Once upon a time...
Petit Bateau is named after the nursery rhyme Petit Bateau spirit‘Maman les p'tits bateaux qui vont sur l'eau ont-ils des jambes?’ , Which has been sung for generations in France.
In 1918, Etienne Valton - the son of Petit Bateau founder Pierre Valton - was inspired by this nursery rhyme to cut the legs off long johns worn at the time. The classic cotton pants we know today were born!
Petit Bateau spirit
You are not serious when you are 123 years old! Petit Bateau creates a playful, joyful universe which speaks to all generations from 0-924 months.
But we 're serious about quality. T-shirts do not twist, the presstud buttons on our baby bodysuits do not move and our famous cotton retains its softness... Our clothes have been made with 50% cotton and 50% love since 1893.
Opening of the hosiery factory in Troyes by Pierre Valton, near Paris in France.
Creation of washable white cotton underwear replacing the uncomfortable, unhygienic wool.
Creation of classic pants by Etienne Valton who, in two legendary cuts of his scissors, removed the legs off long underwear!
Creation of the Petit Bateau brand and first appearance of Marinette, the advertising campaign star.
Award of the Grand Prix of the World Exhibition in Paris for the invention of pants.
Invention of the American armhole, allowing the bodysuit to slip easily through head and baby's arms.
Invention of towelling and velour for even softer pyjamas.
Invention of milleraies stripes, knitting a multitude of fine two-tone stripes.
Creation of the newborn bodysuit, the first bodysuit with press stud buttons on the crotch.
Invention of wool and cotton, a unique material which combines the softness of cotton on the skin with the warmth of wool.
Opening of the flagship store on the most beautiful avenue in the world: Les Champs-Elysées in Paris.
Where is my Petit Bateau made?
round the world there are more than 3,000 employees and knit-lovers to share the Petit Bateau adventure. Most of us are in France - 1,000 people design, knit and dye at the Saint Joseph de Troyes factory where it all began 123 years ago... Our heritage lives on - of which we are very proud!
One day we grew, without sacrificing on quality and whilst maintaining an excellent standard of clothing made in the traditional Petit Bateau way. More than 80% of our products are manufactured in France or in our own factories in North Africa, with each stage subject to strict quality control, maintaining the expertise and quality for which Petit Bateau is known.
As we've grown internationally, we have developed skills outside of our core knitting business: for 20% of our production, we have joined forces with selected expert partners. And not just any - in Europe, as in Africa or Asia, we demand the same high levels of excellence, because Petit Bateau quality cannot be invented!
The Petit Bateau know-how in figures
knitted every year
T-Shirts per year
pants per year
pieces per year
underwear per year
6,5 Petit Bateau spirit
of cotton yarn for a T-Shirt
That's a lot of babies, children and adults in Petit Bateau clothes around the world!
Expertise over time
Initially, there is a cotton thread that unwinds like a cocoon. Chosen under our strict requirements, it is turned into rib knit or jersey in our knitting machines. This knitted fabric is then immersed for 6 to 12 hours in a bath of dye, so that it takes the full depth of colour.
Then the seamstresses bring to life the pieces created by our design team. The knitted fabrics and patterns are cut, screenprints are printed and embroidery embroidered! These two delicate steps require great expertise.
Finally comes the manual and precise assembly of different parts and meticulous finishing. From the yarn quality to the final product, each step is strictly controlled. Petit Bateau products are tested from every angle before leaving the factory.
Petit bateau quality
All our clothes are designed and made to allow the child to live happily in their clothes with freedom of movement. It is no coincidence that in 1918, Petit Bateau cut the legs off long underwear and invented the pants we know today.UNDERWARE
By observing the special armholes of American soldiers' tops, which could be removed whilst keeping their helmet on, Petit Bateau invented in 1950 the first baby bodysuits, with this "American" neckline.
Our newborn clothes are made with flat seams to prevent chafing on the skin for total comfort for babies.NEWBORN
No irritants, toxic or carcinogenic substances!
• Petit Bateau designs newborn, underwear and sleepwear collections carrying the Oeko-Tex® label, which guarantees the absence of harmful substances to the skin.NIGHTWEAR
All our garments are designed to prevent children from injuring themselves with cords, press studs, buttons and zippers.COATS
All our comforters are entirely lined to prevent the baby being in contact with the inner padding.COMFORTERS
Reinforced seams are placed on particular areas of clothing to prevent any risk of tearing.TROUSERS
For added strength, buttons are attached in the machine and stand up to 7kg of traction. It's impossible for children to pull them or swallow them.BODYSUITS
Clothes are knitted with extra long cotton fibres that provide a tighter knit which is more resistant over time.
Petit Bateau lasts the whole childhood and is often passed around siblings and down through generations.T-SHIRTS
Safety and requirement
Petit Bateau is a brand which protects. We design knitted collections for newborns, underwear and sleepwear carrying the Oeko-Tex® label, which imposes rigorous safety controls on clothing. This collaboration has lasted almost 10 years. This certification guarantees our products against the risk of allergies and skin irritation - skin is looked after from an early age!
Fabrics and finishes
We create Petit Bateau clothes to a very high quality with elegant, original finishings.DISCOVER
Velour pyjamas were born in 1960 in the Petit Bateau factory. Besides the unrivalled softness, it's convenient and washes well.
Made with 85% cotton, towelling is used for pyjamas and children's clothing, giving them a soft touch and a lot of comfort.
The picot stitch creates a little loop as a delicate finishing touch. We love this refined, elegant detail for babies and girls.
The cocotte stitch is made of tight stitches made by a machine specially invented by Petit Bateau in the 60s.
This two stripe fabric was invented by Petit Bateau in 1970 and requires special knitting. And why the name 'milleraies'? Because there are a thousand stripes in a metre of this fabric!
Petit Bateau regularly collaborates with fashion designers, including Carven, Tsumori Chisato, Cedric Charlier, Monsieur Christian Lacroix, Maison Kitsuné, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and Ines de la Fressange, who have created capsule collections reinventing our iconic pieces.
Petit Bateau also supports young artists through an innovative partnership with the International Festival of Fashion and Photography of Hyères, giving carte blanche to the winner to create a capsule collection. After the Finnish designer Satu Maaranen, the Japanese Kenta Matsushige and the German Annelie Schubert, in 2017 it's the Japanese designer Wataru Tominaga's turn.
Beyond fashion, Petit Bateau cultivates its involvement in childhood through innovative partnerships with youth literature: Claude Ponti, Hervé Tullet, children's authors and Keith Haring have in turn put their colourful characters on T-shirts, pants and bodysuits.
Iconic French designer Inès de la Fressange has loved Petit Bateau for years. “Cult“, “Quality“, “Style“... her words tell a love story that lasts forever.
From the breton top to the tank top and pants, she offers her vision of our iconic pieces for a capsule collection combining boldness and confidence, the profits for which will be donated to the International Federation for Human Rights.
Petit Bateau advertising
Discover the movie of our secret factory!