18th Century Children’s Clothing

Eventually, this page will just link to a series of pages focused on various topics; for now, I’m using it to collect various types of garments and accessories, and breaking them off into new pages as necessary.

Featured on separate linkspages:
babies’ caps, pudding caps, shirts, and rattles;
and also dolls and other toys and games, along with recommended books for kids.

Infants’ clothing

  • MRAH, a quilted (?) shirt
  • V&A B.13-2001, a swaddling band, France, c. 1700-1750; “Swaddling band made up of two thicknesses of white linen, seamed together at the sides with overcast stitching in white thread. The band is hand embroidered with an elaborate repeating pattern of stylized flowers and foliage, worked in white thread and using a variety of stitches including stem stitch, interlacing stitch, bullion knots, eyelet stitch and wave stitch filling. The embroidery indicates that this is an outer swaddling band, for use as the top layer; one end is straight and the other rounded, the latter being likely to be the outer end.”
  • V&A T.879-1919, wrapping gown in printed cotton, England, c. 1750
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1991-551,1A-C, infant’s long gown of plain gold silk satin, England, c. 1750-1775
  • Christie’s Lot 328 / Sale 5422, a white ribbed infant’s gown, second half of the 18th century
  • Christie’s Lot 333 / Sale 5422, an infant’s gown in cream silk with flybraid and silk fringe, second half of the 18th century
  • National Trust 658222, a christening coat in silk with a cotton backing, c. 1760
  • National Trust 1350470, 1770; “A cream linen gown with bodice and sleeves being lined with heavier linen. Neck and sleeves edged with a narrow East Midlands lace.”
  • CHS 1958.25.1, infant's short gown in block-printed cotton calico, 1779
  • Kerry Taylor Auctions Dec 12 2006, Lot 113, an infant’s brown linen frock coat, c. 1780
  • National Trust 1350457, c. 1780-1800; “Chemise of cream linen with drawn thread hem stitching to seams and hems with cuff edges dot stitched and trimmed with narrow Valenciennes lace.”
  • National Trust 1350458, c. 1780-1800; “A chemise of cream linen with Buckinghamshire lace edging to cuffs and bodice.”
  • National Trust 1350459, c. 1780-1800; “A chemise of cream linen decorated with Valenciennes and Buckinghamshire lace. Seams dot stitched and worked with narrow band of zig zag hem stitch.”
  • National Trust 1350460, c. 1780-1800; “Chemise of cream linen decorated with Valenciennes and Buckinghamshire lace. Bodice cuffs and hem seams pin stitched.”
  • An infant's layette, 18th century
  • Christie’s Lot 35 A / Sale 5945, including silk damask sleeves, a plain silk cap, a white linen shirt with ruffles, and a white linen cap with ruffles

Dresses for small children

    Additional Resources

    A Toddler Boy’s Wardrobe

  • Cooper Hewitt 1940-93-68, child's dress in silk damask, made in England, early 18th century
  • Met 1990.24, wool and silk dress, Britain, c. 1740; note leading strings, back-lacing, apron-front
  • HMB 1872.13.3, linen dress with wool embroidery, mid-18th century
  • PMA 1943-23-1, a child’s dress in roller-printed cotton, America, c. 1750-1775
  • Manchester 1980.197, c. 1760-1770; “Light blue figured silk with woven design of latticed ribbons, the ribbons having a spot pattern. Back-fastening closed dress with trained skirt and leading strings. Squared neckline, pointed front waist. CB boned each side. Elbow length sleeves. Skirt is open for first 19cm of CB. Dress is decorated with silver bobbin lace applied in serpentine patterns.”
  • National Trust 1350451, c. 1775-1800; “An open robe made of cotton tabby Indian printed in shades of indigo and madder with a design of trails and sprays of various flowers and leaves. Unbleached linen lining on bodice and sleeves only. Four flat brass hooks and eyes down centre front of bodice and two stitched loops at back (possibly for sash).”
  • Nationalmuseet W.1138, a small child’s dress, 1780-1785
  • Augusta Auction 18.2256.17.17, a printed baby dress (1783) and two white dresses (c. 1790-1810); “All cotton w/ draw-string backs: 1 Rare infant dress of early printed cotton, poor; 2 white dresses w/ ruffles & double draw-string back, very good”
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1992-139, a child’s dress in printed cotton, England or America, c. 1785-1810
  • WHS 1959.140, a cotton baby’s dress with a high empire waist and gathered bodice, c. 1796; “Off-white cotton; hand-sewn; ankle length; A-line; very high empire waist with deep scoop neck, and highly gathered neck and waistline; short sleeves; hem stitching around neckline and down tops of sleeves, with additional narrow off-white lace around cuffs and neckline; two 3/4" wide fabric bands added down each side seam, attached only along one side, and embroidered in off-white with repeated triangles; 3 sections of 1/4" pin tucks go horizontally across skirt front, starting at knees and going down almost to hem, with 5 rows in the first section, and 4 rows in the other two sections; additional embroidery includes swiss dots on the sleeves, triangles along the hem, and more complicated scroll work between the hem and the bottom tuck on the skirt front; the back is left completely open, and closes with the drawstrings fed through the neckline and through the waistline at center back.”
  • Cooper Hewitt 1960-81-9, a child's dress, made of cotton that was painted and dyed and resist dyed on cotton in India, late 18th century
  • Cooper Hewitt 1960-81-10, a child's dress, made of block printed cotton, late 18th to mid-19th century

