Introduction: A Simple, Unpadded Native-style Baby Pouch ( or Sling )

Picture of A Simple, Unpadded Native-style Baby Pouch ( or Sling )

My thanks to Jan Andrea for the inspiration and guidance on how to make this. I had some issues following her directions, so I decided to post what I made here (with my alterations). My hopes are that my struggles won't be yours.
Again: you can find the original instructions at Jan Andrea's webpage .

Interesting note: The curved-seam pouch was invented by Hygenia Halfmoon, who then showed the method to Nancy Main, who started "New Native". Now many pouches for sale are labled "Native-style" even though they are a very recent innovation (certainly not actually Native American), dating back to the 1970s with Hygenia's book "Primal Mothering in a Modern World".
Thanks again to Jan Andrea for this tidbit.

A pouch-style sling should be between 20-22" wide before it's folded for wearing and 10-11" deep when folded.

Visit for great wearing directions, until I make an Instructable on baby wearing.


Fabric: Between 1.5 and 2 yards of fabric depending on the size; he most you will need is 2 yards, unless you are built very large.

Sewing machine and thread to match/contrast with the fabric.

Time: under 1 hour, even if this is your first project.

Step 1: Step 1 : Get Your Measurement

Picture of Step 1 : Get Your Measurement

Before you begin, you'll need to know how long to make the sling. Most pouch-style slings are shaped so that the upper, open portion is shorter than the lower, folded portion. This makes measuring for one a little tricky, since the place you measure will impact the final size of the pouch, and therefore, how well it fits. If you are currently pregnant, not to worry! You'll be measuring mostly above the bump anyway.

Measure yourself from your shoulder to the opposite hip (the point of your shoulder, and the place on your hip where you rest your hand if you place your hand on your hip -- this number will probably be somewhere between 20 and 30"). Double that measurement.

Add 6 inches to your doubled measurement. This is to make room for your baby. So your final measurement will be somewhere between 46-66”.

I am making this one for a friend and her shoulder-to-hip measurement was 28.5". We are going to round up to 29" to make it easier. When you double 29" you get 58" then add 6" for the baby to get a total of 64". This is the final measurement for the length.

Step 2: Step 2 : Layout Your Fabric

Picture of Step 2 : Layout Your Fabric


Fold it in half, so it’s 22” wide. If your fabric is heavy enough without doubling, you can cut it down the center fold and have two 22” wide slings.


Fold it in half, so you have one 22” wide piece of fabric. Cut the overhang off and you can use the leftovers for accessories such as a pocket, case, or a child size pouch to match.

Step 3: Step 3 : Cut Your Length

Picture of Step 3 : Cut Your Length

Now that you have your width, you need to cut your length. Take the measurement from the first step, (mine was 64") and cut the lenght of your fabric to that measurement.

Step 4: Step 4 : Fold Fabric

Picture of Step 4 : Fold Fabric

Fold the fabric in half widthwise, then in half lengthwise.

I folded the corners down just for show. Yours should be flat.

Step 5: Step 5 : Making the Curve

Picture of Step 5 : Making the Curve

To make the pouch sling truly pouch-like, you need to cut a curve into the unfinished edges:

The lengthwise fold should be the measurement you took (plus the seam and baby allowance), and the unfinished edge, once cut, should be about 3" shorter than that.

Note that the curve straightens out as it approaches the unfinished edge. This will make hemming the edges a lot easier; I would recommend having a straight section about 1.5" long to accommodate a 3/4" rolled hem.

Step 6: Step 6 : First Seam

Picture of Step 6 : First Seam

Next, unfold the lengthwise fold, and sew the new curved cut edges together at about 1/4" from the edge, with the WRONG sides together. Then turn it wrong-side out and sew 1/2" from the first seam. This is a French seam. Now, it should look fairly finished, one more step.

Step 7: Step 7 : Final Seam

Picture of Step 7 : Final Seam

Finally, fold the sling in half along the lengthwise again, so that the seam you just sewed is on the inside and you have a tube of material with a fold on one end and the curved seam on the other. Hem the unfinished edges together, so that you have a tube shape after the seam.

Next, fold it so that the pretty seam you just finished is on the outside.

Step 8: Notes

- The curve in the pouch should always be located where your baby's bottom is.

- Be persistent, start early, and try the carrier again if it doesn't seem to work out at first.

- Wear your baby high. This prevents back discomfort and allows you to carry a much heavier burden. The bottom of the sling should fall below your navel, but not below the spot on your hip you measured at.

- Go on-line. There are lots of resources with information about baby carrying.

- Teach others how to use your carriers.


JanAndrea (author)2009-08-29

Just want readers to know, the text for this instructable was copied word for word from my website at

I'm not happy about that. I don't mind sharing my work, but I do request attribution for it, and this has none.

I thought this looked very familiar!!! ? need to share your attributions to references used in your posts Pink&BlueDesigns, i am sure i have even seen some of these pictures elsewhere before too!

JessicaF2 (author)JanAndrea2015-05-24

Yeah, I noticed that because I was already at your website. I thought perhaps you also wrote this piece. Sorry that someone not only plagiarized your work, but refused to apologize when called out for it. :/ Adding photos isn't writing a new piece. Even changing a few words here and there - that would get you kicked it of college.

tobywankenobi (author)JanAndrea2009-12-07

what a shame.  Did you contact the Instructables team?

