How To Make A Sling Out Of A Shirt (DIY Project For Mums)

Welcome to our detailed guide to ring slings. Sure, baby always comes first, but no one ever said you need to spend a whole lot of money to give him some comfort and style. Plus, it can be therapeutic to do some craftwork every once in a while.

So, we here at Babybalu are telling you right now that you can take that good ol’ sewing machine and scissors out the closet and show your love and dedication to your little bundle of joy by making him or her a personal baby carrier!

Now, we’re confident that your super mom powers can do just about anything, but if you need a bit of practice, don’t hesitate to experiment on some cheap fabric before delving into the real thing.

That said, go out and check out the kinds of textiles available at your local shop to visualize what you want your baby to be in.

Just keep in mind, prioritize comfort over style. After all, there’s no need for the little one to suffer for fashion.

Most of all, remember to have fun doing this DIY project! Good luck!

Your DIY Project

First off, you should know that you’re not alone in doing this project. Aside from us here at Babybalu, there are so many other resources that could help you give ideas and techniques when crafting your very own baby carrier for the little guy or gal.

One such site that specializes in DIY mom projects can be found at thebabywearer.com, so don’ hesitate to check out what they can show you there as well.

Of course, feel free to read this guide on before heading over to expand your horizons. Without further ado, here are a few important tips that we’d like to give you when you start busting out the sewing kit for this project.

Like we said earlier, comfort is the key!

However, don’t forget one other important thing when it comes to baby: safety. So here is a little guide you could use to make sure that the carrier you’re about to make passes both those standards:

  1. Choosing the right materials is a top priority. Yup, it’s easy to find great prices on any fabric you want to use out there, especially if you’re buying in bulk, but quality must always be your top priority. By that, we mean that spending just a bit more is nothing compared to baby’s comfort and safety in his or her carrier.
  2. Carefully plan out how you’re going to craft your carrier. Yes, it’s true that you don’t have to be an expert seamstress to create something that will keep baby safe and comfy, keep in mind that the dimensions and overall functionality of the carrier are hugely important. So, don’t mind that you can’t create a flower embroidery with your sewing skills; it’s all about making sure that you’re creating something sturdy and convenient for you and your baby.
  3. DIY projects like this one are not just great for the little guy or gal; it’s also something you can enjoy. If you’re a novice, then you would be exploring a whole new craft that could fuel your creativity. Experienced? Then that’s just a bonus! Here’s another tip: sometimes you don’t even have to work from scratch. Perhaps there’s a used carrier you just bought, in which case it’s all a matter of putting your personal spin to it.
  4. What we’re about to talk about here is a guide, so don’t pull your hair over strictly sticking to each and everything we say. In fact, we want you to expand your horizons when it comes to the world of sewing, so feel free to check out other sites that could help you as well. But – we’ve said this before and we’ll say it again –, never forget that baby’s safety and well-being always comes first!
  5. The thing about DIY projects like this is that it can open up doors for you to earn some money should you decide to profit from it. However, when it comes to baby carriers or other baby products you can think of, make sure that you do the right amount of research before delving into the market. Since we’re dealing with things that cater to fragile newborns and toddlers, you should know that the market for this has high-quality standards that are heavily regulated. We don’t want you to get into any trouble, so make sure to check out your area’s requirements before deciding to turn your DIY baby project into a business.

So, with that, here are a few baby carrier ideas that could help you in your DIY journey or purchase:

Ring Slings

  1. Ring slings may seem simple enough, but keep in mind that the right kind of ring should be used. That means it should be the kind that could hold your baby’s weight and be convenient enough to be adjustable. For this, try to avoid using craft rings, as these are made of lightweight material that won’t be enough to support your bundle of joy’s weight. On the other hand, utility rings have too much weight to them that adjustment would be difficult. Lastly, make sure you use sturdy fabrics. And speaking of fabrics…
  2. Be extra careful when choosing the right fabric to hold your sling. Keep in mind that they should be thin yet have a reasonable amount of weight to them. Go on and search the web to check out what kind of textile works best for you.
  3. The general idea here is that your sling should more or less have a width of 25-35 inches, depending on your preference. However, remember that our top priority here is baby’s safety and comfort.

