This baby doll carrier makes a wonderful handmade gift! The post includes step by step instructions. Be sure to also check out my no-sew doll carrier tutorial!
One of the most helpful things I’ve done in terms of getting older siblings to interact in a positive way with a younger sibling is to have them look after their baby dolls (they each have at least one, including Johnny. Girls grow up to be moms, and boys grow up to be dads!) I wear my babies a lot, and so when I was pregnant with Lily I made Emma and Johnny baby doll carriers based off of a sling pattern I had tested. Before that I turned a swimsuit into a no-sew doll carrier for Emma (a t-shirt would work, also!) Johnny was wanting a more “manly” sling to use this time around, and I wanted a simpler process. Tutorials for making slings are all over the internet, but I didn’t see any for baby doll slings. There was this adorable baby doll mei tai carrier tutorial, but those long straps and my kids could get…interesting. Besides, I wanted something they could put on and take off on their own. So we stuck with a basic sling.)
Baby Doll Carrier Sewing Tutorial
These instructions should not be followed to make a real baby sling, since they aren’t designed to hold a baby’s weight!
- Fabric – any works, really, but wovens are easier to work with than knits.
- Sewing machine. I love my Janome HD1000.
- Thread. I used Gutermann eggshell thread for this project – it’s my go-to thread since it’s a color and type of thread that works fine with many projects.
- Scissors. Gingher shears are lovely, but don’t use them to cut thread – it dulls the blade for some reason. That is why you see my children’s fiskars scissors sitting on the table.
Nice to have but not necessary:
- Rotary cutter. Faster, and also easier to cut straight lines with, especially when paired with a quilting ruler.
- Cutting mat – a must-have if you are using a rotary cutter. I have had mine since 1998 – they last a long time!
How to Sew a Baby Doll Carrier
First, we acquired appropriately masculine Cars fabric at the JoAnn fabric store near our house. $5 after a 50%-off coupon bought a yard, which was enough to make carriers for Johnny and Lily (who idolizes her big brother) with a little left over). There would have been a fair bit left over, but we had to cut around the print to make sure both kids got Lightning McQueen and Mater in addition to the less-popular Sherriff, Fillmore, and Red. I folded the fabric in half, and cut a circular shape at the end, then did the same with a second fabric.
Then I stitched the edges to form a tube. This is Johnny’s sling laid out on the table – it’s about 36 inches long and 12 inches wide. If I were making it over I might add a couple inches since to the length (make it 38 inches, or even 40 inches long), as you can see in the photo, his baby sits quite high up.
Johnny picked fleece for his second fabric, as you can see above. I should have added a couple inches to the length (as noted above) to accommodate the thickness of the fleece, but I didn’t think of that.
Once you’ve stitched both sides of the tube, turn right side out and sew the curved edges (four layers of fabric) together:
Trim the seam allowance (already done in the photo above), flip the sling the other way out, and stitch again – catching the first seam inside:
Your sling is ready! You can keep the final seam on the outside or inside. Here are finished slings for all three kids:
And a very happy Lily with her sling:
Lily is nearly the same size as Johnny, but her sling fits much better. This is in large part because her second fabric is thin flannel, instead of thick fleece.
Since fleece doesn’t fray, you could actually make a single-layer fleece sling using the same process. Or go even simple, and turn an old swim suit or t-shirt into a baby sling like I did for Emma, years ago! Not as cute, but perfectly functional!
Do your kids wear their baby dolls?