**Disclosure Statement: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.**
Today I am super excited to be bringing you a new review! For the past month or so, I have been putting a Wrapsody Breeze woven wrap through the paces. It has been the ONLY wrap I've used for the last 5 weeks, with my ever-growing 3 year old and my trusty demo-doll. And you know what, I love it! If I had a young baby and needed to pare down to only one wrap, this one would be a strong contender!
I have been wearing my children in a variety of carriers for nearly 8 years, and paying close attention to the baby carrier industry and the community of hobbyist wearers for nearly that long. During this time, I've seen many changes in the industry, the community, and the market. There has been a huge growth in the number and variety of carrier manufacturers, with new makers debuting every year, and some manufacturers closing up shop. Some manufacturers have remained constant with a dash of well-planned innovation. Wrapsody is one such manufacturer. It was founded in 2004 and its story is incredible and interwoven (see what I did there?) with the stories of the babywearing community and industry.
When companies approach me to do a review, I am choosy about who I say "yes" to. While doing a review may seem like fun (it is!), it is also a lot of work, and I want to be sure I am putting in that work for a company whose values align with my own. When Wrapsody asked if I was interested in writing a review, I was thrilled! Not only are they a long-time and well-respected manufacturer, they are well-known for their incredible mission that goes well beyond "just" making baby carriers. Wrapsody's core values integrate sustainability, evidence-based practice, collective responsibility and social justice, and supporting strong communities. I frequently refer to articles from their education section (the drop down menu from the "babywearing" tab on their website) and blog.
Wrapsody makes four different carriers (the Breeze, the Hybrid stretch wrap, the DuO water/sport wrap, and the Artisan ring sling) as well as wearable and functional clothing and accessories. They sent me their Breeze wrap, which is the original product upon which Wrapsody was founded. It is a woven wrap made of a gauze material. The words that come to mind when describing the Breeze are: lightweight, versatile, comfortable, and beautiful.
Lightweight: The Breeze is made of a gauzey cotton. When you hold it up to the light, you can easily see through the material, as the threads are not woven closely together. This means that it is lightweight, packs down very small (in a handy built-in pocket on one of the tails of the wrap), and it is breathable, which makes for cooler wearing for both child and caregiver. For warm-weather wearing or for babies or caregivers who "run hot," this is an excellent carrier!
Versatile: A woven wrap is the most versatile baby carrier, in that you can use it with any size baby or child, wrap the child on your front, hip, or back, and do a number of different types of carries that change how your body is bearing the child's weight as well as where the child is positioned. When my shoulders are achy, I can switch to a torso carry, and when I need to have the weight a little higher on my body and my child wants to see over my shoulder, I can do a rucksack carry. The Wrapsody Breeze can be used with children from newborn through 35 pounds. I used it to do a "babywearing challenge" to try out a number of different carries with my demo doll which is slightly larger than a newborn. I also used it with my 35 pound 3 year old. It is 24 inches wide, which makes it a great width for a newborn, infant, or small to average toddler, but I personally prefer a bit more width for my very tall and leggy child who prefers to snuggle deep in the wrap. (Wrapsody's Hybrid wrap is 30 inches wide which works a bit better for me).
Comfortable: In wrap "technical terms" the Breeze was quite moldable (this is my top personal preference out of all wrap qualities) as it snugly conformed to my body and my wearee's body easily, and it had a nice amount of grip (but not too much!) as the fabric easily held a slipknot and various multi-layer carries did not slide out of place, but it also was fairly easy to slide passes into place. One of the things I was worried about with the Breeze was whether it would be diggy since it was so thin. It wasn't, at least for me, but I could understand how it might be for some. I did have to be sure to carefully tighten or pull out the slack from each pass in order for the fabric to lay comfortably, but as long as I did that, it wasn't diggy at all. I would argue that the Breeze (or the Wrapsody Hybrid) is a wonderful first or only wrap because it will help you develop precise wrapping technique!
