Friday, March 29, 2013

A new obsession and How to chop a woven wrap

I've always loved carrying my babies, and had a few different carriers that I've used with M (and still do!), the most used of which was probably our trusty Ergo.    However there was one type that always intimidated me until I found a local babywearing group on Facebook and started to discover all the vast possibilities of... woven wraps.

You all are probably familiar with stretchy wraps (the Boba or Moby is probably the most common) but these are no good after babies get over 15 pounds and have limited use (ie no back carries!).  With woven wraps, as they are woven fabric that does not give (aside from a bit of diagonal stretch) you can carry you baby in a multitude of ways, including back carries with even tiny babies!

Here are a few links that show the variety and awesomeness of woven wraps.

I have a Pinterest Board full of Wrap and Babywearing links
Intro to Wraps at Becoming Mamas
The Wierd and Wonderful World of Woven Wraps
Wrap Vocabulary
And theres a post on sizes and on buying your first wrap by a lovely mom in my local Babywearing Group

Figuring out wovens soon became my new project (I do like me a project!)  And I soon realized, a good part of that was because of the fabric!  Woven wraps are made from such a variety of fabric weaves and they are all beautiful!  Sooo many gorgeous colours and patterns in different blends of cotton, linen, hemp, silk etc.  I now want one of everything..

Here's my little stash so far (and actually another um few have joined the party since this photo).  If you're curious, the are as follows from top to bottom;

Didymos Ginkgos (Cotton, Size 2)
Didymos April Hemp Indio (Hemp/Cotton, Chopped, Size 2)
Oscha Rich Apple Grad (100% linen, Size 3)
Natibaby Graphite Green Gears (Merino Wool/Cotton, Size 5)
Girasol Symphuo, Creme Weft (Cotton, Size 5)
Kokodi Berlin Skyline (Cotton, Size 6)

Now why do I need more than one you ask?  Well, different carries require different lengths of fabric.  I won't go into details here, more info is in the links above.  But these each have their purpose, but I'd be lying if I didn't say it has a lot to do with them being pretty :)

Since discovering this new world of textiles, I've also tried my hand at shortening a wrap, well cutting a long one in half to be specific.  And while I'm pretty used to cutting fabric, chopping a $200 dollar piece of cloth is more than intimidating!  So I thought I'd share what I've learning from the experience.

Why chop it?  It was cheaper than buying two short wraps separately, and I had a friend who wanted the other half.  So we got together one afternoon and cut it up!  I then took it home and sewed new seams and moved some of the tags/markers.  You can use the Sleeping Baby Productions site to figure out what you can get from your long wrap (ie two size 2's from a size 7.)

There is only really one online tutorial that can be found HERE that was somewhat useful but still a bit confusing, so I hope to make it a bit clearer below for anyone attempting this themselves.

How to Chop a Woven Wrap

NOTE: This is assuming you are cutting to use the pieces as wraps (thus need to preserve the tapers), and that your original wrap has tapers, not fringe.  If cutting for a Ring Sling or other use, you don't need to preserve the tapers on both ends and the process is more straight forward.

Preparing the wrap

Remember to Wash and iron your wrap before measuring and chopping.  Wraps stretch unevenly and wrinkle with use making it hard to get a correct measurement.  Washing pulls everything back together evenly and iron removes the wrinkles.


As most woven wraps have tapers on each end (forming a long parallelogram) finding your point for cutting is a bit tricky.

  1. The easiest way I found was to first fold the wrap in half lengthwise (with the wrong side of the wrap on the inside) and measure along the folded edge (thus the middle) of the wrap to your desired length (if chopping in half I suggest measuring from both sides to make sure they are even).  You need to be very careful that the edges of the wrap are properly lined up.  All wraps have some diagonal give, some (like my Didymos April Hemp Indio) have lots) so you need to make sure everything is straight.  the lines on Indios help as you can make sure the lines on the pattern are lined up.  With others it will be trickier.  
  2. You will want to mark you cutting point on the folded edge of the wrap with something that isn't permanent and will wear/wash off.  
  3. And then MEASURE IT AGAIN to make sure you did it right.

Measuring for the Tapers

  1. Once you have found your length, you'll need to account for the tapers.  The easiest is to fold over widthwise the wrap so the that the end of the folded edge lines up with your marked cutting point on the folded edge (top white arrow in the photo below).
  2. You will then need to make sure everything is straight and lined up again and not the points at the bottom edges of the wrap where the ends of the tapers are (red arrows below)  You will need to mark these

Marking the Tapers

  1. You will not mark these points on the part of the wrap that you will be chopping which is at the BOTTOM of the folded wrap and on the WRONG side of the wrap.
  2. You can see below that the white arrows indicate where I have marked on the wrong side and folded up the wrap to illustrate.  You can also see how I've used the weave/pattern on the indio to make sure everything is still lined up.

Cutting the wrap

  1. You will not unfold your wrap with the WRONG side up to show your marks.
  2. MEASURE everything again to make sure it's right.
  3. You also want to make sure you now have a parallelogram on your cut edge by comparing it to the opposite original edge.
  4. You will need to use a cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter to ensure you make the cleanest and straightest cut.  I would NOT suggest you use scissors, but in theory you could, especially if you have extra length in your wrap in case you make an uneven cut and can redo it.  If you are just chopping in half, a rotary cutter is very necessary.
  5. Hopefully you have a long enough ruler to cross the full width of the wrap between the two marks, but if not (like me) you can draw a line with your chalk or whatever before cutting to ensure you stay on target.
  6. Go ahead and take a deep breath.. and cut! 
  7. Voila, now one wrap has become two!

Moving the Middle Markers and Hemming

I'll defer back to the link above for how to deal with the middle markers  My wrap was a Didymos so it was pretty easy, EXCEPT you need to be extremely careful pulling out the old ones so that you do NOT cut any of the wrap threads.  Slow and steady the say, and cut the threads from the TOP of the label, not underneath.  Also, you will likely be left with little holes or maybe a pulled thread.  Pulling fabric around the spot in different angles, shifting the weave should fix that, a wash will also pull everything back together.  In this case as we were both getting a piece, and there are two middle markers on Didymos wraps, I moved one to each piece.

To hem the cut edge you just need to create a small rolled hem (refer to the original hems for thickness.  Just be careful with wraps like Indios as they fry VERY easily so handle carefully and sew up quickly!

THAT'S IT!  I hope that was helpful and do let me know if you have questions!  I've only done this once so I'm not expert, but regardless I wanted to share what we learned!


  1. I just used your tutorial to chop my new wrap! Thanks for the excellent explanation and photos.

  2. This is AMAZING! It makes woven wraps a lot less "scary." Which is how they kind of seem. Although anything that enables you to carry your SISTER can't be too bad!

    Mei Tai

  3. If my wrap is new out of the bag, must I still wash and iron it before chopping?


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