As a new mom, you’re probably clueless about lots of baby stuff. There’s tons of important baby gear decisions to make. And it can all get overwhelming. Do you really need to buy a baby carrier? Yes, you do. But why not make your own baby carrier instead of shelling out for a sinfully expensive one? In this baby carrier tutorial, you’ll learn how to make a simple baby-carrying pouch without needing high-level sewing skills or spending tons of money.
Related: Baby Carrier Buying Guide.
Babywearing offers tons of benefits including better bonding with your baby. And fashioning a fully functional baby carrier won’t gobble up your entire life savings. Ready to learn how to make a baby carrier at home so you won’t get bored to death?
Obviously, you can’t master how to make a structured baby carrier, mei tai, ring sling, and a baby wrap at once. For that reason, this post focuses exclusively on how to make a DIY baby ring sling. Be sure to come back in the near future for useful sewing tutorials on the other carrier types.
Any Mom Can Sew Their Own Ring Sling
Sure, you need to know how to operate a sewing machine to complete this little project. But don’t worry. Anyone with half a brain and rudimentary hand skills can successfully handle this mini sewing project.
Before we dive into how you can organize fabric and creativity into a nice ring sling…Do you need a baby carrier in the first place?
Do You Really Need a Baby Carrier?
I’m a mom. And I can point at quite a few items in my closet and even under my bed (because of limited space) that I’ve not touched in ages. There’s a couple of wraps, slings, and carriers in my storage as we speak.
But that’s because my babies are now bigger and no longer need them.
I sure needed baby carriers when they were younger. And I believe every mom needs at least two good baby carriers. You need a warm-weather baby carrier and a cold-weather one. Because baby carriers offer quite a few benefits.
Every Mom Needs At Least Two Baby Carriers Because…
- Using a baby carrier promotes skin contact between you and your baby and that means better bonding.
- Babywearing frees your hands so that you can complete other chores while staying close to your bundle of joy.
- Babywearing gives your tired hands a break for when you’re feeling bored and all you want to do is lollygag around.
- Carrying your baby around the house and everywhere else adds up to some decent calorie-burning time. I bet that bit of flab that the baby bump period created worries you a tad, huh?
- There’s evidence that babywearing helps reduce crying especially in the evening when it tends to worsen for most babies.
- Who wants to run with a stroller all the time or hauling it around on public transit?
- Every 21st-century mom thinks babywearing is cool and you really want to fit in, don’t you?
Should You Make Your Own Baby Carrier?
If you have the time, some basic sewing skills, a little money for fabric and other supplies, and time, you can certainly make your own baby carrier at home.
But not everyone likes to sew or has the skills needed to stitch fabrics together. Also, not everyone owns a sewing machine or ever wants to deal with a paid seamstress.
If your situation checks all the boxes while also letting you save a buck or two, why not? To be clear though, this DIY baby sling project isn’t about saving money. It’s all about spending your spare time productively and loving your baby better and more.
Did I hear you say you’re not great at sewing? And that you don’t have the time or inclination for DIYing your tot’s carrier? Don’t worry. Because you can always head over to Amazon and pick up one or two options of what they have there.
Quite a few credible online stores carry many stylish baby slings. And it’s not like half-decent ring slings cost an arm and a leg. If you opt to go the buy-a-premade-carrier route, you’ll want to learn…
How to Choose the Right Baby Carrier
If You choose to buy instead of making your own baby carrier, there’s a couple of things you need to know. Be sure to know what fabric you’d like and how to take care of it. Then there’s baby carrier fitting to consider, too.
And because there are at least four main kinds of baby carrier styles to choose from, be sure to learn each type.
Also, make sure to review the carrier brand’s care instructions so that you can maintain your baby pouch in great condition for reasonably long.
But if you opt to DIY a baby carrier for your little tike instead of doling out dollars for a complete carrier, stick around a while. Because it is time for the ring sling sewing tutorial that I promised you.
How to Put Together a Baby Carrier at Home
As mentioned earlier, I didn’t want to lump everything together to avoid overwhelming you with information. So, I won’t cover how to make every kind of baby carrier here. I’ll exclusively focus on how to create a simple, easy-to-use DIY baby sling.
How to DIY a Baby Sling
What’s a ring sling? A ring sling is a type of minimalist-style baby carrier that pretty much any mom can make at home. This item lets you wear your baby on the hip or on the front.
Baby slings have become one of the most popular if not the most popular carrier for the modern mom. And there are a few reasons why that is the case.
First off, ring slings come in a lightweight design and drape over the caregiver’s and baby’s body quite well. Two metal rings hold the sling together. And that’s why it’s called a ring sling.
Slings are pretty much a one-size-fits-most design. That means you can share this item with whoever helps you take care of your baby.
What’s more, slings are super easy to use. Also, their overall design promotes breathability, and that makes slings the summer-season baby carrier of choice for many moms.
Supplies for Making a Ring Sling
Here are the supplies you need:
1. Fabric (2.5 yards): Dupioni silk, lightweight denim or twill, or 100% cotton or linen. If you’re unsure what to use for your ring sling, choose 100% linen because linen breathes well and will safely hold your baby. Also, linen doesn’t weaken from pulling when you tighten for fit during use. But if money isn’t too tight, definitely silk. Silk is great because silk is great, plus it’s super strong, but it’s pricier.
By the way, why do you need 2.5 yards of material? Most ring slings measure 75″-85″ lengthwise. Even if you’re the bustiest mom you know, a 2.5-yard fabric should be long enough for you. Because 2.5 yards = 90″.
