A Toddler Boy's Wardrobe

Robe or Gown, and Sash

This garment is based upon several originals seen in collections from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts.

The gown is cut from one piece of fabric 28" x 54"; it can be cut from ⅞ yd. of preshrunk fabric which is 54" wide or wider. It is quite "authentic" to piece out a remnant which isn't quite big enough. For a toddler, this garment could be made in white, in linen or a fine wool worsted, or it can be in a block printed Indian cotton, or in a striped linen, or in a worsted suiting of any appropriate color.

You will also need a piece of medium weight silk (such as taffeta or faille) that is 13" x 81", to be made up into a sash 6" x 80" to hold the robe shut at the waist. For practicality, you may wish to add tape ties to the front of the robe, one pair of ties at the neck and one pair of ties at the waist. You can also use concealed safety pins or diaper pins, pinned discreetly from the inside.

The gown should come to just above the child's toes, so as not to impede walking. This is not a style in which we see grow-tucks employed. However, to build in growing room, you might cut it a bit longer and make a slightly deeper hem. The pleat or tuck at the CB of the bodice allows for some growing room in the width if necessary; you can use the pleat to slim the gown until the child grows a bit. You can also adjust the width by the amount of overlap in the fronts.

Toddler Robe or Gown

** NOTE: Click on cutting diagram image for view in a PDF.**

Cutting diagram shown with NO seam allowances included. Add ½" seam allowances all around. Each square of the grid = 1".

1. Gown is cut from one piece of fabric 28" x 54"; it can be cut from ⅞ yd. of 54" or 60" wide fabric. It is quite "authentic" to piece out a remnant which isn't quite big enough. This garment can be made in white, in linen or fine wool worsted, or it can be in a block-printed Indian cotton, in a linen stripe, or in worsted suiting. Cut out the gown as shown in the diagram. Seam allowances are not included, they must be added before cutting.

2. Sew side/underarm seams. Use a running/back stitch except for the tight curve at the underarm, which should be sewn in a small backstitch for extra strength. Finish the raw edges of the seam allowances as needed. If the gown is being made in linen, you should be making these in the form of narrow flat-felled seams, as fine and narrow as you can manage, and sewn in slip-stitch. You may want to pay particular attention to the seam finish on the 2" closest to the wrists, as all or part of this will be turned to the outside for a cuff, at least until Junior grows into it.

3. Cut gown open at CF edge where shown and hem these edges with as narrow a hem as you can.

4. Neckline can have a tiny turned hem, or be finished with ½" wide cotton or linen twill tape. Cut tape 18" long, slip-stitch it to outside of neckline. Fold it over, enclosing all raw edges and turning in short edges of tape, and slip-stitch other side of tape to inside of neckline. A worsted gown could have a neckline binding of silk ribbon.

5. Hem bottom edge with a narrow hem.

6. Wear with a silk sash made to finish 6" x 80". Wrap sash twice around high waist, tie & let ends hang.

1. The stitched pleat shown at CB neck is optional. It's a good idea to put it in if the gown will be worn by a small or thin child. Sew it from the inside as a vertical tuck, thus forming an inverse box pleat on the outside. It is sewn from the CB neckline to about 5" down the CB. If you choose to put in this pleat, do so after the neckline is finished; that way you can let it out as the child grows.

2. The surviving extant garments have no fastenings. If you want them, add a pair of ties at the CF neckline and another pair about 4" further down the CF edge.

© Sharon Ann Burnston 2002, 2015, 2017

  1. Introduction
  2. Shift
  3. Petticoat
  4. Robe or Gown, and Sash
  5. Shoes and Stockings
  6. Simple Cap
  7. Cold Weather Clothing
  8. Yardage to Buy
  9. List of Documented Links


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