When H was born, I had two baby carriers, a Moby and an Ergo. I enjoyed using them on occasion, but since she was the first, they weren’t a necessity. Then, when M came along 15 months later, I used my carriers a lot more. I also added a ring sling in the mix. I loved having the ability to nurse while wearing my baby. When D came, I started looking at other baby carriers. I guess you could say, I was becoming a babywearing addict! That was when I decided I really wanted to add a woven wrap to the mix.
Unfortunately, woven wraps carry a hefty price tag. They’re beautiful, handwoven material, and I understand the price, but that just wasn’t going to happen. I joined a babywearing DIY group on Facebook and that was where I learned that I could make a pretty nice wrap for myself using a woven fabric called osnaburg.
Osnaburg comes in a natural color, so most DIY-ers dye the fabric. I browsed looooooots of dye jobs and decided I wanted a rainbow wrap. This is what I ended up with.
Right??? I’m in love. I love, love, love this woven wrap. And I love that I made it myself! After lots of wearing, washing, and drying, it’s very soft and snuggly. D was about six months old in this picture and at that time, he took lots of naps in this wrap. We called them Wrap Naps. They were fabulous! Even now, I wear D in this wrap. Often, he’s on my back or hip all wrapped up snug while I am making dinner or cleaning the house.
So when my sister-in-law announced that she was expecting, I knew that I wanted to make her one. She’s a little less likely to wear bright colored things like this (she’s not quite as crazy as me), so I searched through all the wrap pictures I could find until I came across the colors I thought she’d love. And as I made this wrap for her, I took pictures all along the way so I could share the process with you! So come join me and make your very own DIY woven wrap!
Materials for your DIY Woven Wrap
- 7 Yards of Osnaburg
- Blue Dawn Dish Soap
- Rubber Gloves (You’ll want these for when you’re using both the washing soda and the dye)
- Soda Ash or Washing Soda (NOT baking soda…it’s not the same thing)
- Dylon Dye (I’ve also heard great things about Dharma dye. Tulip dyes are okay, but don’t seem to come out as vibrant. Do not use RIT, iDye, or pre-mixed dyes. They’re not fiber reactive and could come off in baby’s mouth or on his skin.)
- A large tub
- A rack or set of racks
- 20+ pounds of ice
- Sewing machine
- Thread in colors that match your dye
Instructions for Making Your Woven Wrap
Step 1: Wash and dry your wrap several times. This step is mainly to shrink the wrap. I did mine three times. It comes out looking fluffy and soft!
- At this point, you might also want to cut your wrap down to size. For a size six, your wrap should be about six yards long. The width should be between 29-33 inches to account for hemming. Hemmed, it should be between 26-30 inches. I actually didn’t cut it to the right length until the end because I wanted it all dyed the same. I did remove the extra width before dyeing though.
- A note about cutting. Since osnaburg is a woven fabric, you can snip and rip it. That means, cut a little snip where you want to cut across, and then RIP the fabric. It’ll rip in a perfectly straight line because of the weave. LOVE it!!
Step 2: Scour. This step removes all the chemicals from the fabric that may have come during processing the cotton.
- Boil TONS of water. It takes me all four of these pots plus the three smaller ones again to fill my sink.
- Place your wrap in the sink with the plug in. (Some people do this in a BIG pot or a cooler. Just don’t use aluminum as it can do something bad to the fabric…or the aluminum…I’m not exactly sure, I just follow instructions and use my sink)
- Place washing soda and dawn soap into sink. For a wrap this size, you’ll need a couple teaspoons of Dawn and a few tablespoons of washing soda. Honestly, I probably overdo it because I’d rather have it be more clean than not clean enough.
- The goal is to have the fabric soak in as HOT of water as possible for an hour. So, since you can’t keep it boiling in the sink, find something to cover it with. I used a cookie sheet. You’ll also want to find something to stir with that you won’t be using for food. The soda ash is not good for eating!
- Stir a couple times during the hour, but mostly keep it covered. This is what it’ll look like at the end.
- Rinse like crazy. Get as much of the soap and soda ash out as you can. Then, run it through a couple rinse cycles in your washer.
Step 3: Soda Ash Soak. This step helps set the colors.
- Place your wrap in a tub and cover your wrap with water. Then, add soda ash or washing soda. You need about 1 cup of soda ash per gallon or 1
- 1/3 cup of washing soda per gallon of water.
- Let soak for 1/2 hour, then let drip dry for a bit. I left mine for about an hour.
Step 4: Dye!
- Set up your tub with the racks down inside. I picked these all up at a thrift store for super cheap. It works perfectly!
- Get everything white in your house, twist it, tie it, and place it on the racks. No sense in letting perfectly good dye go to waste! It’ll be under the wrap and will just get the excess color.
- For this wrap, I laid the whole wrap out and then just gently scrunched it up without twisting it. I wanted the top half purple and the bottom half blue and I wanted them to mix a little in the middle, so I just scrunched without much twisting. (For the wrap that I made for myself, I did a big spiral in the middle. For instructions on that, just look up how to tie dye spirals on Youtube.)
- Here are the colors I used. Two Bahama Blue and two Intense Violets. If I were to do it again, I’d add one more of each. I like how it turned out, but I think I’d have liked it even better with fewer white spots at the end.
- Place a thin layer of ice on top of the fabric.
- Sprinkle the dye over the ice. (USE GLOVES!! And if you’re inside, you really should also wear a mask. Make sure the room you’re in is well ventilated!)
- Add more ice on top.
- This is about 8 hours in. Lots of the ice melted and the color has started to seep through the material. I added more ice at this point and then left it to sit overnight.
- 10 Hours Later, this is what it looked like.
- You want the fabric to sit warm for at least a few hours, but you don’t want it to dry out, so wrap your tub with plastic wrap and let it sit. This one only sat for four hours. The rainbow wrap sat for 24. The colors are more vivid in the rainbow wrap, but there are a number of factors that could have influenced that and I don’t believe this is one of them.
Step 5: Rinse. Rinse until the water runs clear
- When you’re ready to rinse, take it all to the tub. I lowered my shower rod and removed the curtain so I could lay everything out. Look at those pretty burp rags!! Now, you’re just going to rinse and rinse and rinse. I rinsed in the tub for over an hour. You want to rinse until the water runs clear. Move the materials around, put the clean ones somewhere else, do whatever you need, but try to get most of the dye out in the tub.
- Once the water runs clear, put your wrap (and all that other fun stuff) in the washer. Rinse on cold, then wash on hot. Then, rinse until the water runs clear. It takes me several rinse cycles, but I think that’s mainly because my washer is a high efficiency front loader… 😛
Step 6: Dry. Throw it in the dryer! Then, lay it out and admire your handiwork.
- I particularly loved the design in this spot!
Step 7: Cut it, Hem it, and Try it On!
- I mentioned this above, but a size six wrap is six yards long and 26″-30″ hemmed. Cut accordingly.
- I just did a simple hem where you turn the edge twice. I’m not a fabulous seamstress, but this works nicely for this kind of thing. I just HAD to try on this wrap before giving it to my sister-in-law. I love it! I’m thinking I might need one. 🙂
If you have ANY questions about how to make your own woven wrap, don’t hesitate to ask! I’m happy to help!
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