THE PETIT BATEAU STORY

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.

1893

Opening of the hosiery factory in Troyes by Pierre Valton, near Paris in France.

1893

1912

Creation of washable white cotton underwear replacing the uncomfortable, unhygienic wool.

1912

1918

Creation of classic pants by Etienne Valton who, in two legendary cuts of his scissors, removed the legs off long underwear!

1918

1920

Creation of the Petit Bateau brand and first appearance of Marinette, the advertising campaign star.

1920

1937

Award of the Grand Prix of the World Exhibition in Paris for the invention of pants.

1937

1950

Invention of the American armhole, allowing the bodysuit to slip easily through head and baby's arms.

1950

1960

Invention of towelling and velour for even softer pyjamas.

1960

1970

Invention of milleraies stripes, knitting a multitude of fine two-tone stripes.

1970

1980

Creation of the newborn bodysuit, the first bodysuit with press stud buttons on the crotch.

1980

1990

Invention of wool and cotton, a unique material which combines the softness of cotton on the skin with the warmth of wool.

1990

2000

Opening of the flagship store on the most beautiful avenue in the world: Les Champs-Elysées in Paris.

2000

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

4.000 TONS

knitted every year

3,4 MILLION

T-Shirts per year

3,5 MILLION

pants per year

28 MILLION

pieces per year

16 MILLION

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

COMFORT AND WELL BEING

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.

BODYSUITS

Our newborn clothes are made with flat seams to prevent chafing on the skin for total comfort for babies.
NEWBORN

HEALTH

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


Reinforced seams are placed on particular areas of clothing to prevent any risk of tearing.

UNDERWARE

No need for dry cleaning or special instructions, our clothes are all machine washable - simple as that.

PYJAMAS



Petit Bateau creates colours that remain vibrant and do not run or fade.

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!

Steeped in history, the waxed raincoat is reminiscent of seafarers, Brittany and seaspray. But it has long since left the coast and is seen in towns and cities all over the world. This iconic piece for children who love jumping in puddles is also a favourite for grown-ups to protect themselves from showers in style. It's raining? So what!

RAINCOAT

Inspired by naval officers, the Petit Bateau peacoat offers a unique, reworked cut. Considered the essential coat, this Petit Bateau classic has been in vogue for years through generations and trends.

PEACOAT

At Petit Bateau, we know stripes! This iconic garment is both comfortable and resistant and is popular every season since Petit Bateau began 123 years ago. This timeless wardrobe staple is a must for all ages.

BRETON STRIPES

The chic sailor jumper is finished with gold buttons for a nautical touch. Soft and warm, it's a wardrobe essential for sailors small and big year round.

JUMPERS

The Petit Bateau T-Shirt was originally woollen underwear, before being made in high quality cotton. In 1994, a fashion designer sent a simple white Petit Bateau tee under suits down the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week and our T-Shirt became an icon.

T-SHIRTS

In 1918, Etienne Valton made a sharp decision: cut the legs off traditional long johns for more practical, comfortable pants. This unique invention revolutionised forever the history of underwear.

PANTS

Inspired by naval officers, the Petit Bateau peacoat offers a unique, reworked cut. Considered the essential coat, this Petit Bateau classic has been in vogue for years through generations and trends.

PEACOAT

The Petit Bateau T-Shirt was originally woollen underwear, before being made in high quality cotton. In 1994, a fashion designer sent a simple white Petit Bateau tee under suits down the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week and our T-Shirt became an icon.

T-SHIRTS

Steeped in history, the waxed raincoat is reminiscent of seafarers, Brittany and seaspray. But it has long since left the coast and is seen in towns and cities all over the world. This iconic piece for children who love jumping in puddles is also a favourite for grown-ups to protect themselves from showers in style. It's raining? So what!

Petit Bateau spiritRAINCOAT

The chic sailor jumper is finished with gold buttons for a nautical touch. Soft and warm, it's a wardrobe essential for sailors small and big year round.

JUMPERS

In 1918, Etienne Valton made a sharp decision: cut the legs off traditional long johns for more practical, comfortable pants. This unique invention revolutionised forever the history of underwear.

Petit Bateau spiritPANTS

At Petit Bateau, we know stripes! This iconic garment is both comfortable and resistant and is popular every season since Petit Bateau began 123 years ago. This timeless wardrobe staple is a must for all ages.

BRETON STRIPES

In 1980, Petit Bateau improves the wellbeing of parents and babies by creating a bodysuit with press stud buttons at the crotch and convenient American armholes. Freedom of movement for easy dressing and changing, these qualities make the bodysuit essential for babies.

BODYSUITS

Long ears and soft cotton, Petit Bateau comforters have been friends with generations of children! Fully lined with soft cotton on the outside and soft fleece on the inside, this is the first companion for little ones. Rabbits, bears or mice with personalised embroidery... Our baby comforters make the perfect birth gift.

EMBROIDERY SERVICE

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!

Partnerships

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.

COMING SOON

Petit Bateau advertising

Discover the movie of our secret factory!