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Long gown

Long gown

  • Place of origin:

    UK (made)

  • Date:

    1865-1885 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen with embroidery and broderie anglaise

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Elisabeth Crowdy

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The major change in baby clothes during the 19th century was the development of an increasingly large and complex layette of 'long clothes' needed in place of swaddling to keep the baby as warm. The form of this layette was to last for almost a hundred and fifty years, and the long gown, having been previously associated with rituals such as Christening or Circumcision, became daily wear. The baby was freed from swaddling, but enveloped in more and heavier garments than previously: binder, nappy, pilch or nappy cover, shirt or vest, two caps, bodice, barracoat (flannel wrapper), petticoats, gown, cape or shawl, bib or pinafore, socks and shoes. Mass production techniques introduced during the 19th century created increasing consumer choice, and led to the abandoning of much of the exquisite but labour-intensive embroidery and finishing of the garments which had previously characterised infants' clothing.

Physical description

The gown, made of fine white linen, has a rounded drawstring neck hand embroidered with double feather stitch and edged with lace, and very short sleeves edged with a row of double feather stitch and a frill of scalloped broderie anglaise (the latter, although likely to have been commercially produced, appears to be hand worked). The garment has a full length princess line centre panel made up of bands of lace, embroidered insertion, and self fabric trimmed with feather stitch and tucks; the hem of the panel is finished with a two tier frill of scalloped broderie anglaise to match that used on the sleeves. The robings running from the neck back to the panel hem are also made to match the sleeve frills. The skirt is gathered to the bodice and finished with rows of tucks above the hem. The garment fastens with drawstrings at neck and waist, and also with bound buttons and stitched buttonholes.

Place of Origin

UK (made)


1865-1885 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen with embroidery and broderie anglaise


Length: 79.4 cm centre back

Object history note

Found by the donor, Mrs Elisabeth Crowdy, when turning out her mother's house (RF 85/1796)

Descriptive line

Long gown for a baby or doll, white linen with centre panel of lace, British, 1855-1865

Production Note

In the style of 1855-1865, but probably made later


Linen; Broderie anglaise


Stitching; Hand embroidery


Children's clothes; Children & Childhood


Museum of Childhood

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