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Kindergarb-art - 4/27/09


"Kindergarb - Suggestions and Thoughts for making Children's Garb" by Lady Hrosvitha von Celle.


NOTE: See also the files: children-msg, child-clothes-msg, Chld-Costumes-art, babies-msg, baby-slings-msg, child-wagons-msg, p-cradles-msg, teething-toys-msg, toys-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set

of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at:



Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be

reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first

or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


                               Thank you,

                                    Mark S. Harris

                                    AKA:  Stefan li Rous

                                         stefan at florilegium.org



Kindergarb - Suggestions and Thoughts for Making Children's Garb


Compiled by Lady Hrosvitha von Celle

Atlantian University, October 5th, 2002


1. Start with a sturdy fabric. Make sure it's machine washable.


2. Make layers of garments in natural fabric. Temperatures vary, and babies get cold or overheat really easily.


3. Pick neutral colors, such as earth tones or muted tones that will not advertise dirt.


4. Make nothing out of fabric that can't handle lots of baby spittle - or be prepared for the baby to eat the pile off the velvet. It won't hurt them, but the garment will never be the same again.


5. Babies like moving their limbs. Make the armholes wide.


6. Babies' heads are proportionally much larger than an adult's. They don't like having their noses squished when you get them dressed or undressed.  Make neck openings either extra wide or make a keyhole neck. Don't give hoods that indentation around the neck, and make sure that the head fits through there.


7. When sewing the outfit, leave at least a couple of inches of seam allowance in all the seams, so that the outfit can be let out as the child grows. Nothing is more frustrating that having your kid hit a growth spurt the day after you made him expensive court garb. Good places to always have ample seam allowances are side, back and front seams in a bodice or doublet and in skirt hems and pants cuffs. A decorative way to leave growth room is by adding large tucks into the skirt that can be let out as needed. Often, a child grows "up" before she grows "out".


8. When the babies find their feet, make the garments long - longer than you would normally think. Otherwise, put tights on the baby underneath.


9. Put elastic in anything that would otherwise be tied closed. Pants cuffs and waistbands, skirt waistbands, and shirt cuffs are all no brainers.


10. Leave the nice court garb at home for everyday events, or camping events. A child may like playing "dress-up" in his velvet Elizabethans, but the garb is probably not made to withstand everyday play. Make sure the child understands that certain costumes are for special occasions only, just like her mundane "Sunday Best".


11. Let the child get as dirty as possible and relax, knowing you've invested in garb that not only looks good on your kid, but will stand up to the most rigorous play. Make a game out of it. Have the child "crash test" his outfit to see if it stands up to his standards of hard play.


12. Make hats. Ear infections are Not Fun.  In summer, heat stroke in babies is even Less Fun.


13. Remember that the garb you make will likely only ever be worn once by each baby. They grow incredibly fast.


14. Following on to that; don't make garb for an event that's three weeks away and expect it to fit. Either make it too big, or wait until the last minute.


15. Brooches are not safe from a baby that loves to pick things apart. Use ties or buttons/toggles to close things with.


16. Limit the number of "fussy" items on a child's outfit, such as buttons, lacing, and embellishment. Or at least be prepared to sew them back on when they fall off...


17. Remember - babies past the age of four months will put everything they can reach into their mouths. Secure all trim very tightly. Don't use things they can pull off - spangles are right out.





Web Sites: Historic Resources:






Examples of other people's garb:











Thanks needs to be given to these fine 2 ladies and their wonderful websites.  I have used information from their websites with their permission.

        Lady Sarah Wydville        lithiate at cats.ucsc.edu

        Lady Lelandra                      info at lelandra.com


Useful Book:

        Orme, Nicholas. MEDIEVAL CHILDREN . 400 pp. 50 b/w + 75 colorplates.

        Cloth ISBN 0-300-08541-9 $39.95




Copyright 2002 by Kerri Martinsen, <kerri.martinsen at gmail.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org