Best Fabrics for various carriers.
Baby carriers should be considered a necessary accessory. It is an extension of your wardrobe.It will help you to keep active, and give you freedom. I highly recommend that when you are picking out your baby carrier, you pick a fabric that is a reflection of you. Choose a fabric that expresses who you are and that compliments you,your colouring and your personal style. Just because you have a baby girl, doesn’t mean that you need a pink sling. Especially if you wear reds most frequently.(or if you hate pink)
If you DO get a colour that clashes with your wardrobe it may bother you to the extent that you will not use it.
I frequently try to talk people out of getting a print that matches the baby room or a cute print. Unless of course THAT is also your style.
SAFETY ! I recommend that you frequently look at your carriers. Regardless of the fabric used there may be thinning or wear in the fabric. One should never use a carrier that is ripping or delicate (as far as strength and integrity of the fabric goes).
IF I HAVE MADE YOU A CARRIER AND THE FABRIC BECOMES INSECURE PLEASE CONTACT ME.
Here are a few more of my opinions and suggestions.
You can make a carrier out of anything: pair of pants, a bed sheet, a shirt... and while they would hold a child just fine, there are fabrics that are more recommended and comfortable than others.
To buy rings, I highly recommend http://www.slingrings.com.These are among the safest, best rings in my opinion. If you only need one pair,and want to make a carrier yourself I can supply you with this.
With so many fabrics to choose from you CAN pick a great durable and classy looking fabric. You can either make a carrier yourself or have me (or someone) do it for you.
Fabric's for Ring Slings:
I personally recommend 100%cotton 100%cotton twill, 100%linen or a 50%linen 50%cotton split,65%cotton 35%poly split.
Linen rayon split is notbad, if there is more of the linen, if there is too much rayon it will slip.
I also like a linen and silk split. Linen and silk are both very strong fibers.
100%silk either silk noile or raw silk (like a dupioni)is wonderful to use. It is both durable and stunning. Now again there are several weights of silk, so you want to watch that if you hold it up to the light that you cant see through it easily.
This is 'generally' 50 %cotton and 50% polyester but not always.
There are many weights of "broadcloth" so touch is important. You do NOT want your carrier to be thin, slippery, or shiny. Choosing a fabric that is slippery will make the rings slide down into an uncomfortable position or ride up onto your neck area. Our ligaments are not meant to carry weight and doing so will eventually cause you to experience pain,and numb fingers. A slippery fabric will also cause your child to slide, and will make it more difficult to insure that you have baby in safely. Cotton broadcloth generally speaking isn't too bad,It is not my first choice for a ring sling and as far as durability and longevity goes, a thinner broadcloth will not service you as long as a thicker higher thread count one. Broadcloth has minimal give and so will not be as comfortable as a sling that has a little diagonal weave
Quilters Cotton & Cotton Broadcloth
(These are frequently printed on one side and not the other.)They are 100% Cotton.I dont generally recommend quilters cottons. With exceptions. You can tell these fabrics because they have fun prints, which are printed onto the fabric, and not part of the weave. There is a definite wrong side and right side.
While quilters cottons are popular and pretty they are constructed in such a way that they are not meant for the constant stress of being pulled through rings, or being weight bearing on a regular basis. If you have a carrier made of this and it is not your primary carrier that is great. There really are fun prints available. You just need to watch that it is not 'too' thickly printed on, or it will be hard to adjust. If this is not your primary sling, then wonderful. If you are going to choose a quilters cotton then also have a sling made of another fabric so that you can enjoy your fun print with out worrying about it weakening faster. This type of fabric is a little stiffer also, and doesnt "give" too much. witht e100% cotton broadcloth, it just doesnt hold up well enough, it is too thin. Not a fabric that would be a carrier for teh long run.
Fabrics I do NOT generally recommend for Slings
I rarely recommend this fabric. As far as textiles goes and fabric construction it is not best in my opinion,as a baby carrier. Nor is it the most comfortable. Cotton muslin does not have a great diagonal weave which means that it will not mold and bend around your baby as comfortably as other fabrics will. In a pinch it will service you fine, It is a fabric that will grab,or grip your clothing. What this means is that when you try to slide baby or slide the sling on your shoulder it will pull your clothing. This causes your shirt to bunch up or show skin that you may not want to show. It is also hard to adjust(unless you have very large rings). It will be thick and bulky. Sometimes even with the biggest rings, it is still hard to adjust. Cotton muslin is not made to last for a long time, and while its natural colour and being unbleached is appealing, it is of a lesser quality than other types of cotton that can be purchased. It is a thick fabric, so it will break needles while you are sewing. Especially if you dont have the right size needle and it is harder to sew through with a domestic machine
Flannel or Flannelet.
I absolutely DON'T recommend this fabric and if you bring it to me I will try to talk you out of it. If you are absolutely determined to have this fabric I will recommend that you do not use it as your primary carrier.
