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Garments, Fashion & Retail
  Designing comfort garment for children

Clothing is one among the most important three basic needs in every human life. It protects our body from various climates and gives us a good appearance. In this youthful world, children are given more care for the selection of their garments. Today children are largely exposed through various media. They themselves have become the customers in their own rights. They also have their own definite opinions about the clothes they wear. While developing their own styles children reveal their own creative streaks.

 The designers concentrate on simplicity, comfort and new look in designing the children's garment. 

Children classification 

Generally kids are grouped according to their age. 

  •  Infant or babies

  •  Toddlers

  • Children 

Infant 

Babies up to two years come under this classification. Infant's clothing is sized according their age: 3, 6, 12, 18, 24 months. During this age, the head does not correctly stand on their neck. So, garments should be selected with full opening. According to the seasons, the material should be selected, ie, thick or thin. Normally soft materials with lightweight should be selected.

 

Toddlers 

Children from the age of two to eight are called as toddlers. From the age of two, the average child loses fat until about the age of eight. This slimming down process is very apparent. Toddlers have very little waist shaping and protruding stomach. These features decrease as the child grows and loses fat. 

 

 

Children 

Age groups above seven to twelve are normally said as children. Manufactures decided to accept a 6 cm height interval as a base for coding scheme as this approximates to the average growth per year over this period. It is to be noted that the range of heights for any particular age group is larger than the amount of growth that occurs in any one year. It is better to link other body measurements to height rather than age. 

 

 

Requirements of children's clothing 

The ideal baby clothing should be: 

  • Soft, comfortable, easy to put on and take off and comparatively loose. 

  • Easy access to his/her nappy because it requires frequent changing.

  • Non-flammable. 

  • Lightweight. 

  • Non-irritating. 

  • Underclothes should be essentially made of organic fibres. 

  • Allow quick transmission of sweat from skin to environment. 

Garment classifications 

Children garments are generally classified into many categories. They are as follows: 

Casuals 

Garments designed for informal occasions are termed as casuals: They are T-shirts, knitted garments, etc. Knitted fabrics give more freedom of movement than woven fabrics and are ideal for casual wear. During the movement these knitted loops helps in pumping air through close-fitting garments, thus removing body heat during summer. It gives pleasing appearance, loose elastic structure, comfort and softness. 

Daywear 

The fabric's selected to wore as daytime wear are cotton, gingham, gabardine and sail doth during summer season.

 

Double knits velveteen and corduroys are selected during winter season. Children's day garment has to be made up with a fabric that will stand for repeated laundering, the seams should be strong and fastenings should be secure. 

Nightwear 

While selecting the garment it should not possess any harmful ingredient and

 

 

accessories, as the skin of children is very tender and smooth. The garment selected should have good drape and it should serve the purpose. 

Partywear 

Industries focus on manufacturing luxurious garments for children in various styles and prevailing trends. These are also called as special

 

 

occasion garment. Fabrics like velvet, denim, satin, etc, are used in party wears with different styles. 

Uniforms 

The uniform worn by children should be subjected to certain treatments like antibacterial finish, etc, and it should be free from odour. 

Sportswear

 It should have freedom of movements. Knitted garments have higher extensibility in both length and widthwise directions. Hence, knitted materials are mostly selected as sports wear for children. Active sports wear can be classified as summer sports wear and winter sports wear. 

High fashionwear 

Fashion in clothing has always been a reflector of change in life style of people. A complete range with the most luxurious look and superior comfort is an absolute must. Greater spectrums of bright, vivid colours and designs have become the key for the purchase of high fashioned wear. They look only for latest fashions and these can be worn during special occasion like parties. 

Selection of material for children garments 

Fibre 

Organic cotton: It is a specific name of cotton, which is grown without the use of any pesticide, fertiliser and harmful chemical. 

Linen: It is more safe fibre than cotton because very less amount of pesticide is used on linen than Cotton: So, linen fibre-based garment, either 100% pure or with blend cotton or other suitable fibre, can be used for clothing after appropriate eco-friendly softening treatment. 

Wool: Conventional wool is a polluted fibre because; it is subjected to various processes such as scouring, dyeing and finishing treatments using various chemicals. Hence, organic wool is suitable for children clothing. 

