our everyday life

How to Select a Fabric for Children's Clothes

by Cara Batema, studioD

Whether you’re making your own kid’s clothes or just checking the labels of store-bought items, you should be aware of the fabrics you select. Sure, polyester tulle tutus are adorable, but are you willing to sacrifice your child’s comfort or the clothing's functionality for style? Take a few moments to acquaint yourself with the ideal fabrics for children’s clothes before your next shopping trip.

Take a look at some of your child’s favorite garments — chances are your kid likes those clothes for a reason. Each piece of clothing purchased from a store should have a label with a list of the fabrics used to make the garment. Similarly, if you are at a fabric store, there should be a label at the top of the fabric roll, also called a bolt, that lists the fabric content.

Look for the amount of natural versus synthetic fabrics. For instance, 100% cotton feels awesome, but it’s more expensive and not as durable as polyester. Most children’s clothing will have a mixture of cotton and polyester, or even silk, woolens or linen. These clothes are ideal for your kids because they have the comfort of cotton and the durability of a synthetic fabric.

Consider how easy it is to launder the fabric. You know exactly how often you have to wash your children’s clothes, and you don’t want fabric that needs to be dry cleaned. Stay away from all-wool and all-silk garments as these fabrics notoriously require dry cleaning.

Think about the climate in which you live. If you live in the hot south, you don’t want to put your kids in heavy wool or flannel, obviously. On the flip side, if you live up north, you need something with more weight than a light linen or cotton. Nylon should be avoided in almost any case, as it’s not a breathable fabric.

The Flammable Fabrics Act, passed in 1953, regulates the use of highly flammable fabric for kids' clothing. Because of the act, children's clothing is often sprayed with flame-retardant chemicals. While the fabric contains fire-proof qualities, you have to be aware that such fabric has been sprayed with a chemical. If you find a fabric that has a label which reads, "not suitable for children's clothing," it is most likely made from a natural fiber that does not contain chemicals, including flame-retardant ones.

Take into account your child’s personal tastes. Does she love pink? Find an awesome pink print, or even be so bold as to mix prints. Mix a large print with a small print rather than two prints of the same size. Coordinate a solid color that is found in a print to let the print pop.

About the Author

Cara Batema is a musician, teacher and writer who specializes in early childhood, special needs and psychology. Since 2010, Batema has been an active writer in the fields of education, parenting, science and health. She holds a bachelor's degree in music therapy and creative writing.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images