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Zippered Patch Pocket for sling

This makes a patch pocket with a built-in flap. This way, you can fold your sling up into the pocket, then pull the flap over to close the pocket. The pocket can also help keep stuff from falling out of the pocket if it's left unzipped and turned upside-down. For photo-illustrated directions of a simple zippered patch pocket (no flap), visit Linda's Sewing Pages.

I make my pockets about 9" square, with a 9" zipper. This is big enough to hold a couple of diapers, along with my wallet, keys (when they aren't clipped to my sling's rings), wipes, and a toy or two.

Cut two pieces of your fabric, about 8" tall by 10" wide.
I usually just tear an 8" strip from the bottom of the fabric I'm using -- this insures that any design elements in the fabric (print, nap, stripe, etc) will match in the sling and the pocket.

With the right side of the fabric against the right side of the zipper (zipper on top, upside-down), use a zipper foot to sew the zipper to the fabric, keeping the edges even. You will need to move the zipper stop at some point during the sewing, to keep the line neat.

the zipper foot (left; yours may look different) helps to keep the needle in the correct position relative to the zipper teeth. When initially sewing the zipper on with this model of foot, you'll line the left groove of the foot (underneath) on top of the zipper teeth. other zipper feet (those shaped like the front of a boat) are intended to glide next to the teeth. I prefer the model shown because it's harder to mess up when sewing :)

Flip the zipper to the right, then topstitch along the left side.
This time, the zipper teeth will line up with the right side of the foot.
This creates a nice, even line of stitching.
Again, you will need to move the zipper stop at some point during sewing,
to avoid a curve in the stitching as you go around it.
Repeat this procedure with the second piece of fabric.
This time, you will need to start with the zipper open,
and close it at some point during sewing.
Topstitch as before.
Hem the top and bottom edges (you can also do this before sewing in the zipper)

Fold one of the fabric pieces under the other,
so that the total height of the pocket is 9-10",
with the zipper about 1.5-2" from the top.

Stitch the fabric along the edges,
as far as the bottom of the flap's hem.

Turn the flap so the right side is out, and sew the pocket onto the sling.
You'll need to fold the two small unhemmed edges (as above) underneath,
but that's usually easy with most fabrics.

Pocket placement: I sew the pockets onto the "wrong" side of the sling -- the side that will be facing out in the tail. You might want to thread and try on the sling before sewing on the pocket, so that you can place it where it makes sense to you, but I generally center it horizontally (so the pocket is in between the two edges) and have the bottom of the pocket about 4-6" above the end of the tail. If the sling is made to be mid-thigh length, that usually puts the pocket at about hip level. If your sling's tail is longer, you'll want to place the pocket higher, since if it's too low, it'll bang against your legs as you walk.

If your fabric has a "right side" and a "wrong side", I think it looks nice to make the pocket so the right side is showing, and sew it to the wrong side. Both sides will show when the sling is worn, of course, so it's best to use a fabric that doesn't have right and wrong sides, just so that you avoid this problem.

When you're done wearing your sling and want to put it away, you can fold it up inside the pocket and use the inner flap to close it. Lay the sling down on the floor, and fold the tail into thirds, so the pocket is on top. Pull the tail up and out of the way, then fold the sling body into thirds. Put the folded tail on top of the sling body, then fold the whole thing so that the sling lies underneath the pocket. Open the zipper, and reach inside the pocket. Grasp the whole sling from the inside of the pocket and pull. This will pull the sling into the pocket and turn the pocket inside-out; then you can fold the flap around the open top and voila, sling packet!

I know that's not very clear, so if you're not on dial-up, click here for an animated gif showing how to do this (335 K).

Reader suggestions:

Maureen sent along this idea for an easier pocket: Cut the fabric for the wrap or sling 10-20 inches longer than needed. Hem edges as usual. Sew one side of zipper to one short unhemmed edge of sling. Fold up to desired pochet height. Sew other side of zipper here. Zip the zipper. Hem is already taken care of so just sew the pocket sides together with a straight double seam or a zig-zag. With the zippered pocket in the center of the tail, you could also have two unzipped pockets, one on either side, just by leaving the top edges of the folded section unsewn, but sewing up the sides. Thanks, Maureen!

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