Baby Linen


How to Make a Basic Essential Layette
for Eighteenth Century Re-enactor Infants

Stockings, Shoes, Booties

While there is documentary evidence that some eighteenth century infants wore these, I have yet to see any surviving examples upon which to base replications. They do not appear to have been considered necessary, and they can be dispensed with. The extra-long skirts of the petticoats generally keep a baby’s feet warm. If your baby’s feet seem chilly, you can layer on another petticoat or another blanket. Baby won’t really be needing reenactor-footwear until ready to learn to walk.

Baby-Sling, Baby-carrier

All such devices were improvised. When my children were babies, I was doing civilian, domestic-site based interpretation, which is fairly sedentary, so I never felt the need to devise one. Colleen Humphreys on the other hand, as a camp-follower with four children, has investigated this topic thoroughly. While I don’t necessarily agree with her interpretation of some other aspects of 18th c. baby clothing, on this one topic I am happy to defer to her extensive experience, her "experimental archaeology" and her exhaustive discussion of it, which can be found at:

(scroll about half way down to "To Carry Your Babe")

© Sharon Ann Burnston 2005,
pattern diagrams may be copied for personal use,
all other rights reserved


  1. Cap
  2. Diaper, known in the period as "napkin" or "clout"
  3. Pilch or Pilcher, a diaper-cover
  4. Shirt
  5. Petticoat
  6. Roller, swaddling-band, belly-band, or "surcingle"
  7. Bed gown or robe
  8. Bib, also Drool cloth, burp cloth, the "muckinder"
  9. Stockings, Shoes, Booties
  10. Baby sling, baby carrier
  11. Blanket, basket, bedding
  12. Final Reminder


    Baby Swaddling Photo Series
    Baby Gown Photo Series


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