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Sew A Baby Sling

sew a baby sling

Now it's time to sew a baby sling!

 If you're just tuning in, please start here with these baby sling patterns.  You'll find several pattern options and essential instructions including how to select the best fabric for your baby sling pouch.

Sewing is actually the easy part when you make your own baby sling.  

Please note that these illustrations were made to clearly convey the concepts in the instructions...they are not to scale.  If you'd prefer a photo tutorial, you may go to the sew a baby sling instructions on this page.  The sewing instructions are about halfway down the page.

Be sure to use a stitch for stretchy fabric if you're making a sling out of knit, fleece, or other stretchy fabric.  See your sewing machine manual to select a stitch for stretchy fabrics.  I like to use a zig-zag stitch for knits and fleece.


Now you are ready to sew a baby sling


free baby sling pattern keyIf you are making a single layer sling with no lining:

Skip down to Stitching the Curve
You’ll hem your sides last.

For a Lined Pouch

If you’re making a self lined or reversible pouch, unfold your fabric. The right sides of your fabric should be facing. Straighten and align the edges.  Pin your fabric along the long edges to keep it lined up right while you sew the baby sling.  

Tip: make the sharp point of the pin aim toward the edge of the fabric.  This makes is easier to take the pins out as you sew, and the pin heads won't get in the way of your stitching. (fig.1)

sew a baby sling fig 1

Fig. 1 shows an untapered baby sling pinned and ready to stitch.  A tapered pouch looks more like a giant bow tie.  The instructions to sew a baby sling are the same for tapered and untapered baby slings.
 

If you made a self lining sling, then one of your long sides will just be a fold. You may just pin and stitch the other long side.  The rest of us will need to stitch all the way down both long sides. 

Leave the curved ends un-sewn
.
  When you are done stitching both sides, you'll have a tube of fabric that is open on both ends.  Trim seams to 1/4".  

Turn the fabric tube right side out. (fig. 2)  Iron, so the edges are nice and flat and pretty.   I like to top stitch along both edges at this point, and sometimes add a decorative stitch as well.  Now you're almost done!

free baby sling pattern fig 2

Stitching the Curve

It's important to make a super strong seam on the curved part of the pouch when you sew a baby sling.  You’ll stitch the curve with a French Felled Seam,  the extra strong seam that you’ll commonly see on blue jeans.   This is the weight bearing seam when you sew a baby sling, so it's important to make it strong.  Here’s how you’ll do it:

Fold the sling in half and match up the curved sides with right sides together.
  For a lined pouch, it doesn’t matter which side faces out, as the finished seam will look good on both sides of the fabric.  Stitch the curved sides together from the edge, backstitching at each end.  (fig. 3)  

Trim the seam so that it is 1/4".

free baby sling pattern fig 3

Now turn your seam so the wrong sides of the fabric are facing, and press the seam flat. (fig. 4) 

Stitch another seam about 1/2 inch  from the edge, enclosing the edges of the first seam completely. 

Now open out the sling and fold the little flap of fabric over so it lies flat against the pouch.  
We're going to run a seam very close to the edge to tack that seam down flat.  Place the seam under your presser foot, and carefully stitch the outside edge of your seam to the pouch.  This is a bit difficult with the rounded shape of the pouch.  Just go slowly and ease it into place.   

free baby sling pattern fig 4

Excellent!  Now you know how to sew a baby sling.  
Be sure to check out the safety and wearing instructions and videos
at the bottom of the baby sling patterns page.

 

Hemming an Unlined Pouch

Now it’s time to hem the sides.  Select the method that best suits your personality, and hem away!

Perfectionist method: Fold and iron down ¼ of fabric, and then fold it over again so that the cut edge is completely hidden.  Iron and pin down as you go.  Do this along both of the sides.  Sew down your hems, and follow up with a nice ironing.  Martha would be proud.

Looks good enough to me method: Fold over about ¼” of fabric and then fold it over again.  Put it into your machine, and lower your presser foot and needle to hold it in place.  Come out about 5 to 10 inches, and repeat the fold/fold until you have a stretch of neatly folded hem between your fingers and the machine. Stitch in place and repeat.  Hey...it looks good enough to me!

Congratulations!  

You’ve just made your own pouch sling!  

Please be sure to familiarize yourself with pouch wearing instructions and safety concerns before wearing your baby.  There are many excellent wearing and safety guides on the web.  My favorite are listed on the baby sling patterns page just above the pattern links.  Here is a great video with carrying positions by Peanut Shell 

There is definitely a learning curve to getting baby in and positioned correctly.  But once you learn the correct positioning and you and baby get used to the sling, it feels very natural and intuitive to carry your baby or child.


Looking for a fast and easy no-sew baby sling?  
Here is a free pattern for an easy "no sew" baby wrap from
Make Baby Stuff.com