Beautiful: Wrapsody Breeze wraps are known for their lovely hand-dyed and batik colorways. According to the company they are manufactured in Bali, Indonesia by a small business owned by a single mother (another great reason to support this company!). Many of the designs have an organic feel to them, so they align with my aesthetic preferences. Some retailers who carry Wrapsody have exclusive colorways, and there are also some commemorative colorways honoring an organization or a specific person. There a variety of colors from bright to soft, muted to saturated, dark to light. There are not a lot of geometric or ultra-modern designs, so if that is more your style, Wrapsody might not be your cup of tea. One feature that I love is that many of the designs have different colors along each rail, or a gradation that spans the width of the wrap. This makes Wrapsody wraps (both the Breeze and the Hybrid) really excellent for learning to wrap. I love using them to teach new wrappers! (if you want to learn to use a carrier, you can find a babywearing group via this list compiled by Wrapsody, and if you'd like to start your own group to help other caregivers and babies, you can use this guide!)
Things to know about Wrapsody wraps: There are a couple things that Wrapsody does differently from many other woven wrap companies, notably their sizing and instructions. Wrapsody offers three different sizes of Breeze wraps, ranging from 4.6 meters to 5.5 meters. This size range allows for most caregivers to have a Breeze in their "base" size (the size that lets you do Front Wrap Cross Carry without having too much leftover tail). Very petite or slim caregivers might find even the smallest size to be a bit long. Typically, you can use up a bit of extra length by doing a fancy finish or by adding some reinforcing passes around the baby or tied around your waist. It is possible to "chop" a Breeze to make a shorter wrap. I personally would use the extra length to add extra passes. Additionally, the instructions booklet may be a bit confusing, as it uses different names for carries and positions than the generally accepted names in the community. One example of this is Wrapsody's "Hip Pouch" carry, which is called "Robin's Hip Carry" in nearly every instructional YouTube video demonstrating this particular carry. (Wrapsody does have video instructions on its site for all of the carries in the instruction book). This may be fine for those who know different carries already, but confusing for those who are trying to look up videos.
The bottom line
In short, the Wrapsody Breeze is a wonderfully lightweight and versatile woven wrap that is excellent for newborns, infants, and average to shorter toddlers. It shines in carries that have cross passes, sling passes, and torso passes. It would not be my first choice for carries that involve ruck straps with heavy babies, and I did not love it with my very tall 3 year old.
It would be a wonderful first woven wrap for those who are committed to learn to wrap with care, or a nice addition to a carrier stash for those who are wanting something lightweight.. It is different from any other wrap I've tried (I've tried MANY), and I loved it! If you haven't tried a Breeze, this summer would be the ideal time to change that! Wrapsody would love to welcome you to their online family!
(This post is the fourth in a series about choosing and using a woven wrap. See Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here).
Today's post is for the crafty folks - how to make a DIY (do it yourself) woven wrap. While some people prefer to buy a wrap specially made for carrying babies, others choose to make their own wrap. Hopefully this guide will help.
The basic things to know are: type of fabric, dimensions, and "how to."
Recommended types of fabric
Fabric types to avoid
There is a lot of information about wrap sizes (that's another whole post!) but for now, we'll cover some basics. Wrap sizing can be confusing, but in general, most new wrappers start with a long wrap that will allow them to do Front Wrap Cross Carry. This size is also known as "base size." This list may help you decide which size is for you:
Remember, you can always cut a wrap shorter, if you find it is too long for you - so err on the side of too long! Also this fabric will shrink about 20% when you wash it so be sure to account for that when you buy, and add enough extra so that you'll have the length you want in you final product.
Osnaburg fabric is usually 60" off the bolt. A wrap width of about 28" works well for most people, so you will have enough for two wraps!
Step by step directions
1. Buy your fabric (see above).
2. Wash and dry it twice (wash on hot).
3. Scour the fabric if using osnaburg or another undyed fabric (see instructions here: http://www.rootsimple.com/2012/05/how-to-prep-fabric-for-dyeing-scouring/
4. Cut your fabric in half. Measure at the midway point (if your fabric is 60" wide). Cut an inch snip and then rip down the middle. This should be more accurate than cutting with scissors.
5. Cut the tapers. This is not absolutely necessary, but most woven wraps have tapered edges to make tying knots less cumbersome. A 45 degree angle should work fine. Your finished wrap should look like a parallelogram, not a trapezoid.
