The best fabrics for baby clothes have been thought about for centuries. Today’s fabrics offer such a huge selection of texture, color, print, and weight. Where do you begin to choose the best fabric to sew baby clothing?
The Best Fabrics for Baby Clothes
Firstly there are some criteria to consider for baby clothes. Consider the criteria and then the types of fabric to suit.
Remember babies develop at a rapid rate. The newborn all snuggled up in the crib to the crawling stage, and then a toddler, all in the space of fewer than eighteen months, can lead to many changes of clothing.
Secondly consider the style. As a cute little baby grows, rompers, dungarees, and party outfits are all part of the baby’s wardrobe. Boys and girls have different needs. Rough and ready fabrics like denim are ideal for the boys and suit girls too. Soft lawn and gentle ginghams may just be perfect for little girls.
Thirdly, consider your climate. All wrapped up in a ‘thermo jumpsuit’ in the middle of the desert is not going to be comfortable! Baby’s clothing needs to be comfortable, washable, and safe to wear. Fabrics that can ‘breathe’ and absorb moisture are ideal for warmer climates.
Best Fabrics for Baby Clothes - Types
Here is a list of suitable fabrics and what they would be best for in terms of baby clothes.
Cotton really comes up tops for one of the best fabrics for baby clothes. It is a comfortable ozone-friendly fabric that breathes well and is soft on the baby’s skin. Cotton is a very popular choice for the thread and weave of the fabric and there are different types of cotton to consider. Labels should tell you if the fabric is 100% cotton or a blend or just not cotton at all. Knowing the different names for fabrics will make all the difference for your fabric shopping skills. Remember while you are searching for the perfect fabric your choice will be swayed by the item you are making. Commercial patterns will often give a guide to the type of fabric suited to the item on the pattern you are planning to make. This is a useful part of the pattern instructions to look out for.
Names for the different types of fabric in cotton, suitable for baby clothes, are listed here.
Cotton voile is a sheer fabric that is light and similar to cotton lawn. It is thinner than lawn, but flows freely, and is very well suited to making little dresses.
Another cotton fabric, but not always as soft as voile and lawn. It has a loose weave and is very absorbent making it a good choice for a cloth diaper.
Lawn is a very lightweight and soft cotton. It has a high thread count and is very well suited to making baby clothes. Lawn is a very good choice for christening gowns. Lightweight cotton-like lawns are perfect for baby dresses because they dry quickly. Modern technology can print and dye lawn in different colors and patterns making it a versatile fabric.
A very useful hard-wearing cloth for baby clothes. It can be made into all sorts of baby outfits from little tops to dresses, rompers, and more. Broadcloth looks good with some embroidery or decorations on the fabric.
Batiste is a durable fabric that is soft to wear and lightweight. It is not transparent like lawn or voile, but is definitely soft and makes lovely dresses and nightgowns.
Cotton jersey knit is a really comfortable and popular choice for baby clothes. Jersey knit is stretchy and this is an added advantage especially for baby wear. The stretch quality allows for movement and is not restrictive as the baby wriggles around. There are different types of jersey knit to look out for, double knit and Spandex is two favorites.
Fleece is an easy option to choose from instead of wool when choosing the best fabrics for baby clothes. It is easier to maintain and keeps the baby warm. Light fleece makes really comfortable winter clothes for children. Fleece is a good choice for blankets and little jackets because it is washable and dries easily.
Anglaise, with its feminine cut-out design and embroidery, is a perfect choice for girls. Dresses, nightgowns and the additional trims to a yoke or collar are all made even more beautiful with embroidered Anglaise.
There are other fabrics, blends, and not always 100% cotton, but still great for baby clothes. If you like a fabric, but you are after 100% cotton, just check the label on the fabric bolt. There should be the details of the fabric there with the cotton or cotton blend information to guide you.
There is a huge variety of gingham fabrics. Not all of them are 100% cotton so check the labels, but gingham is guaranteed to give you a colorful and comfortable outfit for a boy or a girl. Gingham always looks bright and happy and trim or appliqué made of gingham adds a finishing touch to any baby outfit.
Terry toweling is a poly-blend fabric. It has a woven pile with loops and is very soft. Terry Towelling is very absorbent and makes really nice dressing gowns and bibs.
Satin, Taffeta and Tulle
These fabrics always make up beautifully into an outfit for a special occasion or for the little ballet dancer in your family.
Corduroy is a really good hard-wearing fabric for rompers and dungarees and warmer clothes like jackets and long pants. The cords or ridges of the corduroy may be different widths and sizes, but the effect is the same with a corded hard wearing fabric.
Bamboo fabric is becoming popular as one of the best fabrics for baby clothes. Bamboo rayon has qualities that are able to adjust to the baby’s temperature. It is a naturally soft fabric and because it is flexible it can allow your baby to move freely. Bamboo rayon absorbs moisture from the baby’s skin and it is hypo-allergenic, a good aspect to consider if your child has allergies.
Although linen is an expensive fabric it is a good choice for baby clothes. It washes well and is very cool and comfortable to wear. It is durable and dries easily. A low-maintenance fabric that is machine washable.
Denim makes a hard-wearing option for baby clothes, especially when the baby starts crawling and toddling. There are so many varieties of denim from a soft denim blend to the real rough, tough 100% cotton denim for jeans. Choose the one that suits the type of outfit you are making. Always wash the denim to make it soft for baby clothes before you start out with making something. Denim comes in prints and all sorts of dyed options. It really is a good resource for baby clothes. Denim is probably the most enduring fabric for the baby on the go and the kind of clothes you need when your baby starts to move around.
Waterproof fabrics are also one of the best fabrics for baby clothes and are just perfect for diaper covers, washable training pants, bibs, and ‘wet’ bags to hold the odd accident in if you were on an outing. In fact, anything you may want to keep comfortable inside and waterproof outside is perfectly suited to waterproof fabric. There are different types of waterproofing. The type you buy will depend on the waterproof treatment. Laminated polyester, viny-backed terry cloth, or polyurethane Laminated Polyester.
Fabrics to Avoid for Baby Clothes
Babies and young children have very delicate skin and no matter how gorgeous a piece of fabric may be, if it is scratchy and irritating to the skin, the baby will not be happy in whatever you make of the fabric.
These are not the best fabrics for baby clothes:
- Synthetic fabrics do not absorb moisture. If the baby’s skin has moisture close to its body the moisture may cause skin irritations and eczema. Try to avoid fabric made from synthetic materials.
- Wool, although it is great for keeping the body warm is not a good fiber to have next to a baby’s skin. Wool can be rough and this rough texture may irritate the baby’s sensitive skin.
- Nylon is a fabric to avoid because it does not absorb moisture or breathe like cotton or linen. Children perspire and then the moisture is left close to the skin. Nylon is highly flammable and should be avoided as a fabric for baby clothes.
Best Fabrics for Baby Clothes - In Conclusion
Luckily the fabric industry has grown through the manufacture of all kinds of fabric blends and colors and treatments to make the perfect range of fabric for little ones. Children’s clothing is a huge industry and making your own children’s clothing if you have the time, is a very rewarding occupation. I hope you have a better idea now of the best fabrics for baby clothes and have fun dressing your little joy.