Coir: The coir has the properties of moisture absorption and holding capacity of any amount of moisture until the air is circulated and wicks it away leaving the mattress dry and healthy. 

Bamboo fibre: Bamboo fibre is a kind of antibiotic fibre. This fibre has good dye ability and drape, soft, easy to weave, deodorant, special elastic resilience,

higher wear resistance and high comfort value. It has high air permeability and can absorb moisture instantly. It is biodegradable and environment-friendly fibre. The bamboo fibre can be blended with cotton and synthetic fibres like polyester, nylon, etc. This fibre can be used for underwear, baby towel, bath towels, etc. 

Viscose fibre: It has a great sense of softness and luxurious feel. Fabrics made from it have stable shape with silky touch. Inherent flame-retorted viscose fibre is also very effective to produce baby clothing. 

Chitcel fibre: It is a multiplex cellulosic fibre added with natural antimicrobial high polymer chitin. It has merits of both chitin and cellulose fibre. It has a wide application in medical textiles also. This fibre is soft and luxurious with higher dyeing and rate and affinity. The fabric made from this fibre provides soft and smooth feeling, comfortable due to its high moisture and air permeability. The raw materials are formed from natural regenerated resources. The product is biodegradable and can be thoroughly decomposed within three months being buried 5 cm under the ground. 

Yarn 

Ring spun yarn is suitable because, due to its highly migrated structure, it provides better fabric hand than rotor and friction spun yarns. Combed yarns can be used for yarn of children clothing should be less than adult wearing because more loftiness is required in case of baby clothing. 

Weaves 

In summer, the fabric should be more open for frequent transfer of moisture vapour. Satin and sateen weaves are more popular summer wear. It is smooth, soft, lustrous and excellent drape, floats, snags easily. In baby blanket, leno, towel and bath towel, felts are used. Twill weaves are also very suitable due to diagonal effect, less dust capturing tendency and more smoothness. 

Height From top of head, against a wall, without shoes.
Chest Around fullest part.
Waist Around string marker placed at natural waistline.
Hips or seat Around fullest part: 5 1/2'' -7'' below for girst;
4 1/2'' - 5 3/8'' below for children; 3 1/2'' - 4 1/2'' for toddlers.
Back waist Length From prominent bone at back of neck to waist.

Babies

Age Newborn 6 Months
Weight 7-13 Ibs 13-18 Ibs
Height 17-24 inches 24-26 1/2 inches

Toddlers

Size 1/2 1 2 3 4
Chest 19 20 21 22 23
Waist 19 19 1/2 20 20 1/2 21
Hip 20 21 22 23 24
Back waist length 7 1/2 8 8 1/2 9 9 1/2
Approximate height 28 31 34 37 40

Children

Size 2 3 4 5 6 6x
Chest 21 22 23 24 25 25 1/2
Waist 20 20 1/2 21 21 1/2 22 22 1/2
Hip     24 25 26 26 1/2
Back waist length 8 1/2 9 9 1/2 10 10 1/2 10 3/4
Approximate haight 35 38 41 44 47 48

Fabric 

While selecting the fabrics choose durable fabrics that will take a lot of war and tear. Firm knits and firmly woven fabrics such as denims, poplins, broadcloths, and corduroys are good choices. Avoid loosely woven and knitted fabrics that may snag or catch. Children prefer soft, absorbent fabrics that do not "Scratch". Polyester cotton blends provide comfort, durability, and easy care. 

Patterns 

Children's pattern types are based on body measurements. Because children go rapidly, measurements need to be taken often. 

Babies 

It is designed for infants who are not yet walking. Patterns for babies are chosen primarily by weight and length. There are two sizes, new born and six-months. 

Toddlers 

It is designed for a figure that is taller than a baby but shorter than a child. Toddler pants have diaper allowance. Choose size closest to chest measurement. Toddler patterns often apply to boys and girls. 

Children 

It has the same chest and waist, as toddler but is taller with wider shoulders and back. Many patterns suit boys and girls. For children's patterns choose the size most closely matching the chest and back waist length measurements. The chart shows the body measurements for exact pattern measurements and sizes.  

Selection based on seasons 

Children's garments are selected with respect to season in order to protect their body. During selection, the garment is selected according to two seasons, summer and winter season. 

