Friday, March 27, 2009

DIY Baby Sling

1st Disclaimer: This isn't my idea. But it's a great one for a baby gift in hard economic times nonetheless, that is if you've got the crafty DIY gene like I inherited from mom!

The link above is to the initial pattern I found online for a baby sling from KarmaBaby, but I'm here to make that process a little more easy on you. I had to enlist SuperMom for translation, so I'll take the liberty in assuming you won't quite understand KarmaBaby's pattern either... Let's get crackin'!

You'll need:
  • two yards of fabric of a slightly stretchy/giving cotton blend (she suggests 90% cotton/10% lycra, but my all-cotton worked fine).
  • sewing machine and thread, this pattern's so easy a hand-held sewer will work, but don't translate that to "sew this by hand", that won't be quick or easy. Handhelds are just that, a small version of a sewing machine you hold in your hand.
  • measuring tape
  • sharp scissors

2nd Disclaimer: My images are with white paper first, so you can see the text/measurements written on it. Accordingly, the dimensions aren't actually to-size, but they are labeled so.

First, size your babymamma (or guessing) and use this guide for length:
Small (mamma body) frames: 28" length
Medium frames: 30"
Large frames: 32"
XL frames: 34-36"
** We won't use this until Step 6 so hang on to that size for now. Below it will be marked with these asterisks. **

Your original fabric dimensions, as purchased, should be two yards (72") by 44", the standard width dimensions of a fabric bolt. Fold down the width-side and cut in half to 72" x 22". Set one piece aside, in case you err or need to make a second.

Fold again on the width so that your 22" side now becomes 11", total dimensions are 72"x11". (That's what confused me first on her pattern.)

And then fold in half lengthwise so you're looking at 36" by 11". (also not clear on her pattern.)

Fold location is very important here because you're about to cut one rounded end through two layers, so it's evenly rounded on both ends when you open it up. You'll be sewing the rounded ends together, which is why they need to be even.

** Before you cut this end, use your sizing length. The long end or starting point of what will be a rounded arc should be the size length you measured above. The short end of the rounded arc should be exactly 3" shorter than in length.

To clarify, say your babymamma has a medium sized frame. Measure 28" on the side of the fabric that is the center fold, closest to you.

Then on the top side, furthest from you, measure 25" (3" shorter than 28). This short side should actually be close to the same length as the babymamma's shoulder-to-hip measurement if you're making it for someone you can measure.

Once you've measured, begin cutting the long end in a rounded arc, and double check- you should be starting from the center fold. IE: image left. (You can click on the images to make them larger.)

Then open it up and it should look like this (but longer, as mentioned dimensions of my sheet of paper are not to size). If it doesn't look like this, you'll need to go grab that booboo extra piece! :)

From here, fold the piece in half in the middle so the two rounded ends are matched up, with the colored or outside part of the fabric facing out. (You'll be reinforcing this hem, so this is important.) Sew a 1/4" hem along the rounded edge and backstitch the ends for reinforcement.

Once sewn, turn inside out and sew along the same edge (now we switch to actual fabric images) to reinforce this rounded end where the baby's bottom will fit snugly into and need extra protection!

Then open up again and you'll have a big loop of fabric, with two ends still to hem. I press with an iron to make tidy hems, but pinning works too.

Now you've got a big squarish piece of fabric, all ends sewn up nicely. Add a pocket if you like (I did), or anything else like a loop for keys or toys for baby.

When you put the baby sling over your head and one arm, it will bunch a little bit at the shoulder, which you can straighten out or leave a little crumpled, up to you. The rounded end will be out in front of you, and you tuck the baby into that!

Here's KarmaBaby's image as completed; since I don't have a baby to put in mine! (I'm tempted to make one for my magnet lover kitty we have though!) Their kid pictured is a lot larger than I'd make this sling for, but you can see that it's useable right up into the kid-size.

I would like to give plenty of "props" to KarmaBaby for putting this pattern online; as despite the inexpensive materials, these baby slings aren't usually less than $50 each at retail. Thanks for helping us get through the recession KarmaBaby!


  1. great idea! but I got confused! maybe you should make a little video of yourself measuring it out in the beginning...

  2. THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH! I got so confused after reading the original instructions on KarmaBaby, but you made it so much easier to understand.