While styles in children’s clothing do not vary so often, or in so great a degree as do fashions for grown-ups, still, even in the making of theses diminutive garments, one notes a slight difference season by season.
There is, of course, no season in children’s clothing, that is in the accepted meaning of the word “season.”
With misses and women we have spring raiment that differs in marked diversity from the clothing of the wither, and summer costumes that change greatly from those of the fall, but the small child wears her summer frocks all wither, and her spring dresses in the autumn. Now that we have taken to making most of our children’s every-day clothing of wash-material, this passing over of the season is observed.
The use of wash-fabrics in the making of garments for the little ones has become a popular institution. Not only are wash-garments more practical, as they admit of frequent tubbing, but they are far more simple of construction. In simplicity lies the chief charm of children’s clothing. Simply fashioned, neat appearing little frocks of tub-material stand an infinite amount of wear and tear, and now that the styles of making these garments present such a splendid variety, and all of them, from the very plainest, have some individual charm. Mothers of small children need not spend much time or money in fashioning the little ones’ clothing.
For the small tot, good taste and suitability play an important part. A very young child must never be overdressed. A neat little frock that may serve as a model for an infant of six months and a girl of five years equally as well, with each in-between year provided for, is made in the French fashion that is universally becoming. On the very little girl the garment hangs from the shoulders, while on the older child the dress may be gathered in Empire style. The fronts and backs of garment are gathered to yokes which may be made in high- or low-neck style. The sleeves may be long or short. Such a dress is simple enough for general wear, yet tasty enough for special occasions. For the latter it is nice to use flouncing, which is always in good style for the making of frocks that make some pretense at being dressy without losing one iota of their characteristic simplicity. For the development of a plain garment, swiss, batiste, lawn, chambray, madras, and gingham may be considered.
On the very small child nothing can take the place of all-white garments. Indeed, when we consider how inexpensively dainty effects in white garments may be achieved, we would not hesitate to discard colored dresses altogether for a while. Lawn, dimity, batiste, and similar materials cost very little, and are sweet and dainty with touches of Valenciennes lace or embroidery. For the woman who wishes a little color, pretty pink and blue baby ribbon could be threaded through the neck and sleeves of a special-occasion frock or a slip of lawn or thin silk in similar colors could be made to be worn under the white dress. Hand-embroidery is used to a great extent for the trimming of baby dresses. The woman skillful with the needle can do wonders on these tiny garments. However, very little trimming is required on baby clothing, and the dainty white slip with a frill of Valenciennes lace or embroidery at the neck and wrists is far nicer than a fussy garment with tucks and ruffles, and ribbon rosettes.
For the small child, the rompers are the most comfortable and practical garment ever devised. A new version of this popular garment is cut with body and sleeves in one, which greatly simplifies the making. The neck is cut round and buttons closely. The sleeves are long, and fasten close around the wrist with a neat band-cuff which insures warmth for the little wearer in cold weather. The leg portions are gathered in at the knee in the usual style. Flannelette is the best material for winter rompers, as this fabric has softness and warmth, and is so easily laundered, Seersucker is another good suggestion, and a point in its favor is that it does not require pressing.
A little dress that will find favor among discriminating mothers has the fronts and backs tucked to simulate box plaits, the stitching terminating at about the waist-line. This dainty garment has a pretty sailor-collar, and long sleeves and for wear, for play, or school purposes fulfills all requirements of a practical frock.
The French dress continues a premier among costumes for the small girl. One sees them in every wanted material. For home and school wear they are fashioned of gingham, chambray, and similar wash-goods. Serge and cheviot, and soft woolen materials are utilized to a great extent in the fashioning of “best” dresses for the girl over six years. The vogue for stiff silks, Henriettas and satins, for making children’s frocks, is past. Nothing that savors of age, or suggests mature ideas is used. When woolen goods or silk are used, they must be of the very softest, most pliant quality.
Sharing favor with the French dress is the Gibson model, the popularity of which never diminishes. Another ever stylish and becoming garment is the sailor dress. The middy blouse that slips on over the head has as many admirers as the other style that closes in front, both being equally attractive. Plaited skirts are good form for a sailor dress, but the gathered style is just as girlish and appropriate.
The middy-blouse dress is being made of any number of wash-materials, linen, rep, and poplin leading in favor. For winter, serge is a favorite material, blue with white trimming, or black with read trimming, being especially desirable.
The Empire style so much in vogue at present finds a following even in little girls’ dresses, and many models displaying clever adaptations of this fashionable style are noted in juvenile garments. One-piece dresses sometimes have sashes arranged high in Empire-effect, which give a particularly picturesque air to the little miss.
