Sew A Baby Sling
These are instructions to sew a simple style of baby sling often called a pouch sling, tube sling, pocket sling... I hope you find them useful! I first put these directions up in 1999 for some online friends. Since then, I have added to it here and there according to your suggestions. I do love your great emails!
You can use and print these directions for yourself, and feel free to link to me, but please don't distribute or sell them, steal any of my images or writings to your website, or otherwise do tacky and illegal stuff with my intellectual property. I don't make any money off this site, but it's still important to my self esteem to be given credit for it :)
I drew two diagrams (just the right size to print out) which make these written directions much easier to understand. It might be wise to look at them first before diving into the written instructions, perhaps even keep a copy handy to refer to as you read along:
Before you start...
Choose a 45" wide fabric. These slings are wonderful in anything from heavy canvas to breezy cotton. I've made them out of old sheets, even. Just be sure it isn't too flimsy (remember, it has to hold a baby.) Also, you'll want to avoid using anything really stretchy until you have a little sling-making experience (knits, fleece etc.) Yes, it can be done with these fabrics too, but you are more likely to have success at first with the less-stretchy stuff.
Next you will need to decide how long to make your sling. Measure loosely from your shoulder, diagnol across your body to your opposite hip. Double this number and add about 6 inches for the seam and curve. This is how long your prewashed fabric should be.
One length of 45" fabric will make 2 slings. (You could make one sling a bit shorter for newborn size and hip carrying a toddler, and one the size you measured, for carrying a bigger baby.)
Making the Sling
Cut the cloth in half lengthwise, one long piece for each sling. Now, hem the long edges of the fabric. Next fold the fabric in half, wrong sides together and ragged edges matched.
The bottom of the sling is sewed in the shape of a smile. To make it symmetrical, fold the cloth in half, draw half a smile starting at the bottom folded corner and gently rounding up 2-3" to the seam edge. Then cut all 4 layers at once and unfold the smile so you just have 2 layers together again. Don't make it too happy, a mona lisa smile is plenty :)
Now make a french seam along your smile edge. With wrong sides together, sew along the smile edge. Next, turn the sling wrong side out and sew along that round edge again, paralell with your first seam, encasing the unfinished edge in between the seams (but do make it as narrow as possible.) Finally, stitch the seam down flat agaist the fabric. To finish your sling, sew back and forth where the french seam meets the edge hem to reinforce. Voila! It's done! Wasn't that simple?
Wearing the Sling
Fold the sling in half toward the inside before putting it on: it should makes a giant tube. (The bottom looks like half a smile again.) Put one arm and your head through the hole with the french seam low on your front. Now you can open the pocket in front of you and put the baby in, bottom or feet in the deep part where the seam is. Make sure to keep the fabric wide, not bunched, on your shoulder and back so the weight is evenly distributed. This sling is very secure, you can bend over and baby will stay in, or turn it all the way around so babe is riding on your back. I've made a FAQ which goes into more detail about how to put the sling on and adjust it to fit just right. It has lots of useful drawings too.
If you do sew a sling using these directions, I'd love to know how it turned out, and how the instructions worked for you! It's so fun to hear your stories and feedback.
See the FAQ for this sling page.
The Baby Wearer is the best baby wearing resource on the web! Check out their articles and the forums to learn how to use your pouch sling (or for any other baby wearing question you could have :)
Another great site about slings is JenRose's Sling Page.
Or go see my lame-o home page.