Baby Doll Carrier Tutorial to Sew for Kids

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!

baby doll carrier tutorial at mama smiles

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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. 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!

Materials:

  • 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!
baby doll carrier tutorial - step one

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.

baby doll carrier tutorial - step two

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.

A closer look at baby doll carrier tutorial - step two

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:

baby doll carrier tutorial - step three

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:

baby doll carrier tutorial - step four

Your sling is ready! You can keep the final seam on the outside or inside. Here are finished slings for all three kids:

three finished baby doll carriers

And a very happy Lily with her sling:

baby doll carrier sewing tutorial

Final Tips

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?

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

16 thoughts on “Baby Doll Carrier Tutorial to Sew for Kids”

  1. Elisa | blissfulE

    That photo of Lily is stunning, and Johnny looks so happy, too! I love that you allowed for enough fabric to include the more popular characters in both slings. :) My kids tie their babies on their backs or fronts with scarves and/or the doll-sized Moby wrap we own.

  2. No, but they were pretty much all babies at the same time, so no one ever really saw me wearing their siblings enough to remember it.

    Making a baby backpack has been on my to do list FOREVER though.

  3. Yes my girls love to wear their dolls. We tie them on with Malawian chitenjes which are just long pieces of fabric.

  4. I just made two for some soon to be big sisters and this is as great as it is fast. The 40″ length fit my four year old well.

  5. I know it’s been awhile since you posted this but I found it on Pinterest and had to make one for my son. I made it 40 inches and it fits him perfectly. I ended up making it out of a single layer of fleece and I was able to make 3 of them in about half in hour including having a 4 year old helping out. He loves it. And I hope my nephew and a friend’s granddaughter love it just as much.

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