the fabric thinking it would be very similar to the stretch cotton sateen only without the ‘shine’; I ordered it from fabric.com and didn’t get a chance to feel the fabric before buying it, and it’s definitely a LOT thicker and heavier than the sateen. - With a thicker fabric, it would be better to have large sized rings. The rings on the sling I made definitely work, it would just be easier with larger rings.
- Make sure you account for your seam allowances when measuring the location of the pouch. It may be my belly throwing it off still, but it seems a little closer to my hip than belly button.
It only cost 7.50 for the fabric, so I’m thinking I might make a non-adjustable pouch sling with the remaining fabric (tutorial to come!) and then pick up some sateen fabric at the Fabricland sale to try this sling again. I ordered extra sling rings so that I would have them on hand.
Let me know if you try to make one!
Do you prefer the wrap type of baby carrier? Check out my baby wrap tutorial here.
Find other great tutorials at the Fine Craft Guild linky party!