Oliver + S

Material suitable for Children's Sleepwear

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    needlewoman @needlewoman

    I love the look of both the pj’s patterns from O + S, and I’ve just “wished” for a nightdress for all sizes, with maybe the pattern being able to be adapted to shorty (baby doll) pjs with sleeveless top, and really roomy pants, BUT I’m made uneasy by the fact that nearly all cottons available state very clearly that they should not be used for Children’s sleepwear. I know the forum members have made some wonderful pj’s from flannel but of course only practical for winter. Any recs for summer nightwear that’s safe? Please?

    with love Heidi @with love Heidi

    What about the badminton dress as a nightie?, in fact with either the shorts from the skort or the puppet show shorts the top could make some mighty cute shorty jama’s. I suspect this is another case of “cover our bums” I think that cotton burns more easily than some other fabrics and that’s where the warning comes from, but I’m not sure. I’ve just checked the PJ’s I’m wearing at the moment, they are sleep wear from Kmart, 100% cotton (definitely by the way they wrinkle) and there’s no warning, but they are ladies PJ’s not kids. maybe someone else knows. I have a badminton nightdress I am making with cotton/polycotton from my stash.

    with love Heidi @with love Heidi

    Here’s a link to some Australian Standards with sleepwear.


    mkhs @mkhs

    The “not intended for children’s sleepwear” label means it hasn’t been soaked in flame retardants… which is a plus in my mind!

    edited to add: just this morning I pulled out a Butterick nightgown pattern (4910) to start one for my daughter, and right there in bold on the pattern was, yes, “Note: Garments in this pack are not intended for sleep apparel”!

    Maggie @Maggie

    In the US, cotton sleep wear is generally snug fitting. A lot of nightgown are polyester. The idea is that these garments are less likely to catch fire. I guess I’m not that concerned about my kids’ PJs catching fire. We don’t have candles or an open fireplace.

    If cotton is all right for daytime clothing, I think it is fine for PJs too.

    rastis @rastis

    do fabric stores actually stock fabric that is deemed suitable for nightware? i’ve never seen it…

    wendy @wendyls

    I personally wouldn’t use fabric that has been treated with fire retardant chemicals. They are a known carcinogen and environmental pollutant, and are linked to numerous other health risks. There are groups calling for an outright ban on it’s use in children’s wear, not to mention all of the other innocuous household items they are found in.

    ‘not intended for children’s sleepwear’ is printed onto the fabric to avoid any liability. It’s really up to you whether or not you want to use it for that purpose (although you couldn’t legally sell sleepwear made from it. At least not in North America). As someone pointed out, if cotton is o.k. for daytime wear, then it’s fine for sleepwear as well in my opinion. I consider chronic exposure to toxic chemicals to be more of a hazard than the chance of a fire. It seems kind of ludicrous to me that flame retardant p.j.’s would go a long way in protecting someone if their house were to become a fiery inferno, anyhow. Just my two cents!

    needlewoman @needlewoman

    You ladies are just wonderful; set off a hare and you chase it with really knowledgeable and useful advice. I’d never thought about fire retardant impregnated fabric. The dressing gowns I had as a teenage were usually those quilted polyester numbers, and I was never allowed to sit near the radiator as my father was paranoid about the stuff catching fire. I’ve always thought cotton was the most sensible material since it burns rather than melts (like polyester), and of course, using one’s common sense about the design of the pj’s/nightdress and heat sources of all kinds. Mkhs, what a wonderful irony to have a pattern for sleepwear to carry a warning about not using it as designed. Wonder what Butterick expects to use the pattern for; daywear? flower- pots?

    Thank you everyone for responding so quickly. Don’t have the Badminton pattern – – – yet.

    beachmom @beachmom

    For summer pjs, I use either cotton knit or a really lightweight cotton woven…voile or lawn or even seersucker.

    If you search the Oliver + S flickr pool for nightgowns, several pop up. People have used the Swingest, Class Picnic, Playdate, and Hopscotch patterns for sleepwear.:)


    meleliza @meleliza

    The new regulations in the US regarding children’s sleepwear are, in my mind*, ridiculous. Just another example of how insane and litigious our society has become. I wouldn’t let my dear little ones wear polyether or chemically treated clothing during the day, let alone at night time! I’ve noticed that stores in the UK sell 100% cotton children’s nightwear. I wonder whether children there burn to death in their sleep any more than they do here? We have smoke detectors. Those are very sensible.

    For summer nightgowns or pjs, I think lawn, linen, seersucker or batiste would be just the thing. I feel like voile is too delicate and wouldn’t hold up to such rough wear. Men’s shirting would be nice and double gauze would be dreamy. Jcrew is currently selling women’s pjs in Liberty! Can you imagine? What luxury!

    *I have no legal or fire safety training and do not intend for my personal opinions to be taken as any kind of professional or legal advice. lol.

    Tamara @justsewit

    For summer pyjamas and nighties I use either a cotton knit or cotton and for winter it is flannel or knit fabrics. we don’t have open fires in our house either and don’t allow them to have bonfires or be around bonfires in their nightwear. They have more of a chance of clothes catching on fences than on fire.

    Mama_Knowles @Mama_Knowles

    I have used 100% cotton fabrics for Sweet pea summer night gowns. The nice and cool for warmer nights. We have a fire place but we never let it burn at nightwhile sleeping nor do we let the children around it. Like Tamara said we have a bigger chance of the pj’s getting caught on a fence than catching fire.

    Tatsinda @Tatsinda

    Okay so more likely to catch on a fence than a fire and useless in a house fire. You think?

    Stop thinking only winter indoors. I know 40yrs ago the kids I nursed when I first started my training in a kids hospital were burned by heaters but more from backyard fires and BBQs.

    Parents warnings and commands were not heading by impetuous kids who just wanted to come and watch as dad started up the fire or dad was at the BBQ but went to fetch next batch of meat. Kid is out of line of vision, parent truly thought kid was INSIDE or way out of harms way. In a blink of an eye the scene changed.

    Today people still insist on starting fires with inflammable liquid unaware of the vapour that trails off as they pull back the container from the fire. People still Just throw another log on the fire forgetting that a spray of sparks and embers will follow.

    Today we have fashionable cauldron style open fire places on wrought iron stands for an evening entertaining friends where you sit around the fire having a drink with friends or dipping marshmallows or other food on a stick and into the fire. Kids come and run around, come to give grown ups a hug goodnight.

    So innnocent, so deadly.

    Sometimes all we have left to safeguard the kids is legislation to minimize the harm that may still happen to the most diligent of families.

    Sarvi @Sarvi

    Wow, those *incredibly specific* scenarios make wearing pyjamas sound like one of those grisly Faces of Death movies.

    Whatever, I’m not putting my kid in those fire retardant fabrics, they stink.

    Masha Richart

    Agreed, Sarvi! The fire-retardant fabrics are not only carcinogenic, but have you ever rubbed them between your fingers? They feel awful. I don’t even want to touch them, let alone wear them all night. (We avoid the liquid firestarter for the same health reasons, btw).

    And if the argument is about kids catching fire running too near bbqs, I suppose next there will be laws requiring that ALL kids’ clothing be made out of that awful stuff? Because that happens more during the day than at night, at least among my friends and family.

    Back to the original question, which I missed the first time around or I certainly would have chimed in sooner – I made my girls summer nightgowns out of AMH voile last year – they did tear a little at the seams so I guess Meleliza was right about the suitability of that fabric. The nightie I made out of Lisette lawn held up better. I think a light shirting is a good choice.

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