Congratulations on purchasing your first new woven wrap! Or if it’s not your first… welcome to the rabbit hole!
There are a few things you should know about taking care of your wrap before you actually start to use it. Even some more experienced babywearers don’t know all the finer details, or could do with a refresher from time to time… so to get the maximum life from your woven wrap, please read on…
Checking Your Wrap
Most new woven wraps arrive to you in loom-state. This means that the wrap is unwashed, and is exactly as it was woven from the loom, apart from being cut and hemmed. A loom-state wrap should not be wrapped with, because this would risk thread shifting, which can weaken the wrap. Before you do anything else, open up your wrap and thoroughly check it over.
Daiesu Tatami Lavender in loom-state. Notice how the fibres are fairly flat and separated. After a wash, this wrap will “puff” up and the threads will set the weave, and individual threads will be less visible.
Scan over every surface for any irregularities, such as broken threads, pulls, large weavers knots, thread shifting, skipped threads, and other potential flaws. In some wraps, flaws are to be expected, especially if your wrap is handwoven (some human error and imperfection is normal), purchased as seconds quality, or of a natural fibre like hemp, linen, or wool. If you notice any of the following flaws, it might be a good idea to check with the manufacturer or retailer to see if this is normal:
In most cases, your wrap is still safe to use. However, sometimes it may need to be sent back with a refund or replacement, or a partial refund or store credit may be offered as compensation. This will depend on the store’s policy. The key here is to avoid washing the wrap until you have confirmed whether the flaw is normal or not, as washing the wrap will most likely void any guarantee or warranty.
Daiesu Tatami Lavender has her first bath. Because she is a 100% cotton wrap, I put her straight in the washing machine with liquid detergent (Earths Choice, which is free from optical brighteners), on a warm, gentle cycle.
Now you can pop your carrier in for a wash! Washing, drying, and then (potentially) ironing a woven wrap will depend on the kind of fibre. If in doubt, check the care label or instructions that came with it. In general, the following guidelines apply:
Also note that any of the above fibres may be blended together in a wrap. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but generally, you would follow the instructions for the fibre that is more delicate.
Unless otherwise instructed, only wash your wrap in a liquid detergent that is free from optical brighteners, such as Earth’s Choice. Powder based detergents can weaken the fibres of a wrap through friction, as they don’t fully break down in the wash, so these should be avoided. Avoiding optical brighteners is important because these can cause discolouration over time, and may also irritate sensitive skin (not ideal for little babies!).
You should also wash your wrap separately the first few times, just in case of colour run. If you wash your wrap with other items, make sure there is nothing that could catch on a thread and cause a pull. If in doubt, put your wrap inside a pillowcase to protect it.
Tatami Lavender drying on the line, in the shade. I was careful to get her off the line before she was totally dry, to avoid unnecessary crunchiness, and then steam ironed her straight away.
After washing your wrap, you should generally give it an iron, but again, this will depend on the fibres and instructions on the care label. General guidelines on ironing are included above. If your wrap is suitable for ironing, to maintain it in pristine condition, it is often beneficial to iron it every now and then, even if you haven’t washed it. This is because ironing helps to smooth out the fibres and prevent permacreasing, which can (over a long period of time) weaken the wrap.
This loom-to-bloom shot shows the difference between an unwashed, loom-state Daiesu Tatami Lavender, and the same wrap after its first wash. That fluffiness you can see demonstrates how the fibres change after a wash, setting the weave and protecting against thread-shifting.
Breaking It In
Breaking in a wrap can be as simple as ironing and wearing it, but for more heavy-weight wraps or wraps woven from fabric like hemp or linen, a little extra breaking in can go a long way! For full details and lots ideas on breaking in your new wrap, stay tuned for our follow up blog post in a week or so. Until then, here are some ideas:
That’s all for now! Your lovely new woven is ready for wearing. Enjoy the close snuggles with your precious little ones.
Copyright Brooke Maree © 2017
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Babywearing is a beautiful tool that so many parents find invaluable in those first few years.
Unfortunately, even in this industry, there are companies and people who sell carriers that are fakes or blatant rip-offs of well-known brands.
I thought it was time to talk about shopping while babywearing. After all, it’s a bit of a different experience than shopping with a pram ;-).