Sewing for Baby: Baby Sling Tutorial

I hope you’ve enjoyed Sewing for Baby week on Sew outnumbered!  It’s been great fun sharing some of my most favourite baby projects with you.  I’ve also shared my self-drafted bib and pram liner patterns and the easy-peasy applique tutorial.  For the last post in this series, I’ll be showing you how I made this super handy and EASY baby sling.

sling tutorial

I know mums who use slings like this one for their bubs even from when they are newborns.  Personally, I found getting my newborn in a position I was happy with a bit tricky, but now that he’s really able to hold up his head and has developed a bit of core strength, using this sling is like having an extra arm!  I mostly use it for daycare drop offs and pick ups when previously I’d been holding him on my hip the whole time and really straining my left arm and shoulder.

baby sling side

It also make a really impressive gift for a friend!

sling back

It might look like I’m still using my arm to hold him in these pics but really it’s just there for security – I’m not holding any weight on my left arm here.

I made it using quilting cotton but I actually find that the sling itself can get quite heavy.  If you’re going to make one, I’d recommend using something lighter, like cotton voile.  Definitely choose a breathable fabric – particularly if you live somewhere that gets hot!  I also chose a plain colour as the main fabric so that it doesn’t have a right and a wrong side.

I sourced the rings online from the US store Sling Rings.  The rings are manufactured specifically for the purpose of making baby slings and according to their website are rigorously tested.  The sampler pack gave me 5 sets of large rings in metallic colours (black, slate, silver, gold and bronze) and including shipping it cost me around $30 AUD.  I found this was definitely the most economical way.  I don’t have any affiliation with this company – I was just really happy with the product I received.

To thread and wear a baby sling, I recommend checking out the Maya Wrap website.  (Of course if you can’t be bothered making one, you could always just buy one from there!)  They have an amazing page with video tutorials to show you how versatile wearing a baby sling can be.

So here’s how to do it…

(I apologise in advance for the limited number of photos.  I made this sling ages ago so wasn’t thinking I would be writing a tutorial for it! I promise to add more pics when I make my next one.)

Supplies

  • 2.2m (2yd 14 inch) of main sling fabric – I’m 1.7m tall (5’7”) and this is the perfect size for me.  You might like to adjust this length according to your height.
  • 50cm (19 ½ inch) of feature fabric
  • 1 pair of sling rings (large size)

1)      Wash, dry and iron your fabrics.

2)      Trim the raw edges (NOT selvedges) of your main and feature fabrics so they are straight.  You will need to trim the selvedge edge of your feature fabric if it has the manufacturers details on it.  You want to use the full width (selvedge to selvedge) of your fabrics so try to match up the widths as best you can.

3)      Join the bottom raw edges of the main and feature fabrics by straight stitching selvedge to selvedge, with the feature fabric face down.

4)      Turn the feature fabric back onto the main fabric and press the seam you just sewed.  Press under about 12 mm or ½ inch of the other raw edge of your feature fabric.

5)      Next, top stitch around the other three sides of the feature fabric to join it completely to the bottom of the main fabric panel.

 

baby sling feature fabric

baby sling feature fabric close

6)      Finish the other raw edge of your main fabric panel, either by overlocking, zig zag or turn it under twice and press.

7)      Make sure your main fabric panel is lying down with the feature fabric facing UP (this is important!)

8)      Draw a line with tailor’s chalk or a water erasable pen 20cm or 8 inches from the finished edge.

9)      Insert your slings and fold your finished edge over towards the line you just drew.  It’s easier to sew this part without pinning because the rings will bunch up your fabric too much.

Note: You should have folded it over so that your finished edge is on the same side as your feature fabric.  This will make sure that the “neat” side will be on the same side as the feature fabric when you wear it.  It’s the opposite of what you might think, but trust me!

10)  Going VERY slowly, sew this finished edge back onto the main fabric panel, lining up the edge with the drawn line as you go.  It will be tricky because of the bunching but if you go slow and adjust the fabric as you sew, it will work.

baby sling stitch

11)  Sew another line of stitching next to the one you just did, for added strength.

baby sling topstitch

And that’s it!  Now you have a beautiful baby sling!

baby sling front

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please ensure when carrying a baby in a sling such as this one, that baby’s head is positioned outside of the sling at all times to avoid suffocation.  I do not recommend using a sling such as this until the baby has good head control.

Of course I’d love to hear from you, especially if you make one using this tutorial.   Be sure to leave a comment below or share a picture of your gorgeous sling on the Sew outnumbered facebook page.

And, if you’re after any more inspiration, check out my Pinterest board Sewing: Baby Boys for loads more great projects.

Nat

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