Ring sling fabrics typically measure between 50″-60″ in width. And you know what? Most slings have a width ranging from 25″to 30.“If you buy a 60” wide sling-specific fabric, you’ll end up with two baby custom baby carriers!
Ring: 2 lab-tested, sling-specific rings (usually aluminum rings). These 3-inch Lab-Tested Cutie Carry Aluminum Rings have great reviews from DIY moms. Note: these rings are hand-wash only. Costs under $8 on Amazon as of this writing.
2. A fabric pen: Go for something you can easily wash out. I recommend the Leonis Water Erasable Marking Pen.
3. A pair of fabric scissors
4. Iron: Choose a steam iron such as the highly-rated Sunbeam Steammaster. It’s a non-stick stainless steel steam iron.
5. Thread: The thread should match your chosen sling fabric. I prefer polyester thread because it’s extremely strong. Another reason to use polyester sewing thread is that this synthetic fiber is that it resists UV light and mildew very well compared to nylon. And yes, polyester sews like nylon.
6. Washaway Wonder tape. You can also use pins. This tape helps you hold two pieces of fabric together before sewing. You can sew through the tape, and it won’t gum up your needle. What’s more, the tape washes away with the first wash. I recommend the 10-Yard Dritz 3310 Wonder Tape. Costs around $10 as of this writing.
7. Measuring tape
8. A hobby sewing machine
You Probably Don’t Need to Buy Fabric
You may not need to buy fabric in some cases.
If you’d rather save your dollars, consider using a bedsheet or even one of those tablecloths your visitors haven’t seen in a long time. But if you want something more stylish, there are many places you can find good DIY sling fabric.
You need a strong enough material that won’t stretch too much. 100% cotton or linen fabrics are a great choice. But you can also use mid-lightweight twill or denim for the job if not dupioni silk. Silk is no doubt the finest choice, but it costs more. Linen 100% works just fine and costs less.
DIY Ring Sling Directions
Here’s to make a baby ring sling at home:
1. Prewash the fabric the way you’ll wash it once you’ve sewn it into a carrier.
2. Dry the fabric the way you’ll dry it after making it.
3. Use fabric scissors to cut any loose ends.
4. Using a dressmakers’ tape, measure, along the length of the sling fabric, from one end to the middle point and mark it with a fabric pen. Repeat this process for the opposite side (width)
Assuming your fabric is 60 inches wide, you’ll have two equal pieces each 2.5 years lengthwise and 30 inches wide. For safety reasons, you want to use single-piece fabrics and not joined-together pieces.
5. Fold the first piece along the length 1/4″ and press the fold with a steam iron. Fold again 1/4″ so as to completely hide the raw edge of the fabric.
6. Repeat step 5 for the other long side.
7. Repeat step 5 for both short sides of each piece. Use Wonder tape or pins (see image below) to hold the edges in place for easy sewing. Remember, only one side of the two short sides needs to be stitched initially.
8. Fire up your sewing machine and start sewing. As you might already know, a backstitch is the strongest basic stitch known.
Seamstresses backstitch at the start and end of seams to reinforce them and to prevent any two pieces of fabric from coming apart. So, make sure to backstitch each seam at the beginning and at the end.
Start stitching along one of the long sides and continue until the very end. Then, backstitch and pivot so that you can sew the shorter side. Again, backstitch near the end. Then, pivot and keep going until you’re done with the second long side. Remember: You’re to leave the second short side unsewn. See the image above.
9. Using your tape, measure 15 inches below the unsewn edge. Next, draw a straight line that is parallel to the unsewn end. See the image below for how to perform that step.
To make sure that the line stays parallel to the edge, mark two points each 15″ below the unsewn edge. Then, place a ruler flat and straight at the two points and connect the marks. Who knew there’s a place for geometry in sewing.
10. Now, grab the unsewn edge and pull it right through the two rings. Make sure to keep the end straight and flat as you pull.
11. At this point, take the unsewn edge and fold it over the rings so that it lines up with the horizontal line you marked in step 9.
And make sure that this edge faces the opposite (finished) short edge. Then, use pins or wonder tape to hold the folded unsewn end onto the fabric along the marked horizontal line.
12. Finally, sew the two fabrics together. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of the stitch line to reinforce it. You’re to make 3 stitches parallel to the edge of each piece. And below is how to do that:
(i) Sew the first line as close to the edge as possible, about 1/8 of an inch off the edge. (ii) Make the second stitch roughly 1/4″ above the first one. (iii) Make the third and final stitch about 1/4″ above the second stitch. See the visual below for a clearer understanding of that.
Congratulations! You just did it!
All that remains at this point is to thread your ring sling and finally drape it over your shoulder and body. Then, put your little one in the cozy pouch for a nice stroll around the neighborhood.
Maybe you’re clueless about how to correctly thread a baby sling correctly? In this video, a mom super clearly explains how to thread a ring sling the right way.
If you wish to wear your baby on the right shoulder, drape the sling with the rings just below the left shoulder. The same goes if you prefer to wear your baby on the left shoulder.
How to DIY a Simple Baby Carrier: Wrapping Up
Making your own baby carrier at home may seem like such a complicated sewing project. But pretty much any mom can do it. All you need is a sewing machine, fabric, thread, two rings, and elementary sewing skills.
If you follow the step-by-step baby sling DIY guide outline above, you’ll soon gift your baby something they’ll really love. Your bond will become even stronger, and that’s something every normal mom or dad desires with every fiber of their being.
Also, your overall confidence as a person will grow. Because confidence stems from knowing that we’re self-sufficient and can accomplish whatever we set our mind on.