Tips for Choosing Fabric for Children’s Clothes

fabric for children's clothes

All parents would agree that it’s a herculean task to maintain children’s clothes. All the chocolates and cookies that they snack on inevitably leave their mark on that pretty dress or handsome pair of pants, not to mention puddles of mud and dirt cakes. Moreover, the sensitive skin of the tiny tots may be affected by certain fabrics and textures. That’s why I’ve come up with a few simple tips to apply when selecting fabric for children’s clothes.

Type of fabric:

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to avoid synthetic fabric for children’s clothes because of its high level of chemical content, which could cause allergic reactions to their delicate skin. Try to use all natural fabric like cotton, wool, and silk at all costs. For toddlers, organically grown natural fabric would be the best bet.

We did a post recently on Amazing Eco-Friendly Fabric Innovations that provide ideas about “green” fabrics that would be great for kids.

fabric for children's clothes

The weave of fabric:

If you hold the fabric against the light, you can observe how tightly or loosely the fabric is woven. If the fabric is woven loosely, it may not be able to withstand rough usage, so try to avoid light-weave fabrics if your munchkin is a Superman or a Wonderwoman.

Resistance to fading:

Children’s clothes are likely to be washed more frequently than yours, mainly because of their rough usage. You need to choose a fabric that's able to withstand fading as a result of repeated wash. Always opt for fabric where the base color and print color are the same. If the base color is white and the fabric is dyed in a different color, the color is likely to fade after repeated wash. Remember, bright colors have a tendency to fade faster.


You don’t want to have to iron kid’s clothes after every wash, so try to go for wrinkle-free fabric to ease your workload. Take the fabric in hand and squeeze it. If it leaves wrinkles, it's better to avoid it.

fabric for children's clothes

Kiddies comfort:

Keep this in mind when sewing special outfits and party-wear. The lining you’d usually use might not be comfortable for little ones to wear. To combat this, wash it 2-3 times to make it super soft and then use it for sewing.

fabric for children's clothes

Fabric durability:

Children outgrow their outfits very fast. Select stretchable fabric so that garments can be used for at least a year or two. Fabrics like elastics and knits tend to stretch and are the smartest choice for children’s clothing.

However, for pure durability, nothing beats denim.  We have done a few posts about denim recently, so please check out Tips for Sewing with Denim and The Amazing Denim Fabric Story for more info.

fabric for children's clothes

Fabric weight:

Some fabrics tend to be heavier than others, even though they may look good and comfy.  When it comes to children’s clothing, lightweight fabrics like cotton voile, silk and satin are the best option and they're not only lightweight, they also add to the beauty of the outfit.

For some further reading on satin, please check out our post called Smooth and Shimmery Silk Satin.

Fabric color:

It’s a common practice to go for shades of pink for girls and shades of blue for boys. But times are changing and it's okay to go outside the box.  Your child's complexion should also be considered when deciding on a color.  While most colors suit children with fair skin, those with darker complexions often look best in shades of white, pink, and green.

fabric for children's clothes

Apply these tips when selecting fabric for your children’s clothes and I am sure they are going to feel comfortable and relaxed, meaning you will too! Happy choosing and happy sewing!

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12 Responses to Tips for Choosing Fabric for Children’s Clothes

  1. Pat G. says:

    Enjoyed this article, with good ideas. What concerns me is that it is difficult to find fabrics suitable for sleepwear for children. I have stopped sewing sleepwear for my grandkids. Fire resistant flannel, which seems like a great winterwear fabric is not available in my city.

  2. Julie says:

    Just a little word to make people aware; you mentioned wool as an option. Some children (and adults!) are allergic to it. It’s the lanolin in it. My daughter has had her skin flare up by using shampoo that had lanolin in it, it literally stripped her scalp.

  3. vaiibhavglobal says:

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  5. lllemma says:

    “While most colors suit children with fair skin, those with darker complexion often look best in shades of white, pink and green.” Really? This has not been my experience either as a fairskinned person (I look pretty weird in pale colors, especially yellows) or in observing the fashion choices of darkskinned icons.

  6. Duncan Lance says:

    Wow, I did not realize that there was so much to consider when choosing the fabric for your toddler’s clothes. However, I guess it does make sense that you’d want to look at the clothes’ durability. After all, kids like to run around and play a lot, so it helps to make sure that their clothing can stand up to that kind of wear and tear.

  7. Barbara Fitzer says:

    Some useful tips. Thanks sew much!

  8. I do agree with you when you said that when it comes to choosing a fabric color for the kid’s clothes, it is best to consider their skin tones to make sure that the color complements them properly. That is the reason why I told my friend to get a swatch as she is planning to start a business related to cloths and fabric. Since she will be most likely asked by parents to decide on the color of the kid’s clothes, she needs to have one. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Barbara Dobree says:

    What is the pattern for the blue girl’s top?

  10. Chrysanthemum says:

    I’ve been sewing outfits out of knits..they are easy to sew, on a serger, and fit quite well! So many cute designs…

  11. Hilary says:

    My tip would be choose patterned fabric over plain fabric – the stains you can’t get out don’t show as much on patterns!

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