If you have been loving your stretchy wrap or ring sing, you would likely also really love a woven wrap. Woven wraps are incredibly versatile and work beautifully with the tiniest newborn and the biggest pre-schooler! It’s really one carrier that can last you through all of your babywearing days. This guide to buying a woven wrap will help you sort through wrap features such as size, thickness, and blend and find the perfect woven wrap for you.
Buy a wrap you think is beautiful. If you love it, you will use it!
It can be a little overwhelming reading about wrap sizes, blends, thicknesses, and brands. If you read no further, I want you to take away one point from this post. This is the pro advice I give everyone who wants a woven wrap: Buy a wrap you think is beautiful. If you love it, you will use it! Don’t worry too much about blends, thickness, or even sizes. Get one you love the look of. If it’s calling you because it’s just so beautiful, then it’s the right wrap.
Okay, that said, you probably still want to know a bit about wrap features to help you make an informed decision. There are a few features of woven wraps that can help you make choices as you purchase. These are:
- Wrap size
- Material Blends
- Wrap Thickness
- Colors and Contrasting Rails
We will tackle these one at a time.
Woven Wrap Size
Any person can use any size wrap! If you find a wrap that you love and you can only find it in one size, you’ll be able to make that size work for you, no matter what size you are or what size your baby is. I have a series of “carries by wrap size” that you can use to find a carry that will work for you in any size wrap.
Woven wraps come in the following sizes:
Size 2: 2.6 meters
Size 3: 3.2 meters
Size 4: 3.6 meters
Size 5: 4.2 meters
Size 6: 4.6 meters
Size 7: 5.2 meters
Size 8: 5.6 meters
Size 9: 6.2 meters
Any person can use any size! Shorter wraps are used for single layer carries. Longer wraps are used for carries with multiple layers of fabric going over the baby.
Finding your Base Size
Most beginning wrappers like to start learning with a “base size wrap.” This is a wrap that you can use for most multi-layer carries. The reason people begin with base size wraps is that multi-layer carries tend to be easier to learn to wrap and more forgiving of beginning wrapping mistakes (like uneven tightening, for example).
Your base size depends on your size, your baby’s size, and the amount of excess tail that you prefer. For example, I wear a size medium shirt and I can do Front Wrap Cross Carry (the beginner base size wrap carry) with a size 5. However, I need a size 6 wrap to tie it with a toddler. I also prefer to have a bit of extra tail so that I can lower the carry to nurse. So, while I can eek out a full length carry with a newborn and a size 5, I do not consider 5 to be my base size. My base size is a 6 because it gives me the extra tail that I prefer and it allows me to do full length carries with both a newborn and a toddler.
Most people find their base size by trying to do a Front Wrap Cross Carry in different size wraps. The easiest way to find your base size is to visit your local babywearing group or educator and ask to try on different size wraps. Wrap a front wrap cross carry in a few different wrap sizes, and see what length you prefer.
You can also use your shirt size to estimate your base size. This might not work out exactly right for you, because it won’t take into account the size of your child, the thickness of your wrap, or your preferred tail length, but it can give you an idea. This image from Babywearing International shows a shirt size reference at the bottom.
In case it is difficult to read, here is the base size reference:
Base size 4: XXS Shirt
Base size 5: XS/S Shirt
Base size 6: M/L Shirt
Base size 7: XL/XXL Shirt
Base size 8/9: XXXL+
If you can make fabric out of a material, there is a wrap made from it. You can find wraps made of silk, wool, cotton, hemp, linen, bamboo, recycled plastic, etc. You can spend hours reading opinions on different fabrics.
Woven Wrap Fabric Care
Before choosing a fabric blend, ask yourself if you want to be able to machine wash your wrap or if you’re okay having something that requires extra care. When you’re reading the wrap description, notice what the blend is and see if there are any washing instructions. Some materials (such as wool and silk) can require special care. Most wool wraps instructions say to hand wash and lay flat to dry. Silk wraps also usually need to be hand washed and hung to dry. Some people don’t mind hand washing or taking extra care with a wrap, but others do! Your answer to this question will help you decide what blends you want to consider for your first wrap.
You can’t go wrong with 100% cotton, or a cotton/hemp or cotton/linen blend. These will be easy to care for and easy to wrap with. There are a lot of opinions out there on how supportive, thick, breathable, etc each blend is, but these are just opinions. It really depends on more than just the wrap fabric. The thickness and the weave of the wrap will impact the wrap’s breathability, grip, supportiveness, and cushiness.
Woven Wrap Thickness
Most wraps are listed with a measurement of thickness. Thickness is measured in grams per square meter of fabric. You will often see this measurement as a number at the bottom of the listing. It will say something like “250g/m2.” This tells you how thick the fabric is.