6. Hem your fabric. If you iron and inch fold all around, then hemming should be easier. You need to do a rolled hem. Cotton thread works fine. Sew very close to the fold! This tutorial is helpful, especially for the corners: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/rehem.html
7. You're almost done!
8. Last step! Make a middle marker to denote the center of the wrap. You can use anything for this: Fabric pen, ribbon, thread in a contrasting color. Most people like to have a middle marker on both edges (top and bottom).
You're done! Go wrap your baby!
(This post is the third in a series about choosing and using a woven wrap. See Part 1 here and Part 2 here).
Today's post contains "everything you need to know" to make a secondhand wrap purchase.
Some benefits of buying secondhand
Some risks of buying secondhand
Where to buy secondhand
If you have an active local babywearing community, you may be able to find a wrap you like for sale within your community. Many local babywearing groups allow buying/selling/trading of carriers in their Facebook groups. You might also be able to find a secondhand wrap at a consignment sale or even listed on your local Craigslist.
If you cannot find one locally, there are many online options for buying secondhand.
Basic buy/sell/trade group guidelines and etiquette:
Buying a new wrap is great and buying secondhand can also be lots of fun! However, if you are more of a do it yourself type, stay tuned for the next post, about making a DIY wrap.
(This post is the second in a series about choosing and using a woven wrap. See Part 1 here).
Once you’ve determined that you want to use a woven wrap and you start to learn about the different brands available that might be good options for you, you will need to know where and how to get one. The options for buying a wrap come down to: new, secondhand, and DIY. Today, we’ll talk about buying a new wrap.
There are some advantages to buying a new wrap. One is that you know it will be in new condition - no stains, tears, pet hair, fragrances, or any other surprises. Another important benefit (to both you and the economy) is that by buying you are supporting the small business that sells these wraps. While you can find a few brands of wraps on major online retailers like Amazon, most new wraps are available from online or brick and mortar specialty stores. Small businesses like these are an important part of the babywearing world. Often, these small business owners are quite educated about the wraps they sell, and will be happy to answer your questions about their products. The customer service is excellent!
Here is a small sampling of the growing number of stores that offer several brands of wraps (and other carriers, too) and are known for excellent customer care:
Many of these stores run regular sales and/or have a discount for signing up for their newsletter. If you are not in a rush, consider following their Facebook pages and waiting for a sale. It is important to note, however, that if you wait for a sale, you may find that the wrap you decided you want (and the size you need) is out of stock at that vendor. So, you may need to be flexible about which wrap you want if you are a bargain hunter!
You can also buy many of the wraps discussed in part 1 of this series direct from the manufacturer
Stay tuned for the next post, about where and how to buy secondhand!
(This blog post is the first in a series about choosing and using a woven wrap.)
So you want to buy a wrap. You have decided you love the versatility and comfort of wrapping, and you want to dive right in. But if you Google “woven wrap” you are overwhelmed with the number of options and do not know where to start. So many photos of sweet babies and curious toddlers, and wrap designs ranging from rainbows, to hearts, to Harry Potter, to flowers, to soccer balls and so much more. How can you choose?
Many people (though certainly not all) appreciate starting with a wrap with non-repeating stripes, a change in color from one rail of the wrap to the other, or some other feature that allows one rail to be easily distinguished from the other. This can help people who are new to wrapping keep track of the how the wrap is moving around them while wrapping, and also can assist in guiding proper tightening throughout the wrap. As for a fabric, many people choose (and love) 100% cotton for their first (or only) wrap. There are other fibers and blends available, each with their benefits and drawbacks, but in general, cotton is a wonderful beginner fiber.
Here are some brands that are known for their striped wraps or different rails. If you have a favorite wrap company that fits this description and isn’t listed here, please share it!
There are stripes in many different colors and widths, from the brightest rainbow, to the most subtle greys. You are sure to find something you like (hopefully it isn’t discontinued, or out of stock, or in transit - more on this next time). Another great option is to buy a solid color wrap, or make a DIY wrap some Osnaburg or other woven fabric, and then dye along one or both rails so you can keep track of them.
Stay tuned for the next post, all about where and how to buy!
Adding links for the other segments in this series.
Part 2 - where to buy a new woven wrap
Part 3- where and how to buy a secondhand woven wrap
Part 4 - how to make a DIY woven wrap
Beth. The babywearing lady.
copyright 2016 Beth Secrist
All photos used under the Creative Commons license through Flickr. Photography by: littletuesday12