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Silk or Satin? A little bit about the fabrics used in our special occasion wear

Tuesday, 4 March 2014  |  Sian Davis

A short guide to the fabrics used in our range of special occasion wear 

Once you’ve done the hard work of choosing the perfect outfit for your little one you may want to know a little bit more about the fabric. It can be hard to find out how to wash and store your little ones outfit and to decide what accessories they will need - especially with the unpredictable British weather! When we started business we weren’t sure of the difference in some of the materials used, for example between satin and satin dupion, but over the years have learnt more and more. So we’ve created a quick guide to give you a bit of  information on the fabrics your little one will be wearing on their special day…

First of all there’s silk. This is a popular choice as it is a completely natural fibre created from the cocoon of the silk worm. Ideal for babies, especially for a spring christening as it is a comfortable, ‘breathable’ fabric which can absorb moisture making it warm in cold temperatures and cool in warm ones. This can be found in many of our christening gowns, boy’s rompers and shawls.  Care must be taken when cleaning and storing as it is a very delicate fabric but will be a perfect keepsake if stored correctly. We recommend following the manufacturers instructions when it comes to cleaning but if it is washable gently hand wash in cold water using a very mild detergent and ensure that it is completely dry before storing. As it is such a delicate fabric, silk should be stored in acid and chlorine free tissue paper, out of sunlight.

Then we have satin and satin dupion. Satin is used in lots of our christening wear and baby bridesmaids dresses and satin dupion is used in many boys christening rompers and suits as well as some gowns and special occasion dresses. The main difference is that satin dupion has the look of raw silk with a beautiful grainy appearance, whereas satin can be either matt or sheen. Both are man-made fabrics and relatively strong - perfect if your little one likes to crawl around! This fabric can usually be washed and ironed at low temperatures but may require dry cleaning. When storing these fabrics cool, dry places are best away from radiators and sunlight to avoid damaging the appearance.

Next, we have pure wool which is used in our traditional wool baby shawls. Like silk, this a lovely natural fabric - ideal for keeping your little one warm on chilly days! Natural wool laine is the wool used in these shawls and like silk is absorbent and ‘breathable’ making it a very comfortable fabric. Make sure you check the labels before washing as at the wrong temperature, wool can shrink. The best way to store wool is in a cool dry place in an airtight plastic wrap to avoid damage from moths.

Another one of the natural fabrics used in babies christening and special occasion clothing is cotton. This is in some christening suits and dresses as well as many of the boleros and cardigans we have available. It can also be found in the gorgeous ‘Linen look cotton’ outfits. Like silk, it keeps your little one warm in the winter and cool in the summer but the good news is, it’s a lot easier to care for! Most cotton is machine washable - but be sure to check the label.

Last but not least we have lace. This is used for a lot of the trimming in our christening and special occasion wear. It is an open work fabric that is usually cotton but may be synthetic. To give a lovely vintage feel to clothing we also use guipure lace for much of our outfits. This is a heavier lace with a larger pattern but without the surrounding netting of standard lace. Perfect if you want a traditional christening. My personal favourite, however, is the world famous Nottingham lace made right here in England. This gorgeous lace is made using traditional age old methods from the 17th century and is something really special for your little ones christening. See cotton for details of how to wash and store.

Please remember our guide is just a guide and not a replacement for the manufacturers instructions. As with all clothing please check labels thoroughly before washing or cleaning.