Children's dress has always fascinated me but little girls clothes always caught my eye . I love watching old movies where the children wore such beautiful clothing. They were always in a lacy or sheer dress that hung to the ankles with puffed sleeves and huge ribbons and bows. Prior to the 18th century much of children's clothing was modeled after adults. The children's clothes during this time period were very restricting and uncomfortable. In the early 18th and 19th centuries children's clothes took a dramatic turn and no longer resembled adult clothes. The clothes were created to provide comfort and mobility. The little girl's dresses no longer featured with corsets they took on a more relaxed high waisted style.
This varied colored brocaded bodice is believed to be from the United States around the year 1740. It is hard to believe this is what a child wore. It does resemble an adult garment and seems as if it would be a bit much for a child. It was tightly fitted and most likely worn with a corset. There wasn't much distinction in concerning the sex of the child relating to clothes. Most little boys wore long girls skirts which we know as "petticoats" between the ages of 4 to 6.
Many young children's garments were equipped with "leading strings" at the shoulders or hanging sleeves which controlled movement, girls gowns also had "leading strings," which represented the parents guarding the child. http://dept.kent.edu/museum/exhibit/kids/1750.htm
The layette of a newborn baby consisted of several layers of clothing during the late 19th and early 20th century. http://dept.kent.edu/museum/exhibit/kids/1870baby.htm The materials worn under the cotton dress were made of flannel and wool flannel, cotton jersey and a cotton broadcloth diaper. It seems like an awful lot of clothing for someone as little as a baby.
As the years progressed children's clothes became more familiar to how we see their styles today. http://dept.kent.edu/museum/exhibit/kids/1920.htm Little girls dresses became much more feminine using lighter fabric like silk crepe with satin ribbons and the materials were layered. Rosettes seemed to be a popular trimming.
I found that as I was visiting other sights on the subject of children's victorian clothing I was able to find dresses for sale resembling the ones at the University of Kent museum. The dresses were made of the same materials such as, crepe and mainly had two layers. http://www.victorianelegance.com/child.html They included sleeveless underdresses with a variety of trims from ribbon and bows to beading and also rosettes. These dresses were awesome and were also very highly priced. There wasn't a very big selection and consisted only of little girl dresses, baby gowns and christening gowns. Another site I found had a much better selection of children's vintage clothes. http://www.bobbydene.com/Ccloth1.htm
I was also able to find a few boy outfits among the beautiful dresses and christening gowns. At this site the prices were even higher. For example, a simple linen handkerchief christening gown with lace trim was priced at .00 and a Irish crochet dress was priced at .00 and it was just gorgeous.
I did not have any luck finding children's victorian fashions or even vinatge children's fashions on ebay. I was able to find victorian patterns but no actual clothes for sale. http://www.costumegallery.com/Delineator/May_1912/Children/Girls/Del/ This site was quite interesting but did not actually sell the victorian clothes. It was more of an educational tool where you could purchase articles in fashion magazines for that era. However you are required to purchase a library card before you can get access to the articles. This may be something fun to do at a later date. Overall this was a great way to familiarize myself with victorian and vintage children's fashions. I may consider starting a collection of my own!