Monday, April 25, 2011

1849 Godey's Lady's Book advises Mothers on How to Dress Children

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Godey's Lady's Book, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Children’s Fashions – May 1849

So much for new English and Parisian fashions, which may be modified to suit our climate and the circumstances of the families in which they are adopted. The boy’s dress is certainly neat, and well suited to the ease and freedom boys naturally seek in the country. The third figure is by far the most suitable of the others, and has a pretty childish grace. As we have before hinted, the slip in figure four, if modified to an apron, would be at once pretty and serviceable. There is nothing new in the arrangement of the hair. Very little girls either wear it short and turned back from the forehead with a comb, or parted in the centre and falling in ringlets. Curls should becultivated, if possible. Nature would seem to point to them as the most suitable style for children. Little school girls still patronize the braid, a la Kenwig; those a little older cross the plaits on the back of the head and tie them behind the ears with a pretty ribbon. The skirts of their dresses are made much longer than a few years since, when every child looked like a juvenile opera-dancer; and pantalettes are quite too childlike and pretty to be given up. In dressing children, the first thing to be looked to is securing their health and comfort; then display the taste you may possess, so far as it does not interfere with simplicity. No child is well dressed who is overloaded with finery or decked with jeweled ornaments. Simplicity is the first and the last rule to be observed.


Plate Description
■1st figure. — Misses dinner dress, or demi-toilette for the country. The dress itself, white jaconet, with four rows of embroidery upon the skirt. The corsage half high, and finished with a tucker of fine lace. Sleeves gathered at the wrist. A blue sash and hair ribbons.
■2d figure. — Small jacket, open and rounded in front, of dark velvet, cloth or cashmere, with buttons of the same. Small square linen collar turned over; a ribbon necktie. Loose trowsers of blue and white-striped linen. Cap of dark cloth.
■3d figure. — Dress of white lawn, a fall infant waist, and short sleeves; slip of pink French lawn, with the skirt as long as the dress, the waist made lower by an inch or two. Gaiters, and frilled pantalettes showing a few inches. It will be noticed that the slip is tight behind, and is fastened by the bands and buttons in front— closed only at the bottom of the waist. Neat and useful aprons might be made in this style, having the skin a little shorter than the dress.
■4th figure. — Coarse straw bonnet lined and trimmed with blue silk. White open-worked muslin waist, and a skirt of some light and delicate material. It may either be a glace silk, as in the plate, or lawn, French cambric, etc. etc., as best suits the mother’s taste. Pantalettes quite plain, and finished by a narrow frill.

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