Muslins made in Portugal are finding a new outlet in the UK baby wear market. They are the basis of the recently launched Melting Hearts collection created by designers Debbie Hawkes and Emma Rogers.

"Muslin is the ideal material from which to make kids clothes and accessories but until recently has been rejected by mothers because it lacked the glamour of more fashionable fabrics," they say.

Their solution was to combine traditional muslin with trimmings that include printed Liberty lawns, ginghams, denims and brightly coloured ribbons. The collection includes sleepsuits, all-in-ones, day wear, dresses and hats - with the latest addition being a long sleeved T-shirt with a soccer motif.

Melting Hearts adds that as well as steadily building home market sales it is also coping with a flood of export enquiries - including several requests to export Portuguese muslin items back to Portugal.

By Sonia Roberts.