In the late 1800s, families who owned and worked farms were self-sufficient people. They provided their own food and clothes. Garments were hand-sewn and made to be practical before fashionable. Clothes would be mended and patched often.
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Clothes were mostly hand-sewn by the women and older daughters. They used wool, cotton and muslin and would sometimes dye the material. Their dresses and skirts were full and long, blouses and dresses had long sleeves and high necks. A long garment called a petticoat would be worn underneath for warmth and comfort. Most farm women would only have two or three outfits and one would be kept for best. A bustle which enlarged the back of the skirt were very fashionable and may have been added to the woman's best outfit. Outside, a bonnet and shawl or cape would be worn and leather laced boots.
Men wore long trousers, kept in place with braces or overalls made of denim. A shirt would be worn underneath and in colder weather, long underwear, waistcoats and jackets would be worn. Buttons would be used as there were no zips in the late 1800s. Straw hats were worn for protection from the sun. Boots were made from leather and socks knitted.
Girls wore long dresses with long sleeves. An apron would be worn to protect the dress as it was easier to make and wash the apron. A petticoat would be worn underneath. Outside, a bonnet would cover her head and a shawl or cape would be worn in colder weather with leather lace-up boots.
Both boys and girls wore dresses in their early years and later, around four or five, the boys dressed very similar to the men in long trousers held up with braces or overalls and a shirt underneath. In colder weather, they would wear a waistcoat, jacket and boots. Mittens and mufflers would be knitted. Little was wasted and children's clothes were often made from adult clothes; even grain sacks were put to use as clothing. In warm weather, children went barefoot.
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