Alright, the time has finally come for me to share this tutorial. I really feel that this sling has made it so much easier for me to calm Jude and just easier to keep myself sane! A new mama needs both her hands from time to time! The nice thing about this method of sling making is that you will have enough materials to make two slings. This tutorial only covers making one sling.
You will need:
2 yards of cotton fabric – exterior
2 yards of cotton fabric – interior
1″ thick upholstery foam (two 9″x2″ rectangles)
Make sure to pre-wash all of your fabric in baby friendly detergent and then iron everything so it lays nice and straight! Also, you want 100% cotton fabric – nothing stretchy – you don’t want the sling to stretch out of shape. This could be dangerous.
Step 1: Preparation
Fold exterior fabric in half lengthwise and iron a crease. Cut down the middle of this crease.
You will end up with two pieces of fabric that are 2 yards by approximately 22.5″ (depending on the width of your initial yardage). You will only use one piece to make the sling.
Repeat on interior fabric. Again, you will only need one of the two pieces.
Cut 1″ thick upholstery foam into two 2″ x 9″ rectangles. This is your padding. For newborns, it pads their head from bonking on door frames and such. As they get older, it can be flipped to be worn on the bottom, padding their dangling legs!
Step 2: Sew edges
Right sides together, line up the edges and pin.
Now is a good time to trim off any excess if the fabric doesn’t line up properly.
Back-stitching at each end, sew the long sides with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Turn fabric so that the right sides are facing out and iron flat.
Top stitch up each long side with a 1/4″ seam allowance, back-stitching at each end.
Step 3: Sizing
The best way to determine sizing is to take a piece of string and wrap it from your shoulder to your opposite hip and back to your shoulder. It will form a loop around your body, mimicking how the sling will lay. Don’t do this too tight though! Cut the string so that it hits the top of your mid-hip; you don’t want the sling to hit below your hip and you don’t want to be too far above your hip. Match your length to the chart below to get your correct size. Round up if you fall between sizes.
X-Small – 52″
Small – 56″
Medium – 60″
Large – 64″
X-Large – 68″
Step 4: Create the curve
Fold fabric in half width wise
and then again length wise.
Using the chart below with your determined measurement:
|Long Edge (along fold)
||Short Edge (open)
Measure from the short folded edge, mark the long folded edge:
Measuring again from the short folded edge, mark the short open edge:
This is going to make the pocket for the baby’s bottom to sit in.
Use a ruler to draw a straight line with a fabric marker between these points.
Freehand a gentle curve between the points referencing the straight line as needed.
Cut the curve out through all layers. The remnants are great to make matching burp clothes or bibs!
When you are done, unfold it and it should look like this:
This is the overall shape that we’re looking for:
Step 5: Padding
Insert padding inside sling, one on each open side. Eventually the padding will lay against the straight seam, but for now, it’s just going to float freely until we sew the sling shut. Make sure it’s far enough back that it won’t get in the way of your stitching.
Step 6: Flat felled seam
Fold in half longways and match up the curves. Pin in place.
Sew a 1/4″ seam along the curve, back-stitching at each end, shutting the tube of fabric.
Trim the seam allowance to 1/8″.
Flip the fabric the other way and iron the curve so the seam you just sewed is on the inside. We’re going to encase this seam.
Following the curve, sew a 1/2″ seam around the curve, back-stitching at each end, encasing the raw edge of the seam inside. It will look a little weird because it will be sticking out (at this point, it’s called a French seam). No worries, the next step sews the edge that’s sticking up, down.
Lay the flap of fabric down and sew 1/4″ from the edge, back-stitching at each end, laying the seam down.
You might want to pin starting from the middle to help minimize any bunching. This is a sturdy seam and it needs to be! It’s holding the weight of the baby!
Step 7: Sew padding in place
Maneuver the padding so that there is a piece on either side of the flat felled seam. It should be as close to the top stitching and flat felled seam as you can get it. Pin in place. Starting from the flat felled seam, sew around the padding, back-stitching at each end, to keep it from moving around. Repeat on the other piece of padding on the other side of the flat felled seam.
One thing I’ve thought of several times but never followed through on, is that you could add a zippered pocket if you choose not to make the sling reversible. Could be nice to have a place to hold keys, a cell phone or a pacifier!
You’re all done! Click here for a pdf on how to use your new sling!
Much thanks goes to Whitney for letting me take pictures as I taught her how to make a sling!