So I wanna make a baby sling

I want to sew my own baby sling.I looked at several Ideas on several websites like the myan(SP?) style and some others.I want to make one thats very safe.I noticed some had rings others were a solid piece.Also I read that its more difficult to make from fleece but I would still like to make one of these.I noticed some are padded and some arent.I have zero experience with slings but I had a baby carrier and I didnt like it at all it was complicated and uncomfortable even though it was an expensive model.Any advice from others who have slings/have made thier own would be appreciated.

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Segwyne's picture

I use ring slings (like the Maya) for infants, and then switch to the wrap when they get bigger. I make some professionally, and I use rings that I get at the local tack shop. They are 1/4" in diameter, and will hold much more weight safely than the flimsy 1/8" craft rings that you can get at Wal-Mart. You can also get great rings at www.slingrings.com. A ring sling should be about 30" wide and about 2.5 - 3 yards long. If you go much narrower, it is difficult to use the cradle carry. If you go much wider, it bunches up and gets uncomfortable and confusing. To make the shoulder, I don't pleat it like the Maya instructions do. I simply stitch it so it gathers around the ring. You need to be careful when stitching it so that you keep you lines straight or it will fit funny when you are done. This is easily done by just drawing a line about 3/4 inch from the raw edge on the short side all the way across the fabric, then flip it over and draw another line about 9" from the same edge on the other side of the fabric. Thread it through both rings (you need two, about 3" in diameter). Fold the raw edge under at the 3/4" line and match the fold to the 9" line. This will give you straight seam. I make three seams, each about 1/4" apart, for extra strength. I found that the gathered shoulder is more comfortable than a pleated shoulder, others think the opposite. If you decide you want to try the pleated shoulder, just rip out your seams, pleat it, and stitch again. I have redone the shoulder on mine several times to try different styles.

For a wrap, find a fabric you like. How long it should be all depends on what kind of carries you will do. My favorite is the cross carry, which requires about 5-6 yards of fabric. The width can be anywhere from 20-30". You don't need as much width as you do for a ring sling. I agree that mamtoto.org is the place to go to learn. www.thebabywearer.org also has tons of useful information.

For either sling, I recommend choosing a fabric that has no "wrong" side. Solid colors, yarn-dyed woven patterns, and batiks are all great choices. I use linen, cotton batik, cotton broadcloth, and lightweight wool. You can also use silk. Choose a fabric that isn't terribly stretchy, though a stretch on the bias of woven fabrics is good. This will help contour to your baby's body. I do not recommend jersey. It will tend to let your baby sag. I discourage against fleece for the same reason.

I hope this helps.

Judy

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CB Potts's picture

Although also, my friend Portia from South Africa taught me how to make a baby sling from a long oblong scarf: women in her village carry their babies on their back and wrap them incredibly securely with a few simple twists and turns.

I'll try to write out directions, but it's really something that works better if I could show you in person. Does TNH allow embedded video? If it does, I could connect with Portia and have her give a demonstration and tape it. (Which might take a little bit, as she's 200 miles away, but what a great resource!)

Anyway, pattern yes, fleece no: unless you can get one of those fleeces that don't make a gazillion little fuzzy balls. Microfleece is good tho.

Lauralyn's picture

I have used the Elizabeth Lee pattern and really like it. The only thing I think I've every changed is that I don't do the padding. I now just use the pattern to see how big to make everything. It's a good place to start though. Back when I bought the pattern they also sold the rings to go with it. Buy them there because they can be a bit hard to find in a good size that are all in one piece so that they can't bend/break. I've never done a fleece one, but here in Texas, I can't imagine wanting one. :)

If you are interested in the wrap thing, here's a site that does have some video of that: www.mamatoto.org

Lauralyn

Anhata's picture

If you've been to their website, you've seen their video and that they have free patterns. I used it from the time DD was a little over 20 mos. to when she got to the weight limit, so I cannot vouch for how it works with kids younger than that. But I will say that it worked great for us untill she started getting heavier. The Maya Wrap puts all the weight on one shoulder which after an hour or so at the local street fair gets to be a bit much.

I've seen baby wraps at second hand children's clothing shops for about $5. If you have one anywhere near you, I'd call them and ask if they have any in stock. You could go try them out and see what you'd like.

I didn't like the Graco baby carrier I had either. DD's legs bounced around all over the place and it was awkward to get on and off.

Good luck.

Anhata
www.familynaturally.com
Your Family's General Store, Naturally

CB Potts's picture

Thank you for posting that link! This is a much, much better video than I could ever manage!

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