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Common Babywearing & DIY Abbreviations & Lingo

If you start hanging around with seasoned babywearers and/or sewers, you may start running into a lot of lingo you don't understand. Never be afraid to ask! We just get lazy when we type. Here's an alphabetized list that might help you with the more common ones. If you think there are some that need to be added to this list, ask in our Facebook group!

ASTM - American Society for Testing and Materials - Required testing for USA-sold baby carriers (currently not including slings, changing in 2018) to determine strength and safety. Currently illegal to sell any kind of structured/seamed carrier in the USA without this testing.

Bias - when referring to fabric, "along the bias" means "along the diagonal." For example, woven fabric like like twill does not stretch lengthwise or widthwise, but if you pull it "along the bias" (diagonally) it may have some stretch/give.

BCIA - Baby Carrier Industry Alliance. A group dedicated to setting standards of safety for commercial baby carriers.

BD - " Bei dai" another name for " meh dai," a baby carrier of Chinese origin.

Body panel - on a meh dai, soft structured buckle carrier, onbuhimo, or the like, the "body panel" is the vaguely rectangular (sometimes hourglass) shaped part of the carrier in which the baby sits. It is typically made up of 2 or 3 layers of fabric, with the straps sandwiched in between and secured with reinforcement stitches.

Bottomweight Fabric - Fabric of an appropriate weight to make "bottoms" (pants) out of. It should feel approximately equivalent to a sturdy pair of jeans. If weight is listed, between 5-7oz per sq yd or 185-220gsm is preferred.

-Bu (suffix) - used to refer to an onbuhimo (as in buckle-bu = buckle onbuhimo). This is an outdated convention that is frowned upon as it does not properly preserve the original language. It is listed here only for clarification.

BWI - Babywearing International - a global group dedicated to education and safety regarding babywearing. Many cities have official BWI "chapters" where babywearers can gather for socialization, education, and to try out different carriers. BWI works to set best practices for safe babywearing.

C&C - Colimašon et Cie - a French company that sells woven wrap fabric (the same exact weight and broken twill weave as is used for many purpose-woven wraps) by the meter. A great fabric option for DIYers outside the USA who may not have access to suitable fabrics for DIYing.

CCCB - A woven wrap finish in which the tails finish a the same shoulder, one over and one under, and instead of tying a double knot at that shoulder, the tails are twisted together like a candy cane across the chest and tied to the opposite shoulder's ruck strap.

Chunei - a hybrid buckle carrier based on the Korean podaegi, consisting of a body panel that wraps all the way around the wearer's body and is secured with hook-and-loop fastener and buckled straps.

CPSIA - Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act - laws requiring anything sold to be used by/for children be properly tested for safty. This includes, but is not limited to, baby carriers, baby clothes, and baby toys.

DD - "Dear Daughter" referring to one's own female child

DH - Double Hammock Back Carry (a woven wrap carry) OR "Dear Husband"

DS - "Dear Son" referring to one's own male child

Duck - a strong, woven, cotton or linen fabric that comes in a variety of weights. Designed for applications where strength and durability is needed, such as upholstery, bags, shoes, tents, sandbags, etc. Comes as thin/light as 5oz per square yard, and as heavy as 18oz (although most fabric stores will not carry anything much higher than 9oz.) 5-7oz duck is ideal for wraps and slings, where 7-9oz duck is preferred for the body panels of structured carriers.

Eesti - A hybrid style of shoulder for ring slings involving a gathered center with pleats along both edges.

FB - Full Buckle. Usually used in conjunction with a carrier that typically would not involve buckles, such as a FB Onbuhimo (Full Buckle Onbuhimo)

FF - Forward Facing. Wearing in a position where baby is in front of the wearer, facing outwards. Safe for babies with strong neck/trunk muscles and healthy hips.

Fiber Reactive Dye - Dyes that chemically bond to the fabric fibers in a permanent way, making them safe for a baby to have in their mouth. Dyes like Dylon and Dharma are fiber reactive. Dyes like RIT and iDye do not chemically bond to the fibers but simply sit on top of them, and can bleed when they come in contact with water (or saliva.)

Flat Felled Seam - A strong, reinforced seam, like the kind found on the inseam of strong jeans or work pants.

French Seam - A strong, reinforced seam, like the kind found on the inside of many clothes

FWCC - Front Wrap Cross Carry (a front carry for a full-length woven wrap; a good beginner carry.)

GSM - Grams per square meter; a measurement of the weight of a fabric (a fairly good indicator of strength)

Hem - the edge of a fabric that has been finished by either folding it over twice and stitching the fold down, or by serging, a process of stitching close to the edge that seals the edges to keep them from unraveling. For most babywearing purposes, a rolled/folded hem is preferred because it is stronger and better prevents tearing.

Hybrid Shoulder - A ring sling shoulder type in which the center is left gathered and the edges are pleated.

