Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Regency Toddler Undergarments

I went out last night and bought several yards of white cotton as well as a few yards of sheer sage green cotton for Malachi's regency ensemble.

I decided to go with a gown for Malachi instead of attempting to make a trouser-ed suit, like a skeleton suit or tunic/trouser set. Reasoning? I have less than two weeks to get this done and I know I can whiz through a dress in no time. Making something I have never made before would be majorly stressful to me right now.

I posted a question about the appropriateness of a two and half year old child wearing a gown on the Sense and Sensibility message board. I was totally blown away by the amazing responses I got. Check it out for yourself!

Two images were posted that were very inspiring to me. One is this portrait of the Nathenson family:

And the other this painting entitled "Blind Man's Bluff":

The toddler children in both pictures are wearing similar style garments, along the same lines as what I envisioned for Malachi.

A pattern for an original child's dress can be found here: Child's Gown Pattern

Today I got the boring work out of the way - I am seriously getting sick of square cut things at the moment. I made Malachi's little shift exactly the same as mine, except I found I did not need a drawstring at the neckline since it isn't so large as to need one.

The pantalettes, or pantaloons, or trousers, or whatever you wish to call them, are made of two tubes of cotton. I added a rectangular band in the center of the tubes to accommodate the crutch area and put an elastic casing at the waistline for ease of potty use. The hems are tucked with 2 tucks per leg and finished off with a white ruffle at the ankle. I used the selvedge edge of the fabric for the hem of the ruffle. Period correct, and SO convenient! :)

The little cap is one I made for Judah several years ago when Judah was a little baby. This particular one was copied from an original 1840-1860s era cap but I have seen similar styled caps in regency images as well. I think this one will work very well for Malachi and I am grateful I have one less thing to sew. The cap is adjustable with drawstrings around the face and at the neck and is finished off with a ruffle. It is sadly wrinkled, due to its habitation in a drawer the past few years, but a good starching should bring it to life once again.

Malachi does look quite girly, I will admit, but, what can one expect with a golden-haired, blue-eyed, pink-cheeked child all in white and ruffles? The green gown will be quite manly in color and hopefully will hide the inevitable dirt, grass stains and food spills that will be a part of its existence.

I am so sick of sewing. I really, really am. But I must press on. Malachi's gown  must be made, his pinafore made (although I am honestly thinking of just skipping it) and my ball gown still has not been made. : / After the JA fest I think I will take at LEAST a few weeks during which time I shall not even LOOK at a piece of fabric. (can I physically do that, though?)

Sigh. At least I have coffee. Coffee helps a lot.



  1. Dear Sarah, thank you so much for you kind comments and prayers on my blog. It is nice to hear from you again.
    I've been reading your blog, but it won't always let me comment.
    As usual, I am totally wowed by your commitment and talent. This project is huge. You are doing great to have stuck with it this long. I was thinking about doing the JA festival, but the more I thought about it the more I realised I could not muster the time or motivation, and didn't really want to spend the money. I can't wait to see your photos from the event. I hope that you have a fabulous time that makes all this sewing worth it. Everything you've made is beautiful.

  2. He looks so cute, and in quite a few regency era portraits of young boys you'd think they are girls, with long white gowns and long curly hair, so I think he'll be fine. Looking forward to se the completed outfit (as usual).

    And I too am sick of sewing, at least sick of sewing all the things I have to right now....

  3. ...and maybe it also helps to know that there are a whole lot of people, who admire your work! Such very beautifully made garments!!!

  4. He looks adorable, and he's still got that boyish twinkle of mischief in his eyes ;-) Don't get discouraged - you've been HUGELY productive lately! I can't wait to see the three of you all in your Regency ensembles :)

  5. I love reading about all the new projects you are working on, it inspires me to get off my rear and be more productive! Boy or girl, your son is absolutely beautiful!

    I enjoyed your posting the painting of the game "Blind Man's Bluff"....I have an old cdv of a similar image titled "How a boy learns wit"...and if you look really, really close, you see that the boy can actually see underneath his blindfold, and he's grabbing a young lady's bosom! I bet it was a boy who invented that game and for that very reason...he could grab and not receive a repercussion for it!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!