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Me and baby Susan

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shoulder styles:

While all ring slings are made with the same basic design -- a length of fabric with two rings on one end -- the design of the shoulder can make a big difference for the individual wearer. There are many ways to fold fabric in a ring sling -- for more, check these out -- and each one has its pros and cons for different-sized wearers, although there is no hard-and-fast rule about what fits who better. Two people with nearly identical builds often prefer completely different shoulder styles, so if there's a babywearing group near you, I'd recommend a visit to try a few slings out and see what you like. All ring slings are made to go over one shoulder, not both. If you are looking for a two-shoulder carrier, which will distribute your child's weight over both shoulders, please see my links page for some suggested types.

Visual comparison of widths of the four stylesVisual comparison of the four styles I offer:

Top to bottom: (click for larger view)

Signature SBP Pleats:

Overlapped pleats give even support across the whole shoulder and back, allowing the fabric to spread naturally along carefully stitched lines.

Signature SBP PleatsPros:

Cons:

SBP shoulder Minutiae

The number of pleats will vary depending on the thickness and width of the materials used. Most slings will have seven or eight pleats. However, for the wearer's comfort, I use a larger number of smaller pleats on thinner fabrics, so the French twill will have 10-11 pleats; while thicker or narrower fabrics -- like Natibaby wraps, which are quite thick; and some older Didymos wraps, which are rather narrow -- will have five or six pleats instead. If you feel strongly about the number of pleats on your sling, please let me know ahead of time so that I can accommodate your wishes.)

Retro pleats:

Larger pleats give similar support to signature pleats, but with wider spread over the shoulder and back

Retro pleated shoulderPros:

Cons:

Eesti* hybrid:

Small pleats on each side give some structure, while the center gathered section allows flexibility in the fabric width across the shoulder and back

Pros:

Cons:

* Karen Hoppis invented this design in 2005, and when she stopped sewing professionally in 2011, allowed me to license the design in the US. Please be advised that other vendors are selling this shoulder style (usually calling it simply "hybrid") without credit to Karen and without paying her for her design. This is not done with her permission.

Floating Gathered:

Simply gathered, with a reversible seam behind the wearer's shoulder. Used by permission of Allison Henderson, formerly Going Uppy slings.

Pros:

Cons:

Floating gathered shoulder, reverse side outThe tags, sewn at the side of the fold, can be tucked between the layers and hidden, allowing it to be reversible -- this can also be done on Eesti slings, if the fabric is thin enough for me to fold under and sew through the pleated sections. (Many jacquard wraps, particularly linen or hemp blends, but also thicker handwovens, are too thick for me to sew reversible in an Eesti shoulder. Please consult me before requesting it.)

Tags sewn at side of fold Tucking tags inside Tags neatly hidden

Other styles:

I am often asked to do other shoulder styles on slings, but it's not something I do, both out of respect for the businesses that created them, and because I don't have sufficient practice with other styles to sew them as nicely as I'd like.

Wondering how a sleeping baby sling compares to more expensive brands? Here are a few photographs of basic construction details -- how the rings are sewn in, and the hemmed edges -- so you can see how they differ.