Chopping/Shortening a wrap

So you’ve got your perfect wrap, but don’t use it because it’s too long. This happened with my beautiful, home-dyed Amazonas Rainbow (post about this here: https://itsnotspaghetti.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/amazonas-rainbow/) – I just didn’t wear it and so to do it justice, it needed a trim.

So here’s how I chop a wrap to make it the perfect length (Note: pics and some content copied from my previous post about chopping a wrap into 2 shorties – here: https://itsnotspaghetti.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/chopping-a-long-wrap-into-2-shorties/ – as clearly a lot of what you need to do is the same).

Before you cut:

Wrap fabric can be grippy or slippy, thick or thin, textured or smooth, stretchy or less so etc. etc.  However, most purpose-made (and especially jacquard and diagonal woven) wraps have varying degrees of diagonal stretch and will need careful measuring, cutting and pinning as the diagonal stretch can easily make your cut/hem wonky or uneven.

Choose your perfect length. This could be a standard length (see Didymos size chart here: http://www.didymos.com/index.php?s=groesse), or something in the middle to suit a particularly small/large/short/tall/whatever mum or dad.  I decided to chop my 461cm (short size 6) Amazonas wrap to a size 4 (370 cm) wrap.   I usually put saftey pins in the hem of a wrap where I’m thinking of cutting it so that I can try wrapping it to it’s intended new length before I cut.

Measuring:

To allow for hemming, add 2-3cm to the final length you’d like your chopped wrap to be.  I want mine 370 cm long, so I’m measuring 373cm along the rails of the wrap.  I’d advise measuring at least twice when cutting a wrap, and if in doubt, measure it longer than you need (you can always chop more, but obviously can’t re-attach a bit chopped off by accident).

I measured along both the top and bottom rails and used a washable white fabric pencil to mark the 373cm point.  I did this at least twice (and will admit that I’ve occasionally measured from both ends of a wrap and more than 10 times when I’m feeling particularly nervous).  I guess you could use anything that’ll mark the fabric to do this since the marks will end up inside the hem and won’t show even if it doesn’t wash out (though avoid felt pens or markers not designed for fabrics that might leech through the fabric when washed).  This next comment may be obvious to everyone except me, but make sure you start measuring at the end with the washing instruction label, otherwise you’ll do what I did and end up with a wrap with no wash instructions!

I then folded over one end of the wrap and pinned it to my marks at the corners so that I could use the original hem as a template.

I used the pencil (again, you could use whatever works for you) to trace roughly along the template hem.  I unpinned it and then used a long 50cm ruler (a shorter ruler or straight edge of a bit of furniture would also work) to straighten and neaten the line.  This was necessary as the diagonal stretch means that I can’t seem to just draw one continuous line without it going off in an odd direction.

Cutting:

Take a deep breath and a nice sharp pair of scissors (and measure again if you’re me and always find it terrifying cutting a wrap!) and start to cut.  Again, be careful to stick to the line as the diagonal weave fabric can be a bit pesky.

So now you’ve got your new perfect length wrap + a lovely wrap scrap!

Hemming

I’m sure there are different ways of doing this, but here’s mine.  I don’t zig-zag or overlock the edges as that might (i) make the fabric less flexible/accidentally pull on random threads; and (ii) go odd with the diagonal stretch and make the finished hem bulky or uneven.

So I turn the edge twice before pinning along the edge.  I do this by eye as I go – you could use a washable fabric marker (would need to be washable here as might show otherwise) to mark 1 cm and approx 2.2 cm from your cut edge.  Wraps have different width hems, so check against the originals and try to match the size of the hem.  Mine is an average sized hem.

I start at the corner that’s most ‘pointy’ – on the left here below – because otherwise I find that corner hard to make look neat.  So your first fold is about 1 cm, then you fold again at the 2.2cm line to make a hem 1.2cm wide.

So fold over the edge, folding the corner into the hem, and pin.  Continue along the wrap, pinning reguarly as you go (I pin every 2cm or so to make sure that it’s even).  You could also iron/press the hem, but I feel more secure with pins (lots and lots of pins!).

Now you’re ready to sew.  I try to get similar colour thread to what was orginially used on the wrap, but I don’t stress about this – it’s really not that noticable if it doesn’t match exactly (as long as it’s not completely contrasting).  I also do a stitch test on scrap fabric to try to match the stitch length, as this changes from wrap to wrap too.  Average stitching is about 2-3mm long.  Again, it doesn’t really matter, and if in doubt, go slightly shorter as that’ll be more secure.  If you’re not a very confident sewer, you could always practice your hem on the wrap-scrap that you chopped off before embarking on the real thing.

Start by sewing a few cms, then leave the needle down and turn the whole thing around and go back over your stitches.  At the edge again, leave needle in and turn.  This secures the end of the threads.  Now sew all along hem, about 1-2mm from the first fold (about 9-10mm from the new edge of the wrap), taking out the pins just in front of the needle as you go.  At the other end, go back for a few cms and then sew off the edge to secure the threads.  Cut threads.

Done!

Middle Markers

If the wrap you’re chopping is a Natibaby or Girasol the middle markers are sewn into the hem on the rails, which means it can be a pain to move them.  I don’t know about all wrap brands, so this may or may not apply – it definitely doesn’t apply to Didys as their markers are just stitched on top (see pics below comparing markers on Nati Elves, Girasol Earhty Rainbow and Didy Agave).  The Amazonas had no middle marker, but I’ll stick in these notes anyway.