Here is why I don’t recommend flannel or any of its variations. Flannel has been brushed, distressed or scored.
It is very loosely twisted and scored to be soft and later brushed to produced a softer nap on one side, the warp is medium in size. There are several different types of flannel. There are super soft double napped flannel (brushed on both sides), and quilters. Quilter's flannel is a higher quality flannel that will stay softer longer, and won't fade as quickly as some flannels. Flannel will pill and ball after a few washings. (think of some of the receiving blankets you have)Flannel also becomes weaker faster because the threads have been broken so it is not the sturdiest fabric.
I have seen flannel slings that under daily use only lasted 6 months of daily use before it became insecure and delicate at the area of the rings. In my opinion Flannel is NOT a safe in a ring sling.
Flannel also grabs onto your clothing.(like muslin)
It does not move easily on sweaters and will cause your shirts to slide and move when you are trying to adjust your carrier.
Flannel is warm. Frequently, especially with nursing mothers baby will overheat. Women tend to get warmer when feeding their child and since the flannel is warm, flannel will make mom and baby warmer, as it traps heat in. If baby is too warm, he may not want to nurse properly and may get fussy and uncomfortable.
and another reason is that it is so thick and dense that it will break your sewing needles over and over.it is just too thick to work with for a ring sling
You can make a wrap out of anything. A scarf, shawl, bed sheet table cloth...the list goes on. Again there are some fabrics that feel better than others. My most comfortable wrap is made of a jacquard table cloth fabric. The reason that it is so comfortable is because it has great diagonal weave.
My second most favourite wraps are made from linen blends. Linen and rayon and linen and cotton. And a wool shawl. (cashmere) Again, the reason that I love this fabric is because it is cool and comfortable and because it molds and drapes around me and baby very nicely. Linen blend fabrics are SO comfortable and cool.
Other fabrics that I recommend are medium weave cotton's. (like popular German wraps) and other medium weave cottons that are a bit thinner (sometimes called gauze or crinkle cotton).
Thinner doesn't necessarily mean more comfortable. A thinner fabric will give you more pressure points. This may be an issue with a heavier older child or when you are baby wearing for long periods.
I prefer my wraps a bit thicker so that I have less pressure points.
Stretchy fabrics are wonderful for babies under 20-25 pounds.
Silk or silk and rayon blends(you can get some wonderful sari's and they are the perfect length for a nice wrap)and quite nice and will last a while.
I sell(and recommend)100% cotton.(with a nice diagonal 'give'
100%linen or a 50%linen 50%cotton split.
A linen and rayon split-with the greater number in the linen. Linen is a very strong fiber.
100%silk either silk noile or raw silk (like a dupioni)is also very comfortable, but some find there are more pressure points, so they make it 2 thicknesses. this is a personal thing. . It is both durable and stunning.
If you have a little baby, and want a 'quickly' no sew wrap then I recommend going to the store and getting a thicker fleece. Fleece is warm and cuddly and oh so soft with a new baby. I love how you can hug and snuggle a little baby in a stretchy or fleece wrap. Smelling their wonderful little heads.
Cotton Crinkle cotton or Cotton gauze is also very nice. (as long as it is not the kind of gauze that you would make an arm sling or bandage out of).
If you find a fabric that has a small amount of stretch on the raw edge(width wise) this will need less adjusting.If you really want a stretchy wrap( and they are wonderful for babies under 20-25 pounds) then get something like a jersey knit 100%cotton, and something a little thicker, super thin. Try to find something like a quality t-shirt fabric. If you can not find anything with no spandex or lycra then the max I recommend is 1%
Fleece makes a yummy winter wrap, and for cold seasons it is very nice to snuggle with a little baby in fleece.look for something not too thin, or you will have too much stretch.
When you are looking to buy a fabric, test its diagonal give. Grab corner and gently tug on it. if it moves slightly, and has a bit of bounce then it should be a good fabric.
Fabrics I do NOT recommend for Wraps
Muslin, Polyester, Polyester blends, fabrics with both diagonal and horizontal stretch. Flannel or any of its brothers.
Muslin and polyester has little to no diagonal give. It is stiff and firm and will not bend and mold around the baby or the wearer. For short time wearing, this will be fine, but long term, this will give pressure points, and will not be the most comfortable to you.
Flannel is very warm, and has a grippyness that will make it difficult to adjust.
Fabrics that are too stretchy will need frequent adjusting even with a small baby.
So, There you have it, my general opinion on different fabric. IF you have any further questions please don't hesitate to contact me. there are lots of fabrics out there to play with. If I have insulted you, then please accept my apology. If I am dead wrong, PLEASE contact me and we can talk. Textiles is my thing,however I am never too old to learn.I have many years experience sewing.
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