Book Review: Children’s Fashions 1860 – 1912

I reviewed a book called “Children’s Costume ” by John Peacock, at the end of August and it was well received, so I thought it was time for another one. Books are one of those things, if you can’t hold in your hands and look through the pages, you always wonder what it’s like on the inside. There are so many books I would love to own, but they can be expensive and I’ve bought my fair share of books hoping for them to be one way on the inside and they turned out to be a dud! There is nothing worse than that. I’ll show you lots of pictures and hopefully you can decide for yourself if this book is one you’d like to have in your library.

The book I’ll be reviewing today is called, “Children’s Fashions 1860-1912.” It is published by Dover and has a wonderful introduction by JoAnne Olian. She gives so much information about the French Fashion Periodical, La Mode Illustree, that was famous for its recognition of children. Most magazines up till this time portrayed children as objects, but the founder of this magazine took a different approach and portrayed children in every day settings…playing with dolls, being interested in things outside, and just having fun.

If you click on any of the pictures, they enlarge.



The book is a large glossy paperback book, 12″ by 9 1/2″ and is the tallest book on my bookshelf. It is quite substantial to hold and has 120 pages that cover the years 1860 to 1912. The pages are a nice thickness and the pictures are all done in pen and ink illustrations. There are 362 very detailed illustrations showcasing over 1000 individual designs.



I use this book more like a “look book” referring to it for ideas and concepts I’d like to try. The pictures are absolutely the sweetest and draw you in like no other book I own. The details in the pictures are unbelievable and so fun to scrutinize. I like to look at how the buttons were placed and what they did with bows and how the lace was added. It’s just a really superb book for anyone who sews, but it is fascinating to look at even if you don’t.


See the dress above that has the bows across the front? This is what I mean by how I use the book… I looked at that picture and came up with this design. It’s not an exact copy but I took parts of it and adapted it to the dress I made.






Below most of the pictures there are some references to the ages of the children. That gives an idea of who would have worn the outfit. Sometimes it’s easy to mistake a boy outfit for a girl… oops!





This is one of my favorite books and I enjoy looking at it even when I don’t have a sewing project in mind. I give it 2 thumbs up as well.
If you have any questions, please just let me know.

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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  1. Jane Miller says:

    Thanks so much for this review. I love looking at the different clothes, but I sure am glad the kids of today are easier to sew for! All the lace, tucks, pleats, etc., would make me crazy!

    Love how you incorporated the bows on the dress you made for the AG’s. It is beautiful!

    • Thank you, Jane,
      I’m right there with you when it comes to modern day kids clothes. Lace, tucks, and pleats DO take lots more time than just elastic, knits, and iron on appliques! We’re spoiled, aren’t we?
      Thanks for the compliment on the AG dress. It was a lot of fun to try and copy it.
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Thanks for sharing all the photos, Jeanne. Occasionally when shopping on-line for a book you get to peek inside, but more often you must rely only on the description. I see books that intrigue me by the the cover, but seldom buy because I have no idea what’s inside. In Valparaiso we still have a Barnes and Noble but a larger town to the west of us has lost both it’s Barnes and Noble and it’s Borders. Now if I’m interested in a book I check out our library and if they don’t have it they can sometimes get it on loan from another library. Then I can make an informed decision.

    • Jevne,
      We have a Barnes and Noble too and if I really want to see inside a book, I see if they have it. If not, my next choice is Amazon,com….look it up and see if it has the first 15 or so pages as a sneak peek. That really helps you get a sense of the format of the book.
      Thanks so much,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. Thank for the peek inside this book, Jeanne. They dressed so fancy back then. Love the dress you made that was inspired by one in the book. Do you have any of the more recent Children’s Fashions books?

    • Cindy,
      I have the Children’s fashions from the Sears catalog one… are there more?
      Blessings, Jeanne

      • Hi Jeanne, I think the book that had the Sears catalog clothing in it was the book I was thinking of. I was looking at it awhile back on Amazon, didn’t buy it though. So fun to get a look into books without having to buy them all. I have so many the way it is…

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