Derived from a family nickname for her son, Bijou Wear is the artistry of Jamie Gassmann. Bringing vibrant color and elaborate design to the babywearing world is only part of the mission for Bijou. Many of their wraps feature ecologically friendly fibers, the yarns spun from Tencel, Repreve, and Eco2 cotton. The dedication she has to demonstrating through action is apparent in the choice of environmentally sound weaving and her commitment to testing her own products as an avid babywearer. Bijou Wear has a strong connection to The Carrying On Project, donating carriers and a portion of all sales to promote bonding between returning military service personnel families, strengthening the bonds between parent and child.
A dominant background of white is at the center of blocks of exploding pale purple color. The focal center of the block radiates out waves of purple with firm purple boundaries. The pattern is not raised or embossed but smooth and level with the weft. Made of 45% Tencel and 55% cotton, Lilac Blast is soft and supple from the first wash with an amazing bloom from the loom state. We have worn Tencel before and found it surprisingly soft and supple then. Lilac Blast did not disappoint. Although the yarn is spun from recycled wood pulp, it is an incredibly soft fiber with the feel of newborn fleece blankets. Tencel is a moisture wicking fiber, with a smooth outer shaft. This means it is easier for this fiber to lie flat and without the need for heavy ironing.
The smoothness of Tencel combined with the softer cotton means you can easily wear single shouldered carries without extra pressure. We wore the Front Reinforced Torso Rebozo Carry for a walk around the lake. Lilac Blast didn’t sag, I didn’t have to readjust the slipknot, and we didn’t end in a sweat in the 108F (42C) temperatures. As a perfectly smooth fiber Tencel doesn’t add any grip to the wrap. I have noticed that wraps with Tencel tend to have more glide than expected and the intricate patterns all rest flat. With the 45/55% blend you get an even amount of glide and grip.
What we like about Lilac Blast
Lilac Blast arrived to me as the second tester so I didn’t get to personally experience the bloom. A good friend and fellow tester at Bugglet Baby did have the pleasure of receiving Lilac Blast in Loom state. Her pictures show a compressed, flat wrap blooming to more than twice the loom state. The wrap has a pillowy softness which will only soften even more as the wrap is worn, washed, and fluff dried. The softness made the shoulders unbelievably comfortable. I always rate shoulder comfort in a carry with ruck straps, ruckless, one shouldered back, and one shouldered hip or front carries. I found nothing but comfort in all of those positions. I found that in the Double Hammock with Poppins finish, my favorite one shouldered back carry to wear, I didn’t loose support when giving up the shoulder. The wrap wielded across the tail nicely, making beautiful pleats, and was easy to tie in back.
The wrap is a great width, allowing full back coverage and deep seat in my long torso toddlers. My baby who likes to lean when she is up didn’t have anywhere to budge as the support was more than sufficient to maintain position. In the hottest days here in the desert, I resort to thin long sleeves for sun protection. Normally this is problematic with a soft wrap, it prefers to adhere to my shirt and makes a chest pass cumbersome. The addition of Tencel allowed so much extra glide that I had no issues with the wrap clinging to my shirt. Wearing long sleeves may protect my skin from sun damage but long sleeves while babywearing in the summer becomes sweaty business. The light airy texture of the wrap, combined with the breathability of cotton made for a cool wear, without the extra perspiration I expected.
A wrap has to be supportive to be of use for us. As the girls grow, they also gain weight and muscle that makes them strong in their lean against the wrap. Bijou didn’t disappoint. The diagonal stretch took some precision tightening in a front carry but was supportive enough to take on the leaner, leg straightener, and seat popper. The wrap didn’t compress my shoulder to gain the extra support and even stood up to a toy temper tantrum with extra thrashing.
As previously mentioned Tencel is a straight shafted fiber without the usual rough surfaces. This lends a smoothing quality to the yarn and silk like glide. Pairing Tencel with cotton allows the wrap to have the grip you need to keep the passes in place. Overall the wrap allows for smooth neat passes and is forgiving enough for the novice babywearer.
Diagonal stretch is a great characteristic in a wrap. It is the ability for the wrap to have stretch on the diagonal of the weave as compared to the tail to tail stretch in many wovens or the rail to rail stretch in stretchy and stretch hybrid wraps. I am a big fan of diagonal stretch in a wrap. It allows for easy manipulation of the wrap in cross passes, smoothing in torso passes, and great tension in a shoulder flip. Diagonal stretch can sometimes be the difference between completing a carry in a wrap one size too small and really gives confidence to the beginning babywearer. Lilac Blast displayed a moderate amount of diagonal stretch allowing all those nice, neat, even passes but did not add difficulty in tightening the wrap. Even a large slipknot was easy to tighten, adjusting up and threading through to remove slack were easy tasks in Lilac Blast.
We wore many different carries including Christina’s Ruckless, Maddie’s Wiggleproof, Front Reinforced Torso Rebozo, Double Hammock, Robin’s Hip Carry, and a simple Rebozo Hip Carry. The Double Hammock with wiggleproof reinforcing leg passes is a favorite long wear carry. Wearing the Double Hammock was an easy, comfortable carry, no extra pressure on your shoulders and a chest pass that didn’t pinch over sensitive milk ducts. The different finishes on the Double Hammock were easy although I did have to pay extra attention to tightening the chest pass. Christina’s Ruckless and Maddie’s Wiggleproof were fantastic for sleeping babies and both required a little extra attention to tightening along a chest pass, the Tencel allowing a little more glide where grip was needed.
Hip carries were a breeze, with even weight distribution, deep seats, and full back coverage. This was the first time in a long while I found sleepy dust in a hip carry. Front carries with a big toddler can sometimes be difficult. Most front carries are designed to be completed with baby in the wrap and very few of them are poppable. Holding a toddler and aiming for precision tightening is no easy task and the wrap must be able to hold tension to successfully complete the carry. We pulled out some of our old favorites including the Front Reinforced Torso Rebozo (FRTR) and found comfort from attacking geese at the lake. The Front Double Hammock is another great front carry we have neglected as the girls gained weight and became heavier. I found the front double hammock to be more supportive than the front cross carry. I didn’t feel the need to readjust and retighten at any point along the way, the carry was high and tight, so comfortable for us both. Overall we very much enjoyed our time with Lilac Blast and found it supportive, light and airy, with superior breatheabilty.
Babywearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding twin Momma sharing my insights.