CHRISTMAS CLOTHES: FESTIVE LITTLE FROCKS AND SUITS FOR HOLIDAY PARTIES
A Gale of Finery
It is only a fair tribute to kind Kris Kringle — Low necks, short sleeves, and fluttering sashes make little girls bright as butterflies, while small boys are correctly costumed in velvet court suits trimmed with braids and lace.
There is no denying the fact that as the years go by, the clothing of children is more and more considered. Indeed, there is scarcely a juvenile function nowadays that does not call for some distinctive costume, especially if the wearer is of the softer sex.
But it does not follow that each of these costumes needs to be bought ready-made or that the materials must be of the finest when they are fashioned at home.
Christmas party clothes for both boys and girls are now declared to be quite as important as the Christmas tree itself. The gowns of the girls must be light in color and elegantly made, and the getup of the boys must be their dressiest.
A velvet court suit and lace frilled shirt front for the smaller boys and a black broadcloth suit consisting of an eton jacket, a vest, and long or short trousers for the older lads.
Informal dancing now follows every Christmas tree gathering, whether in the afternoon or evening, and the attire of the small guests must be of the same nature as that worn by their elders on their festive occasions. That the children enjoy the Christmas parties more when suitably dressed goes without saying.
Then a gale of finery gives eclat to the occasion, and it seems only just that the kind Kris Kringle should have this little tribute paid him after all the good he has done in the world.
Let us begin with the girls. If they are very small, their Christmas frocks may be made from an older sister’s outgrown gown or one of mamma’s old evening skirts may form a foundation to be covered entirely with some inexpensive white stuff. Swiss mull or dotted muslin are all charming over colored silk, and inserts of yellow Valenciennes lace in the little bodice and skirts will give a touch of elegance.
The white mull and lace frock illustrated will provide an excellent model for a girl from 4 to 7. The silk foundation should be made separate from the outside, which is entirely without lining for washing convenience, and so the lace inserts may lie directly over the silk underslip. This is cut exactly the shape of the outside frock, and is best when high-necked and the little bodice lined with thin book muslin. A short puff of the silk forms the undersleeves, which are covered by others of frilled muslin.
Pretty party fashions
Low neck and short sleeves is a very pretty fashion for little maids who do not catch cold easily. But even when the neck of the gown needs to be high, the sleeves may be short, and if the little arms are round and dimpled, a narrow gold bracelet will add much to their beauty.
A narrow ribbon tied around the wrist with a bow outside also sets off a dainty hand and arm, and gives a quaint old-fashioned look that is very fetching. For the neck there are any number of thin gold chains with heart-shaped or round enameled lockets that are worn with both high and low gowns.
Thin wool materials, delaine, barege, sewed to a short body with low neck and puff sleeves is a design much in favor for girls from 4 to 10.
A high-necked long-sleeved muslin or silk guimpe will be worn under the bodice by all ages, but for the older girls, the body may be varied by all sorts of short jacket effects, tiny etons that go all the way around and provide extra warmth, or else just little bolero fronts to give a jacket look.
The smallest scrap of velvet or silk will form these bolero fronts, as the shorter they are, the more cocky they are considered. Then if the velvet or silk used is made over material, defects may be hidden with a covering of thick lace or a braiding of gilt or black.
The last trimming will give a look of extreme richness, especially if the braiding is done on velvet.
Christmas and winter fashions for Victorian-era boys in the late 1890s
Christmas and winter fashions for Victorian-era girls in the late 1890s
Children’s short coats & reefers (1896)
Girls’ short coats & reefers (1896)