Even your littlest reenactor can now be dressed in well-documented, high-quality 18th century clothing!

The most complete, state-of-the-research information I have been able to assemble on the replication of suitable 18th century infant clothing can be found here, on my home website:

It was put there to enable anyone of even modest sewing skills to assemble a set of historically accurate "baby linen" with a minimum of trouble and effort.

However, if you prefer to purchase similar infant garments, made by us, we will be delighted to make them for you. We offer the shirt, petticoat, robe and cap.

Infant Shirt

This is the most basic, no-frills, 18th century baby shirt, based on the five examples I've been able to find so far. The originals were made from linen approximately 17" wide. The modern equivalent would be white linen dish-towel fabric. If I can find one, I will use a soft vintage linen tea-towel, all-white and in sound condition. Please let me know if you'd prefer the durability of new linen.

Outer front neckline detail.

Inside front neckline detail.

An original:

Our replica is completely hand-sewn, and, like the original shirt, it has no fastenings. It is held closed by the petticoat. It will fit a baby newborn to 3 months. Please let me know if you prefer a 6-month size.

Infant shirt = $35 completely handsewn

Infant Petticoat

The petticoat was worn over the shirt and napkin, and its waistband holds the shirt closed. As there are no known extant surviving examples, it is based on a description from "The Nursery-Maid", in Hannah Glasse's The Servant's Directory, 1762, p.44: "a petticoat of fine flannel, two or three inches longer than the child's feet; with a dimity top (commonly called a boddice coat) to tye behind."

detail of waistband and ties

With a generous 22" length and 30" fullness, ours will cover Baby's feet, and provide easy access for diaper changing. The 4" wide waistband or "bodice coat" serves to hold the shirt closed and provides the look of abdominal support thought essential in 18th century clothing. Made entirely of white linen, ours fastens with three pairs of adjustable white cotton tape ties. All visible sewing is by hand.

Infant petticoat = $65 in linen

Infant robe

Of the many styles of 18th c. infant gowns, this one is by far the simplest, and is well documented by surviving examples. Garments like this can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Historic Deerfield, and Colonial Williamsburg (see Baumgarten, fig. 236), among others. For an infant, this garment typically would be made in white, in linen, cotton dimity, or fine wool worsted.

detail of inside of neck and center front edge

We can make yours in white linen, in a fine corded white cotton (as shown) like the original example I studied, or in your choice of a cheerful Indian block-printed cotton. The robe has no fastenings, and it may be pieced, as the originals are. It will be entirely handsewn except for the long interior seams.

Infant robe = $75.00 in linen or cotton

Infant cap

All 18th c. infants wore at least one cap, or as many as three. There was a variety of methods of cutting out 18th c. baby caps and many needlework techniques were used to embellish them. We offer here a generic cap distilled down to the barest essentials.

Just a delicate edging of cotton lace ornaments this cap, exquisitely handsewn of the finest white linen. (Note: Lace may vary from that shown.) Most original caps do not show evidence of ties, but if you want them, we'll be happy to add them.

Outside cap back.

Inside cap back.

Infant cap = $40, completely handsewn


~~ Gowns & Jackets
~~ Shifts, Petticoats, Jumps
~~ Outerwear
~~ Other Garments (aprons, caps, neckhandkerchiefs, &c)

~~ Infant Clothing

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