I had heard of muslin (also known as gauze), but I really couldn't tell you what it felt like or even looked like until just about 10 years ago. And I wasn't alone. You simply could not go into a department store and find a gauze top or a muslin blanket. Muslin was not a popular fabric in the United States. If you wanted soft, you found pima cotton. If you wanted breathable, you looked for something in linen or silk and dealt with the wrinkles or the dry cleaning nightmare as indicated.
A few years before I was pregnant with my first son, a forward-thinking Australian woman (who also happened to be pregnant) living in New York City started searching for a swaddle blanket like the ones that she had had as a baby and were so common back in Australia. These baby swaddles were lightweight, ultra breathable, and oh-so soft. She kept her day job, but she founded a muslin baby blanket company using her beloved fabric (sourced from China) with a friend and named it Aden & Anais. It took a few years, but Aden & Anais took off. It was the "IT" baby gift for years. I must have received 5 3 packs of these blankets as baby shower gifts back in 2009! And man, were they a go-to. They felt so soft to the touch. Because of their breathability they were safer for babies and the lightweight fabric meant some warmth but no overheating. My own babies became quite attached to these blankets. They were a mainstay for us, especially in the summer in our Maine cabin without air conditioning.
For years, outside of the swaddle blanket brand, it was nearly impossible to find muslin blankets or bedding in larger sizes. Seeing a gap in the marketplace and wanting a blanket like my children had been enjoying I started exploring making these blankets in twin, queen and king sizes. I knew nothing about the textile industry, but after a few years of quiet research, I founded Gray Heron, with nothing more than the belief that there must be thousands of other parents who had felt the same way about their babies' Aden & Anais blankets and wanted one for themselves as well!
At just before my website launch, my family took a vacation in the Caribbean. One day on the beach, I chatted up the sweetest woman who ran marketing for Ann Taylor Loft. She was encouraging and supportive of my business idea, and she revealed to me that muslin was going to be, "...absolutely huge in clothing in the next year as well." Apparently, the incredible feel of muslin was something that consumers wanted all day long, not just at night or when snuggling on the couch.
As predicted, muslin began showing up online and in catalogs, from pajamas to flow-y dresses and casual pants. Today, muslin is ubiquitous. You see it on the street and on the beach.
When shopping for muslin, always look out for a high quality muslin made of organic cotton. Standard cotton muslin contains toxins and makes a huge, negative environmental impact. Also, there are significant quality differences in muslin. Since many people do not have tons of experience with the fabric, they may be purchasing a muslin product of lower quality. Make sure to compare fabrics when possible. One thing we guarantee at Gray Heron, is that our muslin is far softer than any other muslin you can find. There are several brands to choose from, but there is only one Gray Heron made with the finest organic muslin.