What is the Best Quality?The best quality kids' underwear scores high in four basic categories. Fabric, Fit, Fabrication (how it's made), and Findings (a fancy apparel word for laces, elastics, bows, and other trims). Let's unpack these one by one.
1. Fabric QualityHave you tried to economize by trying mass market kids' underwear? Sure, they don't cost much. But the fabric of those character undies is handkerchief thin and scratchy. What's worse, they become stiffer, thinner, and more scratchy with each wash cycle. The best quality underwear starts with quality fabric. Fabric that feels soft to the touch. Fabric that isn't stiff and drapes nicely. Fabric that improves with each wash cycle by getting softer and more comfy.
The best fabric for kids' underwear is soft
We all have our preferences. Maybe you prefer 100% cotton for its soft breathability. Or organic cotton for its all-natural softness. Blended fabrics can offer the best of both worlds, especially when they include modal, known for its soft hand and wicking properties. And many of us look for a little spandex in our clothing - for that added stretch and the way it stretches back to its original size.
Regardless of which fabric you, or your kids, prefer when buying kids' underwear - it's the way it feels that matters. The common feature of the best quality fabric for kids' underwear is that it is soft and comfy. The best fabrics are made from high quality yarns, with long fibers that provide durability and prevent pilling. The fabric weight must be high enough to provide durability while still maintaining softness and flexibility.
Lucky & Me use a variety of high quality fabrics in their children's underwear. These superior fabrics hold up during the daily wash and wear cycles kids need. They even become softer as they age. This is the sign of a truly wonderful and very high quality fabric made from premium yarns.
Quality fabrics pass all the tests
Excellent brands use regular inspection and testing to ensure consistent quality of fabric. Fabric mills and factories use established quality standards to ensure the quality of the finished product. For example, all Lucky & Me 100% organic cotton is made to the Global Organic Textile Standard for ecological and social responsibility. Read more about the benefits of organic cotton in our recent blog post about Organic Cotton Underwear for Children.
2. Fabrication - Quality underwear is made well
Here's another thing about cheap undies. Makers use the cheapest sewing methods. They leave raw, unfinished edges. This matters because that raw hem can scratch tender young skin. It can also start to unravel and shred after just a few wash cycles.
Quality underwear is made using better sewing methods. For example, the gusset edges are folded over and stitched down without leaving a raw edge. Waistbands are encased in fabric. Leg elastic is completely covered. These details provide comfort and durability for a lifetime.
Take a look at this Lucky & Me Gracie Brief. See how flat and smooth it is? The leg elastic is completely encased and there are no exposed raw fabric edges. These are the hallmarks of quality construction.
3. Findings - Elastic, Thread, Lace, and more
What are findings? That's what we in the business call anything that's not the main fabric of a garment. Probably because we have to go out and "find" it all once the fabric's been decided.
Trims should match the fabric. They should look like they belong - in style and color. And they should be the same quality so they don't degrade the quality of the garment. It wouldn't make sense to put a low quality lace on a high quality legging, for example. The lace might disintegrate on washing, leaving a perfectly good legging with a raggedy edge.
Say no to Latex
It's very important to have good quality elastic - especially on children's underwear. The first rule is no latex. Lots of kids are allergic to latex and many cheap brands use it - especially at the leg openings. Even when it's encased in fabric, the latex often can be seen, and felt, because the seam is not secure.
Quality Underwear uses quality elastic
The second rule of elastic concerns stretch and recovery. Your girls' underwear should not feel like control top pantyhose at the waistband! The elastic needs to have enough stretch to give easily but still hold in place.
And elastic needs good recovery - the ability to return to it's original size and shape. Otherwise it will stretch out and become wrinkled or baggy after a few wash cycles. Nobody likes that!
Fluffy Thread and Soft Lace
Take a look at this close-up of the Lucky & Me Ava Bikini. The stitch used is called an overlock. You'll find it on many types of garments. With the wrong thread, this stitch can be scratchy and irritating. But we use thread designed to be fluffy and gentle. It will feel ultimately soft and comfy against even the most sensitive child's skin.
And take a look the beautiful lace. It is just as smooth and comfy as it looks. And because it is the leg elastic, it's made to stretch and recover with your child's every movement throughout a busy day.
4. Fit is Critical to the Best Quality
What's worse than a panty wedgy? Not much! That's why fit is so important. At Lucky & Me, each garment is fit on a live model. A real girl or boy who can provide feedback on where the style feels comfortable - or not! This feedback is essential to the fit process and ensures each garment is made to the specifications of real children.
All kids are different
Of course, kids are different. Some get bigger before they grow taller. Others are skinny and short. So different styles fit different kids...differently. It might take a bit of trial and error to determine if your girl prefers a lower-cut bikini shape, or a more modest boy short. Does your boy prefer boxers, briefs, or boxer briefs?
Consistency is key
But once you have the style preference figured out - you should be able to repurchase that style again and again. It should be consistent every time you purchase.
Lucky & Me inspects all shipments to ensure that each panty, cami, legging, boxer, and brief is made to spec to ensure that your child is comfy in their clothing all day long.
By Liz Smith. Liz has worked across the globe for many of the world's best known apparel brands, including Justice, Chico's, Victoria's Secret, and Hanes. She has worked closely with dozens of factories in more than 20 countries to ensure that production is of the highest standard. Liz has managed all aspects of garment production, from design through fabric development to sewing and merchandising - so she knows what it takes to make high-quality apparel. Liz is thrilled to share her knowledge about clothes to help discerning customers choose the finest products.