REVIEW: Diva Essenza Lilla Woven Wrap

IMG_4575Diva Essenza is a new range of wraps produced by, well known wrap company, Diva Milano.

I’ve never wrapped with a Diva Milano before so was excited to try another new brand of wrap. Looking at the company website, this is what is said with regards to the Essenza range of wrap;

…a new medium-priced line of wraps designed in Italy and produced in India.

…is baby wraps and ring slings with:

  • winning designs developed in Italy;
  • permanent stock of regular models and wide choice of colors;
  • sustainable quality from a carefully selected ISO-certified manufacturer;
  • affordable price.

The product  is of great quality, produced from a high quality Indian cotton, colored with AZO free dyes, at the ISO-certified factory which has a 30 years old history (just like our factory in Italy).

The fabric is 100% cotton of medium-thickness, with special mechanical pre-treatment to make it soft right out of the box, suitable for both newborns and toddlers. This is the right product for those who seek for “one wrap for all the babywearing period”, for affordable price.

To give an idea of cost comparison, a Diva Milano wrap (size 6, 100% cotton) costs around €154/£129 & a Diva Essenza wrap (size 6, 100% cotton) costs around €99/£83.

From what I understand from reading the website, the primary differences between Milano & Essenza is that the Milano are produced in Italy, the Essenza in India, & the Milano are woven from Egyptian cotton, the Essenza from Indian cotton.

I was the 3rd tester on the 2nd leg of the wraps journey travelling around the UK & having spoken to the tester before me, I was certainly curious as to how it would feel as when it arrived with her it was “rather crunchy” & you can read Rosie’s review here.

The wrap I was sent to test is a size 6, Diva Essenza Lilla made from 100% cotton. Immediate impressions was how heavy & thick the wrap felt, definitely living up to the description of being a medium thickness, if not medium-heavy. Although 100% cotton wraps can all feel completely different from each other, this one doesn’t feel like any other 100% cotton wrap I’ve had, it feels much more like it is a blend of cotton with a fibre such as linen or hemp. It is a very tight, dense weave in comparison to some of the previous wraps I have reviewed & owned, even where the pattern is, but I like that as I feel it can often make it feel less prone to being pulled or snagged & less delicate, despite the appearance. It is also really textured which is something which adds to the grippiness of it. It certainly feels like it could take a fair beating & would withstand being used as a hammock or a swing, I wouldn’t be worried about letting the children play with this one.

IMG_4571The next thing I noticed was how beautiful the colour was & how delicate the pattern appeared, it really is a very attractive wrap. It has middle markers on both rails, with one being on either side of the wrap which is quite helpful when wrapping as it means it doesn’t matter which way up you have the wrap or which side you have facing outwards. Everything is very neatly finished, from the way the middle markers are attached, to the hems, right to the tapers. It is clear the care which goes into the higher priced, Diva Milano wraps still goes into the Diva Essenza wraps, despite them being lower in price.

So, enough about appearance. What about how it wraps? Do not let appearances fool you. Despite its beautiful, delicate appearance, it is certainly not a delicate wrap to wrap with. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to wrap with when brand new & how much it would have felt like you were having to wrestle with the fabric to get passes into place. It certainly doesn’t have a great deal of bounce or stretch but there is a small amount of give which I think helps prevent the wrap from feeling completely unweildy.

IMG_4356The first carry I did was a FWCC (front wrap cross carry) & I immediately noticed how grippy the wrap was, I really had to be careful to get all the slack out, making sure to keep working at it to be extra sure that I had tightened it fully. My husband commented that when he wrapped with it, even though he thought he’d got it completely tight, he found that if he missed any slack at all, the wrap/horizontal pass just seemed to work its way loose when he did a FWCC. Although it wasn’t effortless to wrap with, once the carry was tightened it felt extremely secure & supportive with a wonderful amount of cush on the shoulders. The knot is quite large but this is something to be expected with a thick wrap, especially one which isn’t fully broken in.

Next up, was a ruck tied tibetan. Despite being a single layer carry, G felt really well supported & it was a really secure finish, the grippiness of the wrap really comes into its own here as once the carry was ‘tied’ off, it certainly wasn’t going anywhere! You can see how high up he stayed whilst we were out, he didn’t slip or sag at all. You do need to make sure the fabric is well spread to prevent any digging on the shoulders but I think this is due to it not being fully broken in & once it is, then it will be wonderful & cushy on the shoulders, even with the sloppiest of wrap jobs!

IMG_4328The third carry I tried was a front double hammock. This was quite difficult to get into place & you can see from the picture there are some loose areas, partly down to me attempting to wrap a sleeping child! However, the passes were difficult to tighten but again, I think that once the wrap is fully broken in it will be much easier to wrap with & the cush certainly makes up for the difficulty I had with tightening the passes.

It does wrap slightly short but this is more so down to the thickness as it measures as a definite size 6, so I would recommend that if you’re unsure of what size to get then sizing up is probably a safer option if you normally tie in the tails of a wrap.

IMG_4372It certainly still needs some breaking in, so I would have to disagree that these wraps are “soft right out the box”, I feel it would definitely need breaking in to a certain extent before being gentle enough for the delicate skin of a newborn. It isn’t a wrap for those who dislike putting in some degree of effort breaking in a wrap, as despite being the 3rd tester, I still feel this needs further work to really reach its full, broken in, potential. All that said, once it is broken in I think it will be a wonderful wrap & suitable for babies, to toddlers & beyond!

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