Boys’ clothing

  • National Trust 1430672, “A pair of 18th century boy's breeches of black silk knit, lined with wool and interlined with linen. Wool patch to seat. Legs with silk-covered buttons and hems with remains of silk fringing.”
  • Nationalmuseet 246/1946, a coat for a young boy, beginning of the 18th century
  • Meg Andrews 8232, a Dutch boy’s frock coat known as a Lankrok, brown wool edged with black velvet with silk covered buttons
  • Christie’s Lot 3291 / Sale 4981, a child’s frock coat, first half of the 18th century; “oatmeal wool with ice blue silk cuffs and collar, lined in pale blue silk twill, with decorative trim to the exaggerated buttonholes in silver thread, full skirted and with shaped bodice”
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1989-441, linen gown embroidered with silks, England, c. 1710
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1953-845, whitework waistcoat, England or France, c. 1720-1750; probably cut down from an adult’s waistcoat
  • Colonial Williamsburg G1971-1577, whitework waistcoat, England, c. 1730-1740 (with later alterations)
  • Winterthur 1960.1043 A, B, a block-printed cotton waistcoat, c. 1740-1760
  • V&A T.362-1920, silk gown, France, c. 1750
  • National Trust 1362013, boy's robe or banyan, cotton, silk, and wool, c. 1750
  • HD 2002.18.1, a child's silk brocade banyan lined with indigo-dyed cotton plaid, c. 1750
  • A boy's suit in cream satin with pink silk trim, c. 1750-1800, including an overcoat (NT 1140479.1), a waistcoat (NT 1140479.2), breeches (NT 1140479.3), and a cap (NT 1140479.4)
  • CHS 1978.104.0, a coat for a three or four year old boy with crewel embroidery on linen, c. 1758-1760
  • V&A T.113-1953, a red and white suit consisting of a coat, two pairs of breeches and a waistcoat in a red and white striped silk and cotton blend, Britain, c. 1760
  • National Trust 814599, 1760; “Boy's brocade waistcoat: silk woven with Anglo-Persian style repeating flowerhead and leaf design. Round neck, no sleeves, straight to hem and buttoned to pocket height. Flared skirt, splits at side and centre back.”
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art 1904-30a--c, boy’s three piece suit: coat, waistcoat, and breeches in silk faille, French or Italian, c. 1760-1775
  • Met 2009.300.2982a, b, wool breeches, America, 1761
  • National Trust 1350246, c. 1760-1770; “Child's waistcoat - Made from twilled linen - probably homespun. It is lined with a coarser twilled linen and embroidered in coloured silks in a design of trailing flowers and leaves. Eyelet holes for 'bachelor buttons'. Has been let out.”
  • Winterthur 1958.0123.001, a boy's wool coat, United States, c. 1760-1780
  • CHS 2001.49.6, a white plain-woven linen waistcoat with Dorset buttons, 1770s
  • CHS 1981.110.0, a jacket made of brown linen with five pweter shank buttons, c. 1775-1785
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1953-841, white tabby cotton suit, England, c. 1775-1790
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1993-46, coarse off-white linen breeches, New Hampshire or Maine, 1775-1800
  • National Trust 1349049, 1780; “Boy's breeches made from Holland and lined with cream linen. They have a small fall. There are 2 pockets in the waistband, 1 fob pocket. They fasten with cloth covered buttons. Could be breeches of a skeleton suit.”
  • National Trust 1349050, 1780; “Boy's breeches made from Holland and lined with cream cotton. They have a small fall and two pockets in the wistband and a fob pocket. There are cloth covered buttons. Could be breeches of a skeleton suit.”
  • V&A T.184 to C-1961, a boy’s linen suit, c. 1780
  • Nationalmuseet 8259/1952, a suit for a little boy, 1780s
  • Meg Andrews 8511, boy’s buff-colored chamois breeches, late 18th century
  • Landesmuseum Württemburg 1992-179 a,b, a boy’s linen suit, c. 1790, France
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1970-109, cream ribbed silk waistcoat with polychromatic embroidery, England or France, c. 1790-1810; cut down from an adult’s waistcoat
  • MFA 51.386a-b, a boy's suit in two pieces (jacket and long breeches), Boston, late 18th century
  • CHS 2001.49.35, a boy's cotton shirt, c. 1790-1810

