I love baby slings and I love making things, so I’m delighted that Victoria Lumb from Exeter based Sew Domesticated has kindly shared some of her top tips. Axx
Firstly, a word of warning. No sling that you make at home will be as strong, or last as long as a commercially made one made with industrial threads and an industrial sewing machine. Check all your seams before every use, and if you hear any ripping sounds, take it off straight away!
The very simplest carrier to make is of course, the wrap. It simply requires a good length of fabric. You can choose to hem it, or not, depending on your sewing skills. For a wrap, you need to use a good quality, heavy cotton drill – lots of the ones sold in places like Ikea are perfect, as are most upholstery fabrics. Alternatively, a thick cotton jersey will work for a stretchy. You’ll need between 2.2 and 5.7m of fabric, depending on what length you want, and will then need to cut it lengthwise, so you’ll end up with two very long pieces of fabric. Why not go halves with a friend and each get a new wrap? 6m of fabric at £8 per metre would then mean you’ve got a wrap for under £25.
The next easiest is a t-shirt sling – personally, I would only use them with little babies – use the same guidelines as you would for stretchies, so no back carries and when they start to feel heavy, stop wearing them! You’ll need three good quality t-shirts for this – don’t buy cheapo Primark ones as they just won’t last. The best bit of this style of carrier? No sewing skills needed! This blog explains it well: http://schamelot.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/no-sew-baby-ktan-wrap-style-carrier.html
Ring slings are also pretty do-able by the home sewer – You’ll need a good set of solid sling rings, don’t go for welded / joined ones as they are too liable to bending at the joint. I get mine from Chloe over at http://www.go-sling.co.uk . You can either make a no-sew sling, like this one here: http://www.slingrings.com/nosew.php or you need to do a little sewing. Take your length of fabric; hem both narrow edges and both long edges. Taking one narrow edge to become your shoulder, slide both rings onto it and fold it back on itself, making sure that the hem is
now hidden. You will need to pin it all the way across the width of the sling (which might take a bit of manoeuvring!) Now you need to sew a straight line across the two layers, to attach them to each other. One line of stitching is not enough to secure the weight of your baby, so I would recommend sewing three rows of straight stitch, about 5/8” apart, getting closer to the rings, and then putting a row of zig-zag between each of them, meaning that you have five rows of stitching in total. Ta-da! One ring sling in less than an hour!
If you want to start sewing your own SSCs, mei tais, or just want a little more help, I’d recommend going on a course to help you learn – I run courses over at Sew Domesticated, either for individuals or groups, so dig out your sewing machine and learn to make your own. Perfect if you want a toddler sized carrier, with petite straps, or have an amazing piece of fabric with sentiments attached that you want to use!
Do pop over and say hello to me at www.facebook.com/sewdomesticated or www.sewdomesticated.co.uk!