What are the advantages and disadvantages of different waist styles? All the waist styles are comfortable to wear but there there are subtle differences between them. Below is some information to help you choose.
All of my carriers have a padded waist. When worn non apron style. a padded waist helps to transfer your child's weight to your hips rather than your shoulders. Padding can also prevent the waist band from digging in when worn to carry heavy kids. The waist is not too thickly padded though so you can also wear it apron style if you prefer. Wearing apron style (and sometimes rolling the waist too) is handy for shortening the body of the carrier when wearing with a smaller baby.
This is an option for meh dai's/mei tai's , half buckles and reverse half buckles (buckle shoulder straps). Pictured below is a reverse half buckle. I usually sew this waist as a continuous length double layer (11cm wide). Sometimes there is not enough continuous length in a wrap for this so I can usually get around that by sewing the waist in three parts and the ties can be double layer (11cm wide) or single layer wrap style ties. I will also sometimes sew this waist in two parts (joined in the middle of the wasitband) with double layer ties. It just depends on how much continuous length available in your wrap. If you have a preference just let me know.
Advantages: Can reduce the muffin top look (especially if you have single layer ties) as you can spread the straps out across your stomach. If your waist ties are long enough you can thread them through the shoulder straps for a waist free carry. A tie waist is very easy to share between different sized wearers.
Disadvantages: Can take a little practice to get the waist tightened effectively. Takes slightly longer to put on. You need to check you are untiying the right knot when taking baby down (shoulder straps should be untied first).
No Webbing Waist
Similar construction as a tie waist but this style has a buckle threaded through the strap and the ties are slightly narrower so it's easier to thread them through the buckle. The total length is shorter than a tie waist (approximately 70") so the length will not be too annoying when the buckle is threaded on (a buckle takes up less length than a knot).
Advantages: Can be used both as a buckle or a tie waist. Quick to put on and off when used with the buckle threaded. A buckle waist is easier to get a firm, tight fit and is handy if you want the waistband in a specific spot every time you wear it. You can't accidentally untie the wrong knot when using the buckle. Minimizes the muffin top look as straps can be spread out more across your stomach.
Disadvantages: The length may be short for plus sized wearers when used as a tie (but a longer length is available in custom orders). When the buckle is threaded on this style is not as easy to share between wearers as the fabric ties are not as easy to pull through the buckle (especially the single layer ties version). This waist is best adjusted before putting the carrier on. Once adjusted though you can just leave it set so it's quick to put on, as long as the carrier is not often shared with another wearer.
This waist adjusts with a buckle and webbing.
Advantages: Quick to put on and off when used with the buckle threaded. A buckle waist is easier to get a firm, tight fit and is handy if you want the waistband in a specific spot every time you wear it. You can't accidentally untie the wrong knot if you have a buckle waist and tie staps. There are elastic ties on the end of the webbing so excess webbing can be rolled up out of the way for a neat and tidy look. Easy to share between different wearers.
Disadvantages: If you are very petite you may prefer a custom length for the padded section of the waistbelt.
This waist has a ring closure. You thread the tail through the ring in the same way you would thread a ring sling. The total length of the waist is 155cm (length can be customized)
Advantages: In a back carry you can spread the fabric out across your stomach very comfortably and it is easy to tighten. Easy to do a high back carry without the waistband slipping or loosening. Very easy to share between different sized wearers.
Disadvantages: The long tail may be annoying for petite wearers (can by customized easily though). Can take longer to put on than a buckle or tie waist.
This waist has a closed cell foam in the centre and padded with fleece across your hips. It can offer extra support for heavy children by helping to transfer more weight to your hips. The hybrid waist can't be rolled like the padded waist can.
I love to sew. I have five curious and active kids who keep me busy!