Frocks that are worn with guimpe are an excellent type for the growing girl. A smart design shows a tucked overblouse constructed along surplice lines, and important feature being the cutting of the overblouse and sleeve-caps in one. The guimpe is made with a standing collar, but the French neck can be used, if that style is preferred. The attached skirt, which is plaited at the top, is straight, and is therefore excellent for plain or bordered material.
A plain dress for general wear is made of blue diagonal serge, flecked with white. The garment is in one piece, with the front of the waist in panel style, and the attached straight skirt, box plaited. A round, flat collar finishes the neck, and the long sleeves have band-cuffs. This design is also suitable for all of the commonly used wash-materials, and cashmere or challis can be utilized equally as well. Braid trimming can be applied to make an effective embellishment.
A winter dress that has distinguishing characteristics is developed of Scotch plaid worsted, and is such a garment as can be worn for dressy and every-day occasions with the same style and good taste exemplified. The type is becoming to girls from six to fourteen years, the dress having a full blouse waist and a graceful kilted skirt. The belt and cuffs are made of broadcloth in a contrasting color, which gives a most effective tough, and are trimmed with rows of black silk braid. Fancy brass buttons impart a clever finishing touch. The dress buttons invisibly down the back. This tasty little garment, which is pretty in plaid showing blue-and-red or brown-and-red predominating stripes, can be made at home very inexpensively.
For the young miss to whom a party-dress is an event, some consideration of these especially designed garments will not be inappropriate. As in the fashioning of clothing for children, so in the making of dresses for the young girl, care must be taken to preserve simplicity. The dresses must be designed to emphasize the youth and charm of the wearer, and not in any manner to detract from that idea.
There are so many beautiful fabrics suitable f or evening dresses that the making of the young girls’ party-frock is a special pleasure to the home dressmaker.
A simple little frock that can be developed very reasonably is made of soft silk mull in baby-blue. The model is cut with a square Gretchen neck front and back, the latest style for dancing- and party-gowns, and elbow-length kimono-sleeves. Fine tucks ornament the full blouse-waist and sleeves, and an attractive effect is given by a chic little vestee of white allover lace. The cuffs are also formed of the lace. The skirt is a plaited style, with a single broad tuck taken up above a deep lace insert. A fancy crushed messaline girdle finished with a rosette and long ends is a handsome embellishment.
Another dress suitable for evening or afternoon wear is fashioned of messaline satin. This costume shows the new citoyenne blouse with a deep plaited frill and fancy girdle at the slightly raised Empire waistline.
The waist is cut in the popular kimono style, with a “Peter Pan” collar and turnback, scalloped cuffs edged with fancy braid. Pretty trimming is afforded by a fancy chiffon bow tie and chiffon undercuffs in a strikingly contrasting shade. The six-gored skirt has a fancy cut panel down back and front. This gown is elegant in old-rose, electric-blue or salmon-pink.
Net is used very much at present for girls’ as well as ladies’ evening robes. A splendid model noted at a reception recently was of embroidered Brussels net over a pink China-silk foundation. The peasant-style waist of embroidered net was cut in bolero effect. The round, low-cut neck and elbow sleeves were trimmed with Val.-lace insertion and edging. The undersleeves were finished with tucked cuffs, Val.-lace, embellished and further enhanced with a band of narrow coral-pink velvet ribbon. A sash of coral-pink velvet encircled the waist and ended at the back in a flat tailored bow and streamers. A row of German Val,-lace insertion joined the lower part of the waist to the silk foundation.
The upper part of the skirt was fashioned of net tucking, and the deep flounce-effect was of the richly embroidered Brussels net. The silk underskirt was finished with a gathered ruffle edged with lace.
Worn over this gown was a “Mandarin” coat of coral broadcloth, and the effect was strikingly picturesque and charming. The coat was cut on appropriately loose, graceful lines, so that it could not crush the dainty frock.
Novel features of this coat were the new deep “hood” collar and smart flaring front revers. The loose, three-quarter length “Mandarin” sleeves had deep, cleverly rolled cuffs.
The collar, cuffs and revers were made of a rich black messaline satin which afforded quite a fetching contrast, and enhance the beauty of the garment. The hood-effect in back was finished with a heavy fancy silk tassel, and the closing was made with two large satin-covered buttons. The coat was lined with white satin.
A garment of this nature is not difficult to make and no more admirable style for an evening coat for a young girl could be conceived.