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Reversible, unpadded ring sling: Method 1 | Method 2 | Method 3

This method is great for two fabrics of the same or very similar weight, like a double layer of lightweight silk (dupioni or shantung) or handkerchief/lightweight linen. It yields a fully reversible sling where the opposite color is not shown at the ring end (as would be the case if the two fabrics are simply sewn together like a pillowcase and turned).

Please note: if you're making slings using this method that you intend to sell, please include a link back to these instructions in your sales page. I was pretty happy being the only overlapping-pleat sling maker on the market, and would like a little credit if you're selling them! You can use the graphic at the bottom of the page, or just a text link -- either is fine. These directions have taken me many, many hours to put together -- they are not just some random freebie. All directions on the site are copyright to Jan Andrea, for personal use only, and are not intended for bulk resale.

Materials needed:

Preparing your fabric:

If your fabric is wider than about 36", I would suggest cutting it down to 36" or less. I make mine about 30" wide; wider slings do provide more "coverage" for older babies and toddlers, especially when nursing, but can really swallow up a small baby in a cradle hold.

Optional pocket:

You can do an inset pocket (put this in before sewing the layers together!) or a patch pocket -- a patch pocket on the tail of the reverse color is a nice touch. The later can be done before sewing the layers together, or after; if done afterwards, keep in mind that the stitching will show on the reverse.

Video directions:

Here's a video for those who are more visually-oriented, but PLEASE read through the directions and cautions below before you actually sew -- the video omits some things (like fabric choices) for brevity, but they are still very important.

Sewing the fabrics together:

Sew the two lengths of fabric together along each of the short sides.

Offset the ends by about 3" (more, if you want to sew the rings in fur ther than 3", if using a different shoulder style). Pin at the short-edge seams. This offset is shown at right (click to enlarge).

Shown at left is the opposite edge after the long edges are sewn (click to enlarge). Leave a 4" space for turning somewhere along the long edge seams.

Turn the piece right side out through the space left for turning,
poking out the corners so they are square.
Topstitch the edges -- I use a 1/4" foot for this
to make a consistent seam.


Keep in mind that you can use any shoulder style for this. If the style of your choosing needs more than 3" of fabric to sew the rings in, leng then the fabric and change the offset accordingly. This will work fine with "ga thered" shoulders, too. I am giving fuller instructions for overlapping pleats because that's what I do :)

When sewing in the pleats, one side of the sling (black, in these directions) will be the "dominant" side with 7 pleats, and the other side (silver, in these directions) will have 5 wider pleats. I generally consider the 7-pleat side to be the "right" side, since it looks a little nicer than the 5-pleat side, but it will be fully reversible.

Place the fabric so that the dominant color shows for the majority of the length, with the 3" section of the opposite color to the right (as shown in the second picture above right).

Fold the edge closest to you up by about 3/4". Finger press the fold (finger pressing works really well on dupioni or shantung silk and linen).

Pinch the fabric so that you make another fold
where the edge meets the rest of the shoulder fabric.
Fold underneath and pin as shown at right.

Fold the edge up again,
so that 3/4" shows below the first pleat (as at left)

Pinch the fabric on the dominant side
so that you make another fold
about 1/2" from the first.
Fold underneath and pin.

Repeat pleating process as above another 4 times. The last couple of pleats on the dominant side are cosmetic -- you will be pleating on top of existing pleats after the 5th 3/4" pleat. I know that sounds confusing; I'm not quite sure how to describe it, though. It's like the last two pleats on the regular sling pleating page. The first three pictures below show the pleating process; the last one shows the back of the sling with its 5 pleats. If you look closely at the bottom edge in the last picture, you can see that there are at least 3 layers of folds -- those are the cosmetic pleats.

Sew the pleats in place with a basting stitch (easier to take out later).
In this image I've sewn only the ones closest to the edge, but after I took the picture,
I also basted them in over the second set of pins.


Putting in the rings:

After you've made the pleats, just put the rings on as with a regular sling. Fold the 3" overlap over the rings towards its coordinating color. Sew the rings in with at least two, but preferably three lines of stitching for strength. I use a wide decorative stitch that I place right over the edge of the overlapping fabric -- that hides the edge and makes it more truly reversible. The inside is shown at left, and the dominant side on the right.


the finished sling:

there is a 3" strip of the dominant color showing at the end of the "inside" layer (which becomes the tail when threaded); if you prefer not to have this strip, cut your inside layer about 3" longer than the dominant color. This strip does not show when the sling is threaded the opposite way (so that, in this case, black is inside and silver is outside). I find it a very appealing addition to the sling, myself, and do all my double-layer slings that way.

Threading your sling and babywearing:

I finally got around to adding illustrated directions on threading and wearing your sling. Please check them out! If you have any questions, please email me!

Link to me!

Did you use this pattern and like it? Please link back to me from your site or blog! (This is not an invitation to copy the file to your site, nor does it imply that the file is freeware. I invite links, but as I do make changes to the files on my site from time to time -- and often they are important ones -- I do not wish them copied to other sites.)

   the URL for this page is:

Here is a little graphic you can use: Rev. Jan's Baby Crafts

To make a link, please copy the graphic to your own directory (linking to it here is theft of bandwidth! Shock/horror!) by (PC) right-clicking on it, or (Mac) clicking and holding, and selecting "Save picture as..." then copy this code and paste it onto your page wherever you want it:

<a href="" target="_blank">
<img src="link.gif" alt="Jan Andrea's Baby Crafts" height=50 width=135></a>

Remember to change the image source to wherever you've saved the image! And thanks for the link!

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All content, barring that which is otherwise attributed, is ©2007 to Jan Andrea. If you wish to use my content on another page, please email before doing so, even for content with the Creative Commons licenses. Text/images used elsewhere must be attributed to me. Be advised that I will pursue copyright violations.