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Sophie’s guide to choosing a rebozo

I often get asked what is the best rebozo to use, so here is a little guide based on my experience of using a wide range of rebozos styles.

When I started using rebozos 5 years ago, I only had one, a short, open weave one. It worked well for me, and I used it to support many mums through labour.

Over the last 6 years that I have worked as doula, I have developed my own knowledge of rebozo use and how varied the different styles of rebozo can be.

I have practised rebozo techniques and  facilitated workshops using rebozos with several hundred women (and a few men) of all shapes and sizes. I also acquired a rather large number of different rebozos and shawls/scarves from different countries.

Whilst you can use any rebozo for pretty much any technique, I have come to realise that different rebozos can lend themselves to different activities.

Rebozos can be a bit like shoes. Just like you’d wear different shoes to go hiking or to attend a wedding, you will find that certain lengths or types of fabric lend themselves better to certain techniques.

If you’re short like me (I’m 5ft3), and want to be able to wear the rebozo like a scarf or shawl, then a standard length (1.8 m plus fringe) will work better than a 2.7m length which will tends to trail on the floor!

Despite being short, I sometimes support tall clients and after finding my standard rebozo length slightly too short for a particular technique during the birth of a tall woman, I always make sure to have both a long and a short rebozo with me at births.

I have started gifting rebozos to clients as part of my birth doula package. I once taught a pregnant women how to wrap the hips of a pregnant woman, but I brought an XL length (2.5m) rebozo instead of a standard 1.8 m one by mistake (they looked the same), and she was a very petite woman, which meant that there was way too much fabric wrapped around her hips, making it feel cumbersome, either that or or that it trailed on a floor, a massive trip hazard for a pregnant woman, so I brought her a shorter one at the next visit!

If you are tall (over 5ft6) and you want to use your rebozo to rock a woman’s hips whilst she lies on the floor, then a standard 1.8m length means that you will need to bend forward quite a lot as you work, which could make you uncomfortable, so a longer length (2.5m) might work better for you.

Similarly, if the woman you are supporting is a big person, then a short rebozo (especially if you are tall), might not be long enough to wrap/cup her body and allow you to work comfortably.

Much of this is also down to personal preference and experience.

Rebozos also come in different widths. I have seen some which vary from 50cm to 80cm in width.

A narrow width like 50 cm, might be a little too narrow to cup the average woman’s hips comfortably. A 60 to 70 cm width works better in my opinion. Very wide rebozos can still be used comfortably, but they might be slightly more difficult to adjust if you want to focus on rocking a very specific part of the body, or if your client is a very petite person. They make great cosy shawls/blankets though!

As well as length, there are lots of different types of material, weaves and thickness etc.

I personally prefer natural fabric,  so I only stock cotton rebozos (apart from the rainbow one which is a mix of cotton and silk). There are lots of rebozos made from synthetic fabric (acrylic) these days and I’m not keen on the feel of them.

The open weave rebozos lend themselves very well to wrapping. The open weave means that they cup the body really closely, which is great for rocking and massage. They are also very grippy which means they stay tucked when wrapped around the body. They are my favourite rebozo for closing the bones. The open weave makes them prone to pulls, but these are easily pulled back into the weave by tugging on the fabric.

They come both in the standard (1.8m) and longer (2.5m) length.

 

 

The rainbow rebozos from Guatemala are stunning. They are a statement piece, and I love to wear one as a scarf or wrapped around my abdomen and hips. They are quite long (2.7 m), which makes them well suited for taller people. They lend themselves well to many techniques, they are relatively narrow (50cm) so might be not be suited to a bigger person. The mix cotton/silk makes the fabric more slippery than pure cotton fabric, so be mindful when using them for wrapping techniques as the slipperiness of the fabric can make them come untucked more easily.

 

 

The traditional rhomboid type or striped closed weave rebozos are both beautiful, grippy and sturdy. Most of them are soft straight away (tough depending on the weaver some may need more than a wash and some use to soften the fabric, a bit like when using a brand new woven wrap), and the closed weave makes them less prone to pulls and broken threads. They are also slightly thicker than the open weave rebozos. They are an all round versatile sturdy rebozo, and they make a good baby carrier too (here is a bunch of wrapping tutorials that shows you carries you can do with a 2.5m wrap which is referred to as a size 2 wrap in the babywearing world). They are the kind of rebozo I like to take to a birth because of their sturdiness. I’m now bringing both a long one and a short one in my bag for versatility (having found my 1.8m one was too short to comfortably do certain rebozo techniques will really tall clients).

I stock these in both the standard and longer length.

I have found that most rebozos standard length is around 1.8m (2m with fringe included). I think anything between 2 and 2.5 m will work for most people. The longer length can give more versatility.

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2 Comments

  1. Sarah joy jones on October 31, 2019 at 9:51 am

    Dear Sophie
    I am looking to purchase some authentic rebozo scarves to use in my birth class . I am just starting out as an independent midwife, having been a practising mideife since the mid nineties. I like the fact that yours are fairly traded and made with natural fibres . Are they washable?

    • sophie on October 31, 2019 at 1:28 pm

      Hi Sarah Joy! Thank you for your comment. Yes they are washable in fact if you click on each type and scroll down you’ll find washing instructions 🙂

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