How to make a Fabulous Arm Sling

flower arm sling tutorial

Back in May when my daughter broke her arm, we knew that she was going to be “out of commission” for awhile.  We had to wait a week after surgery to even get a real cast.  The hospital had sent us home with one of those boring blue arm slings and while it was practical and all, we needed FABULOUS.  Turns out, casts are hard on clothing.  They snag everything. So even with her cast she continued to wear a sling to protect her clothes. 

arm sling boring blue  arm sling girl tutorial

She is my only girl.  Blue is boring.   Especially when you are a girl. (sure, she’s smiling in the photo, but she was on copious amounts of painkiller.)

As soon as we got home, I set out to remedy the situation.  I traced a pattern from the existing sling and measured the length of the straps.  I let her pick out her favorite fabrics and we got to work!


  • 1 fat quarter of fabric (just over 1/4 yd.)
  • 1 package Extra Wide Double Fold bias tape (about 3 yards)
  • 30 inches of nylon webbing (might as well get a yard of it, just to be safe)
  • 1 heavy duty plastic clasp

Fold fabric in half and place the bottom of the sling pattern along the fold.  Pin it and cut it out.

Sew a straight stitch up the back of the piece (where the elbow will be) to create the sling shape.

Next use the bias tape (and a ghetto-fabulous sewing machine like mine) to cover the unfinished edge all the way around the fabric.

Sewing machine arm sling tutorial

Cut the nylon webbing to the size you need (I measured the lengths from the original sling).

Attach the straps and don’t forget to thread one piece of the the clasp through the front strap loop before attaching it completely.

arm sling tutorial diagram

The slings took less than an hour each to make.  Once they were finished, we hand stitched some buttons to the front for decoration.  Oh, and the straps can get itchy so we also made a padded rectangle that slides onto the strap to protect her neck.

If these directions are a bit vague, it’s because I really just looked at the original and copied it.  Hopefully the cheesy diagram above helps a little.

So basically, with some fabric, bias tape and nylon webbing the world was now a much brighter place.

zebra arm sling tutorial 

fancy arm sling tutorial 

flower arm sling tutorial

Breaking your arm stinks.  But when you can wear one of these fabulous arm slings it’s not quite so bad!  How do I know this?  In September of last year I ended up in an ugly generic arm sling and single handedly (literally) stitched this up.

hounds tooth arm sling tutorial

It totally made me feel better about the situation.  Really.


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43 Responses to How to make a Fabulous Arm Sling

  1. tammy says:

    I’m thinking of breaking my arm, just so I can wear one.

    Connor hurt his arm last week, and I asked him if he wanted me to make him a sling but he declined.

    • Del B says:

      Your design is just so simple and perfect. My granddaughter, 3 years old, broke her elbow on New Years Eve. Even at that age she’s conscious of how she looks, so I had fun making up a few for her to change each day. I’m no sewer and this was easy for me to do. Thank you so much

  2. Kristina P. says:

    You really need to start selling these!

  3. Mrs. Organic says:

    I love it and wish I had one back when I was in a sling. You should market them and call them Sling Bling.

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  5. Zina says:

    Those are all great. Way to make lemonade from lemons.

  6. Vennesa says:

    Those are really cute, but I’m hoping never to need one.
    However, if I do, I’m thinking I may be able to talk my sister into whipping one up for me. This time with both hands.

  7. Elisa says:

    I love this post and want to feature it on MMB! Do you mind if I do, of course lending all credit to your brilliant mind?!

  8. Veronica says:

    You are SO kind! Thank you.

  9. Darline Ray says:

    Think you for the pattern to make a nice arm sling. I tore my rotor cuff and it is nice to wear a fashionable sling.

  10. Annastasia says:

    I must be blind, where is the actual pattern? My daughter’s Dr told her she needs to wear a sling for a couple of days and I would much rather make one than buy one.

    • Veronica says:

      I just traced the one that the hospital sent home onto a piece of paper then cut it out to make a pattern.

  11. Christina says:

    Thanks so much. My daughter just broke her wrisy. I made her one with owls on it today. (too cute) I am making one with peace signs too. She love it!

  12. Laura says:

    My 6 yo ds broke his arm last Tuesday. The sling the ER sent him home with is too big. I never realized it would be so difficult to find a pediatric sling. Before I go running all over creation trying to find one or even ordering one on-line, I am going to follow your fabulous steps and make him one. Thank you for helping make an awful situation a bit more bearable :)

  13. so cute u should make these for a living

  14. Lanaea says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I was devastated when my daughter (2 years old) broke her arm. I wanted a durable, nice looking sling for her to use. You sharing that you made these gave me the confidence and determination to do it too. When she wakes up in the morning, she will be so excited to see it. THANK YOU! :)

    • Veronica says:

      Lanaea- I’m sorry about your little girl. I hope she loves her sling and that it makes a crummy situation even just a little bit better. :)

  15. Lanaya says:

    Hi there,
    Love this adorable idea, but i cant seem to find the pattern. I’m probably blind and just over looked it. Please can you point me in the right direction.
    Thank you very much!