- Under 180g/m – Really Thin
- 180-220 g/m – Thin
- 220-260 g/m – Medium
- 260-300 g/m – Thick
- Over 300 g/m – Really Thick
Thin to Medium wraps tend to be easier to learn with if you are new to wrapping. Thick to very thick wraps can be harder to tighten and harder to tie. Thick wraps make a bigger knot as well (which some people love and others don’t). Likewise, very thin wraps can also be hard to learn with. A very thin wrap requires precise tightening to get evenly snug. If you forget to tighten a section of the wrap, you’ll feel it rather quickly in a very thin wrap. However, some people like to start with a very thin wrap because it quickly teaches you how to tighten well. Each of the different thicknesses make a wonderful wrap. Everyone has different preferences and some people love thick wraps while others love thin wraps. For the most part, I find that beginners tend to have an easier time learning with a medium-thickness wrap.
There are exceptions to this! Some people learn with a very thin wrap and find that they get really good at precisely tightening very quickly! Other people learn with a thick wrap and find it forgiving and cushy. You can use the thickness to help inform your decision, but it might take trying out a few different wraps for you to figure out what your preferences are!
One thing I always tell new wrappers to look for is a wrap with contrasting rails. This means that the top edge of the wrap and the bottom edge of the wrap are different colors. This can be so helpful because you can tell if you’ve gotten the fabric twisted by taking a quick glance at it. You can also see which parts of the wrap are loose and tighten just that part.
Take a look at this image. In this picture, the darker blue part of the wrap is a bit loose. I could feel for slack at my shoulders and notice that the dark blue part is the part that is looser. Then I can tighten just that part.
Wraps with stripes, gradient dye jobs (such as the wrap shown), or “teaching rails” are wonderful for learning. A “teaching rail” is when the wrap has one edge with a thread sewn in that is a different color or even texture, so you can quickly tell which edge you have in your hand and prevent getting the wrap twisted.
Buying a Used Woven Wrap
You can sometimes save money by buying a wrap used. A used wrap can be just as nice or even nicer than a brand new wrap. Used wraps are often already “broken in,” which means they’re softer and easier to work with.
Where to Buy Used
There are two main Facebook groups where people buy used wraps. One is “The Babywearing Swap.” The swap is organized into photo albums. Once you are in the swap group, click on albums at the top. You’ll see albums for all of the types of carriers that are for sale. Find the album for the size wrap that you’re interested in buying and you can browse all of the photos of wraps for sale in that size.
The other commonly used Facebook group for purchases is “Babywearing on a Budget.” All of the wraps and carriers for sale in this group are under $100. In this group, the carriers for sale are on the wall (not in albums) so you can just scroll down the group to browse.
Things to Ask the Seller
You may want to ask the seller some questions when you buy. These are possible questions you might ask.
- What is the wrap’s length measurement? Sometimes a wrap is listed at a certain size (say size 4, but is actually a tad longer or shorter). If you think you’re cutting it close on length to do the carries you want, you might want to know the exact measurement.
- Are there any stains?
- Is there any thread shifting? Thread shifting is when the threads of the weave gradually move over time, and ignoring thread shifting can lead to holes in the wrap later.
- Are there any places where the wrap has been damaged? I wouldn’t buy a wrap with holes, extensive thread shifting, tears, bleach stains, or felting (for wool wraps).
- Is the wrap from a cat/dog friendly home? Or a home with smoking? If you have any history of pet allergies, it’s helpful to know if the home has pets.
Safely Buying a Wrap Online
- Ask to see the seller’s feedback link. Read through feedback from other people who have bought carriers from that seller.
- Always use PayPal “goods and services” rather than “friends and family.” If you pay using goods and services and the seller never sends you the carrier, you can file a paypal claim. If you have a pay “friends and family,” PayPal won’t be able to help you.
Buying a New Woven Wrap
You can also buy new! Buying new is wonderful too.
Shop from a small babywearing retailer if you want to buy new! There are many wonderful small businesses that sell woven wraps. If you can find a local brick-and-mortar store, visit it in person and try on carriers. If not, there are lots of small businesses that you can support with online purchases. Here is my babywearing retailer directory.
Available on Amazon
There area few brands of woven wrap available on amazon. These are two that I know and trust:
Each of the links below is an affiliate link to a product that I love, have used myself, and would recommend to a friend. If you choose to make a purchase from one of these links, your purchase will help to support this blog at no cost to you.
Storchenwiege Leo – This makes a wonderful first wrap! In fact, a Storchenweige Leo was my first wrap! I love it and have worn all of my children in it! Someday I hope to wrap my grandbabies in this wrap! Leo is 100% cotton and is incredibly strong and supportive. It’s soft enough for a newborn, but supportive enough for a preschooler. It also has a teaching rail so that you can easily locate the top edge of the wrap when you’re learning.
Storcheweige Stripes – The storchenwiege stripe wraps are also wonderful. They are 100% cotton and also incredibly strong and supportive. I have bought a few of these for close friends who are having a baby.
Dolcino – Dolcino wraps are soft and snuggly right out of the box. They are 100% cotton and make a wonderful first wrap. Many of the striped patterns have contrasting rails which are easy for learning.
Have Fun Picking out Your First Wrap!
I hope you have so much fun picking out your first woven wrap! Wrapping is so fun and a woven wrap is truly a carrier that will last you from birth to preschool. After reading through everything, remember that my best advice is to find something you think is beautiful. Try not to get overwhelmed looking at blends and thicknesses and pick something you love and want to wear. If you love it, you will use it!