What makes woven baby carriers different?
Woven carriers are made of high quality materials that are manufactured and tested specifically for babywearing. The fabric is durable, soft, and can be used for several carry styles. Wovens also come in a variety of sizes and configurations such as wraps and ring slings to accommodate different carries.
Starting in 2014 mandatory rigorous lab tests are required on woven wrap and ring sling samples from all companies/manufacturers. Woven wraps are made to have diagonal strength strong enough to support a heavy load, while most “regular” fabrics may not and can rip or tear more easily. The strength of the ring sling rings are also tested.
Jacquard fabric, warp and weft
You may hear the term Jacquard in reference to woven wraps. Jacquard fabrics are intricately woven patterns where the design is incorporated within the weave of the fabric instead of being dyed or printed on. When weaving cloth, the warp is the lengthwise yarns held in tension on the loom. While the weft is the yarn that is inserted over and under and back and forth between the warp threads. Some sling designs have the same warp color patterns and offer various weft color options creating wraps that look very different.
A shorter piece of fabric with a set of aluminum rings sewn on to one end of the fabric. Wrap conversion ring slings, or WCRS, are ring slings made from woven wrap material. The rings used have no seams or welds; so the wrap will not snag or tear. As safety is always a top priority, the rings are sewn on with at least two rows of stitching reinforcing the seam making it strong enough to hold the weight of your little one. The tail on a ring slings is the excess fabric hanging from the rings. The tail can be used as a nursing cover if so desired or even used as extra head and neck support for younger babies. Front, hip, and back carries are a few of the reasons ring slings are so versatile.
The long edges of the wrap or ring sling are called rails. Referred to as the top rail and bottom rail; determined by position of the wrap or sling. The top rail goes over the baby’s shoulders and the bottom rail goes under the baby’s bum. To create a seat the bottom rail should go completely under baby’s bum to create an actual seat for baby to sit upon. The rail should be spread knee to knee to support baby’s legs and weight. Baby’s legs and bum should be in an “M” position with the knees above the bum.
Tails are at the ends of the wrap. Variations include tapered, blunt, and fringed. Different manufacturers use the different variations of cut tail. The noticeable difference for the wearer is the size of the knot. For example, steep tapered ends create a smaller knot.
Weight of fabric
A measurement of how much weight in grams per square meter, allowing us to determine how strong and thick the fabric is. In woven wraps that translates to the thickness/thinness of the wrap. A lesser weight wrap will require less of a break in period and is usually more floppy brand new. These wraps are great for newborns and small babies due to being more moldable initially. However, thinner wraps can become “diggy” with heavier children. Higher weight wraps tend to feel thicker and slightly more stiff brand new. These wraps may require a breaking in period by washing, ironing, braiding, and/or increased use. Once a wrap is broken in it becomes extremely soft and moldable.