Wraps

  1. If you prefer a wrap carrier over a ring sling, take note that the usual width for this is around 30 inches, although feel free to add or remove a couple of inches to accommodate for the seams. When it comes to length, it’s ideal to go for a size 6 wrap, which is around 4.5 meters. Again, make sure that both you and your baby feel comfortable with whatever size you prefer.
  2. The ends of the wraps could be tapered, but it’s a matter of preference.
  3. Now, it is ideal if you can use one full length of fabric for your wrap instead of sewing together shorter ones. For one, a single layer keeps the fabric light. Also, there’s less of a risk that the seams could rip.
  4. If your little bundle of joy falls on the small side, you can try using a cotton jersey knit to provide them with a comfy elastic wrap. Plus, you could save some time, too, since cotton jersey knits don’t necessarily have to be hemmed.
  5. For those hot days, it’s best to work with cotton, so try using cotton gauze that you can just serge to remove its rough edges.
  6. If you want to challenge yourself a bit, try doing a woven wrap! For this, you can try using osnaburg; there are even some varieties of pure table tablecloths that could work well woven into little shorties. One advantage of woven wraps is that it’s reversible, so that means you can use both sides to lay your baby in. It’s also reasonably elastic, which gives the baby a bit of wiggle room while being carried, not to mention that it doesn’t get slippery or too stretched that it gets uncomfortable. Aside from cotton, a great alternative would also be linens or hemp blend fabrics. As a rule of thumb, you can start with around 8 oz of fabric. Of course, feel free to adjust this preference depending on what suits you best.

Mei Tais/SSCs

  1. Mei Tai and SSCs usually make use of 9 ounces of cotton or canvas. To be specific, you can go for quilter’s cotton or other similar fabrics. Just remember, though, that you shouldn’t use this for the strap, as they won’t be able to properly support your baby’s weight. Lastly, a couple of layers is ideal when making your very own Mei Tai or SSC.
  2. Remember that you should only use threads of high quality!
  3. Padding is also a great idea, and you can use either batted cotton or fleece for this.
  4. Check out Strapworks.com if you’re on the lookout for just the right buckle to use for your own Mei Tai or SSC
  5. When securing your straps, go with an xbox or bartack method. Lastly, these straps wrapped around your shoulder must be made from a single length of fabric as opposed to piecing together shorter lengths.

Stretchy Wraps

  1. Compared to other kinds of carriers out there, stretchy wraps are less expensive given that they could go as low as $40. If you’re looking for deep discounts, then you could even check second-hand ones on sites like eBay. Aside from that, they’re pretty much the most common carrier type out there, so you won’t have a problem looking for them.
  2. Stretchy wraps are usually made using a soft cotton knit, and it’s an ideal material to place your baby in. Unlike other fabrics out there, cotton knits are soft from the get-go, which means you don’t need to use it over and over in order to get that texture.
  3. Yes, this particular kind of baby carrier is secure, but one thing that makes it stand out is that it gives its wearer a hands-free experience, meaning you won’t have to be too occupied balancing or carrying it with your hands anymore, allowing you to do more while on the go. As an additional perk, stretchy wraps allow babies to snug in, adding to his or her comfort.
  4. They’re versatile, so you can adjust them to your liking, which is especially important if there are more two or more wearers that were to use it. When you browse for one, you’ll find out that stretchy wraps come in free size, making it suitable for whatever body type you and your baby have. So, if you’re a petite person, you can simply hem the excess length to be just right. As an alternative to hemming, you can even try tying the excess wrap around your waist for extra support.
  5. Since stretchy wraps makes use of both your shoulders, baby’s weight is evenly distributed along your midsection, which means you won’t have a hard time carrying him or her. This is particularly great for wearers that have back problems, and it even allows you to carry the baby longer than when you use a shoulder carrier.
  6. Lastly, stretchy wraps don’t require a whole lot of maintenance. If ever it gets dirty from use, you can simply use the washing machine to clean it!

Ring Slings: What they’re for

Ring slings work best for quick strolls around town or if you want a carrier that’s convenient and simple. Additionally, this kind provides the easiest access for baby to breastfeed given that all you have to do is position him or her in a cradle hold to nurse them on the go. Ring slings are also very widely available in the market, so whether you want to DIY or purchase it, there’s just the right model for you.

There are numerous ways you can use a ring sling: cradle, hip, or tummy to tummy carrying are just a few of them. In fact, some parents even use ring slings for carrying toddlers on their back.

The thing about ring slings is that they’re very flexible, meaning they’re easy to adjust and can be used by wearers of different sizes. However, since they’re the kind of carriers that you use your shoulders for, it’s not ideal for long-term wear.

Secondly, the single shoulder style that these ring slings have means your hands will be preoccupied to support the carry. On the plus side, though, they’re size allows them to double as a convenient diaper bag. Simply put, ring slings work best for newborns, which aren’t too heavy, or for little tykes that frequently alternate between carriers and walking.