To find the new middle of the wrap, fold approximately in half and lay on the floor.  Adjust until the two pointy ends are equal (see pic – one of my points curled up for the photo, but I had matched them up to the same line on the carpet to make sure they were equal).  I then marked the middle of the top rail with a safety pin.

Markers sewn into the hem

Since you’ll probably have cut your wrap near to one end, I wouldn’t advise removing markers sewn into the hem (unless you’re very comfortable doing it).  This is mainly because you’d have to unpick + re-sew the rail hems near to the middle of the wrap, and it could come undone and compromise the strength/safety of the wrap.  For wrap like this (e.g. Natibaby or Girasol), you could just leave the original markers where they are and hand-sew a button or piece of ribbon or fabric to the new middle of the wrap.

If you decide to move the marker, I’d carefully unpick the rail hem just where the marker is to remove it.  Then machine stitch across the space (and for a good few inches on either side) at least 2-3 times to make sure it’s really secure.

Now rather than unpicking more hem to re-sew in the marker, I hand-sewed the marker to the new middle just under the hem.  Take your marker and fold the raw edges of it into each other (see pic below) and pin it.  I’ll hand-stitch it just under the hem of the rail of my wrap.  I’m hand-stitching so that it doesn’t show too much on the ‘right’ side of the wrap, and will use a double-thickness of thread to make sure it’s secure.

Pin to the middle of your wrap (where I marker it with a safety pin), and hand-stitch across once.  Knot the ends of the thread inside the folded label to hide them (I’ve tried to show this in the pic – hope it’s clear!).

If it has two markers, repeat this for the other one and you’re finished!  Here’s what it now looks like on the ‘wrong’ (label) side, and on the ‘right’ side.

Markers not sewn into the hem:

For less difficult middle markers (like Didymos), just move as follows:

When moving Didymos markers, I just unpicked the original markers and sewed them into the new middle of the wrap.  I hand-stitched in each corner (like it was originally) so that it doesn’t show too much on the ‘right’ side of the wrap, using a double-thickness of thread and going over each stitch several times to make sure it’s secure.  I knotted the ends of the thread under the label so that they were hidden.  Repeat with the other label (if there is one).

All done!  😀

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About emeriminni

My name's Emily and I'm a pragmatic mum to 2 inspirational children, Sling Librarian, business owner/manager, part-time student & chronic craft enthusiast. I love reading, ranting, learning and making things & I'm interested in philosophy, psychology, babywearing & practical, natural-ish parenting, and all sorts of creative things (esp. crochet, dyeing, sewing, beading and baking).
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11 Responses to Chopping/Shortening a wrap

  1. flossiesmum says:

    Thank you for these instructions. Just been reading through here as if H settles down I’m planning to chop the ridiculously long Heartiness wrap later!

    • emeriminni says:

      Ooo! What length/s have you decided to go for?

      • flossiesmum says:

        About 4.4m – long enough for me to be able to do everything with the wrap, short enough that I’ll still have nearly 2m left over which should be enough for a ring sling (I think? I know I’ll lose a bit with the taper at the ring end but thinking it should still be plenty?). The whole thing is 6.38m.

      • emeriminni says:

        Yes, that should be fine for you to use as a ring sling, depending on shoulder style. I have blue rings too if you’d like some? 😀

      • flossiesmum says:

        I think turquoise might be a better match. Or it may be that neither blue nor turquoise is quite right….wondering about bronze, which would match the brownish threads.
        Sewing the ring sling is a whole other level of panic. Not done one before….I have a scrap of a nati which is nearly as long so think I might do a trial one with that first as it cost rather less.

      • emeriminni says:

        Sew with basting stiches first so it’ll be easy to unpick, but you can see how it all hangs + then go over it properly afterwards when you’re happy with it 😀

      • flossiesmum says:

        Good plan. Didn’t do it – H only happy in the wrap and can’t sew with her there….will do at the weekend instead

  2. puritychild says:

    Oh man, I suck at sewing…and wrapping but I have a size 7 Gira I want to make into a 4 and maybe have some leftover for something else.

    • emeriminni says:

      If you chop a 7 to a 4 then you’ll be left with a piece that’ll probably be too small to use as a sling or wrap. You could use the fabric for some thing else (panel for a custom mei tai or buckle carrier, or maybe a wrap scrap toy or taggie or baby blanket for example..). There’s also lots of carrier makers who are happy to chop/hem/move middle markers on wraps for you if the sewing isn’t your strong point! Emily x

      • puritychild says:

        A friend lent me her 3 and i love the size. I just have to learn how to wrap with it. Would the hem make it too small for a 4 and a 3? I am a single mommy, dont want to pay someone else to do it for me. I’m cheap!

      • emeriminni says:

        A size 7 is about 5.2m long – if you chop a size 3 (3.2m) off it then you might have just enough for a ring sling (depending on the length of the tapers on the wrap). A size 4 is about 3.7m so doesn’t leave enough to wrap with. The sewing’s not complicated so worth trying yourself (or even asking a local clothes alteration place to hem it for you, which probably wouldn’t cost too much + you’d save on the postage) x

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