As the weather warms up every year, one of the first questions we are asked is what type of fibre is best for babywearing in warmer weather. The simple answer is: ALL DIDYMOS fibres and blends are great for all seasons! DIDYMOS creates their baby carriers using fabric that is specifically designed and woven for babywearing in all climates, from newborn to preschool age! That being said, people will have their preferences for certain fibres and also for the weight of the fabric, be it thin, medium or heavy.
Our most helpful advice is to choose the style of carrier that is a good fit for your needs and then choose something that visually appeals to you in both colour and design within that carrier type selection. Choose what you are drawn to because if you fall in love with the look of the carrier, you will want to wear it and you will discover the beautiful world of babywearing!
Still undecided? Let’s elaborate on some more geeky details then…
Generally, people tend to wear thinner or lighter fabrics once the weather starts to warm up and thicker, heavier fabrics when the weather is cooler. Therefore, since all DIDYMOS carriers are made from natural plant-based or animal fibres that are breathable, before recommending a fibre, we try to look at the weight and weave of the fabric first.
Weight, which is also referred to as g/m² or GSM (grams per square meter), is the metric measurement of the weight of a fabric. It can play a significant role in how the fabric feels in certain temperatures. Thinner fabrics tend to be, for the most part, easier to work with and adjust especially if you are new to babywearing. Thicker fabrics can be bulkier and can be trickier to work with when learning how to move and adjust the fabric to create a carry. The bulk of thicker fabrics can also be heavier and thus “feel” warmer than thinner fabrics. Therefore, if you want the most optimal weight for wearing in warmer weather, select a light to medium weight fabric. All of our carriers will have the fabric weight listed. Lightweight is generally between 170-220 g/m² and Medium Weight is generally 220-250 g/m². However, the weave can make a difference too. A tight, dense weave in a high g/m² can feel very bulkier and heavier compared to a looser open weave in the same g/m². So, let’s talk now about weaves…
Didymos has several different weave types ranging from simple to complex jacquard patterns, Prima & Ada jacquard weaves and cross (broken) twills. Some of the fabrics are woven in a tight dense weave whereas other fabrics are woven in a looser, more open weave which many people refer to as “airy”. The degree of “airiness” depends on the weave and the pattern. All weaves are breathable but if you are looking for fabric with optimal air flow circulation, then a more open weave is your best best whether it be for the warmer weather or if you are a person that tends to overheat and/or perspire a lot especially when holding a warm body against your own. Not sure how to determine if the weave is dense or open? Hold the fabric up to a window. Do you see the light shining through? A little? A lot? The spaces where the light shines through is where there is space between the warp and weft threads. The more light, the more open the weave and the greater air flow through the fabric.
So, what does this all mean?
It simply means this…For warm weather wearing, if you want a design that is woven in a denser weave, pick a light weight fabric, i.e. 170-220 g/m². If you want a design that is in a heavier weight, pick an open airy weave, i.e. Prima, Ada, Waves. However, this really is subjective and really can vary from person to person, just as tastes and preferences in clothing vary. Why the comparison to clothing? Think of a baby carrier, and most especially a wrap or a sling, as another layer of clothing as it is an extra layer (and sometimes several layers) of fabric that you are wearing! Keeping this in mind, think of the qualities of the fabric you would like to wear. If looking for a carrier with optimal air flow and there is concern about overheating in general, especially in warmer weather, choosing a lightweight fabric will be the best option. A lightweight fabric in an airy weave will offer even greater benefit. BUT WAIT! There is one more factor that can come in to play. If we are talking OPTIMAL choices for warm weather babywearing, fabric blend can also be a consideration with Linen being an ideal option. Why, you ask? Linen as a fibre is known for fabulous temperature and moisture regulating properties. It is one of the most popular fibres for babywearing in warmer climates and for wearer’s who tend to hold heat within their bodies or have a tendency to perspire. Linen fabric is smooth and cool to the touch. Its coolness and its ability to absorb up to 20% moisture without feeling damp makes it an ideal fibre for warmer weather wraps and slings.
The perfect warm weather wrap would therefore be…
… with lightweight and airy being the most important factors.
