Russian Style Dresses: Patterns and Examples

Figure 1.--These Peerless Patterns show three different styles of Russian-style dresses for boys. Note that the style on the right for the younger boy does not have a belt. They appear to have been 1890s patterns.

Details on garment construction are sometimes difficult to assess from period photography and drawinmgs. Details from old patterns or modern photographs of actual historical clothing often provide much more detailed images. The color is one importantbpiece of information lackibg in contemporary photography. Close up on the sewing and enbroidery are also often lacking in period photograpy. While they are not perhaps as interesting as actual period photography, such information is important in assessing historical clothing.

The Russian dresses picture here show case the simplicity of this popular style. It proved especially suitable for boys as specialized plainer dresscstyles had become increasingly popular for them at the end of the 19th century.


Patterns provide exact details on the styling and dimensions of a garment. At a time when many mothers made clothes themselve or had them made, patterns were much more important than is the case today. One important company making pattens at the turn of the 20th century was Peerless.

Peerless Patterns for boy's dresses show three Russian-style dresses, probably in the late 1890s. Pattern #6274 was for a 3 year old boy, breast 21 1/2". It was identified as a boy's Russian dress, closed at right side of front, long cuffed sleeve, wide belt at hipline. Pattern #6120 was for a 2 year boy (breast 20 1/2"), again closed at front with removable shield, pleated skirt, large square collar. Pattern #4480 was for a 1 year old boy (breast 20"), also identified as a boy's Russian dress, closed at right side of front, long sleeves with sewn down box plaits at wrist.

Figure 2.--This Russian-style sailor dress appears to be missing the collar. Note the brass buttons and how they are slightly slanted.


While images of museum examples of period dress do not provde the detailed maesurements, they do show the material and colors in which the garments were actually made. Images of several actual Russian dresses in various styles are avaiable.

Dress 1: Russian sailor dress

This boy's dress has been dated by one sources as to about 1900-1915. It is a young boy's navy blue cotton/wool blend dress with long full sleeves that are gathered at the shoulder and pleated at the cuffs. A hook and eye side closing decorated with six wonderful 3/4 inch gold "sailor" buttons cast with an anchor design. Fully lined with black glazed cotton. The length 18 inches. A few 'pencil-point' size moth holes and missing the collar that would have attached with a back button. It is a quality made toddler dress. Notice the simplicity of the style.

Figure 2.--This Russian-style stripped dress was popular summer attire for young boys in the early 20th century.

Dress 2: Russian stripped dress

This boy's dress has been dated to 1910-18. HBC believes that it is approrimately correct, but would feel more commfortable with 1900-15. It is a little boy's white cotton dress with a red stripe. The dress has ong sleeves with angled side button closing. The length is 20 inches. This was a widely worn type of summer dress for young boys in the early 20th century. Again notice the simplicity of the style and lack of adornment.

Christopher Wagner

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main Russian style page]
[Return to the Main Russian dress page]
[Return to the Main dress page]
[Introduction] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Biographies] [Bibliographies] [FAQs] [Activities] [Countries]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: November 17, 1999
Last updated: November 17, 1999