more baby sling sewing

No, no, not for me, but my neighbors are expecting babies! I think a divine gift would be a ring sling, and maybe a teething necklace and bracelet set, for my uber-fashionable neighbors (they keep me on my toes!) I’m quite excited they are both having new babies this summer. It’s been such a wonderful place – all this new life, it’s really got some mojo here on Virginia Ave going on. Between the three of us, we have 7 children age 5 or under.

And I will make a couple of gift/donation slings for the LLL table / raffle at the mom 2 mom sale. And another one for our La Leche League birth 2 baby fair table, too. Plus, a friend is expecting, and while she likes her two-shouldered carriers, she wanted a sling for quick trips into the store (nothing beats a sling for that poppability.)

I love my slings. I also have three wrapped carriers, an Ergo, two pouch slings and a borrowed Baby K’tan. But I reach for my ring slings again and again. I like their fashionable aspect (yes, the Ergo is comfy but it’s a black backpack…), I like that I can slide the baby sideways, nurse him and cover his head with the tail of the sling. I even did this when he was five weeks old at a new prospective client pitch meeting! No kidding! Nursing, next to my programmer, across from my three clients. I just tucked him under it under the guise that he’d just ‘go to sleep’ and he, by then, could find his way pretty easily to nurse with a bit of help.

The Laura bag and baby sling…

Sew Paradise | September 24, 2010 | By

Mine for just a few short hours more, then they belong to another mama. And they’re just gorgeous! I love them both. I wish I could keep them, too. But alas, I don’t need a sling, and there is a fancy version of this bag coming up, for me, next.

Laura bag and matching sling

toddler swim cover robe, doll sling

Sew Paradise | December 8, 2008 | By

I’ve drafted a pattern for the toddler swim coverup/robe. V-neck with hood, kangaroo pockets (which I’ll have to draft myself, my software does not have them.) and long sleeves. I might go with a cropped kimono sleeve though as that would be less messy at breakfast!

And I’m making her a dolly sling for her ‘babies’. She is carrying them in a purse right now!

Then, the CJ leggings for skiing, a nursing turtleneck in pink wicking knit and some pajamas! I hope to take weds morning off without the toddler, to sew, but we’ll see.

Baby sling

Sew Paradise | October 25, 2008 | By

I finished doing some green jaquard butterfly appliques on the purple silk duppioni baby sling for a friend. Finally visiting her tomorrow. I have my own baby in an Ergo backpack carrier. She went down at 7 (early) but now at 1030 she’s bright eyed, bushy tailed and I’m not getting a lick of sewing done!

I’ll be lucky if she goes to bed by midnight. And I’ve given up on sewing. But since I have to stand, I might go lay out that cape that my friend Sue is ahead of me on our sewalong!

I am also working on bits of the diaper bag – but hubs absconded with my camera for the weekend, and I need pics to go with this pattern, so I will just sew all the ‘parts’ then photograph them all before assembly. It’ll get done this week or next weekend if it must.

A luscious summer thread wardrobe by Coats and Clark

Sew Paradise | June 9, 2012 | By


A summer wardrobe starts with the thread. I picked up four spools of new thread for new summer sewing. The green is for the sling you see underneath. The photo isn’t as crisp in the evening light in my sewing room, but this is a clear, light spring green. It’s Solarveil (yes, yes, I know, coveted, and not mine, and not made any more). I’m sewing a ring sling for a newborn baby that belongs to a friend. The flax, a pair of wide leg linen drawstring trousers for myself. My own pattern. The hibiscus, a tiered ruffled dress from BurdaStyle for my 5yo daughter and a duo of mother-and-daughter silk charmeuse drawstring tops. The sky, a pair of linen shorts for myself, also BurdaStyle (same issue as the girl’s dress.)

Hi, I’m Ann and I love to make baby carriers

Sew Paradise | May 14, 2012 | By

Specifically ring slings and wrap carriers. But I like to make them for (mostly) babies I don’t know. Babies who will get these in charity fundraising baskets. Babies who are not yet born, who don’t yet know that they’ll be snuggled up tight next to their mother’s heartbeat, feeling the familiar sway of her walk, the scent of her that is so perfect. Babies who will nuzzle, nurse and drift off to sleep. This time I used one of my own – a stretchy wrap carrier that a friend gave to me as a “fauxby” – slicing the fabric down the middle of five yards of stretchy cream ribbed cotton. I never finished the edges or made a pocket for it, until now. Today I sewed a brown print pocket and brown and cream serged hems on it, made a matching drawstring bag, and it’ll go off to some other mama, who will cuddle an as-yet-to-be-born newborn sometime soon. All prettied up, this wrap lovingly carried my son his first summer (and fall, and winter) on Earth.

Oh the thought just makes me want to have another! I know, I know. I’m too old, I have two beautiful kids, and I’m just now able to sew in the evenings, with enough energy to have parts of my day to call my own. So I sew these carriers, because I love to think of the snuggly little babies in them.

