I was very happy to be part of the travelling wrap tour for the Russian Dolls Shire Slings wrap recently. Yolanda and Mari run this small business, a wrap company based right here in God’s Own Country of Yorkshire. Every aspect of their wraps is produced locally; the creation of the yarn, the weaving and the sewing is done in Huddersfield, a town that has a very rich textiles industry, supplying famous fashion houses and royalty, it seems! It’s a lovely story of two friends with a gaggle of children who loved wrapping, had a large collection of their own, and realised they could join forces!
Their logo is the dog-rose, a pretty single petalled wild rose. Yorkshire has a link with white roses, its emblem in the Wars of the Roses, so the rose seems fitting for this local company. It’s been woven into the wrap as a recurring motif which is a delightful touch!
Yolanda runs a sling consultancy and library, and her experience in this field has been part and parcel of the design and construction of the Shire Slings wraps. They’ve chosen to work with a very durable cotton, that once broken in, can be used for babies and toddlers, is easy to care for, and strong and sturdy enough to be used as picnic blankets as well as stylish slings. It’s a very Yorkshire no-nonsense approach; these no-nonsense wraps are designed to stand the test of time! They have different coloured rails at the top and bottom, very useful for identifying your passes and learning how to wrap.
They have two designs; the clever Love Geek, with the chemical symbol of oxytocin, the “love hormone” as a repeating pattern, and the Russian Dolls, which was sent to me. Both share the vibrant apple and petrol colours, eyecatching and unique. The combination works very well – easy to pick out and identify in a crowd!
Russian Dolls is a blend of 50% cotton and 50% combed cotton. It is a size 6, measuring just short of 4.85cm and 68 cm wide, with a density of 241 g/m2 (taken from the maker’s information), making it medium weight. It arrived with me freshly washed and ironed (thank you Rachel!) It is a very dense, snug weave, that won’t be prone to pulls, even when used frequently outdoors.
The hems are neat, the care label is unobtrusive (with a nice little rose forming the “o” of made with love in Y*rkshire”), and the middle marker is a little black tab sewn securely onto the hem itself. It’s easy to find! Tapers are standard.
First impressions was that this was still a very new wrap, with a lot of breaking in to be done… it reminded me a little of brand new linen, crunchy and stiff. It virtually stood up on the floor by itself – in part due to the recent wash. This means it will be supportive…. and so it proved! I would love to see how this feels once it has completed its travelling tour as the combination of superb support with hopefully the softness of the cotton should be excellent.
As it was, I found it quite hard to wrap with, as it hasn’t yet gained mouldability or drape. I had to work a bit at making passes snug and ensuring no loose fabric which can later lead to sag or digging, but once it was done the carries were rock solid, even with a pretty sloppy wrap job. The grip is great – it was easy to get and keep a nice high carry. I imagine when the cotton has fluffed up, the sparse pattern will lend itself to a very nice glide. Maggie wasn’t a very willing wrappee, due to the lovely weather, but she found it hard to escape from this wrap!
At sling library, people loved the colours, and we’re all keen to see how it feels when its floppy and soft! I think, once broken in, this will probably become a lovely, strong, supportive, take-me-anywhere wrap you can use for smallies and big kids alike, without fear of pulls or damage. It will be easy to care for, being all cotton, and very trustworthy!