My 1900s gingham wash dress can also be worn as summer dress. ‘If we go on the river or to tennis in the sunshine, the woman is not well dressed who wears a ten-guinea tailor-made cloth, however light, but she who is clad in a cotton which has probably cost a few odd shillings’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2).
Cotton dresses were also worn for seaside and boating with straw boater hats: 1898 drawing of a lady wearing a yachting dress and boater hat.
I trimmed my boater hat with the same fabric as the dress.
The description of a 1906 sailor costume for outing wear, which can be made in gingham, says: ‘The blouse is made to slip on over the head and left to pouch slightly all around over the belt’. It also features a gored skirt in round length.
Despite the corset and underwear, the cotton dress is quite comfortable to wear.