For the last few months, I’ve been eyeing and drooling over the Maya Wrap Ring Sling. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still in love with my Ergo, but I’ve found it hot this last summer, and just love the look of the ring sling, with the elegant fabric hanging down, not to mention snuggling with my daughter on my hip. I also wanted to still wear my toddler, carry a backpack on my back, and see my feet (something I realized by almost falling down the airplane steps on my last trip, and almost running over my preschooler twice, was fairly important).
My obsession soon turned to trying to figure out how to make one. Jan Andrea at home on the web has countless designs on making one, with fancy ring pleats. However, no matter how many times I read it, I still had questions. I initially decided to make this ring sling, with padding, but after experimenting with railing padding on a pouch sling, I decided I didn’t like it. I wanted something lightweight, something with no padding that would fold up to a minute size to fit into my diaper bag, with an open tail to double as a hooter hider when nursing in the sling.
The Maya Wrap has a tutorial on their site for a ring sling, once again, requiring pleats. Finally, after weeks of debate in my head, I decided to try this out, and love the result. It has no pleats. All I did was sew a straight line, but so far it holds up very well, and spreads beautifully over my shoulders distributing the weight wonderfully.
I used two yards of a strong linen fabric. Please consider your fabric choice carefully. My biggest mistakes over the years sewing has not been in stitching, but rather in choosing inappropriate fabrics. I could go into greater detail, but don’t believe in duplicating good information already out there. Here is a great discussion on ring sling fabric selection. If you don’t read it, just make sure you choose a non slippery, non stretchy fabric that when held up to the light, you can’t see through. Try avoid quilting fabric, and especially flannel. I’ve found the fibers, especially in flannel, to weaken quickly over time.
Also, only use rings from slingrings.com. Rings used in slings need to have no weak point, and withstand years of weight. Regular rings are not safe for baby slings.
Wash and dry your fabric on hot to avoid later shrinkage. If your fabric is wide enough, 56″-60″, you can cut it in two, length ways, giving you two ring slings. Hem or serge the edges. I used a rolled hem setting on my overlocker. Fold up one short edge about 6″ and iron flat. If you are too lazy to do that, just insert a few pins along the 6″ line.
Backstich and forward stitch a few times with a regular stitch. Then switch to the triple stitch if you have one your machine. If you don’t, just used a straight stitch and reinforce frequently. You want this to be a very strong seam!
Using your finger, hold the top layer down, matching the edge with the fold, and sew. When you reach your finger, feed another few inches of the fabric through, and repeat. I worked in about 2″ intervals. It took about 5min, if that.
As I neared the edge, I realized my fabric didn’t match up. The top one was longer than the bottom. I’m guess this could be avoided if you did pleats in your fabric first, as I had the same issue each time I made a sling. This is how I solved it:
I added a few small tucks in the top layer to make sure the edges joined neatly. No one can see this, and it doesn’t seem to affect the look whatsoever. I didn’t even pin it down first. Make sure you reinforce the end properly.
Finished ring sling. Thread and use! For threading, there are countless instructions online, so once again, I won’t duplicated good information. I’d suggest watching a few YouTube videos, or look at the official Maya Wrap website for more directions.
Stay tuned for another tutorial on how to add a zippered pocket that you can use to store your wrap in at the same time.