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 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 have started gifting rebozos as part of my birth doula package. I once tried 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), which meant that there was way too much fabric wrapped around her hips, 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 a bigger 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 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 (and the odd wool one). 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 cup the body really closely. 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, and 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 stripey weave rebozos are both beautiful, grippy and sturdy, and come in lengths of either 1.8 or 2.5 meter long. 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. 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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