Baby-Related Crafts

Doll sling (child's play sling)

there are a lot of ways to make a play sling, of course -- more than there are for adult slings, since they don't have to hold a lot of weight or be comfortable for long periods of time -- but this is what I do when I'm making a sling for my kids :) [You can also make a simple pouch sling just by scaling down the width to about 15" wide, rather than 22", or even narrower, but a deeper pouch is more likely to safely contain the stuffed animal or baby doll.]



Hem three of the four edges of the fabric, leaving one short edge unhemmed. Or, if you're using fleece and want something quick (particularly important when the 3-year-old is tugging at your leg saying "Sling now! Sling now!"), you don't even need to hem.

If you have two selvages (i.e. if you were using 45" material and the selvages are on the shorter ends), you don't even have to hem the bottom edge, depending on what the selvage looks like. I hemmed it here, just for completeness, but could have left it plain.

Fold the fabric in half (so that if the fabric has a right side and a wrong side, the right side is out). This will make a built-in pouch for your child's precious cargo -- easier to keep the toy in the sling when there's a pouch than without, in our experience. If you want, you can sew in a pouch seam so that it's a hybrid sling (like the BabySpace/UpMama adjustable pouch), but it's not necessary.

At the unhemmed end, make whatever sort of shoulder folds you like, with the pouch fold in place. A gathered shoulder is ideal for this, since it's such a narrow piece already; to make it narrower, I like a simple centerfold, too. I rarely, if ever, bother doing pleats on slings for my own kids, though if I'm making a silk play sling for a customer, then I'll use pleats to make it look "just like Mom's". Pin or baste the shoulder folds (if any) into place.

If you aren't using a selvage edge here, fold the unhemmed part under by about 1/2" -- I don't do this on "real" slings, because the machine would never go through it, but we're working with fewer layers here, so it's less an issue.

Stitch the rings in as neatly as you can, keeping in mind that if your child switches shoulders, the "wrong" side of your stitching will be on the outside (because of the pouch fold). If you are making the sling for a very small child -- under three -- or they will be using it without an adult's supervision, you may want to use hook and loop tape to hold the rings in, rather than sewing them in. If they are sewn in, there can be a strangulation hazard, since the sling makes a closed loop when it's threaded.
To hold the rings in with Velcro™, I like the centerfold. I baste the folds in, then sew the hook tape to the end of the fabric that goes through the rings (about 1/2" from the very edge)...
... and the loop tape about 4" from the end, so that when the hooks and loops are put together, the rings are held in, but can be broken free if the child pulls hard enough.
Thread the rings onto the sling, between the pieces of hook and loop tape, and fold the hook side onto the loop side, so the rings are held in. I used medium sized (2.5" diameter) SlingRings on this one, because the fabric is a fairly thick flannel, and two layers will be going through at the tail, but since it's Velcro™, I can easily replace them as necessary.

Thread the sling as you would for an adult, and help your child put it on. Sophie (3), shown at right, likes to carry little puppies in her sling, and I find that the built-in pouch helps a lot with the pooches :)

If you sew the rings in, be sure that you are with your child when they play with the sling, because of the potential strangulation hazard. (I know, it probably won't happen, but I have to mention it!)


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