As a newbie or even a veteran, breaking in new wraps can be daunting, time consuming and frustrating. Just like your favorite pair of jeans, they require wear and softening to be their best. The first time you wrap with a new wrap it is going to be stiff, itchy and can be difficult to maneuver, but with wear a wrap will go from challenging and stiff to floppy and moldable. Here are some tips and tricks to help speed up the breaking in process:
1. Always wash your wrap first, wearing while in loom state can cause thread shifting and not allow the weave to set appropriately. If you need help deciphering wash instructions see here.
2. Give it a good steam iron, heat setting depending on the wrap fibers. Hottest isn't always best especially when dealing with wool, silk, or cashmere. I prefer to iron front and back, especially the first time and during the breaking in process. Ironing is needed to help soften and smooth the fibers.
3. Place wet or dry wrap in dryer with damp towels and wool dryer balls, the more the merrier. Remember heat setting needs to be low or no heat.
3. Braid or donut. With both of the options, the goal is to create friction against itself to soften and encourage mold-ability. For a video on braiding see here. And for a video on making donuts see here. Just don't store wraps braided or ‘donuted’ for long periods of time as this can cause permacreasing, especially with linen blends.
4. Run through rails or sling rings. I personally like to suggest doing this when you’re fighting with a significant other and need to work out some aggression. But again the goal is to create friction to start breaking down the stiffness of a wrap. For a video on how to run a wrap through sling rings, see here.
5. Sleep or sit on it. I prefer to do this once there is some give and mold-ability that has started. I find sleeping or sitting on a folded or bunched wrap help with over all softening. I generally try to do this for a week on a consistent basis then evaluate what other tactics need to happen again.
6. Use it as a hammock or swing. For those that have square tables or cribs. You can tie the wrap around the table or to each end of the crib and let children lay, nap, and play with it. When they are putting weight on the wrap it is creating the ideal tension to further breakdown the fibers.
7. Wrap with it. I wouldn't encourage learning or trying new carry's with a brand new wrap as it would not be a fair judgment of the carry when you are still working on breaking a wrap in to fully understand it's wrapping qualities. On the same token this is why I, personally, do not encourage newbs to get new or non broken in wraps as their first.
8. Repeat. The goal is to create tension with the fibers to help soften them up and make the wrap like your favorite weekend t-shirt.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of possible ways to break in a wrap. There are new and creative ways of breaking wraps in posted regularly on different chatter boards. However, these are the most common, generally accepted and my preferred methods.
Well that's a... wrap ;-)... folks. A big thank you to Kelli for helping us out and we can't wait to learn more. Want to learn more and connect with an awesome group of parents in the Charlotte area? Join us on Facebook or Instagram.