Product Reviews — Tencel

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LaKeta Kemp Review and Comparison of Linen and Tencel Blends 0

Linen Blend: 25% Linen / 75% Cotton
Tencel Blend: 50% Tencel / 50% Cotton

Mini Review: I had the pleasure of wearing both blends of the Apple Blossom Wovens Evening Flame. My babies are two years and 29 pounds.

Support: The Linen blend was more supportive than the Tencel. I found that the linen threads seem to balance out the soft stretch of the cotton and prevented sagging and the need for extra tightening in front carries. The only carry I had trouble with was the Popparoo where I just couldn't get it tight enough to keep the poppins finish in place. The regular kangaroo was a breeze in both blends with the linen being a tiny bit more supportive in a front carry than the Tencel.

Glide & Grip: The Tencel had much more glide than the Linen blend and made multilayer back carries amazing as the wrap slid over itself, making for some seriously smooth passes without effort. The Linen had more grip and while the passes were smooth, I noticed the top or bottom rails would fold back on itself requiring a correction to get the pass ultra smooth for aesthetics. The grip in the linen blend made the date night finish an easy one to do, the Lexi twist staying in place and the knotless finish locked tight. Smoothing out the final pass over chest in the Date night finish was easier in the Linen blend than the Tencel, holding better as the grip provided the extra hold.

Softness: The only rival I have worn to date on softness to the recent Apple Blossom wraps are handwovens and Bamboo blends. You definitely have the market on soft for machine woven. Tencel proved to be softer than the Linen although if I hadn't checked the tag I would have said they were identical in softness.

Shoulder Feel: Both were amazing in single layer carries on the shoulder. The Ruck reminded me of the combed cotton in Firespiral Slings in the Tencel being both pillowy and cushy. I was shocked at how pillowy the shoulder was after feeling the heavier GSM of both wraps after Morning Glory giving rise to a greater threads per inch also helping with the support in Evening Flame.

Pliability: Both were extremely floppy, with the Tencel gaining a slight edge over the Linen for moldability. The Tencel blend seemed to wrap more like an ace wrap, clinging and forming to the curves of the body.

Heat Retention: As expected the Tencel retained less heat than the Linen blend. I wore on a series of very cold (for us) days at about 42F over both of us in hoodies and long sleeves. I gravitated toward Evening Flame (pun totally intended) in Linen to help keep us warmer as the wind was high and biting. The next day was the same and the Tencel blend was airy enough in the same carry to give me a slight chill and baby actually kept her hood and hat on.

If I had to choose just one I would probably select the Linen blend over the Tencel but only by a narrow margin and with the knowledge that the Tencel holds much richer colors better than Linen. If I could have a pie in the sky I would blend with all three, cotton, Tencel, and Linen to combine their relative qualities.

 

Mariana Igoe Review: Size 6 Tencel Blend 0

Review of ABW (Apple Blossom Wovens) Silver Tencel Tester
Size 6 (base)
Fibers: 50% cotton/ 50% Tencel

Wrapper: 14 mo wrapping. Intermediate/ moderate experience with front and back carries. 

Wrapees: 1 yr old. 19 lbs. 29" aka B 2.5 yr old. 30 lbs. 37.5" aka S

I was super excited when I was chosen to host this wrap for a week! I had not wrapped with an ABW before, and was really excited about their revolutionary weaving method using a vintage power loom to create wraps that look, feel and act like handwoven wraps but at an accessible and affordable machine woven price point smile emoticon

First impressions: absolute love . The colors are beautiful and I loved the gradient. Not too stripy or busy so, aesthetically, it was my cup of tea. I don't say this lightly, but the cotton/ tencel combination is officially MY new favorite. It was so soft and light and I loved the chevron weave. I could tell this baby has been loved and it's well broken in.

WQ: Cotton/ Tencel is medium-thin but in one word... sturdy! Tencel allows for extra easy glide and this weave extra grip. The perfect combination of glide/ grip/ support. Not a lot of cushiness (which surprised me because it was so cushy to cuddle with) but it held EVERY carry we tried with minimal sag. Airy and perfect thickness for South Florida's humid heat! Thumbs up!!!!!

Compared to: I honestly haven't tried anything quite like ABW! As far as other handwovens go, I would compare this to a Meeyoo meets Erizo. 

And machine wovens, this reminds me of my Butterfly Babys (Vaquero) wraps. All of these afore mentioned were my go to ALWAYS!!!

Recommend: to everyone! It was comfortable all around in every front/ back carry with both B and S! I would say to go with a longer wrap for bigger toddlers as it was most comfortable with double passes! Perfect for beginners! The color gradient would help an inexperienced wrapper master the tightening of the rails smile emoticon

I am thankful for being given the opportunity to host this tester. I am now convinced I need not one, but two ABWs (short and base) as I know they would be reached for very often here. A++++++

 
Alanna Cates Review: Size 6 Tencel Blend

Alanna Cates Review: Size 6 Tencel Blend 0

Blend: 50% Tencel / 50% Cotton

Weight: 359g/m2

Size: 6

Wrapper: 4 months

Wrappee: 4 months

From the minute I took this out of the package I fell in love! It is so soft and cushy I could have snuggled up on the couch and cuddled with it myself! And I love the light colors of the silver weft.

