I often talk about ring slings being really great for the newborn season of babywearing. I love how natural it feels to carry a newborn in a sling in a tummy to tummy carry. It’s possible to use a soft-structured carrier like the Little Pick-Me-Up with a newborn, but it does require the help of a positioning aid. Ring slings can be used with any age child but they are my favorite for little ones.
Before we begin, let’s go over a few terms related to ring slings:
TAIL — the length of fabric that extends from the rings after threading
SHOULDER STYLE — you’ll hear this term a lot and it is just referring to the method in which the rings are sewn into the sling. This tutorial is going to demonstrate a simple gathered floating shoulder (more on that later). There are several different shoulder styles that feature pleats, padding, or a combination of methods. I think everyone has their own opinion on what is “best” as far as shoulder styles go. I really like the floating shoulder because I feel that it offers some cushion and it’s relatively easy to make.
Slings are generally somewhere between 26-32 inches wide. I prefer mine in the 28-30 inch range.
The length of your sling will depend on your build and also how long you’d like the tail to be. Most people will be comfortable with a sling that is in the finished range of 72-84 inches.
Rings should be matched to the weight of the fabric. Medium weight fabrics will work best with medium (2″ diameter) metal rings. Heavier fabrics will adjust more easily with large (3″ diameter) rings.
2 1/2 yards of a medium to heavy weight woven fabric
[The fabric used for this tutorial is 5.3oz mid-weight linen]
One pair of sling rings
[I’m using medium with this linen]
Ruler or measuring tape
**** These first few steps are simply to cut the length of the fabric evenly down to 30″ in width. If you prefer an alternate method, feel free to skip the cutting steps ****
Start by folding the long length of fabric crosswise.
[the width of the fabric is now half of the original width — 44″ to 22″ in this case]
Next, fold the fabric in half down the length.
[your fabric will decrease from 90 inches in length down to 45″]
Mark your fabric at 15.5″ across the width.
Extend this marking line down the entire length of the fabric.
Now it’s time to cut!
The piece on the left will become our sling — the piece on the right can be discarded. (Well, not really since we’re all scrap junkies so, just hold on to that. You’ll find a use for it later, right?)
Unfold and this is what you’ll be left with. Now we’re going to hem each long side of the fabric.
Working along one of the lengths of the fabric, fold the edge over 1/2″ and press. Fold over 1/2″ more, press and secure in place.
Now sew along the edge of the hem to secure it. Do this on both sides.
Along the top raw short end (pictured above) fold the fabric over 1/2″ and again 1/2″– don’t sew it though, just clip or pin!
Measure in 19″ from the short end of the fabric and mark with a utensil
Now it’s time to make the sling! Thread the fabric through the center of both rings.
Fold the short end (clips) OVER so that the edge rests right on top of the marked line
The goal of the next step is to match up the edge of the short end of the fabric with the line.
Once you start getting the fabric matched up, grab your pins and to secure everything.
If you had x-ray vision, you’d see the line we marked earlier running just underneath the heads of all of the pins
Now we’re ready to sew!
[Start this first line of stitching very close to the edge where the fabric overlaps– this will keep things looking nice and neat]
To make sure that these rings are secure we’ll sew two more lines of reinforcement stitching.
Three lines of stitches sewn.
I love the simple beauty in this shoulder style but you can add additional decorative stitching if you’d like.
Now the only thing left to do is hem the end of the tail!
I’m choosing to do a blunt end, so we’ll just hem this but you can do a tapered edge as an alternative too.
This is the same process as before– fold the raw edge over 1/2″ and another 1/2″. Press and then sew along the edge.
You can show off your creation in the Sew Toot Patterns Group on Facebook too!