Hybrid Wrap - A cross between a woven wrap and a stretchy wrap, in which the fabric has some stretch from rail-to-rail but no stretch from tail-to-tail, offering more support than a traditional stretchy wrap and allowing for back carries. Brand example: Wrapsody.

Linen - a type of fiber (like cotton or polyester) derived from the flax plant. Sometimes the term is erroneously or confusingly used to describe fabrics that are simply linen-like, or to refer to "bed linens" or "table linens," or even just as a descriptor of a light, natural-colored fabric.

LO - "Little One" (referring to your own child)

LPMU - "Little Pick-Me-Up" A purchasable sewing pattern for a soft structured buckle carrier (or the carrier made from such pattern) sold by Sew Toot

MD - " Meh dai," a baby carrier of Chinese origin. Also known as a "bei dai"

MT - Short for "mei tai," an outdated mistranslation of Meh Dai, a traditional Chinese carrier. See Carrier Types: Meh Dai

Natty - Natural (colored); used to describe fabric that is or looks undyed, usually in tones of beige or white.

NBC - Narrow Based Carrier, such as a classic BabyBjorn. A soft structured buckle carrier with a narrow base that allows the baby's legs to hang down. They have the disadvantage of not holding baby's hips in a more ergonomic "M" shape (which is typically more comfortable for both baby and wearer) but have the advantage of typically fitting newborns better and allow older babies to forward face without over-extending their hips. See Carrier Types: Soft Structured Carrier

OBs - Optical Brighteners. Found in most clothing detergents, OBs or "bluing agents" are used to make whites look whiter by "bluing" them. These are undesirable because they can cause discoloration. There is some believe that they can also damage carriers structurally, but citation for this belief is limited and usually based on hearsay. (Please correct me in our Facebook group if you can find better citation for this claim!)

Onbu - Onbuhimo, a Japanese style carrier. This is a chopped version of the original term and its use is frowned upon as it does not preserve the carrier's heritage. It is listed here for clarification only. See Carrier Types: Onbuhimo

Pod - Podaegi, a traditional Korean carrier. Pronounced "poh-deh-gee." This is a chopped version of the original term and its use is frowned upon as it does not preserve the carrier's heritage. It is listed here for clarification only. See Carrier Types: Podaegi

Purpose-Woven Wrap - A woven wrap that was woven (by hand or by machine) for the purpose of being used as a babywearing wrap. Usually commercially sold as such. (The opposite of a "DIY woven wrap," which is made from standard off-the-bolt fabric.)

Rail (top rail, bottom rail, middle rail) - In a sling or wrap (or even a wide wrap strap), the wrap is divided lengthwise into 3 "rails." The top third (the third of the wrap closest to the wearer's face; in a ring sling, this starts on the inside of the rings, follows the sling around the top of the back, and comes up behind baby's neck) is the top rail. The bottom rail in a ring sling would be the side on the outside of the rings, going around the middle of the wearer's back, and under baby's bum. The middle rail is the middle third between these. Rails should be thought of as several inches wide when tightening - not just the 1/2" of the hem. Tightening just the hem will lead to the edges of the wrap or sling digging and feeling uncomfortable.

RS - Ring Sling. See Carrier Types: Ring Sling

Ruck-Bu - A reverse onbuhimo (an onbuhimo with double rings on the top straps and wrap straps on the bottom.) This is a chopped version of the original term and its use is frowned upon as it does not preserve the carrier's heritage. It is listed here for clarification only. See Carrier Types: Reverse Onbuhimo

Ruck Strap - in a woven wrap carry, the part of a back carry where the wrap comes over the wearer's shoulder and then back under the same shoulder, creating a backpack-like "strap"

SBP - Sleeping Baby Productions - a website that sells compliant ring slings but also is a great source for DIY information.

SBS - Strand by Strand. A process of tightening a wrap or sling by pulling a little bit at a time, starting from one edge and working to the other edge, to make sure that the wrap/sling is tightened evenly throughout its width (as opposed to tightening by just grabbing the whole tail at one time and pulling.)

Seat - In a wrap or sling, the portion of the wrap that tucks underneath baby's bum, and then up between baby and wearer, supporting baby knee-to-knee like a little hammock.

Selvedge - The tightly woven, finished edges of bolt fabric or some handwoven wraps. For a DIY wrap, it is preferred to hem the selvedge edge to add strength. In a hand-woven wrap, the selvedge is fine on its own.

Sew Toot - A company that specializes in sewing patterns for baby carriers. Their most popular patterns are their soft structured carrier and meh dai patterns. Known for clear instructions and a very helpful private Facebook support group for pattern purchasers.

