A gorgeous and easy-to-use wrap, Imperial would be a great choice for wrappers of all skill levels. [Image of me, a thin white woman with dark hair, wearing my white baby boy on my front in red and black wrap Soul Imperial, tied in a front double hammock. This image focuses on the shoulder flip shoeing the red side of the wrap. My baby is looking off to the distance. There's a rainbow and sun rays from the upper left corner.]
Review: Soul Slings Imperial
by Amy Wraps Babies
Manufacturer: Soul Slings of India
Pattern and Colorway: Imperial
Fiber: 100% cotton
Release date: September 2016
Size tested: 5.85 meters
Stats of (willing) wrappee at time of test: 13 months, ~23 pounds, ~30 inches
Big thanks to Soul for offering to send Imperial over for a run! This was ny first experience with a Soul wrap; our local babywearing group is lucky enough to have one of their mei tais, and they're fanastic and quite popular of course, but now I get to learn just a little bit more about this line with some wrap play time!
[Image of me wearing my baby on my back in red and black Soul Imperial, tied in a double hammock with a Xena finish using a large red sling ring. The image focuses on me from neck to waist and I am turned slightly to the side to show my baby resting his head on my back. I'm standing in front of an old grey fence.]
Weave and Fiber Stats
Thickness (thin to thick): medium thin
Softness (soft to scratch): medium soft/soft
Density (airy to tight): medium airy
Texture (raised or flat, coarse to smooth): subtle micro texture
Soap (dry to soapy): medium
Care: (easy to difficult): medium (machine washable, may pull with use)
I have to start with the color on this one. This red is the perfect deep red all on its own, and when paired with the black fill it deepens the red even more. Red isn't usually a color I go for so I was glad to have something from Soul that brought me out of my comfort zone a little bit.
[Image of a red and black wrap Soul Imperial tied in a front wrap cross carry. The image focuses on the red side of the wrap; my baby's light brown hair brushes the middle marker which is white with a blue heart.]
The next thing I noticed was the thickness and texture. In hand, Imperial feels somewhat thin and maybe a little flat. There's some texture in the pattern here and there but overall it's pretty smooth and soft. I feel like it deserves the "thin" rating because even though its gsm is relatively high at 280 (high for a thin wrap!), it doesn't wrap that heavy. Bunched passes don't take up a ton of bulk. Even for the length (5.8 meters!) it didn't seem overwhelming, likely due to it being on the thin side.
The only reason I didn't rate the care on this one as super easy (because the cotton is super easy care) is that there are some floats in the weave on the red side that are a bit long. I never had a pull (whew!) but I could see where these might get pulled easily due to their length.
[Image of me from neck to waist wearing a red and black woven wrap Soul Imperial tied in Rainbow's Back Carry. My baby boy is on my back with his sleeping face appearing above my shoulder and his legs at my sides.]
Wrap Qualities (definitions here)
Grip (glide to stick): medium
Support (light to heavy): medium
Stretch (none to lots): medium
Cush (none to marshmallow): medium
Moldability: conforms well to curves
Flop (none to silky): floppy
I feel bad for all the mediums there - they make a giant understatement of this wrap's lovely qualities. The subtle texture from the pattern lends to a decent bit of grip - not too much as again, everything is pretty medium here, but enough that a knot would hold in place while I finished fiddling with shoulder flips or something. Knotless finishes held nicely in this wrap, like with the knotless tucks in Rainbow's Back Carry.
[Image taken from under my arm showing the side of Rainbow's Back Carry in a red and black woven wrap Soul Imperial. The lighting is fuzzy and there's a rainbow ready of light in the upper left corner.]
I preferred using this wrap in a base+ because I enjoyed it most for multi-pass carries. When wraps are on the thinner side I tend to like them in longer sizes anyway, but I think the slightly airy weave makes a wrap that does well with more passes. Front carries like Front Double Hammock and Reinforced Kangaroo were favorites, but I still really liked the classic Front Wrap Cross Carry with bunched passes, so this wrap can totally hold up to single-layer carries just fine. It's a matter of personal preference, not what the wrap can or can't handle which is great.
[Image of red and black wrap Soul Imperial tied in a front Reinforced Kangaroo carry. This image focuses on my baby's back showing the red and black sides of the wrap. My baby's baby's light brown hair brushes the middle marker which is white with a blue heart.]
Imperial has a nice bit of stretch - not too much but just enough to make it moldable, comfortable, and not sacrifice support. Again, another "medium" on the list that translates in practice to a nice balance. Imperial was nice and floppy when I received it. I don't think it has traveled long - it feels like one of those cotton wraps that breaks in quickly.
[Image of me, a thin white woman with dark hair, wearing my sleeping white baby boy in a red and black woven wrap Soul Imperial tied in Rainbow's Back Carry.]
Soul has this to say about their practices, "Soul jacquards are woven in an ethical and environment-friendly mill from Southern India, which uses only wind and solar energy to run their entire factory. They are a completely green manufacturing unit and after using the energy they need they have surplus to send back into the grid. Only the best quality baby-safe dyes are used and no child labour is involved at any stage. Our jacquards are finished and converted into carriers and accessories in-house at Soul factory based in Bangalore, India."
Find more information about Soul Slings on their website, http://www.soulslings.com/, on Instagram as @soulslings, on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/soulslings/, and their Facebook chatter groups for the Global Soul Family, https://www.facebook.com/groups/GlobalSoulFamily/, and the Soul Family US Edition, https://www.facebook.com/groups/soul.family.US/. Thank you again to Soul for having me host Imperial!
I have not been compensated for this review.