Pros: This wrap glides into place so easily. I have had trouble perfecting back carries because I am so short and my LO has to be up so high, but the first carry I tried (DH with a CCCB) just glided perfectly into place! It was so easy to pull the wrap up and over his body and into place. I carried him on my back for over 2 hours at a festival and could barely feel the weight of him at all. I never had to readjust and tighten after I got him up because of how supportive this wrap is.

Cons: I think me along with many others can say the only con is that it cannot stay here forever! I will be sad to see it go and will definitely miss it in my stash!

I have had experience with tencel before but the wraps resembled more machine woven whereas Apple Blossoms resemble handwoven. I prefer this tencel because it is just a tad thicker and much softer with its handowoven qualities which makes it feel much more secure. I would recommend this wrap to any beginner or experienced wrapper! This wrap I think could help wrappers perfect the carries that are harder for them as it did for me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adrienne Thames Review: Size 6 Tencel Blend 0


Brand: Apple Blossom Woven

Style: Evening Flame

Color: Silver Weft (Tester, will not be released)

Fiber Content: Tencel blend

Weight: 359 g/m2

Size: 6

How long I have been wrapping: 2 years

Wrappee: 30 lb 2 year old

At a glance: Super soft! It is like picking up your favorite soft and perfectly broken in sweatshirt. Budget friendly for the quality of wrap with amazing colors.

Pros: Super supportive even with a 30 pound toddler. This wrap is great with a single pass carry as well as with a multiple pass carry. It is extremely forgiving so would be great for new wrappers as well as advanced babywearers. The tencel is so soft making it perfect for a squish or a toddler. This wrap is soft enough that my toddler wanted to cuddle it like a blanket.

Cons: The only con is that it could not live here forever! This literally is my favorite wrap I have ever wrapped with.

Tencel takes a bit more time to tighten properly than 100% cotton wraps, but with proper tightening we did not have much sag even with extended carry times. This wrap is the perfect mixture of glide and grip. It slides smoothly during the wrap process, but grips so well even with a knotless tie off. The tencel makes it so cushy even on my picky shoulders with no dig. Apple Blossom Woven has created such unique wovens in machine woven form. I have not found any machine wovens on the market that compare to the handwoven qualities of Apple Blossom Wovens; this wrap truly looks and feels handwoven. I highly recommend Apple Blossom Wovens for wrappers of all experience levels.

 

Jay McMillan Review: Size 7 Cotton 0

Review by Modern Babywearing

A few months back, I saw a Morning Glory v.1 woven wrap pop up on my Instagram fee, and was immediately curious about this unique machine woven wrap that so closely resembled a handwoven in appearance. I reached out to Apple Blossom Wovens to learn more about them and their wraps, and was lucky to stumble upon a really awesome new American brand. They initially sent me 3 different wraps to review, an Heirloom v.1, an Heirloom with Tencel, and finally a Morning Glory v.1 – the same one I had seen a photo of. I am happy to review the Morning Glory prototype – which was truly a gorgeous piece of textile.

I received a Size 7 (5.2 meters) Morning Glory v.1 with a natural weft. Right out of the box I was enamored by the softness of the yarn. They are using Maurice Brassard yarn currently, which is sourced from Canada – though they are in the process of trying to switch over to a yarn that is produced in the U.S. The gradient weave was reminiscent of many popular handwoven brands, with that same point twill structure we are used to seeing. Weighing in at 280 g/m^2, this wrap is most definitely in the thick category. Despite its thickness, it is a really loose weave – making it breathable and airy for even hot weather wrapping. It wrapped pretty true to size, I was able to do all carries I would normally do in this length, without having to ‘size up’ due to thickness.

Our first carry in Morning Glory was (surprisingly) a Front Wrap Cross Carry. I almost never use this carry with my 31 lb 3.5 year old anymore – but I was trying to finish up a conference call… and my Dragon Baby was not cooperating. I wrapped her up and was able to comfortably wear her for the better part of an hour. The wrap was so soft and so cozy, it was perfect for bedtime cuddles. My daughter remarked that it was “softer than her blanket”. It had great support for a toddler in this multi-pass carry!

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Double Hammock shows off the gradient nicely.

Next time we wore it was in a Double Hammock. This wrap really shines in this carry! The multiple passes give you excellent support, and you can’t beat that chest pass for showing off the gradient. The smoothness of the yarn makes those cross-passes slide effortlessly, the diagonal stretch allows you to get a really snug fit – even with a giant toddler. I did not have to do any wrestling to get these passes in place, and they stayed nicely once tied off. After a half hour hiking around the farm, I experienced no movement from the wrap. More importantly, we were both very comfortable by the end of that excursion.

I tried it another time in an ruck tied Tibetan, but I liked it a lot less in this carry. Here the diagonal stretch that I loved in the multi-pass carries, led to a bit of sagging in this single-pass carry. That is not to say that it would not be great with a smaller baby… but I needed a little bit more recovery with my 3.5 year old. I can see this being great as a Rebozo with a small baby though! I would not discount it all together as a shorty wrap – I just personally found it to be a great fit for my bigger wearee in a multi-pass carry. 

