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quilting material for a sling???

565 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Kristine233
I'm new to making baby carriers and picked out some material for the sling in the quilting section. Then a friend of mine said this might not be the safest material for a sling! Can anyone tell me if this is true and why it is so? THanks!!

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Many people use it.. I'm assuming its calico type material? The thing is in single layer it can wear uneven and start wearing through and ripping. Also it can cause pressure points on the shoulder and for the babe because of the non-give of the fabric. If you want to use it I'd make it double layer or use another type of fabric for backing. Flannel or twill would make good complimenting materials. Goodluck!
I've read that it is bad as well. Not sure where but all the things Kristine233 said sound about right.
Jan of Sleeping Baby Productions has a great fabric FAQ for babywearing. She also has several patterns available. The website for the fabric FAQ is An excerpt about calicos is:

I want to use a pretty cotton calico print I found in the quilting section of the fabric store. Why do you say I shouldn't use it for a sling?

I don't recommend calicos (generally 100% cotton, usually found in many gorgeous patterns and colors) because, simply put, they do not stand up to the everyday wear and tear a sling will go through. Calicos are really quilting fabrics. If you've ever quilted, you know that quilts are made of three layers: the pieced top, a middle batting layer for thickness, and a backing. Then the layers are further strengthened with stitching that goes through them all. Quilts are also not generally washed on a regular basis (most quilters recommend hand-washing or vacuuming to clean them). So calico fabrics are not made to stand up to a great deal of stress. If you think about a sling, on the other hand... slings go through a lot of stress every day. We pull on the tails to adjust them, the babies strain against them trying to reach things, and when they get dirty, we throw them in the wash, which is a very stressful process in and of itself.

I haven't used calicos to make slings for myself because I did use them to make nursing pillows... both of which self-destructed after just a few washings. The cotton quickly becomes too thin to stand up to any stress, so the slightest tug causes a major tear. Once I saw that happen on my nursing pillow, I decided then and there I'd never sell a sling made of it! I know some manufacturers do, but I wish they wouldn't. They are, to be blunt, putting children at risk.

Now, you can use calico if you are prepared to line it with something, or use a double layer. You can just fold the material in half and hem it that way (like a pillowcase), but the resulting sling is usually just 22" wide. In a ring sling, that's a bit too narrow for my tastes, at least for an infant; though it's just right for a pouch sling. For a ring sling, if you cut it to 30" and line it with another material, that works, too. But I would never, ever trust my baby to a single layer of calico. Yes, the patterns and colors are very pretty... but the safety of your child is more important than that. (The same is true of many of the fabrics in the same area of the store as calico -- broadcloth, muslin, etc. These are meant for crafting and quilting. I find that apparel fabrics make much more comfortable and long-lasting slings.)
I hope this helps!
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Thanks! I didn't realize this until after I bought all the material for two slings. They do come in good colors. I don't know what to do with that material!!! I reallly don't want to make anything unsafe, though!!

Just line it with another material like Jan suggested! (If it is too much for you, she also custom makes slings and you can send her the fabrics.) Since it is your first time making your own, I'd like to suggest not sewing a hotdog style shoulder unless you have tried a sling like that and like it. I used that for my first sling because it seemed easy to sew (it is) but man, it kills your back. A gathered or pleated shoulder is much more comfortable!
Yup, just use another material to make it a double layer. Twill is my favorite material to use and a good solid color should compliment well and be fairly cheap and easy to find.
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