Well Being

How to Sew Your Own Baby Sling

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sling.jpgWhen I was pregnant with my second daughter, I wanted to make something special for her. I had enjoyed using a store-bought sling as an infant carrier and as a discreet way to nurse my first daughter. After I bought that first sling, I noticed and admired the colorful fabrics many of my friends had chosen for slings they'd ordered on-line, bought on eBay or sewn themselves. I went searching for a sling pattern and found one listed on the Maya Wrap site. I really admire a company whose owners believe so strongly in their product and in baby-wearing that they are willing to share the pattern for free for those who require what the company calls a “Low Cost Option” (hint hint: if you're not handy with a sewing machine, consider supporting Maya Wrap with your purchase! Maya Wrap also offers other products.)

It turned out to be very easy to sew a sling, especially since my husband did much of the work! It took more time to shop for the fabric and sling rings than it did to sew the sling, which took about two hours from start to finish.

Difficulty:

Easy project for beginners who are familiar with basic sewing machine operation

Supplies Needed:

(1) 2.25 to 2.5 yards of fabric
(2) Two 3-inch metal or nylon (plastic) rings; metal rings should be 4 gauge wire or thicker (see pattern for sources and safety specifications)
(3) This Maya Wrap pattern

Tips for the Project:

— Choose a fabric that is sturdy and not stretchy (if the fabric has any “give” it could stretch and pose a falling hazard to the baby). Avoid fabrics that are shiny or slippery as those too could pose a hazard. Keep in mind that you will need to sew through several layers of fabric, so select one that your sewing machine can handle (or consider sewing that section by hand). I chose an all-cotton, breathable fabric that would be machine-washable and comfortable for my baby.

— Check the remnants and sales sections of the fabric store for deals. I was able to buy 2.5 yards for about U.S. $2/yard.

— Try eBay as a source for the sling rings in addition to the sources listed on Maya Wrap. I called marine supply shops to try to find metal rings, but they were expensive and hard to find in stock. I bought six rings on eBay for 20 cents a piece plus shipping–less than the cost of one ring at the marine supply store. On eBay, try a search for “sling rings baby sling.” Generally some metal rings will show up for sale among the listings for slings. One recent closed listing showed that eight rings sold for U.S. $2.50 plus $2.75 shipping.

— Read the pattern all the way through before purchasing your fabric and rings. The pattern contains pertinent sizing and safety information.

Tips for Wearing Your New Sling:

— The Maya Wrap site offers several links to video instructions on how to use a sling safely and comfortably to carry a newborn or toddler.

— The key for comfort is to adjust the portion over the shoulder properly. Stretch the sling out over the shoulder as instructed to distribute the weight evenly. Some slings require padding over the shoulder but this one does not if it's adjusted properly.

— The “tail” of the sling can be used for extra coverage during nursing (not that I think that's necessary aside from the comfort level of the nursing mother) or even to keep the baby warm in cold weather.

Please let me know if you sew a sling. I'd love to print your comments on the project and feature a picture of you, your finished sling and your nursling!