Summer season 

Lightweight garments should be preferred on summer season because the lightweight fabric can be able to breathe the body moisture in to the environment easily. Children feel more comfortable on wearing cotton fabric. The garment selected should be loose to wear. Colour also plays vital role. Colour differs according to different climatic condition. During hot season light colours like white, blue, green, purple, etc, should be given importance. Black colour should be totally avoided during summer season. 

Winter season 

To give a warm condition, the garment should be in thick nature. Hence materials like wool, acrylic are mostly preferred. The colours preferred for this season are red, red-orange, maroon etc, during this season children easily get affected by cool air. So, knitted garments like sweater come into their existence. Sweaters can be designed as smooth and bulkier, shagged, hairy, etc, which prevents the loss of heat from the body. Sweaters are also named as pullover. Cashmere type of sweater is used for great softness and lightness. 

Selection based on liking 

Children focus their eyes on the new creations, new styles and new models while selecting their garment. 

Children wider their selection based on: 

  • Fashion 

  • Colour 

  • Accessory works 

  • Painting and printing 

Fashion 

Fashion reflects the changing life style of garment. Fashion changes accordingly to the new development techniques. Now-a-days fashions are created according to the mindset of children. The garments are designed and styled based on these fashions. 

Colour 

Children like bright colours: Red, blue and yellow. Brown, warm/cool colours combination, the royal purple is some of the colours that are raising its peak in this youthful world. The colour reflects the mood of the children. The colours used in children's garments should not be sensitive to their skin. 

Accessory works 

The value added works in children garment mostly consist of: 

  • Embroidery 

  • Patch work 

  • Attachment 

  • Printing and Painting 

Trim can make a garment special to child. Decorative machine stitching, embroidery, smocking, ribbons, braid, rickrack, appliqués, ruffles. Lace and bias binding are some trimming possibilities. Be sure the care requirements are compatible with the fabric while selecting the trim. 

Children also like designs. Such as printed designs, stripes, and plaids should be small and in scale with the child's size. 

Finishes for children wear 

A finish is a process given to a fabric to improve its qualities such as appearance, hand, drape and certain other properties. 

Antistatic finish 

Synthetic fabrics are hydrophobic in nature and tend to accumulate static electricity. This static electricity causes problem such as clinging of the garment, attraction of dirt and sparking. These fabrics are given a chemical treatment, which enables the fabric to attract and retain water molecules. This helps to dissipate electric charge from the fabric surface and making the fabric more comfortable to children. 

Antibacterial static finish 

This is a chemical treatment, which makes the fabric resistant to bacterial growth. It renders the microbes inactive, which come in contact with it. Some of these finishes also make the fabric mildew resistant and even prevent damage of the fabric by perspiration. 

Antimicrobial finish 

Antimicrobial finishes are applied to the garments like sports wear, leisure wear, T-shirts, socks, wipes etc. Antimicrobial are used to control the growth of algae, bacteria and yeast. This prevents the fabric from rotting, staining, unpleasant odours and other health concerns like physical irritation, allergic sensitisation etc. 

Crease-retentive finish 

It is also called as permanent press finish, or durable press finish. A resin treatment is given to a fabric, which is then stitched into a garment, eg, a pleated skirt for girls. Heat treatment is applied to the garment to have a permanent pleat. It does not require ironing but may require light pressing. 

Mildew resistant finish 

Cotton/linen and cotton/wool blended fabrics are mostly liable to mildew in humid climates or if left moist in the dark. Cotton and rayon's containing starch are particularly vulnerable to attack by mildew. If a mildew resistant finish is given, these fabrics resist the growth of mildew or mould. This is mainly given to children's bed spread, towels etc. 

Moth-resistant finish 

Wool is susceptible to attack by moth. If the wool is treated with certain chemicals like fluorine compounds, chlorinated sulphonamides, quaternary phosphonium compounds it is not damaged by moth and carpet beetle. This is given to woollen sweaters and woollen garments of children. 

Soil release finish 

This finish is mainly applied to sports-wear of the children, which helps the garment from getting stained. The finishes that give soil release are: 

  • Polymer containing carboxylic groups. 

  • Compounds containing oxyethylene or hydroxyl groups. 

  • Fluorocarbons containing hydrophilic groups chemically reactive compounds. 

