During the 18th century, children were dressed as little adults and simplicity was the rule from 1750-1770. The favored colors were rust, yellow, blue, brown, and plum. Both male and female toddlers were dressed in petticoats; boys did not wear pants until the were 5 or 6 years old. Clothing was constructed with growth in mind, with pleats and drawstrings that could be adjusted as the child grew. To make their backs grow straight, both boys and girls wore boned corsets to counteract the debilitating effects of rickets, a disease that weakened young bones. Boys wore petticoats until they could button and unbutton the many buttons on britches. While the ideal was for all children to wear corsets, typically, this was a luxury that only the gentry could afford.
This gown represents a middling class,the blue gown is pinned down the front with straight pins and hangs loose to show the apron and petticoat. The gown and petticoat were made of linen, as cotton and silk were expensive at this time. The petticoat is of green linen with a striped bodice. The pleats at the bottom of the petticoat are called "peasant pleats" and will probably provide enough length until she is fully grown.
Like the women, girls wore kerchiefs and caps at all times. The shift was the first garment a girl put on. This outfit has a white linen shift with a neck ruffle. Over the shift, came the petticoat, then the apron, pocket, kerchief and gown. The girl's gown shown here is of blue linen.
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