|1. Lay the fabric on a wide, flat surface with the hem facing up. (I do mine that way because I find that it's less likely to dig into me or the baby when I'm wearing the sling. If you've made a nice hem, this is fine.) Fold the edge closer to you up by two inches.||2. Now pinch the fabric where the edge overlaps the rest of the fabric, and bring it underneath, so that you have three layers of fabric, overlapping by 2". (You can see the first fold at the 2" mark above.) Pin in place -- one pin at the end, and the other about 5-6" from the end.|
|3. With the first folds pinned, pinch the fabric about 4" from the edge, and bring it down so that it overlaps the first folds. You can make the distance between this new fold and the previous ones whatever you like, up to an inch, but I like between 1/2" and 3/4".||4. Pin the second fold in place.|
|5. Repeat. Several times.||6. Six completed pleats, pinned in. There is about 2 " left unpleated at the top.|
|7. For the last fold, make a little stack -- fold the fabric down so that fold is in the same place as the previous one, then fold the edge back up. There will be 5 layers of fabric on the edge.||8. Pin the final pleat into place. Use a basting stitch to hold the pleats in place -- I usually sew right over the pins, although if you have a fussy machine, I wouldn't recommend the practice. My two lines of stitching are usually 5-6" apart -- 5" for aluminum rings, 6" for nylon.|
|9. Trim any uneven or messy fabric from the edge -- I usually leave about 1/3" from the basting on the edge.||To the next steps!|
Caveats: The wider the distance between pleats, the wider the finished shoulder will be. I generally have mine about 1/2 - 5/8" apart. If you put them 1" apart, which many first-time sling makers do, it will be *very* wide on the shoulder and may not work well for you. I prefer the shorter distance because it allows the fabric to spread out just enough on your shoulder, without going over your arm and restricting movement. And it's not just an issue of arm restriction: if the sling goes too far down your arm, it's hard to get the lower rail snug enough to be safe without cutting off circulation in your arm. So please, err on the side of smaller pleat spacing for comfort and safety.
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