Earlier this week, my 7-year-old daughter fell on the driveway while playing and broke her wrist. A couple of years ago, my other daughter broke her wrist falling off a swing. Thankfully, broken arms heal…so why not have some fun with the sling while it’s healing?
The hospital issued slings aren’t the best. After watching two little girls with broken arms using the slings, I have made a couple of improvements to the standard issue hospital sling. Both have complained about the scratchy strap cutting into their neck, so I padded the neck strap. On the current sling, the strap slide is too high and also cuts into the shoulder/neck area. I moved it down to fix that problem. Finally, the new sling is reversible—plain navy on one side and a fun pattern on the other!
I made a sling for an elementary-aged child, but you can easily adjust the size for a smaller or larger person. My kids asked if it would work for either arm, and the answer is yes!
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How to Sew a Sling for a Broken Arm:
2 fat quarters of quilting cotton
2 d-rings (1″)
1/4 yd. fabric for a strap (OR 1 yd. of 1″ webbing)
1/4 yd. fusible fleece (to pad the strap)
1 yd. of 1/2″ double fold bias binding (make your own with this tutorial!)
(If making a larger size, you will need more webbing and more bias binding. You might also consider making a wider strap and using stronger o-rings in place of d-rings.)
Cut the Following:
(4) 14″ x 6″ rectangles, 2 from each fat quarter
(1) 36″ x 4″ rectangle from 1/4 yd. fabric
(1) 36″ x 2″ rectangle from fusible fleece (you can piece this together from scraps)
(For a larger size, measure from the elbow to the fingertips, add 1″, and replace the 14″ measurement on the first cut. Change the depth of the sling by changing the 6″ measurement on the first cut. For example, a sling for myself would be 18″ x 8″. Remember that you might also need a longer strap and more bias binding.)
1. Place one matching set of the large rectangles right sides together. Use a bowl (or another rounded object) mark rounded edges on the top right & bottom left corners. Trim the corners. Repeat for the second set of large rectangles.
2. With the rounded rectangles still right sides together, stitch along the left and bottom edges with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
3. Turn one piece right side out. Place the two sling pieces wrong sides together and set aside.
4. To make the strap, fold the 36″ long fabric in half lengthwise and press. Fold each long, raw edge into the center seam, wrong sides together, and press again.
5. Place the fusible fleece on the wrong side of the strap, centered between the fold lines. Fuse, refold, and press.
6. Stitch along the long, folded edges of the strap with a 1/8″ seam allowance.
7. Cut a 6″ length from the strap. On the right (open) end of the sling, baste one end of the strap, just at the edge of the curve on the front of the sling, as shown. Place the d-rings on the 6′ length of the strap. Baste the other end of the strap on the back of the sling. (Ignore the strap slide…I ended up switching hardware after finding that the strap slide was too slippery.)
8. Baste the remaining strap piece to the left side of the sling, centered over the seam.
9. Next, open and place your bias binding right sides down on the raw edge of the sling. (It doesn’t really matter which side of the sling since it will be reversible.) Fold the end of the bias binding down about 1/2″ and begin sewing. Continue around the whole sling, stitching on the first fold line, and catching the strap ends in the stitching. Overlap the end by about 1/2″. Backstitch and trim excess binding.
10. Clip the curves and press the binding toward the other side. Pin in place and stitch around the binding again, 1/8″ from the folded edge.
11. Flip the straps to the right side and tack them onto the binding by stitching a couple of lines across them.
12. Shorten the shoulder strap if needed and finish the end with a wide zig-zag stitch.
While this is not a sewing tutorial I had planned on writing, I hope a handmade sling makes healing from a broken arm a little bit more comfortable and fun!