Eco Chic

Sew Paradise | May 13, 2012 | By

I’ve decided the place I live in is eco chic. I’m crunchy in that I cloth diaper, I own a myriad of baby sling carriers (two in silk duppioni), I have large urban raised bed gardens in my yard, I use cloth napkins, buy secondhand for my children and myself, sew whenever possible, upcycle as much as I can, clean with Shaklee cleaners (eco friendly) and buy organic whenever possible. I used reusable grocery bags long before they were fashionable, and I dry clothes on a line in my yard in the nice weather where possible.

But I still love great shoes, a great bag (might have sewn it myself!) and jewelry. I think being crunchy means I care about the world, and I think, too, if I look nice, that tells the world that I care about myself and about being pleasing for others to look at. Just my way of spreading the chic love.

Oh I’m not super trendy, more of a modern classics kind of gal, but that fits well with being eco-chic, you can buy secondhand if you’re classic in style.

This summer my eco chic is going to be making my yard, deck and home a beautiful place to be – cleaning, organizing, staining our deck again (water based deck stain), making covers and/or pillows for our curbide-shopped plastic chairs, and setting out a couple of hurricane candles for evenings outside. I’m using a very old card table for a dining table (it folds up, we set it against the house in a dry spot), and I put tablecloths on it, it’s very bring the indoors out style, and it’s also very thrifty. Our table broke a few years ago after 15 years of service; we have never replaced it. We bought hanging baskets from a local roadside farm, and hung them by our deck benches, so there’s color there now. It’s all about not acquiring more, using what we have and upcycling.

I’m looking to inspiration in BurdaStyle’s home sections from the last few years – there a number of summer issues that feature cushions, pillows, glass candle jars (upcycled from Bonne Maman jelly jars that we use a lot of). I’m inspired by beach cottages. Any good patterns I should take inspiration from?

Spring! Summer! Winter??

Sew Paradise | March 14, 2012 | By

so today is, last I checked, March 14th. Winter for another week at least. But today it’s 72 degrees (at like 1pm!) I went for a run at lunch in shorts! Shorts!

I’m a working/nursing mother, so I also have to pump milk once a day. But I’m self employed, so I cut myself a slightly longer lunch hour slack to do all this. I ate at my desk ;). Today, I broke out the slingback strappy sandals. These are silver, a demi-wedge that are the office equivalent of flip flops (as in, I’d never wear flip flops to work, but these are flat, comfortable and stylish)

I’ve paired them up with a ‘digital herringbone’ black and white print wider leg trouser, and a black with taupe graphic print wrap top. And a jacket. Always a jacket. I would like to go really wide with some linen trousers this summer (always my eternal quest for the perfect wide leg linen trouser!) and these shoes will be a perfect fit.

I also have them in black snakeskin to wear with summer dresses. And a summer wedding at a yacht club. yummmm. yacht club wedding. Not just any wedding, either, my baby brother’s wedding! More on that later. I am not sure if I’m sewing a dress or buying one for that event. It depends – if I’m not done sewing by early July, I will have to buy one ;D

Anyway, this outfit is the perfect low key, not too floral-and-coral spring outfit.


Babywearing gear~Nursing on the go

We are headed to a mountain bike race for my husband and 4 1/2 year old daughter this upcoming weekend. The venue is deep in the woods, so our 16-month old son will be carried in the Ergo the entire weekend (that, and with two bikes and a dog, we can’t afford room for a stroller, or even the fold-flat bike trailer/jogger).  But the forecast is for low 40s and rain, so I need something more than my fleece babywearing coat. Last year I brought a stroller for the express purpose of gear-hauling and diaper-changing. This year, they can tote their own gear, and I’ll change him in the car.

I am going to sew a zip-in panel for my North Face GoreTex parka. I have both goretex (ultrex, actually) and polarfleece, but I am going to make the babywearing panel out of poly-cotton print and fleece, for a more stylish option. Most likely I’ll be using an umbrella over us if it’s really coming down rain.

I’ll be developing a longer cowl neck warmer, and a couple of cute baby hats (a knotted fleece cap and a two-peaked fleece cap) to match the baby panels.  I wear a lot of vee neck tops, so I find most neck gaitors don’t do the trick, especially when babywearing, when your neck and chest are exposed (for obvious reasons – you can’t cover your baby’s head for too long!)

Of course, if you’re going to nurse in a carrier, you’ll need some tops to make it easier to nurse in. Hands down, the best openings that work in tops are the empire opening and the V/cross over or cowl. I post a tutorial about how to create, from any basic tee shirt or top pattern, the empire nursing top version, but you can find ready-made ones at (ignoring the dated photos, NC 307 has a good twin-set looking top. I make these with a contrast or print fabric nursing underlay so it looks like I’m wearing a cardi and tee). You can find a nursing hoodie or vee neck top or tunic at Jalie 3132 or their cross-wrap nursing top 2787. You can find two nursing tops at Megan Nielsen, the Perfect Nursing and Maternity top and the Pina Nursing and Maternity top and dress.

