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; leading strings for toddlers and girls;
and also dolls and other toys and games, along with recommended books for kids.

Last updated: Nov 18, 2021

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.”
  • Centraal Museum 20959, a baby’s jacket in cotton printed in India with a carnation design, closed on the back with an olive-green ribbon, c. 1725-1750
  • Rijksmuseum BK-16620-B, a sleeved bodice in moiré silk, Zaanstreek, c. 1740-1760
  • Amsterdam Museum KA 1219, a baby’s jacket for a boy, white satin with brocaded red and blue flowers with wide cuffs of pale blue silk, lined in white linen, center back closure with three ribbons, c. 1740-1770
  • 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
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1985-122, infant’s gown of cream-white satin, Great Britain, c. 1750-1775
  • Gemeentemuseum Den Haag 0451787, a baby boy’s jacket in pinkish-red wool trimmed with red silk cord, with sleeves in salmon-colored silk, c. 1750-1799
  • 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
  • Kerry Taylor Auctions 17 June 2019, Lot 27, “A quilted ivory silk layette basket and contents, English, 1760-70, the robe with pin-tucked panels to bodice, rear fastened by ribbons, turned-back cuffs, the skirt adorned with undulating bands of ivory fly braid; the matching bearing cloth similarly trimmed; the wood and willow basket with base lined in 1767-dated newsprint, the interior lined with tabby quilt, adorned with a large basket sprouting a large central pomegranate or thistle, lilies, floral and fruit repeats to the outer borders, silk fly braid rosettes to the inner corners, and two outer edging flounce of satin; matching cushion quilted with a large thistle, floral sprigs to the corners”
  • Gemeentemuseum Den Haag 0420181, a christening gown in cream or pale yellow silk, c. 1760-1780
  • 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.”
  • Connecticut Historical Society 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.”
  • 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
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1989-441, a boy’s gown in linen with silk embroidery, England, c. 1710
  • 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
  • Rhode Island Historical Society 1959.6.1, a child’s double-breasted coat in cream and blue vertical stripes, worn about 1762 by William Battey in Scituate, Rhode Island (see also One for the Little Boy
  • PMA 1943-23-1, a child’s dress in roller-printed cotton, America, c. 1750-1775
  • Museum Rotterdam 68634, ecru-colored muslin with silk flowers, square drawstring neckline, c. 1750-1785
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1986-212,1, white linen, Rhode Island, c. 1760
  • 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
  • DAR 2006.35, block-printed cotton child’s dress with drawstrings at neck, waist, and halfway between, probably made (and definitely worn) in the United States 1780-1795
  • Gemeentemuseum Den Haag 0061064
  • 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
  • Wisconsin Historical Society 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
  • A child’s gown, c. 1790-1800, in Fitting & Proper: “A child’s gown of off-white cotton printed with a small multicolor sprig, fastened with drawstrings”; also, “a child’s petticoat, cream-colored wool embroidered in multicolored flowers at the hem, hem bound with pink wool tape”
  • Cooper Hewitt 1960-81-10, a child's dress, made of block printed cotton, late 18th to mid-19th century

Boys’ clothing

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
  • Gemeentemuseum Den Haag 0321817, girl’s light blue silk gown with embroidered flowers, c. 1740-1759
  • V&A 162-1899, 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
  • 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.”
  • V&A T.183-1965, a girl's gown in silk embroidered in China and sewn in England, c. 1760
  • Gemeentemuseum Den Haag 0271190, a girl’s jacket in a red cotton print, c. 1760
  • Gemeentemuseum Den Haag 0061261, a gown in grey-blue moire silk with flowers
  • Gemeentemuseum Den Haag 0722348, a girl’s sleeved bodice and skirt in bright green silk, c. 1760-1775
  • Amsterdam Museum KA 1218, a girl’s sleeved bodice in blue changeable silk with a blue linen lining, closes at the back with hooks and eyes, c. 1760-1780
  • 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.”
  • Gemeentemuseum Den Haag 1009328, a girl’s robe àl’anglaise round gown in light purple silk with stripes and floral motifs, c. 1770-1775
  • DAR 2013.20.A (robe à la française”) and DAR 2013.20.B (petticoat) in plaid silk taffeta in shades of pink and cream, 1770-1778
  • 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
  • Newport Historical Society 99.3.87, plain tan linen Quaker girl’s dress, c. 1775
  • Met 2009.300.1340, a girl’s silk dress, Britain, c. 1775-1785
  • Kunstmuseum Den Haag 0271195, a girl’s chintz jacket
  • Kunstmuseum Den Haag 0271196, a girl’s chinz jacket with pink and red carnations and tulips on a blue background
  • Kunstmuseum Den Haag 0451824, a sleeved bodice in brown silk with mariner’s cuffs
  • Amsterdam Museum KA 6866, a patterned brown silk caraco lined in dark purple glazed wool
  • 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
  • DAR 98.54.3, a child’s white linen shift, United States, 1780-1800
  • 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
  • Centraal Museum 14557, a girl’s caraco or jacket, flowered chintz lined with white linen
  • Met 26.233.7a, b, a cotton dress, France, c. 1797-1798

Children’s shoes

Children’s stays