by VBE Sarah
So, Jill has already talked about breaking in a brand new hemp wrap here, but I thought I’d talk about some of the ways I have been breaking in my new Pavo. Pavos are known for being VERY beastly wraps. People with heavy toddlers and/or sensitive shoulders tend to gravitate towards Pavos because they are known for being very supportive wraps that nevertheless are also stretchy (a lot of wraps offer rock-solid support, but they usually compromise on stretch in order to do so. So, for example, linen is a great fiber for offering support, but it does. not. stretch).
My amazing husband (proudly modeling our new pavo bag ^^^) was able to score a Pavo Gotham Onyx for me (that’s the other thing – Pavos are very difficult to buy new, since they sell out in a matter of seconds. Used is a great option, however, since you can often skip the difficult breaking in period!). When the wrap arrived to us we were able to stand the fabric straight up, it was THAT stiff!
Since the wrap came to us in loom state (never washed), we first set about washing it. It’s never a good idea to wrap with a brand new unwashed wrap, since this can cause thread shifting to occur (There’s my husband again ^^^ breaking this rule for a quick test run before washing). Thread shifting compromises the safety of the wrap and decreases its resale value. Anyway, after washing the wrap, I put it in the dryer on delicate with some wool dryer balls. This is a fantastic way to break in a wrap, and is the least labor intensive!
After drying, I busted out my iron. With the iron set to “cotton” and, on the highest steam level, I got to work steam ironing both sides of the wrap. I could already feel it softening up. Steam ironing is also important because it can help prevent premature wearing at the rails of the wrap and can also prevent permanent creases (“permacreases”) from forming. Which direction do you iron your wraps? I prefer to iron the short side, moving it incrementally towards me and folding it, accordion style, on a small stool or chair in front of me.
Now the hard work began. Oh, and by the way, you can always just USE your wrap and continue to wash, dry, and iron it, to break it in (NOTE: the kind of fiber your wrap is made with will determine whether or not it is safe to machine dry and/or steam iron). If, however, you’re wanting to speed up that process or have a super beastly wrap (seriously, this Pavo will not break itself in in a million years …)
you can try … super coiling:
Start at one end of the wrap and just start twisting the crap out of it. I would do this at night (hence the dark lighting of that photo) while watching TV. Once it’s coiled you can also gently pull and tug on the different sections to help move things along. Just like with braiding a wrap, the breaking in happens by the action of supercoiling, not by the wrap just sitting there super coiled. In other words, you don’t just do this once and let the wrap sit, you do it, uncoil the wrap, and start coiling again.
Another thing I did was run the wrap through two medium sling rings. (Sling rings are best purchased online from http://www.slingrings.com/ – do not use welded rings, for breaking in a wrap or (especially) for wearing a baby)
Finally, I wove the wrap through our baby gate and pulled sections of it back and forth. Be careful that there’s nothing that can snag the wrap (so, we were careful to avoid the hinges on our baby gate). After awhile my arms got really tired, so my husband (and son) started helping me. People also use the slats of baby cribs to achieve a similar effect.
Gotham is breaking in nicely. She’s gotten very soft to the touch and is not NEARLY as stiff as when she came to me. She’s still not “floppy”, though, but for now I think I’ll just enjoy wrapping with her and give my arms a break (Let’s fact it, if I was after some guns, I would carry my son, not wear him!)