Let’s talk a little bit more about Linen…
Didymos currently offers their linen options as linen blends. The high quality French organic linen is combined with their GOTS-certified, long-fibre organic cotton. The combination of organic linen and organic cotton in Didymos wraps and slings creates a perfect balance of softness, “cush”, mouldability, support and strength. Linen is a strong and supportive fibre with minimal elasticity but combined with the cushy elastic softness of the cotton, the combination tends to feel very soft yet very solid when wrapped. The fabric does not stretch or sag and is ideal for newborns right up to preschool age. NEW for 2018 to the Didymos line will be 100% organic linen fabrics.
The Qualities of Linen
Didymos exclusively uses top quality linen. Linen is a natural fibre whose threads may show irregularities in thickness which give a vivid structure to the yarn and to the finished fabric. When linen is processed, these irregularities will be visible in the fabric and in the pattern (stripes, bright-dark effects, thicknesses and differences in repeat patterns) and are characteristics of cotton-linen blend Didymos baby slings. These irregularities offer textural intrigue and a special quality to the finished fabric and by no means affect the wearing comfort or the durability of the warps and slings.
Linen is known for creasing, which again, adds a special quality to the fabric. However, in order to preserve the integrity of the linen fibres, it is important to iron linen fabrics regularly. Steam ironing and rolling a linen wrap instead of folding can smooth out wrinkles and prevent creasing. At the extreme, perma-creasing can result. Perma-creasing is the development of permanent creases that result in a permanently wrinkled look. These perma-creases can occur when the carriers are stored while wrinkled, can result from over-drying, or can even just occur from regular use, and can affect the integrity of the linen. However, please note that wrinkling is inherent with linen to some degree and this typical wrinkling does not affect the integrity of the fibre or the wearability of the carrier.
Linen wraps and slings can feel a bit crunchy, or stiff, when brand new so the fabric has a breaking in period. Just like a new pair of jeans, though, a first wash will already soften the fabric, and with a bit of wear and use, the fabric softens up even more! Once fully broken in, the fabric becomes very soft and squishy!
PRO TIP If you have sensitive, picky shoulders, choose a thicker linen blend (ie a fabric of higher weight) which will provide more cush on the shoulders. This is ideal when carrying heavier babies and older children, and also a consideration when using single layer carries since the fabric has to work a bit harder. If there is ever a feeling of the fabric digging when wearing, be sure to tighten all of the slack in the fabric when executing your carry.
Baby slings and wraps made from cotton/linen blend are easy to care for. They can be washed at 60°C/Warm but have to be spun on gentle cycle. Only use a liquid laundry detergent as washing powder may affect the carrier. Laundry powders can enter the hollow linen fibre structure and slowly weaken the fibres. These hollow fibres of the linen are like tubes and swell when wet. Then, during the drying process, the fibres shrink back again and the tubes constrict. If powder is allowed to enter the fibres, the powder can get trapped and actually enlarge the fine tubes since the powder does not shrink with the fibres. Over time, the linen fibres will grow brittle and eventually deteriorate.
Linen can be tumble-dried, but should only be dried to damp as it is much easier to iron when damp. Tumble-drying and steam-ironing is the best way to care of linen blends, and is the most effective way to break in and soften up the fibres of a new linen wrap. Linen breaks in to be squishy soft.
The Different Styles of Carriers and the Warmer Weather?
The most important thing is to choose a style of carrier, be it a wrap, a ring sling, or something with a bit more structure, that is the right for you personally and then to select the best weave, blend and colours within that carrier style. Each style of carrier has specific features that can be beneficial to warm weather wearing. Let us consider the construction of each style of carrier. A carrier that has open sides such as a Meh-Dai/Mei Tai (DidyTai), the Onbuhimo DidyGo or the Half-Buckle DidyKlick will have greater airflow since the sides of the carrier are open. However, most of these carriers will have at least two layers of fabric at the body so it is important to keep this in mind as there could potentially be more fabric layers in certain areas.
Does this mean that a wrap or sling is less ideal for warmer weather? Absolutely not! The recommendations above will be helpful when looking for a wrap or sling for warmer weather wearing. A ring sling offers the benefit of single-layer carries and so helps with staying cool. With a woven wrap, in addition to a lightweight, open/airy weave, trying single layer carries and/or shorter wrap carries will help. The options with a woven wrap are endless!
Check out our recommendations on LIGHTWEIGHT, AIRY and LINEN BLEND carriers!
Need some more advice? Check out our article about our TOP SELLERS for further suggestions.