How to Sew a Ring Sling (DIY Tutorial)

a finished sage green ring sling laying on a white table with one hand on the hem

I have many memories of wearing my babies in a ring sling and loved having them close to me while keeping my hands free! When my boys were little I sewed lots of other things but for whatever reason had never thought to sew my own ring slings – they’re very simple to make!

In this tutorial I’ll walk through the steps of how to make a ring sling and go over some important things to know like what fabric and rings to use in order to make a safe sling to hold your baby.

I recently took apart the slings I carried my babies in to repurpose them into a quilt and took notes on how they were constructed in case I ever wanted to make one. When I found out that a good friend of mine was expecting her first baby, it was the perfect opportunity to test out my notes and use the rings that were leftover from my own slings!

a variety of tools needed to make a ring sling like fabric, rings scissors and a ruler

This page contains some affiliate links to products and I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links (at no extra cost to you).

Some Things You’ll Need

a sage green ring sling hanging on a nail against a white wall

Fabric

In order to have a safe, supportive sling you will need to use a good quality woven non-stretch fabric like cotton, linen or silk. If you look at some of the popular ring sling companies like Wildbird, Tula or Sakura Bloom, they use linen, cotton and silk for their ring slings. This is a great article that goes into thorough detail on the best type of fabrics to use for ring slings or baby carriers.

Linen is great choice for slings because it’s the strongest natural fiber, hypoallergenic and temperature regulating. It’s also easy to care for which is a must have as a parent (I remember many blow-outs when wearing my babies, but loved the convenience of washing my slings!). I chose linen for my example because that’s always what I have used and loved!

I recommend a high quality mid-weight or heavy-weight linen since those typically have a tighter weave which will be able to support baby better. The linen I used in my example is a medium weight (5.3 oz/yd2) from the Fabrics Store in the color Eucalyptus and it has a tighter weave but is soft to the touch with lovely drape.

the finished sage green ring sling threaded through the rings and laying on a white table

How much fabric will I need?

Between 2.5 to 3 yards (2.3 – 2.7 meters) depending on how long you want your sling. For a standard length sling you will need 2.5 yards and if you plan to make a longer sling then you may need 3 yards. For safety reasons, the sling should consist of one continuous piece of fabric (not pieced together).

The standard length for ring slings is between 74″ – 77″ (188 cm – 195 cm). If you are tall, plus sized, or like the look of a longer tail, than you may want to make your sling longer at around 82″ – 90″ (208 cm – 229 cm). Keep in mind that this is the finished length so you will need to include seam allowance when measuring out your fabric. I go into more detail as you get further into the tutorial!

Ring slings finished widths are typically between 27″ and 31″ wide (69 -79 cm). If your fabric is between 50″ and 60″ wide than you can cut the fabric in half and have enough for two slings!

showing the silver aluminum rings used to make the ring sling

Rings

It’s very important to use high quality rings that are designed for ring slings since they need to support the weight of baby. Aluminum rings are the best option and most widely used by ring sling companies. The aluminum rings I used were repurposed from a ring sling purchased from a reputable brand so I knew that they were good quality.

Although I haven’t personally used rings from the following companies, they appear to be good quality and have positive reviews. These aluminum rings by Cutie Carry (Amazon link) are lab tested and have good reviews. This website (Ringslings.com) only sells sling rings and has a wide selection of colors to choose from.

Fabric Prep

Pre-wash and dry your fabric in the same way that you plan to after the sling is made – this helps to prevent any shrinkage that may happen! Then iron your fabric to get all the wrinkles out to make measuring and cutting easier and more accurate.

Plan Out Your Sling Dimensions

DIY ring sling dimensions drawing

In the illustration above I drew out what measurements and seam allowances I used for my ring sling, but you can of course adjust those measurements to your personal preference! If you have a specific length and width in mind, then I included the formula for figuring it out in the box to the right (see above).

The top seam allowance is half of the distance between the top and the line marked down from the top. So if I’m marking 14″ down from the top, then I need to add 7″ to my desired length amount to account for the top fold – plus the seam allowance of the raw edge folded in.

Let’s Get Started!

sage green fabric folded in half and laid out on the floor on top of a cutting mat

Start by folding your fabric in half to make it easier to handle and lay it out flat on your work surface (aka my floor 🙂 ). Also if you plan to make two slings out of your yardage, you’ll need to do this anyway! Line up the selvage edges as straight as you can. Linen can be shifty to work with sometimes, so it may take a few minutes of adjusting to get it straight.

