REVIEW: Shire Slings Russian Dolls Woven Wrap

IMG_0679Shire Slings is a local business based in West Yorkshire. The concept for the business was developed in 2010 by two mothers who between them have 8 children, a sling library & a large personal wrap collection but it has taken almost 4 years of hard work to get to the point of having a product which meets their high standards & they were happy with!

Their aim is to produce high quality baby wraps which are suitable for everyone from a complete beginner to a babywearing professional, that will stand the test of time & are produced from fine, natural materials which are sourced as locally as possible. In fact, everything from the sourcing of the yarn, to the weaving & the finishing is completed within a few miles of their base in Huddersfield!

I was handed this wrap at a sling meet by another local consultant & it came wrapped in a lovely apple green muslin cloth all tied up with string with a brown tag, it was like getting a present! I really loved this little touch & there are many other little touches that I really like about this company & their wraps. The wrap that is travelling is the Russian Dolls pattern & the story behind the design is wonderful. There are 2 families of dolls on the wrap which represent the 2 families behind the company & the children of the family are represented by the stars on one set of dolls & the flowers on the other. The company logo is a Dog Rose, which according to Shire Slings “…never fail to surprise with their elegant beauty and grace when you come across them on urban back streets or peeping out of the hedgerows” & it also represents a rose for Yorkshire, where the company is based.

The wrap is made from a blend of 50% cotton with 50% combed cotton & has a weight of around 241gsm according to the company website, making it a medium weight wrap. I was quite surprised with how the wrap felt when I opened it. I was fairly early into the wraps travels but it almost felt how I would imagine a new linen wrap would feel, quite robust & almost stiff. Despite its stiffness, it wasn’t particularly difficult to wrap with & it was solid once G was up.

I took it to a slingmeet to see what people thought. Everyone loved the story behind the wrap & the combinations of colours, the apple green next to the teal blue. We took some time to braid the wrap & run it through sling rings in an attempt to help with the breaking in process. It definitely made a difference & helped soften the wrap.

My favourite wraps are a bit like that pair of jeans we all have, the favourites that always fit well, are comfortable & easy to wear. I have a habit of reaching for my more well-used & favourite wraps for that very reason. So I decided to challenge myself & take this wrap out for the day & take nothing else with me meaning I didn’t even have the option of reaching for the old faithful!

IMG_0877We went for a day out at Sherwood Forest to really put the wrap through its paces. I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable it was! Sometimes wraps which still need a bit more breaking in can have a tendency to get a little diggy over the course of a long day out but this one wasn’t uncomfortable at all. I started with a double hammock & although it was a little difficult to get completely snug, it wrapped well & was supportive for G, even with the little bit of slack that was there. A little later on & we opted for a front wrap cross carry which was another comfortable, supportive carry, even without the passes spread! It did seem to slip a little but this is most likely to it having been a little difficult to get all of the slack out in the first attempt & the slack working its way to the front! That said, I think that as the wrap breaks in it will become softer, easier to tighten & still retain how supportive it is.

I think this wrap more than meets the aims these ladies have set for themselves. It is a wrap which will suit almost everyone & will stand the test of time. Once broken in, I think it will be soft yet sturdy & a wrap I wouldn’t be afraid to use as a picnic blanket at the park or to let G make a den from it as he gets older, I would use it & enjoy it as well as encouraging G to enjoy it too!


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