|Giving my big boy snuggles in the ring sling at the ER while we waited to get stitches.|
|Used ring sling to put M on my back for a quick checkup at the doctor's office.|
I started wearing C in the Moby when he was days old, then we moved on to the ring sling and the Ergo when he got heavy for the Moby, and then when he was almost one and wanting to see everything that was going on, he was just too low in a back carry in the Ergo, so I ventured into the world of woven wraps and got my BB Slen Blueberry, which I LOVE. BB Slens are gorgeous, one of the most affordable woven wraps out there, and nice and supportive. I'm going to keep mine forever; maybe one of my babies will use it to carry their babies someday.
|Awkward bathroom pic when I first got my BB Slen, and tiny bald C!|
There are mamas who have thousands of dollars invested in their stash of woven wraps, ring slings, SSCs (soft structured carriers, like the Ergo), and other types of carriers. While I very much envy their pretty piles of fluff, it's just not something I can convince my husband that I need. I have a wrap, I have a ring sling, and I have an Ergo. Why in the world would I need more than one of any of those (he doesn't seem to understand how PRETTY some of those wraps are). So, filled with stash envy and under budget constraints, I decided to make my own woven wrap! I'm going to share with you what I did, where I screwed up so you can avoid my mistakes, and what worked for me.
Let's start with fabric choice. I used osnaburg. It's 100% cotton, and basically a heavyweight muslin. It washes up so soft and fluffy, but it also supportive and strong. It's very popular in the DIY babywearing community because not only does it do a great job at what we're using it for, but it's CHEAP!! I got 6 yards for about $15 from Hobby Lobby; shipping included using a 40% off coupon from the iPhone app. You can use a bottomweight linen, a linen/cotton blend, even pretty woven tablecloths as long as they're long enough for what you want (usually a long tablecloth will get you a ring sling or shortie wrap). The important thing is to look for sturdy woven (no stretch!) fabric that's heavy (bottomweight= you'd use it to make bottoms like pants instead of a top or blanket) and natural fibers, like cotton or linen. Please PLEASE stay away from the quilting cotton*. I know it's so pretty and there are so many awesome patterns and designs, but it's just not strong enough to hold up against the beating it'll get carrying babies around. And since these are our babies, we want to make sure that the fabric won't fail because that could be dangerous and scary.
When I got my osnaburg, the first thing I did was serge the cut ends and wash and dry the fabric on hot three times. Osnaburg can shrink quite a bit, so I wanted it to get all of its shrinking out of the way before I cut or hemmed it. Then I washed a fourth time with a squirt of blue Dawn dish soap to remove any factory chemicals or residual oils. Then I trimmed it to 32" wide (it should end up 30" wide after hemming) and serged all four sides. Then I tried out a quick carry with 35 lb 3 year old C so see how comfy it was:
|Hey look, an awkward bathroom pj pic! With a much bigger C testing out the support factor.|
*You can double layer quilting cotton into a ring sling; it will be bulky, but should be strong enough with two layers. Personally, I'd rather just avoid it altogether.
Edit: I finished! Here's Part 2