As little H have only just begun to taste solids, and is thus still dependant on me for food, he naturally had to come with me to the event at the Tegnér Museum I mentioned in my last post. Of course he needed to be properly dressed as well. I looked through my stash, and found some old cotton curtains I’d bought for the fabric a few years ago. It was all bleached on one side, but the other side was in good condition. The fabric is similar to what is used in this extant dress. The dress was hand sewn using linen and cotton thread.
The bodice is high necked – it is winter after all – and bound with a self fabric bias strip. It closes in the back with mother of pearl buttons from my stash. It’s lined in plain white cotton, and then eased into the waistband.
The skirt is tightly cartridge pleated to the waistband, and has numerous tucks – more than I had planned; the result from cutting the skirt too long. The tucks help a lot to prevent the skirts from clinging, they look pretty, and of course, can be let out if needed.
When I came to the sleeves I was beginning to run out of fabric: I’d used some of it in my eldest boys patchwork quilt three years ago. I decided to make short sleeves cut on the bias – very 1840’s – and have longer ones under them.
The longer sleeves are pieced, with plain cotton sheeting where it won’t show under the shorter sleeves. They are only loosely sewn in, and can be removed in summer. They are pleated to cuffs, also closed with mother of pearl buttons.
The dress was worn over the petticoat I’d made previously. A little shift should have been worn as well, but I didn’t have time to make one, and the medieval one I tried before turned out to be too bulky. It worked well anyway. He also wore tights, to keep warm and hide the very modern nappy. Little drawers would have looked nice, but lack of time…
I think H looked absolutely adorable in his little dress! Quite a few discussions on baby clothing in the past was the result of people assuming he was a girl. Several people recalled that they had pictures of their grandfathers in dresses when babies. And thus the boy in a dress issue was diffused.
The Challenge: #22 Menswear (Yes, I’m stretching this, as the dress could just as well have been worn by a girl.)
Fabric: Different cottons.
Pattern: Drafted my own from looking at pictures of extant baby and toddler dresses.
Year: Roughly 1840’s.
Notions: Cotton and linen thread, mother of pearl buttons.
How historically accurate is it? As usual, as best as I could make it without looking at extant dresses in person. Period materials, constructions and stitching.
Hours to complete: Mmm… maybe 8-10?
First worn: For the pictures and a small event at the Tegnér Museum in Lund, Sweden, on the 29thNovember.
Total cost: Nothing at this time, as fabrics and notions came from my stash.
4 thoughts on “An 1840’s Baby Dress”
Such a beautiful little garment and perfectly represented by little H.
I love the pleats and tucks, which look lovely on the chequered fabric.
The gown looks perfectly lovely and little H. is charm itself. 🙂
There's something very becoming about little boys in dresses; you did a fantastic job (as always) and it's a joy to see what you sew!
Skönt att använda tyg från egna förrådet oxå.
Det är f.ö väldigt intressant att folk inte kan acceptera att även pojkar bar klänning förr. Känns väldigt trångsynt tycker jag.