Children's Clothing Guidelines

This is a basic listing of clothing requirements for boys and girls.

First however some basic information:

Children's clothing is often the most overlooked incorrect aspect of a family's impression. People are afraid to spend much money on it because children grow so fast.

It is very important however that you make the decision from the beginning to invest the money and time in making your child period correct. If you look authentic and the children don't, it ruins the overall impression you are going for.

When building a clothing kit for your child, it is best to begin with the dress and pinafore for a girl and the pants, shirt and vest for a boy. Everything underneath can be improvised for awhile while you are saving up money or sewing things, but what the public sees needs to look right.

Most people are more forgiving on children's footwear since they do grow so fast, but you should stick with black or brown leather type shoes and try to get a basic lace up boot if you can. Ebay is a great resource for this, and boys and girls can wear a basic lace up until they get to be around a size 4. (not toddler 4, young person size 4.)

Here is a list of clothing for each age group and gender.

Infant: Boys and Girls (birth to about 18 months)

Cap: white cotton

Infant Gown: Should be at least twice as long as the child's body-suitable for a child not yet walking. (It resembles a christening gown).

Stockings: white cotton tights (can be purchased at Walmart)

Shoes: either moccasins or black boots, these are optional

Pinafore: buttons in the back; this is also optional

Wool Cape: For cold weather. A blanket is also fine.

Toddler: Boys (up to age 5) and Girls (up to age 6)

Cap: not necessary once the child is walking. A Glengarry style hat is appropriate for both genders or a straw hat for girls if a cap is desired.

Bloomers: White cotton: Can match gown for boys

Chemise: White Cotton: optional for boys

Petticoat: White cotton: optional for boys

Gown: a number of styles were available. In the case of boys, a kilt type skirt with a shirt and a zouave jacket is also appropriate. Please check the photo album.

Pinafore: Buttons up the back. Two styles are documented so far, please check the photo album

Stockings: White cotton tights will provide a period look.

Shoes: Black boots or moccasins. Please check the photo album for styles that will work.

Cloak: Wool. There are also patterns available for child size coats. Please check the photo album for appropriate styles. This is good up to size 16 for the girls.

Girl Child: 6-10

Hat: straw or glengarry model are fine. Not all children wore hats, but some like them.

Bloomers: white cotton. same as toddler style

Chemise: White cotton same as toddler style

Petticoat: white cotton same as toddler style

Gown: there are several appropriate styles. Please check the photo album

Pinafore: Same as toddler. The single button style is seen much less often on 8 and ten year olds though.

Stockings. White cotton tights will provide a period look.

Shoes: black boots. Please check photo album for suggested styles.

Girl Child: 12-16

In addition to the guidelines for younger girls, older girls can wear a bonnet or adult style hat for Sunday.

The Pinafore style for older girls is different, please check the photo album for the appropriate style.

Girls should dress in the child style until at least age 16, if the parents prefer the childish style can be worn until age 18.

Corset: Not necessary until developmentally required. (usually around age 12-13). Once it is developmentally needed however, one should be worn.

Stockings and garters are widely available in the bigger sizes and the transition should be made to these at this age. Although if you can find cotton tights in the size needed those are still ok. (They look period and no one should be seeing above the knee anyway.)

Boy Child: 6-16

Hat: one that matches Dad's is always a big hit. The black felt or bummer style, straw or glengarry.

Shirt: cotton. Plaids were very popular, although white is also appropriate (if more difficult to keep clean. Small calico prints are ok, but please check with someone if you aren't sure that the pattern is period appropriate.

Vest: Corduroy, velveteen or wool. This is needed if the child has a sack or frock style coat. It is not necessary for the russian sacque style coat.

Coat: Linen, corduroy, velveteen, or wool are appropriate for all pattern styles. The Russian Sacque requires a belt. Plaids or plain darker colors work better.

Trousers or knickers: Button fly, in the same materials as the coat. A Kilt and Zouave style jacket are also ok for boys of all ages.

Socks: white cotton socks (not the ribbed kind) or if you can find them child size white stockings are better for the knickers style pant.

Boots: Black boots until they can fit into brogans are good. Once the child gets big enough feet for brogans those can also be worn. Please check the photo album for styles that will work.

Overcoat: Same Style as Dad's is good. A Cloak can also still be worn by the younger boys (up to about age 8).

The photo album for children's clothing is being compiled at this time. Hopefully it will be ready by Greenfield Village 2008.

There will eventually also be a fabric swatch booklet available for helping to pick period appropriate prints for the calicos. In the meantime please ask someone before investing the money. Plaids, checks and solid colors were very trendy during the war for all age groups, and they are much easier to pick without help. Stick to primary colors, and you should be fine.