  16. Heidi says:

    Wow thank you so much! my 4 yr old daughter just broke her poor little arm and i wanted to make her a sling. This is exactly what i was looking for (she is our only girl too :) we did not receive a sling from the hospital so i’ve just been using a receiving blanket for her, we also live in Japan and i have to go on a wild goose chase just to get bias tape and the webbing to make the strap! But anyway i appreciate your posting thank you

    • Veronica says:

      Heidi, So sorry to hear about your little girls arm. I bet you could make a strap by folding a long rectangle of fabric til its the width of the webbing. Also, bias tape can be made from a contrasting fabric. It would be cute! If you decide to sew one up I’d love to see a picture! Good luck!

  17. sally says:

    My 29 year old daughter just had surgery to fix her tight clavical and will be in a sling for 4 to 6 months. I love this idea and she will have some HIP slings.

  18. Valarie says:

    Thanks for posting this. My sister-in-law just had hand surgery and I will make her one tomorrow. She is a very fashionable lady so I plan on making her a designer sling to end all slings. Since I am a quilter and a purse maker, I will do it in light tapestry and fusible fleece and make it very comfy. Thank you so much. Hmmmm. Wonder if I should put a pocket on the outside for her cell phone…..

  19. carol says:

    thanks for the ideas, i just dislocated my elbow and we have a wedding to go to in 2 weeks so now i’ll be able to still look good, just have to find the perfect fabric and ask my mum to sew it up

  20. Carol Kirby says:

    Thanks so much for the idea! My 5 yr old grand-daughter fractured her clavicle last night ( while Nana was babysitting! ). She has to wear a sling for 2-3 weeks; couldn’t buy a pediatric size one at the local pharmacy & ordering one online would take forever ( or bankruptcy! ) to get here so I just used your pattern & made her a couple. I am no expert but I had the first one done in no more than 1 hour & ready for her to wear to a party this evening. I took a little more care with the second one & it is even better! Maybe I’ll make her one for each day she has to wear it. ( Or maybe that’s just my guilty conscience talking since it was on my watch that she was hurt! ).

    • Veronica says:

      Oh your poor little grand-daughter! You are a sweet grandma for finding something fancy and fun for her during her sad time. :)

  21. Tonya M says:

    OMG! Thank you soooo much for this, my 5 yr old just broke her arm on Tuesday and she hates the sling they gave her! She said it was too baby~ish! I hated it cuz it is cheeply made and looks like crap. I make her dresses and skirts and now thanks to you i can make this too! thank you so much!

  22. Angela says:

    My daughter rebroke her arm. The drs office cut the strap on the sling making it hard to put on her. I was trying to find her a new sling and came upon yours. THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!! We went and picked out fabric and makes is so easy to sew. The only thing is what did you use in the padding for the strap cover? I am thinking of just using felt on the inside to give it some protection since the strap hurts her neck. We are possibly looking at having a rod put in her arm and lots of prayers for that one not to happen. We have been in a cast for nearly 6 months now. We had a month break before she rebroke it. We need some bling and prettiness.

    • Veronica says:

      Angela- I’m so sorry about your daughter. Being a cast that long is a bummer! For the padding in the strap cover, I used a thin piece of batting. You could use felt as padding or you could just use felt on the underside of the strap cover.
      Good Luck!

  23. Jodie says:

    Thank you so much for the inspiration. I have shared this on my blog, facebook and twitter. I am going to make one this evening for my daughter. Thanks again for such a wonderful idea.

  24. lauren says:

    IM going to make this i got hit by a car and my arm is getting worse each day THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  25. Charlotte Warse says:

    I’m slightly late finding this but so glad I did, my son is going to be needing a sling for the next 4-5 months as he has had surgery on his elbow last week. Going to attempt a few different designs as he is worse then a woman for fashion :-)

  26. Amanda says:

    Thank you!!! My son (6yrs) just broke his arm and they sent us home with a sling covered in bears! While cute for a 2-3 y/o it just will not do for my pokemon-playing, sports-loving ninja turtle! He said he would rather use the dish towel. :) These are adorible and I thank you for helping me make my little one happy through this crazy summer.

  27. Barb says:

    My 4 yr old daughter broke both bones in her forearm from a fall at the sitters. Full arm cast at least 3 wks and so forth. Current Current sling keeps sliding so I told her we would look through fabric and see what we can do. I had just considered tying together 2 bandanas. Thanks for tidbits.

  28. Kristen says:

    I have searched all over creation for a sling for my 5 year old who broke his arm yesterday. The kids slings are too small and adult too large. But this was exactly what I needed and he’s more likely to wear it with fabric he picks out. THANKS bunches.

  29. Oh, this is adorable! Actually the padding on the strap is what I got on to look for. My neighbor’s girl broke her arm, and the strap-piece is irritating her skin so I was looking to make something padded to cover it….

  30. Mandy in NC says:

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU!!! Your directions were easy to follow and SO helpful. My stepson broke his arm and the sling they give you at the hospital, never says adjusted properly. I used your instructions to make him 3 slings – UNC, Camo & Pirate skulls. I was amazed at how easy it was. Thanks again!

  31. montana says:

    okay so i just had bad elbow injury doing a back handspring in my fab gym Olympus. i need a sling i can make easily and this is the one!!!!!! thanks so much!!!!!

  32. Cat says:

    Thank you SO much. My 5 year old daughter broke her arm two days ago and she definitely needs some fabulous to take the edge off a little . Off to make some slings today for her!!! xoxo

  33. Pingback: How To Make a Sling

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