When you combine baby wearing and the substantial amount of money that it costs you to take care of a newborn, the results can be frustrating. That is why some of the craftier parents choose to make their own baby sling instead of spending the money to get one pre-made. There are a lot of ideas on how to make a baby sling. It depends on whether you want to sew or prefer to avoid it. Or it you’d like to purchased an affordable baby sling, check out the Maya Baby Sling Here
How to Make a Baby Sling Wrap-Sewing
The first thing you need to do is figure out the amount of material you need and the type of material that you want to use. A good guess is purchasing between 2-2.5 yards of fabric. Two yards will work if you are a smaller woman. A larger person will need the 2.5 yards, however, you can choose more or less to give yourself a different sized tail.
Next, you will want to wash and dry it to allow it to shrink if it is going to. You would not want to create the sling and then find out that it does not work the right way for you. It will also ensure that there are no chemicals or mildew on it that first time you wear your baby in it.
After it is dry, you will need to narrow it down to somewhere between 26”-32” wide. You should base this measurement on how thick your material is. If you chose a heavy material, the smaller width will support your child fine, but if you have a thin material, choosing the wider cut will be better. You may also choose to go wider if you want to put padding into the hemline. Reference the Lite-On-Shoulder Sling diagram below.
Hem the sling along the long edges first. The wider your hem is, the less chance there is that it will cut into your baby’s legs. You can add padding to the hem by folding it, ironing it, and folding it again before you sew it. Finish by hemming one end of the material as well. The other short edge will be left unhemmed.
To complete the baby ring sling, you will need to fold the fabric on the un-hemmed end as you would fold a fan out of paper. This creates a pleat. You can then pin it or tape it so that it does not move when you run it through your sewing machine. Before you stitch, make sure that the folds are slightly bigger than the diameter of your rings. Leave the rings in place and sew the end to back onto the material, making at least two different passes to hold the rings secure. These rings will be what provides stability to the sling. They will bear a lot of weight so that your baby is secure. Make sure they are stitched well.
From here you will take the other end and feed it through the rings. Adjust it so that it is secure and where you want for it to be, then put your little bundle inside of it to ensure that it fits you and them well. Keep in mind, it is a sling. It will only need to cross over one of your shoulders.
How to Make a Baby Sling without Sewing
If you can find a piece of cloth, such as a scarf, that is already hemmed, you will be able to avoid the sewing machine completely. The scarf should be between 26” and 36”. If this is not available, you can use regular materials, just make sure you pick up some no sew hem stuff that is available in most fabric departments or craft stores. This is typically called, “hem tape”. If you do not want to invest in this, you can fringe the ends of the material and it will be fine.
Choose a light fabric if you want to, but keep in mind, you do not want to go too thin with it because it will be supporting your little one. However, if you go with thick material, you do take a chance on you or your baby getting hot during the warmer months. Another note to keep in mind while you are at the craft store is that medium rings should be used for lighter fabrics, larger rings if you are planning to make a winter sling.
Once you have the rings and material together, and after you have used the hem tape if it is needed, you will want to hold both rings parallel to the floor. Bring one end of your fabric up through both of the rings, then wrap it over the top ring and pull it down through the bottom ring. Make sure you have between 6-10 inches going back through the bottom ring as a tail.
Spread out this material over the ring. If you leave it bunched up, you are increasing the chance of it slipping when you have the baby inside of it.
Now it is time to put it on yourself. Hold the rings at your shoulder and take the other end of your fabric in your hand. Pull it up so that it crosses over your chest. Be careful to not have any twists where the fabric crosses your back or your chest. Pull this loose end through both hoops. Wrap it over the top one and tuck it back through the bottom, creating another tail. Continue pulling it through until you have created a little hammock.
After you put the baby inside of it, make sure that the bottom of your material comes up under them and rests against your chest. The top part should hold them securely. To achieve this, pull the top part further through the rings if needed. Your baby’s head should be above your armpits unless you are nursing. You can tuck the longer tail up into the hammock with your little one if you want to and make it more secure.
Learning how to make a baby pouch sling is easy. Putting it on may take a little practice. If you are new to baby slings and baby wearing, make sure you check often to make sure that the baby’s weight is not pulling the fabric through the rings. When you take it off, you do not always have to unthread and rethread the material through the rings, but you should consistently check it to make sure that everything is still where you need for it to be.