Sling-a-ma-bob hotdog style

Unpadded Ring Sling Instructions

Materials list:

* 2 rings, 2 1/2 inches in diameter or larger (M or L)

* 2.5-3 yards of fabric, 45 inches wide (most fabric is 45" wide)

*Start with a length of fabric straight off the bolt about 3 yards long (I always get too much and trim down to about 2 1/2 or so. It's better to be too long than too short. And that way I have extra material to make pockets, should I want them)

I like to use a woven, homespun fabric (a woven cotton, but it feels more like linen) so it can breathe a bit better than a piece of regular material like you'd use for a shirt or curtains or something. It gets hot and humid where I'm at, so I want a bit of circulation through it.
You can use fleece, however keep in mind the stretch and that it's 60" wide and would probably be better were it cut in half, lengthwise.

*So far as rings, I like metal ones 2 1/2 inches (med.) in diameter. Nylon rings are also an option, but metal ones seem to slip less. Sling Rings makes both.

The Back Gate Country Quilt Shop
I carry woven & homespun fabrics in my quilt shop, as well as a selection of quilting cottons. Hope you can stop in!

To Start:

I don't hem either end at this point. Nor do I bother to hem or finish the sides (selvedge) of the material as the factory usually does that to prevent fraying. But, if there's a contrasting color on the edges, you might want to hem to hide it. Do this first.

As always, for rings I (and a lot of professional sling makers) recommend Sling Rings. They've set the standard.


(This part is kind of difficult to explain so drop me a line if I don't make enough sense.)

I then lay out my fabric on the floor and start folding, lengthwise (hot-dog style, not hamburger). Fold in half, first, to get an idea where the center of it is and slip a pin in there to mark where the center is. Then fold each side in to the center (like two cupboard doors, with a hinge on each side).

Do another set of folding
Do this once more (for 45" fabric, or twice more for 60"), again folding to the center (like cupboard doors would close) until you end up with a width of about 5 or 6 inches.

You want to end up being able to open your "doors" to put your baby in and have her lay in the center of the fabric underneath.

Now you need the rings. Lay them about 6" from the end.

Then, take the near end and bring it up through the rings...
and fold over on top of itself with the rings now contained inside.
Pin well, preserving your folds. Then, sew and sew and sew over those 6" it's nice and strong. I usually do zig-zag stitches so there's a bit of strength as well as stretch. I zigzag right near the very end of the fabric (the short, folded end) so I don't have to hem it to have a finished edge. Just trim up to the zigzag line. I then have an X or so from the rings down to the end of the 6". You probably will want to use a heavy-duty (denim) needle for this part, at least! A regular knit needle won't hold up for all of these layers.
Now that you're almost done, you can fit yourself for it. Just kind of experiment to get a feel for how long you want your tail to be. I like to have about a 2 foot tail for pockets and plenty of cover for nursing should we need more privacy, but you might want less. (I usually fit them using my old Cabbage Patch kid. LOL Easier than a squirming baby. And, I've discovered, carrying a toddler hip-style doesn't require any more or less fabric than carrying a newborn, cradle-style, so don't over-estimate!) Once you've decided how long you want it to be, trim it off and hem up the raw end. This is when you can add pockets for stuff like diapers and wallets and such in the tail. (I like to make the pockets a bit taller than I need so I can put a velcro "button" at the top to keep anything from falling out.)

Your sling should fit so that it caps the ball of your shoulder, directly above your now-highest seam. Ie, your seams should be sitting just below your shoulder, directly next to your collar bone. And the rings are a bit lower yet, about where you'd pin a brooch, just to the side of your armpit.

It should not lay next to your neck! This is not only uncomfortable but will cause some real pain in your shoulders and back.

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At last check, I've had hundreds of thousands of hits since I put this page up in '01 to show a friend on a BFing board how I made my sling. I see she now has a well-established sling business. (And no, I won't say which one...). My baby I was "slinging" at the time is now a teenager.

Since then, I've found my page linked on numerous parenting/nursing/AP sites and boards and have discovered I've been translated into Japanese! :D
"Hot dog" has even become the common way to refer to my sling's shoulder folding method. (I'm a teacher, btw, hence the "hotdog" vs. "hamburger" folds. ;) If I'd known then what I know now, I would have come up with something better than "hotdog". lol)

Now and again I'll get a thank-you note from someone who used my instructions to save themselves a few dollars and create something special for their baby and I say, "No, thank you."

I miss the days of carrying my babies, but I'm happy to know that I get to have a small part in helping other parents discover the joy of carrying theirs.
BTW: This is a great beginning sewing project. I've heard from some rank amateurs (Moms and Dads) who gave this a shot and found out that it might take a little longer than it'd take an experienced sewer, but it's still an easy project.
Modify to your heart's content. Go into business. Make your fortune. Once you make your first million, though, I'd like a large tip.

Any questions? Please feel free to mail me.