You can have a wardrobe of nursing tops and dresses with just these four patterns (and my instructions to modify any other patterns you like from your stash). Any pattern will do on the empire nursing tee tutorial – as long as there are no design details right below the bust (such as ruching), any neckline will work, any sleeve length or style, any hem length or style.

Along with this, I’ll be wearing knit pants – most likely a version of Christine Jonson Patterns 1010 boot cut pant – it’s a skinny boot, and in a knit, needs no zipper. I also like Christine Jonson’s front seam knit pant from her Travel Trio One (which, incidentally, has  a tee that is perfect for the nursing alterations). These patterns fit perfectly, every single time, they fit close to the body and I can feel free to do fabric and design alterations without fear.

The pants are stylish enough for an up-north city weekend, but also casual enough to not look weird if I’m standing around at a mountain bike race ringing a cowbell for my loved-cyclists.

Time to get sewing! Incidentally, the baby in question fell asleep on the couch in my arms. I wrapped a ring sling around him, still sleeping (and nursing) and continued on to laundry and my computer, now off to pull out all my fleece for the babywearing sets. I hope to use my prototypes this weekend, maybe show them off at La Leche League (and eventually the babywearers group) this week, too.

Nursing funnel / turtleneck tutorial

I’m using this pattern: Christine Jonson Patterns Travel Trio Three funnelneck pattern. It is a two piece pattern – the front and back are the same, plus a 3/4 sleeve. This is a great pattern for a tutorial because of it’s simplicity and fast sewing time.

I’ve traced off my size, and I’ve made two changes to the pattern. First, I measured from my shoulder/neckline point (on my body) over my bust, and under it, about where a nursing overlay would end. This, on me is 14″,  so I added 1″ for the hem. On the pattern, I measured from the same neck/shoulder point down 15″ (which on this pattern happens to be the side <> marks). I drew a solid line at 15 and a dashed on at 14. Solid = overlay that I’ll cut off and the hem, fold on the dotted line.

The underlay on top of the overlay shows the entire full pattern piece as it will be sewn to the back and sleeves

Trace the pattern pieces, make an overlay and cut out the underlay

Christine jonson funnel neck nursing breastfeeding top

The nursing top, closed

I’ll cut a second one, only this time, I marked from the 14″ finished line up 1.5″ on each side. This is the underlay’s side bust opening. I drew a curved line from this point upward to meet the armseye, so it makes a very low armhole. This is what you’ll pull aside to nurse. You can make it as deep as you need (deep meaning into the center of the top). Some nursing tops look like they are racerback tees on the inside. I don’t need that much, but if you are nursing twins, you might.

Then, I will cut this out. So, I’m cutting three – a back, a front overlay (cut off at the 15″ mark from shoulder down, no other changes) and a front underlay, which has deep scooped armholes but otherwise is the full length.

Once you've sewn the overlay's bottom hem, baste the shoulders together and treat this as one layer

The next step, to sew, is to first hem the nursing overlay. Fold under, press and stitch this hem. I like a stitch with some give, a zigzag works fine, or a twin needle if your machine does that well (mine does not). Then, you will be treating the two layers as one from now on.

On this funnel neck, you’ll baste the shoulder/neck and the sides where they meet, to keep the layers together. Construct the top as usual, which takes about ten minutes! Voila! In about 40 minutes you can have a nursing funnel neck top, suitable for winter almost everywhere except the subtropics (but I lived in southern Florida, I remember wearing turtlenecks in December!!)

Nursing opening in action

Here is a link to my nursing tee shirt tutorial, which has the very same type of alteration.

I’ll also be making the reversible hoodie in this pattern, and lengthening it to sweatercoat length (fingertip in my case). Eventually I’ll make the wrap skirt, and probably reversible. Anyone with kids will attest, you’ll put this outfit on, and two hours later, someone will spit up/spill on it and you’ll have somewhere else you need to be (like work!) and you can just duck in to the rest room (or your car!), reverse the skirt and voila! clean outfit.

All of these are made in a knit fabric, and they are so comfortable. Truly, there’s no reason to wear pajama pants to the preschool drop off. These are far more stylish and just as comfortable. If you’re really lazy, just pull on knee high boots over your slipper socks to wear with the skirt for a terrific, chic look. No one ever has to know it’s been two days since your last shower! On the pattern envelope, Christine shows this shorter length skirt with leggings, and that’s what I wear when it’s cold out.

And this is how you nurse in a sling. This is a baby doll.

Once you make this funnelneck top, it will become your winter go-to top. It’s 3/4 sleeves are perfect under a cardi or jacket, but of course you can lengthen those, too, for a long-sleeve turtleneck. The empire nursing opening is perfect for nursing in a sling or baby carrier (no yanking the tail of your top up through a tightly tied wrap or sling, and no exposing your postpartum belly to do so!)

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