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Soft fabric for baby clothes

user-5078920 | Posted in Fabric Guidance on

Hi  Threads Family!

I have a 11 month daughter who suffers from moderate eczema,  since she was a new born. Fortunately, we have managed to keep her flare-ups at bay by  being careful with what contacts her skin.

Now that she is almost a toddler, summer is on the way, the pandemic hopefully soon to be in the rear view, I am eager to sew her some pretty dresses. I am a novice at sewing and hoping to improve my skill  and knowledge as she grows.

I shop at Jo Ann’s fabric and either because of my lack of knowledge of fabrics or their limited selection, I have never found soft cotton material for clothes. I end up with thick, rough fabric even when shopping in the apparel sections for 100% cotton. 

So looking for your advice on
1. What fabric to look for (beyond just 100%  cotton) that would be soft and ideal for dresses?
2. Where to shop for fabrics like this without breaking the bank?  (I live in Needham, MA)


  1. user-1092132 | | #1

    Sewing for little ones brings such great joy! My biochemist father who knew a great deal about skin pathologies gave me the following suggestions when our only child (daughter) was born.

    1) buy her used baby clothing that has probably been washed many times, to minimize skin contact with any chemicals that come in new fabric.
    2) Buy or scrounge in your closets for used sheets or adult clothing and cut it up to make her some beautiful clothes, again minimizing the risk of lingering chemicals.
    3) wash new fabric 10-12 times before sewing with it- just throw it in with other loads of wash and keep track of the number of times it has been washed.

  2. User avater
    user-5078920 | | #2

    Thank you! I have saved up old sheets to make her summer sheets and saved up my husband's shirts to make her clothes. You have inspired me to now use them :-) Thank you!

  3. User avater
    mar-31 | | #3

    You will find organic cotton baby fabrics at Etsy.com.

  4. SuperiorLiz | | #4

    I have found Adult Clothes made from LIBERTY of LONDON's "TANA LAWN" in thrift shops; One travel clothes maker uses this fabric for ladies skirts, blouses, and more. A blouse has enough fabric to make a 2-3 year old's dress. Otherwise What about Silk? or a Rayon Challis? (Rayon is mainly made from Cellulose; the same vegetable origin substance which forms Cotton, and a Challis is usually fairly soft and smooth. But I would agree with using well worn old shirts, T shirts as well; Buy 3 T-shirts in her size and use one as the Bodice/sleeves, then cut the other two off below the armpit, undo a seam on each piece and rejoin to make a skirt to gather onto the hem of the 'top'. I did that year for my Grand daughter when a certain shop had a beautiful print as a dress, as a T shirt, and as leggings, BUT THE DRESS WAS SLEEVELESS AND HAD A BARE BACK ! So I used 3 T's to make her a dress with matching leggings; she needed the leg warmth in early summer, and sleeveless and bare back is just not our style come Easter and SPring. (And the scraps covered a plastic headband with a Bow ! I would try to eliminate seams; make skirts from the yardage length so the hem is the selvedge and get rid of side seams; same with bodice, then you'd have only a shoulder seam which can be a french seam or a hand "Felled" down "Run and Fell" seam. Even line the bodic to make it smoother.

  5. MorganMendoza | | #5

    Organic cotton is the best option for babies, allergy free and extremely soft!!

    1. ghogi | | #9

      yea i am agree with you i have tried it for my baby .
      team : https://randompokemon.info/

  6. SallyAlly | | #6

    Fabric Corner in Arlington MA is worth the trip. Their cottons are high quality. They have great juvenile prints and other fabrics. Small store but good selection. Take a look at their website. However, for clothing I always have to feel the fabric. Cotton so I’ve bought there have washed and worn beautifully.

    Sewfisticated Fabrics has a store in Framingham. (don’t go to the somerville store, the manager is obnoxious). Prices are good but you need to know what you’re looking for.

    There’s also Fabric Place in Natick MA. Huge and can be overwhelming but lots to choose from.

    If you want to take a field trip, Ryco in Lincoln RI (rycotrim dot com) is amazing. They’re in an old mill building, with a huge selection. Owner is knowledgeable.

    Good luck!

    I’ve been very disappointed in Joann Fabrics in the past few years. The quality of their branded fabric has steadily declined . Short fibers, uneven and not-square prints, etc. Additionally, many of what previously was 44-45 inch wide ( a long time standard used on patterns for yardage requirements) is now 42-43 inches wide. I’ve been caught short and had to piece things to fit the pattern. They charge by the inch and never give you enough to allow for squaring the grain. I only go there now for “costumey” stuff or things I don’t expect to have longevity. Even their remnant selection is poor.

  7. user-7915310 | | #7

    All those above suggestions are great. You might also look for fabric from bamboo. It's similar to rayon in its feel, and very soft as well as washable. Look for all cotton sheets and shirts at thrift stores for inexpensive fabric. Good luck in your search!

  8. misspigtails | | #8

    Liberty’s Tana Lawn is about as soft as it gets, but their are other lawns that are close. Check out those that are made in Italy. But if you are shopping at JOANN’s you won’t find anything in stable fabrics ( not knit) that is good quality. For children’s fabric try Farmhouse Fabrics and contact them for suggestions. They have good sales too. It’s an online only shop.

  9. MathewHayden | | #10

    My grand mother used to sew dresses for me when I was young and no doubt they were the best I've ever seen. More answers can be found at https://www.4bilder-1wort.de/

  10. Chris_thomas | | #11

    Babies love soft fabric shirts and it was very safe for kids. The best fabrics for baby and children's clothing are natural and organic fibers. Younger skin can be sensitive, so clothing needs to be soft and gentle. if u want more detail then visit

  11. anniecl | | #12

    I’ve just started knitting again after many years and want to make a hat for my friends new baby. Should I use Cotton or Acrylic?

    1. amandamoore | | #13


  12. NannetteD | | #14

    Have you tried custom fabrics from The Textile District? Their fabrics are steamed, washed, and dried so they are soft and colorfast (plus ready to sew) and you can choose any design and fabric (they specialize in woven fabrics). Their process also has an exceptional wash/wear performance.

    1. ghogi | | #15

      I haven't had the opportunity to try custom fabrics from The Textile District, but their commitment to quality is impressive. The fact that their fabrics undergo steaming, washing, and drying to ensure softness and colorfastness, while also being ready to sew, speaks to their dedication to providing a top-notch product.

  13. Sohid1987 | | #16

    Your enthusiasm for sewing dresses for your daughter is heartwarming! I totally get the struggle with finding the right fabric, especially for sensitive skin like eczema. Have you considered bamboo fabric? It's super soft, breathable, and gentle on the skin. I stumbled upon it when I was searching for fabrics for my nephew who also has eczema. Jo Ann’s might not have a wide variety, but there are online stores that offer affordable options.

  14. eeve2 | | #17

    Bamboo jersey is breathable and has antimicrobial properties.
    Modal, soft and silky, is made from beech wood pulp, absorbs moisture well and breathes, perfect for hot weather.
    Muslin, a cotton material that gets softer with each wash, is highly breathable.
    I can’t tell you about local fabric stores, but there are online stores: fabric.com, mood fabrics, globy.com and spoonflower.

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