Girls’ clothing

  • MRAH, a lace apron, Milan
  • Meg Andrews 7075, a quilted petticoat
  • Met 2010.148, a French silk robe volante adapted for a girl, c. 1730
  • Girl's dress bodice with leading strings, silk, Britain, 1750-59
  • Met C.I.62.28a,b, a silk robe à française, France, mid-18th century (also here)
  • National Trust 1362652, c. 1750-1770; “Mustard yellow silk brocade girl's dress with striped gilt weft. Short sleeves, square neckline with applied stomacher of lace (blonde) and paper rosebuds. bodice is joined to skirt at the sides only. Skirt has two pocket slits and is open centre back. Dress unlined, although traces of linen lining at shoulder. Trace of newspapers stiffening at back boned opening.”
  • Girl's gown (side view), embroidered silk, Britain, c. 1760
  • National Trust 1348718, 1770; “Girl's open robe - Cream silk taffeta robe/dress. Bodice and sleeves lined with bleached linen. Hem lined with fine cream silk. Bodice fitted, closed front with drawstring. Centre back seam, pleats down to waist - continues into skirt. 2 bones. Sleeves pleated at top, straight, elbow length, lead weighted, cuffs missing. Skirt 5 widths. Tight knife pleating to bodice. Longer at back. 2 pocket slits. Trimmed with pleated self fabric round neck and front skirt edge. Drawstring at neck. Bodice shows signs of alteration. Evidence of former pleating on bodice front and back.”
  • Meg Andrews 6939, a Chinese silk jacket of imperial yellow damask, “front opening with hooks and eyes, full skirt to the sides and back, the back with a central seam and a lower horizontal waist seam, simple sleeves with back seam, lined with same shade of yellow glazed linen,” 1770s
  • A printed linen dress, 1770s
  • A little girl's walking dress, 1770-1780
  • Met 2009.300.1340, a girl’s silk dress, Britain, c. 1775-1785
  • Henry Ford 35.894.1, a child's dress, cotton and linen, United States, c. 1780
  • Young girl’s dress of block-printed cotton, Britain, c. 1780-1790
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1994-160, hooded short cloak in satin, Britain (worn in America), c. 1780-1800
  • Henry Ford 35.596.35, child's dress in linen and cotton, United States, c. 1780-1830
  • Met 26.233.7a, b, a cotton dress, France, c. 1797-1798

Children’s shoes

Children’s stays

  • Met C.I.66.24.2, cotton, third quarter 18th century
  • Nationalmuseet W 1138, c. 1760
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1993-329, leather stays (scored with lines suggesting boning) for adolescent, made in four separate sections with lacing holes at the front, back and sides, England, c. 1760-1780
  • PVMA 1880.015.02, linen, c. 1760-1790; “These stays are for a toddler and are stiffened with cardboard rather than whalebone or metal.”
  • CHS 1983.162.5, stays made of linen and bound in leather for a girl about four or five years old, c. 1765-1775
  • PMA 1988-15-1, linen, America, c. 1770-1790
  • KCI AC4197 82-5-5, c. 1790; “white linen chintz; boned front, back and sides; metal spring at sides to adjust; front lacing; straps tied with cord”