Thursday, August 4, 2016

1830's Baby Clothes

I've been working on a baby outfit for a friend of mine, who welcomed a darling little son late last year. The two recent events I was supposed to attend fell through (well, one did. The other one I consciously chose to not attend because I am still recovering from the hades-like Perryville trip and have developed a phobia of 100+ degree projected heat indexes) so I have enjoyed being able to take my time to get these done without rushing to fit other projects in at the same time.

1830's baby fashions are really not much different from 1860's baby fashions so although the 1830's isn't as familiar to me the clothes weren't hard to make. I looked through the 1838 Workwoman's Guide for some diagrams and found photos of original garments on museum sites to give me an idea of what to go for. So, this is what I ended up with!

Shirt and Drawers: 

The shirt is made from the closed shirt diagram in the WWG. The first shirt a new baby would have worn would have been open, for ease of dressing, but after about 9 months or so the WWG recommended a baby wear a closed shirt. This shirt is pulled on over the head, and according to the WWG a child would wear this style until at least several years old. The shirt was incredibly simple to make; all squares or rectangles. 

The drawers are cut the same as a woman's drawers. The waistband is elasticized because diaper changes. Drawers can button to the edge of a shirt or underbodice but it makes quick and discreet diaper changes kinda more difficult than desirable. (I tried it before and after that I joyfully embraced the farbism of elastic waisted drawers.)

These are all from white cotton as originals were.

The petticoat is inspired by this one, from the Met:

The bodice is a rectangle with scoops cut out for the underarms and separate straps that are attached at the front and back.

The back buttons closed and the skirt has a few rows of cotton cording. These few rows still manage to give the skirt a lot of body, almost too much for a very little baby. Thankfully it should be fine for an older baby who is starting to become mobile. 

The dress is a practical dark cotton print that is fitted with drawstrings at the neckline, sleeve hems and in the back waist. The skirt is faced, which also gives a bit of body to the hem.

And to finish it off, a simple cap in lightweight dotted swiss!


  1. Those are all so lovely! I'm not very familiar with baby garments from the early 19th century either, but it's nice that they didn't change much!

  2. Drawstrings just in the back waist, who knew? That is such a fabulous design!

  3. This sweet suite of baby clothing is so fun! The dress is in a beautiful fabric as well! I am so impressed with how fast you get all these things accomplished with your full house! All of your creations are so very beautiful!

  4. Beautiful! I am so happy to have found your blog again! I followed you years ago, but after many moves and shutting down my old blog, I lost your blog address. I am glad to catch up! You have a lovely family! Hope you are enjoying a great day!

    1. Oh my goodness, Emily! You have no idea how wonderful it is to hear from you again and to see that you are blogging again. Thank you for your sweet words. Your family looks like it has grown, and your children are beautiful!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!