JanAndrea (author)tobywankenobi2009-12-08

Yes, they say that by commenting, I've added an attribution. I'm less than pleased with this, but they won't take it down so I'm kind of stuck.

Kiteman (author)JanAndrea2011-02-19

Very belatedly, I've just realised that you might mean my comment elsewhere.  I also said;

"You may also want to contact one of the admins (see the "About" link at the bottom of every page) to request an editing or removal of the project."

That is still an option.

This is not "word for word" off your site! All images are my own in the picture. I was trying to share and make an easy baby sling instructable where there was none. I will try to take it down and make it better. Thank you for your lovely comment.

Word for word means... words, and I specified "text" in my comment. Copying words is still a copyright violation, unless you get the author's permission or at least give them credit. You could have asked me, or given me credit, and this would not have been an issue.

I gave a link your site for inspiration! I took my own pictures & I did not use your method intirely! To be honest your original instuctions were a bit confusing, so I took the idea and made it my own! Thanks for the history lesson though.

GMammaP (author)2015-12-01

Know what is funny about people complaining about copy rights, mother created and sewed many of these type slings back in 1964 to use for me when I was a baby and made multiple ones for others, including me, over the years to be used for my babies. LOL! I still have her original pattern and instructions on her newspaper pattern, she designed. The newspaper is dated Sunday, April, 5, 1964. LOL! She made them, gave them, and sold them for years to people all across the country and even the world, so who stole whose ideas. She made hers exactly like all this and the other websites show. So stop complaining people, most important factor is babies are close to their mommies. :)

kaye.kenneth.1 (author)2015-06-07

Thanks for the tutorial. It helped me create one....

adenner (author)2011-06-16

Are you sewing a curve at each end of the length? or all four pieces together?

Icostamis (author)2009-01-20

I wanted to know if you used knit fabric of woven? It does make a difference when you sew and the finished product. Thanks.

I am not too familiar with fabric types. I use quilting fabric mostly. I do not like my slings to be very strechy, but that is just my taste. If you do use a strechy fabric, make sure that it stretches from the inside out where the baby will sit. If you put the stretch the wrong direction, it will not fit right.

Quilting fabric is not adequate for a baby sling. Please see this guide for choosing fabric types for baby slings:

I have been making these for years and I have never had a problem. They hold up wonderfuly with the $5/yd cotton fabrics.

bearycute (author)2009-05-11

Cute! It seems really easy to make.

nerdnurture (author)2008-04-12

This is great - I was thinking of making some baby-wearing instructables. I make my pouches have a more exaggerated curve than yours though. I see the last picture of the lady with the white sling and it hurts my back just looking at it. This sling is too big for her - it is more comfortable to wear a tighter sling and have the baby riding up higher. If you use a slightly stretch fabric, like minky, it is perfect. I still use my pouch sling with my 14 month old. Great instructable. (-:

You are correct that you should wear a tighter sling. I wear mine snug. Some people just can't get used to that and like to wear a larger size than they really need.

wshooi (author)2008-06-11

I have been searching the web for instructions to make a sling. THis is the best. Clear instructions + photos. Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to make one myself.

Pink&BlueDesigns (author)wshooi2009-05-11

Thank you so much for the compliment. I decided to post this because I found a lack of baby sling instructions. It is extremely simple to do, all you need is a guide.

porcupinemamma (author)2009-05-08

My daughter just had her second child and made a similar one. The only way she gets any peace from her very colicky baby is when he is snuggled into his sling. The funny part is that my daughter actually sewed the sling-she usually uses duct tape for everything! lol

I carried my second son in a sling from birth to age 1. He loved it. I had to stop carrying him only because I am expecting baby number 3. We are having a little girl this time and you can guarantee that she will be carried in a sling. It is so much easier than a pushing a large stroller or carrying around a car seat everywhere you go. Every mom should have a few of them!

MissSmurfsnot (author)2009-05-11

Hi, I just made this sling, its great! My 5 month old loves it. I love it! One thing though, I measure 25" shoulder to hip (I'm a shortie), I made it exactly to your guide, but it feels very snug, I think maybe some people who are shorter (and slightly chubby..eek) need to add 4/5 extra inches! But on the whole its wicked. A deff thumbs up!

I am only 5'1" . I find that the size of the sling is perfect for most people, however some may like a little more or less slack in theirs. It is easy to alter the pattern for your own needs once you learn how to make it.

dchall8 (author)2008-04-08

If you need to run with a baby through an airport, amusement park, crowded festival of any kind, broken sidewalks (popular in Eastern Europe), or generally off the road, you NEED a sling. Don't even think about taking a stroller to those places. We visited several airports in Eastern Europe and the US with four bags and a baby. We would still be there if we had to manage that with a stroller. Is yours entirely sewn together? Ours was a long piece of fabric that tapered down to a wide strap and friction type "buckle" (for lack of a better word). That made it adjustable so I could wear the baby when my wife got tired.

Pink&BlueDesigns (author)dchall82008-04-08

Yes, my sling is completly sewn together, it is also a double layer of fabric. You are talking about a "ring style sling." Those are nice if you have more than one person wearing it, since it is adjustable. I like "pouch stlye" becuase it is fitted to the wearer, so it's more comfortable. Also, They seem to be more sturdy.

jongscx (author)2008-04-06

NAWWW!!!! cute baby!!!

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