Pouches are in some ways similar to ring slings, but there are some notable differences. For one, pouches aren’t adjustable, and if they are, they don’t allow for as much the way ring slings do. Now, remember that size is a top priority in order to achieve the optimum safety and comfort for both you and your baby, so be extra mindful of this before buying or making one of your own. What makes the pouch stand out, though, is that it’s the handiest of all kinds of carriers, which means they’re perfect for quick trips and could easily be turned into a baby supply bag.

Stretchy Wraps: What’s So Great About Them?

This variety of baby carrier is perhaps one of the most popular in the market out there, and that’s mainly because of how convenient using one is both for the wearer and the little guy or gal in it! Commonly using cotton knit or jersey knit fabrics, stretchy wraps keep your baby secure and snug without sacrificing comfort.

Now, if you’re looking for a model that has both style and function, you could go with the BaliBaby Stretch, which you could find online with just a quick search or order straight from its manufacturers at Wrapsody.com. Yes, it might be a bit more expensive than other brands out there, but its quality is simply top-notch!

Keep in mind, though, that there are some things you need to take note of when using a stretchy wrap. First, you should know that they’re particularly useful only for newborns. Despite stretchy wraps being designed to carry loads as heavy as around 35 lbs, the material – usually cotton or jersey knits – tend to get worn and sag after 15 lbs and above.

Secondly, remember that you cannot use stretchy wraps for the back carry, given that the weight distribution could easily wear or worse, accidentally cause it to snap. Yes, as convenient as stretchy wraps are, there also people who may find the idea of having to tie around 4-6 yards of wrap a bit tiresome.

However, a bit of practice can remedy that, so it’s pretty much just a minor problem. Lastly, due to the materials commonly used for stretchy wraps, they’re more suited for cold weather, since cotton and jersey knits tend to get uncomfortable during hot days.

The Woven Wrap

Alright. To begin with, there is a variety of woven wrap that’s also known as gauze wraps. They’re pretty much the same, except the latter is lighter and thinner, which makes them perfect during those hot, sunny days. However, gauze wraps aren’t as soft as its woven cousins, but it’s sufficient to provide babies with just the right amount of coolness even during the summer.

Now, the woven wrap is great for a number of reasons. First, they provide hands-free carrying, given that they employ both shoulders when used. As such, not only will you have more room for movement, but the balance it provides on your midsection makes sure you can wear it and carry baby longer.

Also, woven and gauze wraps are sturdier compared to the stretchy variety, which means they last longer. That means they aren’t only perfect for newborns; even toddlers can be handled by this trusty carrier. Now, whereas stretchy wraps can’t be used for back carry, woven and gauze wraps can. Additionally, this kind also commonly comes in free sizes and are adjustable, meaning you don’t have to buy multiple carriers for each and every wearer there’s going to be.

Aside from that, woven and gauze wraps available in the market have varying thicknesses to them, so you can choose which one suits you and your baby’s needs best. Finally, they’re usually washing machine-safe, so cleaning them up after use is no hassle at all.

Of course, there are some negative aspects to opting for woven and gauze wraps. For one, this variety is one of the pricier kinds out there, and they’re relatively harder to find in physical stores. As such, your best bet when looking for this kind of baby carrier is to check online shops.

Now, similar to the stretchy wraps is the way that you have to get used to set up this type of carrier, which requires tying a rather overwhelming length of fabric. But, like we said earlier, it’s all just a matter of practice.

The Mei Tai Carrier

The name sounds exotic, but Mei Tais are actually pretty common in the market. You see, this particular carrier variety is made up of fabric that has both waist and shoulder straps. What makes them a great alternative to other baby carrier types is that it does away with all the wrapping you have to do with, say, a stretchy or gauze wrap.

Keep in mind, though, you still have to tie a mei tai’s straps, but that’s about it; you won’t have to spend a lot of time wrapping lengths of fabric around. So, it means that this particular type of baby carrier still allows its wearer a degree of adjustment without all the complications that come with wrapping. And speaking of adjustability, multiple wearers can easily share their mei tai, so no need for buying multiple units. Additionally, this variety employs both shoulders, which means hands-free baby carriage!

Aside from what we’ve already mentioned, mei tai carriers are also perfect either for front or back carrying, allowing its wearer to use it longer. Its sturdiness, combined with the snug fit that it gives your baby, allows you to even carry babies who are about two or three months old on your back without worrying about wear or sagging.

