Fashion, sewing and textiles bring me so much joy: there are the aesthetics, but then there's math, sociology, history.... I just got wind of the trend of using osnaburg cotton fabric for baby/toddler slings, and I'm sold!
Osnaburg fabric-- a coarse-weave, unbleached fabric is still made today thanks to demand from reenactors and history-lovers, no doubt. Originally named for a town producing the original fabric from flax (or linen), Osnabrück, Germany, production shifted to cotton in the 19th century. In the 18th and early 19th century, bleaching of natural fibers was very cost-prohibitive. Thus, fabrics were produced by a weaver as a "brown" fabric, then sold to another craftsperson who could bleach and further refine the product. The unbleached, natural fabric was inexpensive and thus used for laborers' garments, prairie wagon covers, and the like.
So Osnaburg fabric was the low-grade, rustic fabric of its time! We people of mass-produced clothing and encroaching technology eat this stuff up. This fabric just feels soothing to me. Osnaburg cotton has a soft hand and will remind you of raw silk or coarse-woven linen.
Anyhow.... now to the slings! We have been conditioned to be obsessed with high thread-count, but the low thread-count of Osnaburg fabric actually helps it mold easily around your body-- and you baby's-- when carry them. Fewer yarns to move!
I've made my very-popular Shibori sling in an Osnaburg variation. It's a historical cross-culture mish-mash! FOR SALE ON ETSY.