Introduction: 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 Hotslings.com 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
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
IF YOU ARE USING 45” WIDE 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.
IF YOU ARE USING 54-60” WIDE FABRIC:
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
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
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
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
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
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.