Cut A Straight Edge

Square off one end of the fabric by using a ruler along the selvage edge to mark a straight line with a washable fabric marker. Cut off the raw edge with a rotary blade or scissors.

Measure and Cut the Length

measuring out the length for the ring sling with a measuring tape

Starting from the straight edge you just cut, measure out the desired length. I worked in sections and measured out 1 yard (36″ or 91 cm), made a mark, measured the next yard from there, and then measured out the final amount (11″ or 28 cm). So the total length is 83″ (211 cm).

Like I mentioned earlier, the length is personal preference! Just make sure to account for seam allowance (see previous illustration) if you are trying to get a specific finished sling length.

measuring the length of the sling with a ruler before cutting

After you’ve measured out the length, make a straight line across the the fabric and cut using your preferred method.

Measure And Cut The Width

Ring slings finished widths are typically between 27″ and 31″ wide (69 -79 cm). My narrowest ring sling that I bought had a finished width of 27″ so I wouldn’t go any narrower than that – you want to make sure you have enough fabric to support baby comfortably!

Using the long straight edge of the fabric as a guide (I’m using the selvage edge) measure out the desired width for the sling. For easier measuring I cut my fabric at 30″ (76 cm) for a finished width of 28.5″ (3/4″ seam allowance on both sides).

I made a series of dashes 30″ from the side with my washable marker that I then connected with my ruler to make a straight line.

Cut your fabric along the straight line you made and your fabric is ready to turn into a ring sling!

Time To Sew

Since you’re working with a big rectangle, the sewing is all just straight lines so it really doesn’t take long at all before your ring sling is done!

Fold And Sew The Sides

Fold in each long side of the fabric 3/8″ (1 cm) and press. Fold again another 3/8″ (1 cm) double checking with a seam gauge that the fold is straight, and press again.

You can place pins here if you want, but since it’s a long length it would take a lot of pins. If you press with a nice hot iron to get a crisp edge, then it will hold just fine while you sew.

Edgestitch close to the inside edge along both long sides of the fabric.

Fold And Sew The Bottom Hem

Next, double fold up one short end of the fabric 1/2″ (1.3 cm) to make the bottom hem and press.

You can either do a double 3/8″ (1 cm) fold like you did on the sides, or you can do a deeper fold if you prefer. I made two slings and on the second one I folded 1/2″ (1.3 cm) twice because I like how the hem fold looks slightly wider than the sides. My pictures show both options!

Like you did on the sides, edgestitch close to the folded edge. I used a thick piece of cardboard at the beginning to help get over the bulk.

Fold And Sew the Top

On the wrong side on the fabric, mark and draw a straight line 14″ (35 cm) from the raw edge at the top (the “wrong side” is the side where you can see the folds of the sides and hem). Make sure you can see the line well!

Note: I don’t think the distance matters too much here, you just want enough fabric at the end to go through the rings and sew down. The more you have, the easier it will be to pin and sew. You may also want the stitch lines to sit further back at your shoulder when wearing the finished ring sling.

folding in the top raw edge of the fabric for the ring sling

Fold in the top raw edge 3/8″ (1 cm) and press well.

Next, take both rings and pull the top of the fabric through the rings. Make sure the fabric isn’t twisted and that you can still see the line that you drew.

Starting at one side, bring the folded top edge of the fabric down to meet the line that was drawn and place a pin.

Continue pinning the folded edge to the line all the way across. Use plenty of pins to make sure that it stays well in place for the next step – sewing!

starting to sew along the folded pinned edge at the top of the ring sling

Edgestitch along the folded edge, making sure that the fabric doesn’t pucker or get bunched up. I used a thick piece of cardboard a the beginning to help get over the bulk. Backstitch well at the beginning and end to make sure it’s secure.

Sew another line 3/8″ (1 cm) away from the first stitch line, backstitching at the beginning and end. Then sew a third line 3/8″ (1 cm) away from the previous stitch line, again making sure to backstitch. This step is important because these extra stitch lines add durability and make sure that the fabric can hold the weight of baby once in the sling.

finished stitched lines at the top of the ring sling

And your ring sling is done! You can give every a final press if you want and then try it out!

If you’re new to ring slings, I would suggest watching tutorials on how to thread your sling and how to place your baby in the sling. Wildbird (and other ring sling companies) has great video tutorials to make sure that baby is sitting correctly and both of you are comfortable!

the finished sage green ring sling with silver rings laying on a white table

Thank you so much for following along! I hope you found this tutorial helpful and enjoy wearing your baby in your new handmade ring sling 🙂

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