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Knot Shot with a leggy 3 year old in Morning Glory v.1

These wraps are 100% cotton, easy to care for. The wrapping qualities make it a solid choice for a new or seasoned babywearer. Although thick, it was not bulky and I don’t feel like it would overwhelm a smaller baby. Overall, what I found most appealing about these wraps was that you could obtain the same beautiful look and wrapping qualities of a more expensive handwoven wrap – at a machine woven price point. A Size 6 will run you about $180 which places it in the mid-range category. This is actually one of the original aims of the company – to make this style of woven wrap accessible to those wrappers who may not be able to afford the highly sought after handwovens.

Lisa & Emmy
Lisa and her daughter in a wrap she wove herself

Apple Blossom Wovens was started by Lisa Carter about a year ago. She was inspired by the beauty of the handwoven scene, but found that her financial situation would not allow her to afford many of these pieces of woven art. Lisa knew that if she was in that situation, there must be other caregivers who also appreciated the beauty of these wovens, but were unable to commit to the price points associated with the market. Having had an interest in handcrafts and textiles for most of her life, she happily began to research looms and different weaving styles to try and find a way to make this style of gradient wrap more accessible. Lisa sought out a local weaver’s guild in Ohio, and learned to weave her own woven wrap. She quickly realized that the time and effort put into hand weaving was what contributed to the pricing, and decided that there must be a way to accomplish this same look with a power loom. Her search led her to a family owned mill in Pennsylvania, where a father and son team was weaving textiles on this 90 year old Vintage Draper Dobby Loom. These weavers have over 100 years weaving experience between them, and were able to work with Lisa to create the type of gradient weave she had been imagining. And so, Apple Blossom Wovens was born.

Apple Blossom Wovens is a husband and wife team. While Lisa is responsible for the designs and the brand marketing, her husband helps with accounting, and puts his art degree to good use consulting on color design and theory alongside Lisa. It is a far cry from the Mathematics Degree Lisa had started out towards, but having this business allows her to work from home and spend time with her children – something she feels lucky to be able to do. Her passion for supporting the American textile industry keeps her working only with small weavers based in the United States, and her products have been finished by a local seamstress. Her newest batch of ring slings will be finished by Going Uppy, another work at home mom that she is thrilled to support. 

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Heirloom v.1 prototype

I mentioned they are sourcing the yarn from Canada, which is in part because the only U.S. producer they can find has a minimum order of about 5 times the amount they actually needs for a 100 yard production run. They were previously using a yarn sourced locally – this was what the Heirloom v.1 tester I had the opportunity to try was woven with. Lisa described it as being “rough and hard to break in”, though I think she is being really diplomatic. It was pretty sand-papery and had no give to it. When I received it, I mentioned I was going to wash it… and was shocked to hear it had already been washed and worn! I am happy that they have moved on from that source, it was pretty unwearable. As the production runs start to increase, they aim to start sourcing the yarn here in the states.

The liability involved in manufacturing baby carriers makes securing funding via bank loans and private investors a real hurdle to get over. Lisa found this out first hand, and ultimately borrowed from her family’s savings account to fund the initial investment that started Apple Blossom Wovens. Since then, every production run is financed by the profits from the previous run – meaning that production quantities are increasing… but gradually. A standard 100 yard run returns about 17 wraps and 2 ring slings. This seems like a very limited quantity to us as consumers, but only because we are not accustomed to manufacturers actually communicating the amount of wraps they are releasing. These numbers are quite standard across the industry, with many smaller mills having a standard minimum order of 100 yards.

Loom
View of the Vintage Loom in progress

Lisa’s an avid babywearer herself. She wore everything from a Baby Bjorn after the birth of her first daughter in 2008, to her first wrap – a Girasol No. 22, which she eventually sold to finance a Didymos Ornament. When she set out to create Apple Blossom Wovens, she wanted to create a beautiful but accessible brand that thrifty families like her own could justify splurging on. These wraps are one of a kind. None of them will be re-woven ever… making them collectible pieces of art. For Lisa, this fits into the philosophy of wanting to make wraps for frugal families. With the saturation of the woven wrap market currently, it is important to her that families investing in her product will be able to retain the value of the carrier in the resale market –  a market that was a big part of her personal wearing journey.

When asked about her influences, Lisa said: “I can’t say that one particular company has influenced me, but rather the industry as a whole; it’s an industry almost exclusively run by strong, entrepreneurial women, with the same family responsibilities as I have. That has been so encouraging to me, when I start to get overwhelmed with juggling family and work responsibilities.”

I completely agree. Her story, and the stories of so many other women in this industry have been a huge inspiration to me. It has been a real pleasure to work with Apple Blossom Wovens on this piece, and to be a part of their journey. I am so excited for their next release! Keep an eye out on their website or Facebook Page for upcoming pre-orders – this is definitely a brand to watch out for.

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Apple Blossom Wovens Morning Glory v.1 with my 3.5 year old toddler