I’ve made quite a few ring slings. It has become my go-to baby shower present, mostly because it has been the most useful baby item for me personally. Since I’ve made so many, I’ve learned what I like when wearing one and have developed a different way to sew it up, but I was originally inspired by Sleeping Baby Productions and Jan Andrea’s awesome tutorial for a pleated shoulder ring sling.

Let’s get started! This tutorial will make a one size ring sling with two pockets.

You will need:

2 1/4 yards of solid fabric (I suggest Kona cotton)

2 1/4 yards of print fabric (quilting cotton)

A pair of rings (I prefer large aluminum rings from slingrings.com)

fusible lightweight interfacing

Thread

**Sew and use at your own risk!! Read this. There are also directions on how to properly wear a ring sling on her site. Safety first!!

First, pre-wash your fabric. I just do express wash on my machine with a little vinegar in it, dry on medium in the dryer. Next, you will cut the extra width of your fabric. Your fabric will be 44/45″ wide when you purchase it, but I find that around 30″ wide is comfortable for a ring sling. So to make this step easier, I fold the fabric in half and then in half again so that the selvages (the factory edge of the fabric, not the edge that they cut in the store) are lined up.

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Then I measure and mark 12″ from one selvage and cut through all the layers at once.

Fold up your solid fabric the same way, lay your print on top and cut it to match and you should have two pieces that are 2 1/4 yard x 32″ and two pieces that are 2 1/4 yd by 12″.IMG_0054

Put the larger pieces of fabric aside–they will become the body of your sling. Next we will cut the pockets from the 12″ wide pieces. I firmly believe that every ring sling should have at least one pocket, but prefer they have two (when wearing a ring sling, I rarely bother with a diaper bag or purse. My wallet, phone, and keys fit nicely in one pocket, the other pocket can usually fit a diaper if necessary, or burp rag, or snack, or whatever you feel you must carry around. I like two pockets so that if I have a dirty diaper it doesn’t have to hang out with my cell phone!)

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Cut two pieces of fabric that are roughly 9″x6″ and two pieces that are 8″ x 18″. Really whatever size you want though. The larger pieces will be folded in half to form the pocket, the smaller ones will be folded in half to form the envelope style top to the pocket to prevent things from falling out. Yes, you can do zippered pockets or some other style that close in some way, but this is the absolute easiest way to get a pocket that things won’t fall out of.

Let’s start with the smaller pieces. Fold each individual piece right sides together along the short side so that the long edges line up. Sew starting from one short side, pivot at the corner with needle down, and sew halfway along the long side. Stop, leave a space for turning, then sew the rest of the long side and the other short side. I used 1/2″ seam allowance for everything, by the way.

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Clip at the corners as shown, then turn right side out and press.

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Top stitch along the side with the opening to close the opening.

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Repeat with other small piece, and do the same thing for both of the larger pieces as well (you’ll be folding them in half to make rectangles that are roughly 9″x8″).

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Now we will add some interfacing to the sling pieces where the pocket will attach so that it won’t rip over time from the abuse that pockets tend to get. On the WRONG side of each of your 2 1/4 yd x 32″ pieces, iron a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing startingabout 10″ from the short side and centered. It should be bigger than the pocket pieces you created, so I used a piece about 10″ square (lay your pocket pieces out to be sure you have enough). Do this to your solid piece as well.

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Now flip it over so right sides are showing and pin the larger pocket piece where the interfacing is. The stitched side should be on top (the ‘top’ being the side where more fabric is)

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Flip it over and make sure you are going to sew it so that it’s on the interfacing!

Stitch around the three sides (left, top, and right in the above picture).

Make sure to back-stitch really well at the corners!

Next, overlap one of the smaller pieces over the open edge of the pocket. I went with a solid pocket and print pocket top for this one, but it’s totally up to you. It should overlap just about 1/4″-1/2″ Stitch that down along the three sides (not the pocket side….you don’t want to close up the opening, of course).

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Now you should have a pocket!

Repeat for the solid piece to add another pocket if you’d like.

Now that the pockets are on, it’s time to sew up the body of the ring sling! Place both of the large pieces, right sides together (making sure both of your pockets are on top of each other and not on opposite ends). Sew starting from a long side AWAY from the pocket, then down along the bottom short end (where the pocket is) and up the other side, leaving the last short side open. I used 1/4″ seam allowance, but use whatever you prefer.

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Clip the corners at the bottom, and turn the whole tube of fabric right sides out.

Get your iron hot and ready! It’s time to press this whole beast.

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Make sure that as you press, the seam is pulled all the way out and you aren’t leaving fabric folded in.

After it’s all pressed, you can top-stitch all the way around for a more finished look.

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Now let’s deal with that raw edge. We are going to sew the rings in. Place it print side up on your work table and measure how far across it is. It should be around 31″ roughly, depending on the seam allowance you used.

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Mark the center.

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Fold the sides in toward that center mark.

 

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Measure and mark every inch on the folded pieces.

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Starting on the outside, fold into the first mark.

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Then fold from the outside in one more time to the second mark.

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Make sure that your pleats don’t overlap on top of each other. You don’t want to have more than 6 layers of fabric in any one spot.

Press well with the iron to help hold your pleats, then use a basting stitch (longest stitch length you have) to baste about 1″ from the raw edge and again about 6″ from the raw edge. you want the pleats to be slightly wider at 6″ down so it’s okay if they spread a little as you go.

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(Oh, I serged my raw edge too. You can use an overlock or zigzag stitch on your machine to finish that raw edge if you don’t have a serger. It won’t be visible but you don’t want it to unravel)

If you haven’t already, now is the time to switch to a heavy duty needle. You will be demanding a lot from your machine here getting through all these layers!! IMG_0110

Put the rings in, and fold over (the solid fabric will be on the outside and print on the inside). Pin in place. It’s a good idea to draw a nice straight line to follow for this part (I followed my basting stitch), but you will start by just sewing with a straight stitch close to the rings….use the longest stitch length you have here. We are just basting and making sure it is all looking good.

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Make sure everything looks good at this point…that you caught all layers as you went.

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Next, use a strong stitch and go over the last line you made (or directly next to it if you want to stitch rip your first line out). One of your decorative stitches is fun to do here. It might be easiest to leave long ends and tie the ends of by hand instead of backstitching since your machine will already hate you enough for having to go through all of that fabric.

And that’s it!! Go back to that link on the top for how to thread and wear your ring sling if you aren’t familiar with them. It will be a little stiff, but after you wash and dry it a few times it will be super soft!

 

 

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