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Project Wrap Conversion!

By July 31, 2016October 10th, 2022Special Projects6 min read
Ubuntu Baba Baby Carriers | South Africa

When I first discovered babywearing I had no idea how deep the rabbit hole would go. Just under 2 years later and here I am literally losing my mind over a woven wrap conversion we just made, if you don’t know exactly what that is yet… here’s a little behind the scenes look.

A quick overview of the 2 different types of products we are going to be talking about:

These are buckled carriers, like our Ubuntu Baba carriers, where you can quickly and easily put your carrier on using buckles to secure.

*not to be confused with the stretchy wrap, a stretchy wrap is a long, stretchy piece of material that is generally used to wrap babies from newborn until around 8kgs and is sold at an affordable price.*
A woven wrap is basically a length of fabric (you get different sizes) that you use to wrap your baby on you securely. It requires quite a steep learning curve to do some of the carries, and often isn’t the “go to” choice for modern moms – for 3 reasons:
1 – not many people know about them as they aren’t widely available
2 – it looks intimidating
3 – it seems over the top expensive for “a piece of fabric”

However, if you can master the art of using a woven wrap (I did it, so you can too!), you will never look back, it’s by far the most comfortable way to carry a baby or toddler and there are endless ways to wrap, front, back, hip, and just so many variations. It becomes addictive! Here is my original Girasol (that’s the brand) woven wrap which was around 3 metres long, I bought it second hand for R1,000 from Imke – who now imports them. (yowza R1,000 second hand?! read on to find out why they’re so pricey!):

Ubuntu Baba Baby Carriers | South Africa
So why are woven wraps soooo expensive?

Well lets use this particular brand as an example – Girasol’s are hand woven in 100% cotton and are produced in Guatemala with traditional methods of the Maya Indians. When you purchase a brand new woven wrap, you’ll often pay anything from $100 and upwards.

Ubuntu Baba Baby Carriers | South AfricaUbuntu Baba Baby Carriers | South Africa
Then there’s a term called ‘breaking in’ your wrap – it takes quite a bit of babywearing to ‘break in’ a woven to make it nice and soft and cushy and get it to it’s ultimate comfort level, so certain limited edition designs and patterns from popular brands can become highly sought after, and can sometimes fetch an even higher price second hand, as they’ve already been ‘broken in’ by the first babywearer.

I told you the rabbit hole is deep… it’s like a cult!! Help me!!! No don’t, I like it!
I just googled and there are even woven wrapping meme’s!!!

Ubuntu Baba Baby Carriers | South Africa
Thanks Ryan :) So! Because this woven fabric is so amazingly amazing, Moms like to use it to wrap their babies – but some Moms prefer to use soft structured carriers over woven wraps because of the convenience – like me – I love wrapping Leo when it’s cold outside and he wants to take an afternoon nap, but I would never attempt to do it in a parking lot, or really anywhere public for that matter. I like my buckles in public because it’s quick, easy and comfy and Granny, Grandpa, Dad, sister, ANYONE can do it! And they love it too, it makes them feel great that they can lend a helping hand and of course that means I get to take a break in those rare moments, which is the main goal ;)

Okay, so now… some very clever mama somewhere down the line decided to take her woven wrap and convert it into a soft structured carrier and voila, the cult, I mean term “woven wrap conversion” was born! If you do a google search on woven wrap conversion, you’ll see just how many beautiful designs have been created all over the world! Here are 2 of my favourites:

Ubuntu Baba Baby Carriers | South AfricaUbuntu Baba Baby Carriers | South Africa
I’ve been eyeing out some of these lovely conversion designs over the past few months and I finally decided to give it a try with an Ubuntu Baba Stage 1 pattern, as this carrier uses less fabric than the Stage 2, and I didn’t want to waste any just incase it didn’t work out well.

There are some tough decisions to be made when cutting up such a special (and expensive) piece of material. Do the stripes go horizontal or vertical? Do you start with the blue stripes at the top or the bottom? #firstworldproblems… After spending 2 hours annoying this guy below, we finally started cutting!

Ubuntu Baba Baby Carriers | South Africa
To be honest, I couldn’t watch the whole process, it was too scary! I came back to the factory the next day and the staff were so excited to show me what they made! It was stunning!!! I still can’t believe how beautifully it came out and the full silk hood is just so luxurious and compliments the woven fabric texture so well.

Here are some pics of the testing out of the carrier. The first one is with my beautiful friend Heléne and 2 month old Ruby Rose. Our Stage 1 carrier is only meant to carry up to 12kgs before we recommend upgrading to our Stage 2, which carries up to 20kgs, but I just couldn’t help myself with my 13kg 23 month old son. I gotta tell you, when I put this thing on I died and went to babywearing heaven.

Ubuntu Baba Baby Carriers | South AfricaUbuntu Baba Baby Carriers | South Africa
I couldn’t believe how supportive it was and how it held his weight so well. And he loved it, it usually takes me around 10 minutes to sing/rock him to sleep in our Stage 2, he literally fell asleep in this one while I was taking selfies in the mirror! It was amazing, I didn’t want to take him off!

So all in all I’m so so happy that we did it, and guess what… we have exactly the right amount of fabric left to make 1 more just like it. I’m obvs keeping this one for me, but what should we do with the next one…? Well watch this space to find out! (Sign up to our newsletter below if you aren’t already on the list and you’ll be the first to know!)

I’d love to know what you think of this way of creating carriers and what you think of the design? Please leave a comment below and let me know!

Ubuntu Baba Baby Carriers | South Africa

Shannon McLaughlin

Shannon is the Founder of Ubuntu Baba baby carriers. She is passionate about helping new parents adjust to 'life with baby' through the art of babywearing and talking about the reality of motherhood in the 21st century.


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