This helps the garment from getting stained. 

Anti-shrink/anti-stretch treatment 

Anti-shrinking is a process in which the dimensional instability is avoided. This makes the fabric dimensionally stable. The material used for children's wear should be treated with anti-shrink or anti-stretch treatment. 

Non-apparel textiles for children 

Non-apparel textiles for children are diapers, towels, socks, bed sheets and bedspreads and other textile goods. 

Diapers 

Diaper cloth is a twill dobby or plain-woven water absorbent cotton. Diapers are of two types: Disposal diaper and non-disposal diaper. Diapers are made of gauze, flannelettes in rectangular or fitted type. Gauze allows air to circulate there by keeping the children comfortable. These types of diapers are easy to wash and dry, this implies that these diapers are non-disposable. Flannelette is soft but bulky this could be used during long travels. 

Bed spreads 

It should also be selected on the basis of season. During cold season the bed sheets should be thicker to give warmth. During summer season it should be thin and have good air permeability and it should have good air circulation capacity. Children's bedspreads mostly in the colour of pink, purple, red etc. Colourful, fun and creative patterns and fabrics for a child's bedspread can spark imagination, enhance play and make naps and bedtime something to look forward to! 

Towels 

The towels used for children should be capable of absorbing the water, which should have soft and smooth feel. It should be treated with special finishes like antimicrobial finish which avoids the growth of microbes. These finishes must not affect the tender skin of children. Figure 15. Children's Towels 

Socks 

Socks are made from cotton, linen and wool. Socks are normally used along with uniform and it can also be used during cold climate to protect the body by preventing the direct contact of cool air. It should be surely treated with antibacterial finish. This prevents the garment from the growth of the bacteria. 

Fabric care 

As children's skins are more sensitive, more care should be given while selecting the material for them. Some functional factors influencing styles and finishing for children wear are listed below. 

  • The colour dyed in the garment should not be sensitive to children skin. It should be eco-friendly. 

  • Hard materials having sharp edges should not be used in babies garment as it may harm the tender skin. 

  • Kids wear should not have drawstrings as they have a tendency to wind round the children neck and cause danger. 

  • Children's wear must have sufficient seam allowances and must offer styles. 

  • Tight dresses are avoided, as they tend to have larger stomachs. 

  • Their foundation garment should have correct fit and should be comfortable. It should be able to absorb perspiration.

  • It should be durable and easy to launder. 

  • Enough gap or spacing should be given in the neck when considering pullover. 

  • Preserve the garment in the dry condition, so that it is free from bacteria and odours. 

  • For infants and babies elasticised garments should be avoided. 

  • For babies full opening should be preferred. 

  •  Respective finishes should be given to respective garment. 

Conclusion 

The selection of suitable cloth to the children is imperative to their enjoyment of health. The cloth should not irritate the delicate skin of the children. When selecting children clothes, there are a few things needed to be aware of in order to keep your children safe and comfortable. So, the construction of the children garment should be simple and comfort. 

References 

1. Monika Gupta: A New Look for School Uniforms for the Next Millennium, Evolving Trends in Fashion, the NIFT Millennium Document, 2000. 

2. Kate Buller: The Knitter's Bible, Collins and Brown Limited. 

3. Kate Buller: Style Your Own Kid's Knits, Collins and Brown Limited. 

4. Kathleen Blaxland: Creative Clothes and Accessories for Children, Milner Craft Series - Sally Milner Publishing. 

5. Gloria Mortimer Dunn: Pattern Design for Children Clothes, BT Batsford Ltd, Published in the Year 1996.

6. Noemia D Souza: Fabric Care Newnes - Butterworths and Co-Publishers Ltd, Published in the Year 1998. 

7. www.Celessence.co.uk/micro.htm 

8. www.Collinsandbrown.co.uk 

Note: For detailed version of this article please refer the print version of The Indian Textile Journal December 2008 issue. 

Ms M Vimala 

Lecturer 

Department of Textile Technology, 

RVS College of Engineering and Technology, 

Dindigul, Tamil Nadu. 

Email: vimalamani_m@yahoo.co.in

Ms P Ramalakshmi 

Quality Auditor 

Ambatur Clothing Limited, 

Chennai-58.

published December , 2008
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