During the 18th century, children were dressed as little adults and simplicity was the rule from 1750-1770. The favorite colors were rust, yellow, blue, brown, and plum. Both boys and girls were dressed in petticoats until they were 5 or 6 years old. Clothing was constructed with growth in mind with numerous pleats and drawstrings that could be let out as needed to accommodate the growing child.

This outfit represents the middling class, perhaps a German farmer’s daughter on the Pennsylvania frontier, in a resist-print short gown closed down the front with straight pins.The petticoat is blue and white striped linen. The pleats at the bottom of the petticoat were let down as the girl grew. The average height of a woman in the late 18th century was 5 feet.

A chemise of white linen serves as the under garment. When needed, sleeve extensions could be laced over the chemise sleeves.

The kerchief, apron, shift and cap are white linen.

Children ran barefoot in the country. The only shoes were hand-carved wooden clogs that did not differentiate between left and right. These were only worn in cold weather. Hand knit stockings provided warmth and made the clogs more comfortable. It wasn’t until the 1850s that shoes were made with a left and a right foot. Saying you don’t know your left foot from your right foot stems from this change.

While the adults wore caps at all times, it wasn’t until the age of 16 that a girl became of age and was given her bonnet.

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