Shoulder - On a ring sling, the "shoulder" is the section where the top edge of the fabric is passed through the rings, folded under, and then stitched down with three lines of reinforcment stitches. The fabric can be folded or pleated in a number of different ways (or not at all) before being passed through the rings and folded over, hence terms such as "gathered shoulder" (no pleats), "pleated shoulder" (pleated all the way across), or "hybrid shoulder" (some pleats, but not all the way across.)

SSC - Soft structured carrier (typically refers to a full-buckle carrier like an Ergo or a Tula with a waistband and shoulder straps.) See Carrier Types: Soft Structured Carrier

STIH - Soft tape in hand; a method for accurately measuring a woven wrap's length (especially for advertising for sale.)

Stretchy/Stretchy Wrap - A long wrap made of a material that stretches both length-wise and width-wise (like a Solly, Moby, or Boba wrap.) See Carrier Types: Stretchy Wrap

TAS - "Tied at Shoulder" (a modifier for woven wrap carries, ie "Rucksack back carry TAS")

TC - Tablecloth. (As in, TC RS - a ring sling converted from a tablecloth.) Often used for babywearing since they are a cheaper source for pretty, sturdy fabric. See Tablecloth Babywearing.

TICKS - A mnemonic device for remembering the 5 rules of safe babywearing

TIF - "Tied in Front" (a modifier for woven wrap carries, ie "Rucksack back carry TIF")

TOL - Tree of Life, a woven tablecloth pattern produced by Mahogany. Available in Black & Gray, Tan & White ("natty"), or Blue.

TSC - Traditional Sling Carry (a simple slipknot carry for a short woven wrap; formerly called a " rebozo carry.")

TT - "Tied Tibetan" a finish for woven wrap carries or wrap-strap carriers in which the tails come up from under the wearer's arms, cross over the chest, and are tucked under the opposite arm's shoulder straps. The tails can be either tucked under, then brought back over and tied together for a traditional Tibetan finish, or cross over the shoulder straps and tuck back under and left hanging for a "knotless Tibetan" finish. Where the wrap crosses the chest may be either bunched above the breasts or spread over them based on the wearer's comfort and preference.

TUB - "Tied under bum" (a modifier for woven wrap carries, ie "Rucksack back carry TUB." Also used with wrap-strap carriers such as a meh dai, in which the shoulder straps would normally be crossed over babies legs, cross in the middle, and under the opposite legs and then tied on the opposite side of the wearer as the baby (in front for a back carry, in back for a front carry.) If the straps are too short to do this, the straps can simply go over each leg and then be "tied under bum" (instead of in the middle of baby's back.)

Twill - a strong, woven fabric with a diagonal appearance to the weave; denim and most standard work uniform pants are a twill weave.

VBE - Volunteer Babywearing Educator; a volunteer who has received training through Babywearing International in how to safely use all standard types of baby carriers and is certified to teach others.

WAHM - Work at home mom. (A WAHM ring sling would be a ring sling made and sold by a mom as a side business. These slings are not inherently dangerous, but not always legally compliant. A buyer should be ready to ask about what materials were used, what rings were used, and construction techniques.)

WC - Wrap conversion - a carrier made out of a woven wrap. WC SSC = Wrap Conversion Soft Structured Carrier, a soft structured buckle carrier made out of the fabric of a purpose-woven wrap.

Woven fabric - Fabrics like denim, duck cloth, quilter's cotton, muslin, etc that have no stretch either lengthwise or widthwise (but may have some "give" along the bias or diagonal.)

Woven wrap - A wrap made from a woven, non-stretchy fabric. See Carrier Types: Woven Wrap

WS - Wrap Strap (a carrier with 10"-15" wide, single-layer, wrap-like straps. Often used in conjunction with another carrier name/abbreviation, such as a "WS onbuhimo" or "WS meh dai")

Wrap Straps - Straps that are wide (10"-15") and typically a single layer of fabric, allowing the strap to be spread out for more wrap-like reinforcement. Common in meh dais and onbuhimos.

WV DK - Waverly brand woven duck cloth, an upholstery-weight fabric sold (among other places) at Walmart. An excellent choice for wraps, slings, and structured carriers.

WV PR - Waverly brand woven printed cotton (equivalent to quilter's cotton)

X-bu - X-onbuhimo or blanketless onbuhimo. This is a chopped version of the original term and its use is frowned upon as it does not preserve the carrier's heritage. It is listed here for clarification only. See Carrier Types: Onbuhimo

Pop quiz: Can you read the following sentences?

DH had DD in our new WC BD but the WSs were too short for him so he had to TUB. They are long enough for me to TT. He prefers a NBC so that LO can FF, but I prefer my TC RS.

-- Alyssa Leonard - 2016-07-16

Return to Main - DIY Babywearing on Facebook - TICKS Rules for Safe Babywearing - 4 Rules for Safe Fabric Selection

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Topic revision: r14 - 2017-12-02 - AlyssaLeonard
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