Baby Clothing Throughout the Ages

While the cuteness of infant clothing hasn't changed much, the clothing and industry surrounding it certainly has evolved throughout the ages. Prior to the 1890s, clothing for little ones was largely produced by parents; it wasn't until the 1980s that children's clothing became a booming commercial industry for popular fashion designers. It's also important to note that while children today often wear gender-specific clothing, little tykes of the past predominately wore dresses, regardless of sex. This is partially due to the fact that pants were a symbol of manhood (an event known as "breeching") and were only bestowed upon young boys as a coming-of-age symbol.

Protection also was an important factor in traditional children's clothing. To protect their heads, toddlers often wore padded "pudding" caps in case they fell. Their gowns also featured "leading strings," which were strings attached to the shoulders that parents would use as a sort of restraint or guide for children taking their very first steps.  

As time went on, pink and blue colors were introduced for gender specification. However, unlike today, pink was the popular color for boys while blue was associated with young girls. The rationalization for this, according to a Parents Magazine article in 1939, was that pink was associated with the color red (the color of the war god Mars), while blue was represented by the goddess Venus and the Virgin Mary, making it more appropriate for girls. The colors were used interchangeably for both sexes' clothing until after World War II when blue became the norm for young boys.

While you can certainly find some adorable baby clothes at your local mall, it's arguably more fun to make your own. Check out our new Weaving for Baby Pattern Collection to keep alive the traditional spirit of making your own baby clothes and blankets!




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