If you don’t already know this, woven wraps are a type to babycarrier. They are basically a long piece of sturdy woven fabric that you wrap around your body to tie your baby to you. Of all carrier types I find woven wraps the most comfortable, probably as the baby’s weight is distributed all around your torso. Babies usually love them too as they are a lot like being swaddled and they can probably hear your heartbeat.
Woven wraps are generally purpose made either handmade or on a machine loom and given particular physical characteristics of stretch and grippiness that make them ideal for babywearing. I had always heard that it was not recommended to make your own from fabric bought at a fabric store as there was very few fabrics that would be suitable and those that were would end up costing as much per meter as a purpose build babywearing wrap.
Anyway I recently discovered an Australian facebook group devoted to DIY babywearing. Turns out there is more fabric options that I realised that is suitable. In particular a fabric called Mexican Poncho and Mexican Blanket were experimented with alot by the group in making wraps, mei tais and ringslings. If you are in Australia these fabrics are from Spotlight fabric stores.
Anyway someone in the group was selling 5.5 meters of Mexican Blanket and passed it on to me at the sale price they had got it at ($20). From this I made both a ringsling which i’ll be giving away as a gift and a shortish wrap.
The process of doing this was very quick. I washed the fabric on a hot cycle in the washing machine to make sure it did all the shrinking it was ever going to do. Then I cut one side lengthways so that it was 75cm wide. Then I split it into 2 pieces, one a bit over 2m for the ringsling and whatever was left for the wrap. The ringsling I followed the instructions for a gathered shoulder ringsling from Sleepy Baby Productions here and hemmed up the edges with a simple rolled hem. I think both the wrap and the ringsling only took me about 1hr to make in total and most of that was spent ironing the fabric and the pleats of the ringsling.
So to review the wrap. I’d say Mexican Blanket is a lot thinner than im used to for a wrap. It is a lot more slippery and diggy on my shoulders than i’m used to. I have to be very careful unwrapping Finn when i’m wearing him as it doesn’t have the same grip of a commercial wrap that kind of holds him in even when it isn’t tied. That being said for such a cheap wrap (less than $20 as i also got a ringsling out of plus extra fabric from trimming the width) it is kind of great deal. Being so thin it very easily folds down tiny and fits even in my smallest baby bag as an emergency carrier. I probably wouldn’t choose to wear this for extended periods of time as it isn’t all that comfortable. So overall i’d say i’d much prefer a commercial wrap. However this has given me a chance to try out what a size 3 or 4 wrap is like and now I know it would probably be really useful to have one down the track, especially when I get into doing more back carries.
That being said if you have not experienced any woven wrap I would not recommend a DIY job as your first as it takes a little more experience to get it more comfortable and secure than a commercial wrap. And I certainly wouldn’t want you to be put off babywearing because of it. However as an emergency wrap option it is pretty great. I’ll be making another ringsling from some Mexican Poncho material soon which I hear is thicker so i’m hopeful that one might be a little better than this.