What does base size mean, and how do I find my base size?

Your base size is simply the wrap you need to tie a front wrap cross carry when carrying one baby. 

Front Wrap Cross Carry with a 6 month baby using a size 7 woven wrap
What does that mean for me? What is my base size and how do I work it out?

Your base size can change over time, although it is pretty much always a long wrap (sizes 5 – 8 +)

Factors that can affect your base size are:

  • Your dress/chest size
  • The size of your child
  • Your wrapping experience; a more practised wrapper may be able to remove more slack from the wrap and therefore use less length
  • The thickness/grippiness of the wrap cloth; you may need a slightly longer wrap if it is very thick
  • Variations in standard sizing. Our wraps go up in size by 50cm increments (so a size 6 is 4.7m, size 7 is 5.2m etc). Some companies use uneven methods of sizing, so their size 6 may be longer or shorter than ours.
  • Your personal preference: Some people prefer to have as little cloth to work with as possible, other people like long swishy tails left over.

As a very rough guide for dress sizes:

UK sizes 20 and above (US size 16 and above) X Large= size 8 and above woven wrap
UK sizes 16-18 (US size 12-14) Large= size 7/8 woven wrap
UK sizes 12- 14 (US size 8-10) Medium = size 6/7 woven wrap
UK sizes 8-10  (US size 4-6 ) Small = size 5/6 woven wrap
UK size 6 and below (US 2 and below) X Small = size 5 or smaller

This doesn’t take any personal factors into account though, especially chest/bust size which can vary massively if you are nursing.

There is no truly accurate method for calculating base size without actually wrapping and seeing what works best. As an average (in the UK) a size 6 would be a good starting point for most people. Generally it is easier to have a slightly longer wrap and pass it round your waist an extra time than it is to struggle to tie off a a wrap that’s a bit too short for you.
Borrowing a wrap from a sling library or friend is really helpful if that is an option for you.

Once you know your base size, you can use it to work out what length of wrap you would need for specific carries.
Carries will often be described as needing a ‘base-1’ wrap or a ‘base+2’ length wrap, rather than just saying ‘use a size 4’.
This allows you to personally calculate the wrap you’ll need to use. You may need a size 4 wrap for a ‘base-2 carry, whereas someone else might need a size 5 to do the exact same carry.

Resources like Wearing Wiki allow you to sort carries according to base size.

The Firespiral team all have different sizes of body, ages of child and styles of wrapping, yet these balance out for us all having a base size of 6!

Tamsin wears a Ruck tied Tibetan with a pre-schooler in a size 6
Jen wears a Front wrap cross carry with a toddler in a size 6

At Firespiral we stock wraps in sizes 2-8, but can make sizes 9 and above to order- just drop us an email at contact@firespiralslings.co.uk and let us know what you’re looking for!

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