Coming strong in their latest release, Bijou Wear is bringing innovative fibers, colors, and exciting patterns to the new line. The incorporation of alternative fibers not only brings choice to the babywearing world but also the knowledge of a positive ecological impact. Vibrant colors are our favorite and Bijou never disappoints. Coupled with the ability to Build-a-Stash at incremental payments the ability to get a woven wrap with excellent wrapping qualities is at Bijou.
The right side of Newport Harbor is a vibrant Pantone Whale Blue featuring Ecru colored sailboats of three differing sizes. The Ecru warp makes the blue color pop, emphasizing the richness of the hue. The reverse side features blue boats against the Ecru background. The boats are embossed from the surface of both sides adding a tactile dimension to the wrap. Woven of 45% mercerized cotton and 55% cotton, Newport harbor arrives pre-washed, soft, and ready to wear. A heavier wrap this time from Bijou, Newport is just over 300gsm, a solid wrap for the serious business of babywearing. The rails and tails are quarter inch rolled hems and the tapers are an average size at just under six inches.
Mercerized cotton ensures a softness right out of the package, ready to wear without the need to soften through repeated wear and wash. Cotton is treated with sodium hydroxide resulting in swelling and a more porous fiber. The process adds a sheen or luster to the fiber as well as increasing moisture wicking properties of the cotton fiber. Usually extra long staple (ETS), pima, or even Egyptian cottons are used for the mercerization process resulting in a smooth, lustrous fiber with superior softness and absorption properties compared to untreated cottons. The mercerization of the ETS cottons also allow a little extra stretch to the fiber, enhancing the diagonal stretch of the final cloth woven with a mercerized fiber. Mercerized cotton arrives soft, and only softens with wear and wash. As a fiber, mercerized cotton is known for exhibiting a little more shrinking than other cottons, approximately 1% of the length or width. This isn’t a permanent shrink, a good steam iron relaxes the fibers and returns the length perceived as lost softening the fibers along the way.
What we like about Newport Harbor
Having worn the Tencel blends from Bijou I was excited to test another blend. Newport arrived heavier than I expected with the promise of support and a solid wrap without sag. Knowing that wraps in the Newport line arrive prewashed and ready to wear, we jumped right in with a rucksack carry. Newport easily held up twenty-eight pounds of bouncing toddler in a single layer back carry without trouble. The ruck straps were soft and plush, allowing comfort as she used me as a pony for the better part of twenty minutes. The wrap is cut at an excellent width to ensure a deep seat and full coverage of baby’s back. Coupled with the solid support of Newport the width made a near inescapable single layer Ruck.
I say near inescapable because, well, toddlers. Bouncing up and down in a wrap with this much grip kept the back pass stable against the traction of her clothes but with enough bouncing she did manage to compromise her seat. We turned to a new carry, the brilliant work of another blogger, Autumn’s Reinforced Rucksack Carry. Autumn is an expert babywearer and educator who combined the bunched pass with the reinforced rucksack carry to enhance seat integrity and support. Autumn’s Reinforced Ruck allows a second seat with the pass spread across the back, preventing leaning and securing the seat against wiggling. Adding a Tibetan finish helps distribute more weight across your chest, making baby an extension of your own body.
An easy care working wrap is always a favorite. Comprised of cotton the delicate cold water wash followed by an air fluff dry makes Newport ready to wear again after a long day at the park. It has been an exceptionally rainy winter this year, plenty of puddles and mud to be had. Wearing a wrap in a wet parking lot usually has you concerned about your tails. The easy laundering process for cotton made small bits of muddy water on the tails a breeze to clean without the need for any pre-treatment.
I am one to prefer more glide than grip in a wrap. The ability to get a super smooth pass is a gratifying feeling, reinforcing your babywearing skills as you peek at yourself in the shop windows walking by. Newport had a little more grip than I usually prefer but this was a quality I used to my advantage. Some carries have switchbacks and unusual angles for passes that with a larger baby can be difficult if you are attempting to maintain tension and remove slack. This is where the grip in Newport Harbor shines. Holding a writhing toddler reaching for a blade of grass while attempting a Torso pass in a front carry was an easy task in Newport. The wrap gripped against itself, staying in place, allowing me to have one hand on baby while reaching behind to complete my pass.
The contrast in the colors made fancy finishes fun in Newport Harbor. We wore some new carries as well as some old favorites as we put Newport through the paces. It made for an amazingly supportive Back Wrap Cross carry with Ruck Straps, distributing weight and making my baby feel almost lightweight. The Hip Cross Carry is a great poppable carry that came in quite handy after a scraped knee at the park. Newport was supportive enough to keep her still long enough for me to clean the wound, all the while she got the hugs she wanted from in the wrap at my hip. We had many sleepytime walks as well as at least one babywearing dance party. I continue to be impressed with the wraps from Bijou and the overall customer service and corporate culture.
Babywearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding twin Momma sharing my insights.