Congratulations on deciding to buy a woven wrap! It’s such an amazing tool to have in your parenting tool kit. But if you’re new to wovens or babywearing, you might have a few questions, like:
In this article, I want to talk about woven wrap sizes. At first, sizing can be a little confusing. I’ll lay out all the facts and research, so that by the end, you’ll hopefully know what size will be best for your situation.
Woven Wrap Sizes in Metres
Woven wraps are measured from tail to tail on one side of the wrap only, regardless of whether the ends are hemmed straight or tapered. Measurement is normally done with soft tape in hand (STIH), holding the tape against the side (or rail) of the wrap. The following table shows approximate lengths of each size. This can vary from brand to brand, and even from wrap to wrap, depending on shrinkage, whether it’s been ironed, or whether it’s been worn before or after measuring.
What Size Do I Need?
As you can see, there’s a huge 3.5m difference between the smallest and largest sizes, so choosing the right size is pretty important. There are three key factors that affect what size you should choose:
So, let’s cover each of these points in turn…
How to Find Your Base Size
Your base size is, essentially, the shortest size at which you can comfortably do Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) and tie off at the back with a double knot. Front Wrap Cross Carry is a good reference point because it’s the first carry that most people learn with, and great for both newborns and bigger babies. It’s also one of the simplest carries to learn.
Use the following table as a rough guide on translating Australian sizes to base size wraps…
If you are an inexperienced wrapper, it will take time to learn how to tighten the wrap job properly, so if you are border-line between sizes, it’s a good idea to size up. More experienced wrappers are more likely to be able to size down. Also, you may find that if your wrappee is a toddler or larger, sizing up to give you some extra length might be useful.
In a nutshell, some wraps might feel like they wrap a little shorter, and some a little longer than their actual length. The reasons for this could include thickness and stretch. Thicker wraps will be harder to tie off at the tails, so will often feel like they wrap shorter. Stretchier wraps have more give and movement, so will often wrap slightly longer. On the flip side, this means that thinner wraps are easier to tie off and wrap longer, and wraps with little stretch might seem to wrap short.
If possible, find out what the wrapping qualities are of your particular wrap before choosing a size.
Front Wrap Cross Carry is used to determine base size and is a popular carry. If you know you will mostly want to do this carry, choose your base size wrap. However, there are plenty of other carries out there that can be done in much shorter wraps, and also carries and finishes that require longer wraps.
Use the table below to first find your base size column, and then see what size you would need to do each type of carry.
Note that the size listed is the smallest size possible to do the carry – if you used a longer wrap, this would still work, you would just end up with longer tails after you tie off.
As you can see, any size gives you plenty of options, PLUS all of the other carries available for smaller sizes. However, it is important to note that most of the carries listed above are multi-layer carries, and not recommended for the developing spine of a newborn or a baby not yet sitting independently. Please stay tuned for our upcoming article on woven wrap carries for newborns.
So… What Size Woven Wrap Do I Choose?
Now that you have all the facts, it’s time to decide!
As a new wrapper, I found that I needed to start with my base size while I was getting the hang of things. For me, that was a size 6. If in doubt, go with that. Generally, the longer your wrap, the more options you will have. A long wrap will ensure that you can do basically any carry – a wrap that is longer than needed will simply have extra tails once you knot off.
As I got more into wrapping, and better with tightening, I found that my base size was more like a 5. I also invested in different sizes to suit different carries and wrapping qualities. I now generally have one or two of each size in my possession. I like to use my base size to do Front Wrap Cross Carry and Double Hammock when I am around the house. Then when I go out, I usually take a Shortie (about a size 3) to do Rucksack, Front Wrap Cross Carry Tied Under Bum, or Kangaroo Carry. I like having a Shortie on hand because it is often less fiddly, and less likely to drag on the ground.
So… what now?
One of the dangers of sifting through this much information is analysis paralysis. You’re overwhelmed by the decision, so instead, do nothing. But I want to encourage you to just DO it. If your wrap ends up being too long or short, you can always sell it, chop it, or convert it, and get a different one.
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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 ;-).