Saturday, April 2, 2011

Step by Step- DIY your own baby wrap!- FABRICS

This is an extention of my webpage which is currently not up. sorry for any inconvience

I have been notified that getting this information on the barefoot buttercup blog would be a good idea.  So here it goes.  Over the next few weeks I will be posting all my DIY ideas and obsessions for my followers and peekers to see (I see you Carly, I know you are there)

Did you know that your local fabric store, thrift store or even department store could very well have the wrap of your dreams inside? The only problem is, its not quite a wrap yet! But it isnt hard to do!

The great thing about making your own wrap is that no one will ever have the exact same wrap as you. It would be your unique carrier for you and your child. It is something you can look at and say "hey, I made that!" And I think that is a terrific feeling! 
What should you look for in a material for making a woven wrap?
I sudgest using a cotton, or something made with natural fibers. They breathe better. You want it to be a relaxed fabric too, something flexible and not stiff, you dont want to wrap a baby in canvas or leather!! Think, "would I liked to be wrapped in this?"
Another thing to conisder is, does "the sun shine through?" When holding the material up to the light, can you see the light peeking through the weave? If so, thats good! you dont want a very tight weave (like in quilters cottons for example) ..that doesnt help it be comfortable.  You will most likley end up with pressure points. If the sun is shining through this means more comfort and breathablity... think table cloth like... and btw, woven table cloths make excellent shorter wraps!  For a woven wrap, you dont want a ton of horizontal or vertical stretch like jersey would have.  You want it to be able to be used with your child through the time you are wearing you child, and that means even when they are toddlers, maybe even preschool age.  Stretchy material is fantastic for wearing little ones who dont weigh a ton, but will sag with a bigger child and are not reccomended for back carries.  (click link to see why)
Here are some examples of what I have found in hopes to better help you find the right thing.  First lets take a peek in the fashion section of your local fabric store
 -dont go for fabrics such as quilters cottons, shiny polyesters, or satin. Although yes you CAN wrap a baby in them (because face it, you can wrap a baby in almost anything!) , it isnt as comfy as openly woven, natural materials that also go on sale quite a bit, so in the long run is better and cheaper! :D

Lets have a look at cotton gauze. Gauze usually sell for about 7$ a meter CDN, so 7 x 5 meters =35$
and sales happen frequently, so it can get even cheaper than this! 
100% gauze or crinkle cotton is an easy and practical choice. Crinkle cotton is slightly heavier than 100% cotton gauze. It is very breathable for summer, dyes easy . I reccomend buying at least five meters of the gauze or crinkle cotton. If there is too much, you can always shorten it. Better to buy too much than too little. with a wrap that is going to be thin like this, I reccomend cutting it to be around 32 inches wide, that way you have more shoulder padding.  Gauze, I find you have to wrap more careful when your children get bigger.  By this I mean you have to wrap them slower so its as tight as sloppy wrap jobs with a gauze wrap because then it can be not as comfortable.  But get a good nice carry with it and you're good to go.

Sometimes when browsing the fabric store you will come across amazing woven materials that are cotton or cotton blends or a blend of another natural fiber. The one in the picture shown below is a 55% linen, 45% cotton blend. It is a tiny bit thicker than gauze, and is breatheable, moveable, and has no stretch to it. This type of fabric will make an excellent wrap. Needs a bit more breaking in due to the linen, but works wonderfully. I would reccomend a material like this be hemmed between 27-32 inches wide and again, 5 meters long. osnaberg, woven hemp/cotton blends will work amazing as well, but like linen, they need to be broken in a bit more.  I dyed this wrap with Dylon Cold Water Dyes, which are safe for dying and are widley available in Canada at Fabric Land stores as well as other stores such as Walmart and craft and fabric distributors. 

Lets journey to the upholstry section!
****a few things to consider when looking here...

Some upholstry fabrics are treated with things like a stain gaurd, or are permanant press. They can be made of synthetic fibres just like you would find in other departments. Make sure you read your fabric label carefully. You do not want to purchase something that is treated with chemicals.. remember, you are wrapping precious cargo in your wrap. If you are unsure ask an employee of the fabric store. They will be able to assist you.

The upholstry section can be a gold mine!!! You can buy some amazing jaquard fabrics, that have no wrong side, are 100% natural fibres and are absolutly beautiful. Some can be very heavy, like in this example of a upholstry material I purchased.  As thick as this is, it is a very very comfortable wrap, in all honestly, the most comfortable wrap I own.  Even though it technically has a "wrong side".. which would be the lighter side, it is still quite beautiful on each side. So it can be worn either way.  It is not 100% cotton, however, it was an "unknown fibre"... but for the price I got it for, which was about 4$ CDN a meter, I grabbed it anyways... I did a burn test when I got home, discovered it is most likley a cotton/rayon blend. 

The pictures below show just how much thicker this wrap is from a gauze wrap.  Next to that is a photo that shows how the light shines through the weave.

This material that I have dyed using Dylon cold water dyes was also found in the upholstry section on clearance. It is 100% cotton, but called "linen look". It has made a very nice wrap. 32 inches wide, 4.5 meters long.

Get down and really look and take your time especially in the upholstry section.  Usually the bolts are stored in such chaos in some stores that a hidden treasure could be burried.  My blue woven wrap material was like that.  Hidden at the very bottom of the shelf, almost collecting dust. 

Next post will be about sewing your wrap.  Stay tuned and Happy Babywearing! 


Marisa said...

Thank you so much for this post! I have been searching all over for info on what to look for in a fabric when making your own woven wrap, most sources just say that it's not recommended, without giving any further info. But buying a woven wrap is just crazy expensive! Going to head to the fabric store tomorrow armed with this info - hopefully I find some great fabric.

MommyG said...

I know this is an older post but I'm hoping you will still see this comment! What would you say is the cheapest to make a wrap with? I soon will have a newborn and a 1 year old and i'd like to tandem wrap them.

Anonymous said...

Finally some useful information about which fabric to use that is not confusing. Thanks! :)I hope I'll find a long piece of good fabric to make my wrap in the thrift store.

Anonymous said...

Everywhere is different in prices but I found travel knit which is pretty much t shirt fabric for $2.97 a yard.