As such, it’s a perfect carrier for both newborns and larger babies. For smaller ones, you can simply place them with their legs in the carrier and with legs out, if you’re going to carry larger ones. Here’s a tip: try cinching the bottom of your mei tai to allow smaller babies to have their legs out as well!

If, however, the idea of even tying just a bit of fabric is totally off-putting for you, then you’re going to find mei tais a bit complicated (although less so compared to woven and stretchy wraps). Unlike other carrier types out there, mei tais require more attention when it comes to washing: you have to line dry or hand wash these carriers.

Lastly, mei tais are pretty common especially when you look for them at online stores, but take extra caution when purchasing. Make sure that the unit you’re interested in has been positively reviewed by other sites and users, as some mei tais out there may easily be prone to tearing and snapping. Hey, we know that price factors into your purchase, but our top priority here is safety and comfort.

a mother carrying a baby on a ring sling
A Ring Sling, Image Credit: By Kristi Hayes-Devlin (https://www.flickr.com/photos/wrapsodybaby/24357091342)

How to Choose the Perfect Ring Sling

This guide to ring slings is incomplete without showing you how to choose the perfect ring sling. There are some points to take note of when it comes to finding the right ring sling for you. For one, there’s the kind of shoulder strap you prefer, the size you and your baby would be most comfortable with, and of course, the material your ring sling is made of.

Choosing the right shoulder style

Of all the things you have to consider when making or buying your ring sling, the shoulder style is the most flexible. You see, there’s really no set standard for what kind of sling you want to use; all that matters is you and your baby’s preference and comfort. Here’s a quick tip for you: try checking out Jan Andrea from SBP (crafts.sleepingbaby.net) to get an idea on what to look out for.

Now, just remember that almost all ring slings out there are meant to be worn on one shoulder, but there are exceptions like the P-sling, which is specifically built to be carried with a specific shoulder in mind.

The Tail

So, what’s a tail? Well, it’s simply the part of fabric that extends beyond where your rings are, which is used as an added support for all the weight you and your baby are placing on the carrier. Yes, a reasonable tail length helps you keep safe, just remember that it is usual that people could go for one that extends to your waist.

However, having tails going as far down as your knees is not uncommon at all: it’s all a matter of preference. Aside from supporting weight, some even add pockets to their sling’s tails or taper them. This is all secondary, though, as it’s just a matter of style. What makes the tail more useful, though, is how you can use this as a cover for when you’re nursing or if baby’s getting a little too hot or cold.

Also Read: Best Baby Bath Tubs

The Size

This is where ring slings have an edge over other carrier styles. You see, sizing isn’t much of a problem when you consider their adjustability. So, that means multiple wearers can use a single sling!

The Material

There are numerous fabrics that are used to make ring slings, from reasonably priced cottons and linens to expensive silks. Now, as a suggestion, you should know that fabrics like linen or solarveil work well in hotter climates. These materials have different thickness to them, so make sure that the one you choose suits your needs.

How to Choose a Pouch

As we mentioned earlier, pouches are the simplest form of carriers out there, so there’s really not much to worry about when picking the right one for you. Mainly, all you have to worry about is the sizing, so remember to check any given seller’s size chart to choose the right one for you.

Now, there are pouch varieties that are padded, too, and this is all a matter of preference. Finally, if you’re looking for something that’s absolutely convenient, try finding (or making) a pouch that’s reversible!

Where to Find Ring Slings

There are many manufacturers out there that produce quality ring slings, so we here at Babybalu took it upon ourselves to make a short list of these makers that you could check out. Now, please don’t mistake this for something definitive; there are numerous other companies out there who offer ring slings. Try checking out thebabywearer.com, too, so you can see reviews for the best ones out there!

Where to Find Pouch Carriers

Now, if pouches are more to your liking, then know that there are also a lot of makers out there that come out with quality carriers of this kind. As we said, the brands we’re placing here are just a suggestion, so feel free to check out thebabywearer.com for other reviews that can help you choose the right model for you.

Just keep in mind, it’s all about safety, durability, and comfort when choosing your desired pouch, so deciding whether you want it padded or not, or adjustable or otherwise, all depends on you!

Starting Your DIY Journey

All right! So, now that we’ve covered all the bases when it comes to ring slings and pouches, it’s time for you to decide whether you want to purchase one or make one of your own. Just remember what we’ve said numerous times in this article: it’s all about safety and comfort! However, don’t let this dishearten you into practising your sewing skills to craft one of your own ring slings. Hey, just a bit of practice can do a whole lot of wonders for you. Enjoy!

If you enjoyed this guide to ring slings, then don’t forget to share it with others who might benefit from it.