What did baby wear?

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12 July 2013
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baby_clothes_family_history-300x212-61403.jpg What did baby wear?
Baby talk is all the rage at the moment, with the birth of Will and Kate’s little one looming. So with babies in mind, we&r

Baby talk is all the rage at the moment, with the birth of Will and Kate’s little one looming. So with babies in mind, we’ve called upon on dress historian, Jayne Shrimpton, to take a look at baby clothing in times gone by in the August issue of Family Tree.

On first thought, you might think that baby clothes have ever been thus – traditional in white, pink or blue, cosy, cuddly and inevitably tiny. But they actually evolve at a rapid rate from generation to generation.

For instance, infant bodysuits (more typically known by the trademark name Babygro) were only invented in the 1950s by Walter Artzt. Meanwhile go back before the gender colour-coding of pink for girls and blue for boys – a fashion made trendy post World War II – and it can be hard to determine whether that baby photo (complete with frilled white dress) from the early 20th century is of Grandpa John or his sister Great-Aunt Elsie. And of course, there are those endless nostalgic home-knits that have kept baby cosy over the decades. Even if the little garments themselves don’t survive, you might find a vintage knitting pattern tucked in among your family heirloom papers.

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So, take a trip down memory lane, and find out what the babies in your family have worn in times gone by. And who knows, hopefully your new-found knowledge will help you be able to name and date the mystery family baby photos that you have yet to identify.

And for a bit of fun - if you fancy picking up your knitting needles to knit yourself your very own royal baby, head over the Ivy Press website, where there's a free downloadable knitting pattern: http://www.ivypress.co.uk/

Read the full story in the August issue of Family Tree, out now in WH Smiths, leading supermarkets and all good newsagents, or you can download our latest issue as a digital edition right now – visit www.pocketmags.com, the App StoreGoogle Play or Amazon Appstore. Single issues, back issues and subscriptions are available for PC, Mac, eReaders, smartphones and tablets. A free sample is also available for all devices.