Thursday, August 5, 2010

1863 Child's Wrapper

Rebekah's tenth birthday is this week. Every girl gets at least one new dress for her special day, it's a great matter of discussion and debate about what will be found hanging from their peg board or hooks on their birthday morning. That's generally how we do it, you awake to find your special frock made just for you to spend your special day in. I decided to make Rebekah a wrapper trimmed in a style I found in the "Children's Fashions" section of Godey's Lady's Book from February 1863. I don't know if a wrapper might have been worn to milk the cow but Rebekah wanted to show her brothers how she looked. :-D

A wrapper was worn for breakfast and other times when one might not want to be fully attired in the many layers required for the 1860's. It was also worn for times of sickness and invalidism.
The bodice closes with 6 original calico buttons that I've been saving for a special occasion.
It is piped at the neckline and armscyes and has coat sleeves cut on the bias with cuffs cut on the straight grain.

Since this wrapper is designed to show off the petticoat I wanted to make her something other than an ordinary, plain affair. I decided on a tucked petti, this one is made of cotton sateen and has 11 quarter inch tucks; one for each year we've been privileged to have her as a part of our family and one to grow on.

I will have other birthday photos later this week but it's supper time and I need to run. Have a lovely evening.


  1. What fortunate children to have a mother like you! We are so endeared by the fact that you made 11 tucks in the petti. How special to think of your child that way. We love our children, too (And grands) and try to always think of thoughtful things to do that make memories. Please tell Rebekah how beautiful she makes the wrapper look and Happy Birthday!

  2. How sweet! What a special dress for a special girl!


  3. It's lovely! And the tucks look beautiful! That is such a sweet family tradition!

  4. Rebekah must feel very special wearing that lovely wrapper you made. Beautiful!
    HOW did you figure out the pattern? Did you draft it yourself? If you did, would you consider giving us a tutorial, or even a link to a tutorial on-line?
    I tried to learn how to draft a pattern from a friend who learned it from her parents, but I still messed up the neckline.
    I would really enjoy learning how to do this.
    Thanks for your inspiration. You seem like such a neat lady :)
    Oh, and we have been working with wool, I put up some photos recently. Fun!

  5. What a lovely wrapper! And a lovely daughter. I love that first photo; it looks like a painting. Happy Birthday Rebekah!!

  6. Ma, I use Elizabeth Stewart Clark patterns for most of my girls' dresses. I just used the base pattern that I have for Rebekah and switched it to a front opening. I don't draft, I'm not very good at it. :-/ I've thought about a tutorial for drafting historic patterns for home use though, if you knew how the basic shapes should look: dropped shoulders, shoulder seam placement, waistline etc the easiest way to make a pattern would be to take a snug buttondown shirt and draw the lines for where the seams should run right onto the shirt and then cut apart the shirt, add seam allowances and voila' a personal historic pattern. The shirt would have to be fairly snug. You could do bateau necklines or jewel, Civil War or Regency, anything really as long as you knew how the bodice shapes changed through the ages.

  7. My goodness, what a wonderful mom you are! That's a lovely wrapper, and a beautiful little girl you have. A whole decade old (as my mom would say). Happy Birthday Rebekah and blessings to you!

  8. So cute!!! What a beautiful daughter. Happy Birthday!

  9. What a wonderful tradition!! The dress is beautiful as is Rebekah. Happy Birthday to her.

  10. Mrs. G.,

    The dress is just lovely and your little girl looks adorable in it! I know that this is going to be a very special dress for her...

    Happy Birthday Rebekah ~ May Our Lord keep you filled with peace and joy!