Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Making a simple pocket sling

I made two pocket slings this morning. Now I will show how I did it, assuming some knowledge of both sewing and slings. Different tutorials will show you different ways of measuring for a sling and I have never found one to be reliable. The fact is that with a non-adjustable sling you have to be open to re-making the thing if it isn't the right size. That said, the nature of this sort of carrier is such that it will fit newly postpartum with a wee babe inside and later with the same (bigger) babe on your hip, even if you are smaller. So you won't have to make one anew every month or even year. 

One way to get an idea of the size to make is to measure diagonally from your shoulder to the opposite hip, but because there are no real 'markers' for where to measure, your measurement may vary. I did this and got 32", which ends up being half the measurement I want before sewing- that includes seam allowance. Another way is to use a long scarf and tie it into a loop, wearing it as a sling, until you find the right circumference. I think this is the best method. If you don't have a baby use a doll or a wadded up garment to feel the sling with something inside. Make sure you are wearing the mock sling correctly while you do this. Here is a great website explaining how.  Even though your mock sling will have a knot in it, put the knot in the center of your back and pretend is is not there. Once you're satisfied with the adjustment, measure and add an inch for seam allowance.

The width of a pocket sling can vary, but it needs to be at least 22" when complete. I cut this one to 24" wide to give me a finished measurement of 22".

The first sling over the fabric as I prepare to cut the second. The second will be larger, for my husband. Naturally I am cutting this on the fold, to make a loop with a curve on the bottom. The length of this loop is equal to the measurement you made earlier.

The bottom on a pocket sling is curved. The measurement you made earlier pertains to the center of this curve, not the sides.

The sides may come in, due to the curve, an inch and a half or so. I just 'eyeball' the curve when I cut.

The cut fabric, folded in half lengthwise as well, to show the width of 12" (24" unfolded).

Now at the machine, I fold the one of the long edges twice to make a hem. You may want to use an iron and pins. 

Sewing the hem on one long edge.

Just sew right to the edge, you do not need to fix the edges. 

When both long edges are hemmed in this way, put right sides together to sew the curve.

Use very little seam allowance. Just enough to secure it. 

Trim any excess.

When you turn right sides out it looks like this along the curve. 

Carefully (perhaps with an iron) work the curved seam, right side out, so that it lays flat.  Then sew along the edge about 1/2" in.

Here is where the seam we just made meets the hemmed long edges.

When you unfold the sling, the curved edge looks like this now. 

Choose a direction to fold this over, it does not matter which. 

I have folded to the right. Sew the curved edge down to the sling. 

Nearing the end of the curve. You do want to take care to fix the beginning and end of your seam. 

In fact, take a moment to cross over the ends on both sides with a straight stitch. 

And try it on! I don't have a baby yet so I used a doll. This doll is not as big as baby but you get the idea. 


Later, when baby is enjoying sitting up. 
Here's my husband's sling, ready for dying with fiber reactive dyes. I could leave it white but I doubt it would stay that way very long...

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