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 5 years, I have developed my own knowledge of rebozo use and how varied it 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.
I have come to realise that different rebozos lend themselves to different activities.
You can use any rebozo for pretty much any technique.
However 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!
I once tried to wrap the hips of a pregnant client, but I brought an XL length (2.6m) rebozo instead of a standard 1.8 m one, which meant that there was either way too much fabric wrapped around her hips, or that it trailed on a floor, a massive trip hazard for a pregnant women!
If you are very tall and want to use your rebozo to rock a woman’s hips on the floor, then a standard 1.8m length might mean that you need to bend forward quite a lot, which could make you uncomfortable, so a longer length 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 some which vary from 50cm to 80cm in width.
The 50 cm I find a little too narrow to cup the average woman’s hips comfortably. A 60 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 woman. 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 cotton so I only stock cotton rebozos. There are lots of rebozos made from synthetic fabric these days and I’m not keen on the feel of them. Wool rebozos can be good for warmth.
The open weave cotton rebozos lend themselves very well to wrapping, and their natural grip means that they stay put when tucked around someone’s body. The open weave means that they really cup and mould around the body. On the other hand, the open weave makes them prone to pulls, but these are easily pulled back into the weave by tugging on the fabric.
The rainbow rebozos I sell from Guatemala are stunning. They are a statement piece, and I love to wear one as a scarf or wrapped around my waist. They are quite long (2.7 m), which makes them well suited for taller people. They lend themselves well to many techniques, but they are relatively narrow (50cm) and the mix cotton/silk makes the fabric more slippery, so be mindful if using them for the hip wrapping technique as the slipperiness of the fabric can make them come untucked.
The traditional rhomboid type weave rebozos are both beautiful, grippy and sturdy, and come in lengths of either 2 or 3 meter long. They are soft straight away, and the closed weave makes them less prone to pulls and broken threads. They are also slightly thicker than the open weave ones. They are an all round versatile sturdy rebozo, and they make a good baby carrier too.
The striped rebozos are made of a strong, woven wrap type fabric, and come in different lengths (between 2 and 2.2 m long). They are quite stiff new and will take some breaking in, but soften beautifully and are almost indestructible. They also make a good baby carrier.
I have found that most rebozos standard length is around 2m with fringe included. I think anything between 2 and 2.5 m will work for most people. 3m is good for taller people or larger clients. The longer length can give more versatility.
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