Here’s my first attempt at making a Ring Sling out of a scrap of wrap fabric (modelled by a very ill and grumpy DD who needed easy-to-get-in-and-out-of Ring Sling snuggles :D):
Once I’d built up the courage and planned what I wanted to do, it was a very quick job and took up only an hour or two one evening.
What I used:
It’s made from a 2m piece of Natibaby Dark Purple Sweet Place with linen (one of my all time favourite wraps), and using medium sized, black aluminium sling rings. I also made use of a tape measure, a washable fabric pencil, lots of pins and a sewing machine.
What I did:
The wrap scrap I’m using was chopped from a long size 7 wrap + the other piece made a lovely size 3 shorty wrap for another mama. Since the scrap has tapers at both ends, I started by squaring off one end of the wrap scrap. I chopped the raw/un finished end to save me doing more hemming, and I always draw a line on wrap fabric first (pic 2) to follow while I cut as it can be very pesky to cut in a straight line. The square end will be the end sewn into the rings.
I’m going to sew this so that the ring sling is worn with the rail hems outwards. There are two reasons for this; firstly so that the rail hems don’t dig at all into DDs legs (not that they will very much are they’re designed to be used like that, but anything to improve comfort, right?); and secondly because the tail of the ring sling that returns through the rings will show the ‘back’ side of the fabric, so in this case it’ll show the side with no seams, and therefore look neater 😀
So the ‘inside’ of my ring sling will be what’s normally considered the ‘right’ side of the wrap (and the ‘outside’ the ‘wrong’ side). So I’m starting with my scrap with the inside bit facing up. To sew a ring sling from a wrap scrap, all you really need to do is to make the ‘shoulder’ where the rings are sewn into the wrap.
I’m going to be making a gathered shoulder (since it’s simplest and I get on fine with no sew ring slings, which are essentially gathered), but I’m first going to fold each side into the middle to reduce the width of fabric to gather through the rings. I don’t know if this style has a name, or if it’s the same as one used by any particular maker of commercial slings, so please be aware that there may be permissions to seek if you would like to use this type of shoulder to make ring slings to sell.
Here’s me folding first the right hand side, then the left hand side into the middle:
I pinned this all in place, and used a washable fabric pencil to mark guide lines 1″, 4″ and 7″ from the square end. You can mark further along of you prefer a ‘floating rings’ shoulder, but I’m trying a basic one first. I want to get my seam close to the rings and so that the ring sling cups my shoulder with the rings fairly high up:
Fold over the first inch of the wrap along the width, and pin it in place:
Now thread your rings on:
And fold the end over again along your second (4″) line, matching up the first fold with your third (7″) line, pinning it securely all the way along (second pic below). Don’t do what I did first time and only thread one ring on (first pic below)! Doh!
I then carefully sewed along the top of the fold, about 2mm from the fold itself and going through all of the layers using a 3mm long straight stitch.
I drew guide lines for a second line of straight stitch, parallel to and 1″ away from the first so that it would encase the hidden raw edge.
And then carefully sewed that line too:
Lastly, I turned the whole thing over, so the right side of the ring sling was facing up, and I sewed a line of satin stitch all the way along between my two straight stitch lines. This type of stitching using in carriers is called bartacking, and is often used to secure the shoulder straps to the body of wrap conversion carriers. It’s very strong and secure, and doesn’t leave weak or stressed points where that fabric could rip under strain. Again, this line of stitching is going through the maximum number of wrap layers, and so should be very secure.
And here’s the finished shoulder, from various angles :D:
And me trying out the finished ring sling for the first time 😀
With all the fabric layers and the stitching, the shoulder was a little stiff at first, but after a couple of uses it soon softened up. I do find that I like to fold in the edges by another 2″ or so to ensure that it doesn’t restrict my arm movement, but don’t feel that I need to redo the shoulder. And best of all, I finished it just in time for DD to be ill and need lots of carrying without too much back flinging and wrappy fussing, AND it’s super comfy too! Some rings sling instructions are below.
Methinks another ring sling may be afoot soon!
How to do a quick and easy Ring Sling Hip Carry
Here’s how I normally use a Ring Sling:
I put the Ring Sling on before the child, threading the tail through the rings and getting it adjusted so that it’s hanging about waist/just above hip height (depends on child height) and not too loose. I then put my child in and tighten the bottom rail only first to help get a good ‘seat pocket’ for my baby. You do this by tugging on the hem of the bottom rail side of the tail that’s dangling from the rings (depending on how you’ve threaded the ring sling, you’ll need to check which side this is). The bottom rail of the sling should go knee pit to knee pit, and LO should sit in a pocket of fabric with their bum below the bottom rail and their knee pits above their bottom.
Then tug on the hem on the other side to tighten the top rail; this pulls your little one into your body. Lastly (if you need to at all, but I don’t usually as it would undo the bum pocket) tighten the middle to ensure that their body is snug against yours. The closer together that you are, the more comfortable the carry will be; if your baby can lean back at all, this will put strain on your back as you compensate for their weight being further away from you.
Here’s a couple of photos from different angles to try to show lovely deep bum pocket type action (though she’d gone all wonky in the second pic from me lifting my arms up to take pics – ideally she’d have her knees at the same height):
Troubleshooting ring slings: migrating rings
This is when you find that your pull the tail to tighten the sling, and the rings move down until their very near your baby. This makes the space to hold your baby smaller and makes the sling less comfortable to wear. This is something that used to happen to me a lot; to solve it, try to make sure that the sling is pulled snug into your back before you put LO in, so that any slack is around the front of your body. Then, when you tighten, the slack will pull through the rings into the tail rather than pulling back over your shoulder and letting the rings migrate downwards.