Our sling has been an invaluable bit of ‘baby gear’ from the very beginning, and still continues to get frequent use. I look forward to toting the newest family member in this same sling. And just wait until you see what Mausi is getting when the new babe is born!

Now that you know how I feel about our sling…I am thrilled to bring you a ‘Canadian Artisan’ feature on the fabulous sling-maker herself, Tanja from Sewfunky.

Organic Designer Sling

In her studio in Guelph, Ontario, Tanja MacKenzie, a mama of 4, has been sewing all sorts of wonderful things for the last 19 years. Found in stores across Canada, Sewfunky ring slings available in organic cotton twill, organic cotton with a designer cotton accent, hemp, or silk, are a Sewfunky staple but Tanja doesn’t just stop there! She also creates wraps, children’s doll slings, sweet little sun bonnets, children’s dresses and beautiful waldorf dolls.

Children’s doll slings and Sewfunky bonnet

To get to know her a little better I asked Tanja a few questions…

Little Wool Maus: Your slings are fabulous…was there one sling in particular that started it all?

Tanja: the first sling I made myself had strangers stopping me on the street to ask about my happy baby and funky sling. I made them as gifts for friends and was soon flooded with orders because they wanted to share the babywearing love with their friends!

I’m happy that my business has grown at a pace that matched our family’s needs and now Sewfunky Slings are available through retailers across Canada and worldwide via my website.

Little Wool Maus: What, to you, is the greatest advantage of wearing your baby?

Tanja: The physical and emotional health benefits for parents and their babies are amazing!

Carrying your baby close in the first year helps to regulate body temperature, breathing and heart rate, which promote physical development. Babies that are worn in carriers cry significantly less because their physical and emotional needs are continually met and they are content.

Babywearing facilitates breastfeeding beautifully, allowing a baby to nurse on cue which stimulates milk production. The sling provides extra support for Mom to be able to nurse hands-free or on the go. It also creates the perfect environment for premature babies to enjoy “kangaroo care” with the skin to skin contact that helps them thrive.

Having their baby in arms helps new parents develop a strong bond and learn to read their baby’s cues, allowing them to feel more confident as caregivers. It has also been shown to greatly reduce a mother’s risk of PPD (post partum depression) and stress. It’s so important for mothers to be able to take care of themselves, and being able to have both hands free can make a huge difference.

Little Wool Maus: You don’t just stop at slings…you’ve got wonderful waldorf dolls, girls’ dresses and bonnets coming out of your studio. Is there anything new in the works for Sewfunky?

Tanja: My business started 19 years ago making clothing and accessories for women, but once the slings took over it was very hard to make time for anything else. I’m hoping to make a selection of unique hats and bags available on the website in 2012. I will also have a collection of Mei Tai carriers online this spring in the same style as my Organic Designer Slings.

Little Wool Maus: Do you have a favourite soundtrack while working in your studio?

Tanja: I truly could not sew without music, I listen to it about 12 hours a day and without it I am lost! Some of my favourites are Thievery Corporation, Bjork, Bon Iver, Lauryn Hill, City and Colour, Little Dragon, Erykah Badu, Michael Franti, Feist – too many to list! I’m always looking for something new and inspiring to keep me going while I work.

Sewfunky Waldorf doll

Tanja is currently hosting a sling give-away for pregnant mamas on her facebook page! Be sure to check it out before March 1st, 2012, when she will be randomly choosing 2 winners to receive an Organic Designer Sling!

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