I never had a ring sling when Quinn was born. In fact, I didn’t even know what they were called. A few days after she was born, I went out looking for one of those “wrap-type carriers.” I ended up buying a Baby K’Tan, which was great for a couple of months. I started learning more about baby wearing and started seeing pictures of awesome ring slings and just before she turned one, I decided to finally buy one. I got a sage green sling from a seller on Etsy, and it was awesome! I used it a lot for carrying her around the house when I was trying to do house work but she didn’t want to be put down.
When I ran my first giveaway last month, I got really excited looking through all the options and decided I needed to get another sling, but I couldn’t afford another one. Then my friend Corrie entered the giveaway but ultimately didn’t win, and I decided that I would make one for her — and, of course, for myself:) It seemed a good excuse to get a new sling:)
Now, I’m 2 slings richer, and she has her first ring sling for her almost 9-month-old little boy.
Making a ring sling is super easy! I decided to put together a little tutorial to show you how I did it so you can make your own also.
Ring Sling Tutorial
1. You need a sturdy fabric for your ring sling. I used cotton for both of mine, but linen is another good choice. I made my slings 72 inches long — which is 2 yards — but that is considered a “petite” size. Add another 6 inches for each size up you’d like to go.
I started with a sling that was 40 inches wide, but that ended up being too bunchy around the rings (see below). So I had to go back and redo the sling at 30 inches, which turned out much better.
2. After you cut your fabric, iron the seams up the side for your hem. I folded my hem over twice to hide the raw edges. You can overlock or serge the edges if you prefer, but I like tucking in the hem like this. It gives it a neater look and makes the seam a bit smoother.
3. Sew the hem with a straight stitch. My hem ended up being a bit wide, so I sewed a double stitch.
4. Sew the hem along the length of both sides, then at one end. If you order a fabric with a shorter width, you can avoid hemming the sides completely since the edge of the fabric will be finished.
5. Pleat the end of the fabric that is not hemmed. I didn’t take any precise measurements when creating my pleats, but they should be about 1 inch or 1-1/2 inches. Pin or tape the pleats in place for sewing.
6. Serge or overcast the unfinished edge. I also went back over it with a straight stitch to reinforce the pleats.
7. Sew two straight lines across the pleats where the sling will fold over the rings. The lines should be about 5 to 6 inches from the end of the sling. If you like, you can add a decorative stitch between the two straight lines.
8. Fold the pleated end over two sling rings. I purchased mine from Ringslings.com, and they have a very good reputation. Sew the overcast edge of the fabric to the pleats, creating a loop around the rings. I sewed three straight lines to reinforce the hold. You can also add two lines of decorative stitching between these reinforcing stitches.
You can see in these pictures that my original 40-inch sling was too bunchy for the sling rings.
What I had to do next is what you DON’T want to have to do: Rip out all the seams and start over. Of course, when I ripped the seams across the pleats, I cut holes in the fabric. So I had to cut off about 5 or 6 inches from the end of my sling. It made the final product a little shorter than usual, but the sling was a good fit.
Here’s what my pleats looked like after cutting the sling down to 30 inches:
And here’s the finished product:
I really love the color! I also gave one to my friend, and it turned out to be the perfect size for her.
Ring Sling with Tail
Because I get obsessed and I can’t be satisfied with doing one thing at a time, I decided to make another sling with a nice decorative tail.
To make this, I started with a piece of fabric that was 30 inches wide and 72 inches long. I ironed up the sides to get them ready for hemming, just like the first sling.
Then I cut two pieces of complimentary, decorative fabric 30 inches wide and 9 inches long. I held the two pieces right side together and sandwiched the yellow fabric between them. Then I sewed them together.
You can pin the layers in place if that helps you, but I like to play things fast and loose (as you can probably tell from this tutorial).
Next, sew up the sides of the decorative fabric, pulling the yellow fabric slightly to the side.
If you don’t pull the fabric to the side as you sew the edges, you risk sewing all three layers together in places, like this:
Pull the decorative fabric right side out and iron the seams flat.
I reinforced the seam with top stitching, but this isn’t really necessary since the tail won’t be bearing any weight. The top stitching does smooth out the fabric though, and it creates a smooth and flat seam on both sides.
Iron the seams in on the open end of the decorative fabric, then top stitch these two pieces closed.
Hem the sides of the sling with a straight stitch, then finish the sling just as you would the basic ring sling. Create the pleats, overcast the raw edge, then sew the fabric around the sling rings.
That’s it! Both slings look gorgeous! I love the red for its bold simplicity (red is also my favorite color), but I love the yellow because it’s so bright and cheery. I’m definitely going to make more slings for myself or for friends in the future.
Next up is tackling a mei tai. I have seen some gorgeous DIYs, and I’m itching to make one….