Until the twentieth century the basic colour for
baby clothes was usually white, for a number of
reasons: it was symbolic of innocence, it was
considered aesthetically more suited to the
colouring of so young a child, and it was more
easily washed (or boiled, or bleached). Dyes for
coloured garments were not necessarily colour fast,
and could even be poisonous, particularly
green, which might contain arsenic.
Long gown from Ireland, ca. 1910
Hand stitched linen
Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946): 'Neck of a Little Girl'