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Selecting the proper fabric lining, and insulation for children's outerwear garments.
Shell Fabric: The shell fabric you select should reflect the activity or activities the garment will be used for and the properties it will need to keep the wearer warm, dry, cozy and safe from the elements.
Waterproof Breathable: This is the king of outerwear fabrics keeping moisture out but allowing body vapors to escape. Waterproof fabrics also are extremely windproof keeping the wearer more protected from cold winds. Seams should be sealed using heat sensitive seam seal tape and a Magic Pressing Sheet**. These fabrics need to be kept clean using a non-soap wash to retain their breathability.
Water Repellent: There is a wide a range of water repellent fabrics on the market. Water repellent fabrics will shed water for a limited amount of time dependent on the fabric, weave, type of D.W.R.** coating used and of course the weather. Water repellent fabrics are attractive due to their greater availability, broader range in colors, finishes and prints and their low cost.
Insulation: The high-tech synthetic insulation's available today make it possible for us to create garments that are not bulky, weigh less to nothing, but keep us incredibly warm. Natural fiber insulation's are not a good choice for outerwear because they lose their insulating qualities when wet.
My two favorites are Holofil by Dupont which comes in a variety of weights and Polar TecŪ. Holo core insulations are extremely warm for their weight, and retain their warmth even when wet. They are easy to work with and can be machine washed. Remember to protect your shell fabric from insulation bleed through or bearding by using a layer of Scrim***. Polar TecŪ surpasses other fleece fabrics and because it does not pil and retains its insulating properties even when wet. Polar TecŪ 200 and 300 have a water repellent finish. Using Polar TecŪ is beneficial because you get lining and insulation all in one saving you a step however Polar TecŪ is not as warm by weight as Dupont's line of insulations.
Lining: Use an outerwear lining that breathes and preferably has a fibreguard. If your lining does not have a fibreguard use Scrim***. A slippery lining will allow for better movement in a garment. Polar TecŪ can be used also and becomes both lining and insulation.
Select a pattern that has been designed and drafted for outerwear fabrics. Outerwear fabrics are very stable and will not ease or gather well. A multi-sized pattern is preferable. Ease of construction should also be taken into account, remember the more pattern pieces the contains the longer the construction will take. A basic pattern can be accented quicker than sewing together a complicated color blocked garment.
Measure, Measure, Measure! We all know a 2 year old can take a size 12 month to a size 6! Measure your pattern pieces carefully allowing enough for ease and layering. Using a garment that you know fits the child as a comparison works well. Remember if its too small that's too bad, but if the garment that you know fits the child as a comparison works well. Remember if its too small that's too bad, but if the garment is a little on the big side kids will grow into it!
*D.W.R. Durable Water
** Magic Pressing Sheet and Seam Seal can be purchased from Sundrop Outerwear Textiles.
***Scrim: Light weigth transparent web is used to stop insulations from"bearding" through the water-repellent, breathable fabrics.
More information on Sundrop Outerwear Textiles, Inc.
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