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Dressing Baby Beautifully with Rachel Riley

Known as the designer associated with dressing Prince George for his first Royal engagement, Rachel Riley famously created the adorable navy, hand-smocked boat dungaress worn by the little prince back in 2014, when he was just eight months old. Those particular dungarees were worn at the height of what was referred to as the 'George Effect' - a response similarly created by his mother Kate and late grandmother Diana alike - whereby an item of clothing sells out as soon as it makes it's public debut. 

Rachel Riley had long been dressing babies and children beautifully, and the tradional-style clothing that became synonymous with Prince George had always featured in the heart of her collections since she started her company in 1998. Possibly the first and most famous designer to channel this style of clothing for little ones, Rachel Riley's designs have always been so chic and timeless, with specific attention to details such as smocking. 

Above image | Rachel's children dressed in some of her beautiful creations during the 1990s.

21 Sep 2020

Rachel says ...

I have three wonderful children and I launched my clothing brand in 1998 when my children were still young. I’ve always loved designing and making clothes for myself and I actually bought myself my first sewing machine with the money I made modelling whilst I was at University. So when my children were born, I started making clothes for them instead. It is such fun to make tiny garments – they are quicker to make and so cute!

My grandmother taught me how to knit and I started making clothes for myself, but soon I used my skills to make little cardigans for my own babies with sweet designs such as bunnies’ and chicks. And baby bootees, bonnets and pompom pixie hats to keep baby warm and look extra-cute. It is always such fun to take photos for the family album!

My mum loved to sew and would make us rag dolls and clothes to dress them. I learnt Needlework and Dressmaking at school, and soon started making clothes for my own dolls, and then for babies’ that we knew, and it was a good source of pocket-money and I still find it greatly satisfying to make a garment from scratch.

Below images - Left | Rachel and her adorable children - Middle | Rachel has always loved to sew and make her own clothing - Right | Rachel  spending days out with her children in her beautiful designs. 

What clothing and products were your go-to when your children were babies?

When my babies were young, I tended to dress them mainly in sleepsuits and babygrows as the all-in-one is so convenient and comfy. I love babygro’s with poppers which are so easy to take on and off.

Shop | Babygrows

Muslins are also a must-have for any new parent as they can mop up unexpected spills and can double up as a makeshift blanket or cover-up. They are so soft and absorbent and my kids loved them as ‘comfort-blankets’.
Shop | Muslins 

I was very careful to only use natural products on my children’s skin, so I always used natural and unfragranced skincare products wherever possible. I am a great believer in simple soap and water too and would pile all three of them into the bath together where we would always have a lot of fun!
Shop | Natural skincare for baby 

- Rachel's Top Picks -

Rachel chooses muslins, babygrows and natural skincare products as her go-to items for baby 

What are your parenting tips for new mothers?

As a new mum, it’s important to find time for yourself where you can, even if it is for just a few minutes, so taking time to have a relaxing bath, or a moment outdoors, enjoying the natural world, is something I can really appreciate.

I have to say I’m not much of a cook. If I am pushed, I can cook a meal, but I would much prefer to sew, knit, hand embroider or smock before I would start to cook! Once my children started weaning, I used to like batch cooking their meals and freezing them which took the stress away from what to give them to eat every day. I highly recommend doing this. I am also a keen gardener, so was always really proud if I could give them home-grown veg!

My perfect ‘switch off’ activity is gardening as I find it so satisfying to watch the seasons change, and the seeds that I sow and nurture and plants that grow and develop. Much like watching my children grow up!


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