Bedgowns of lightweight printed cotton
fabric were fashionable at-home morning wear in the 18th century. Over time, bedgowns (also called in this context shortgowns
) became the staple upper garment of British and American female working-class street wear from the 18th to early 19th centuries, worn over petticoats
and often topped with an apron
. Made of sturdy cotton, linen
or linsey-woolsey, these bedgowns were simply cut to a T-shaped pattern, and were worn overlappped in front or with the front skirts cutaway.
In the Welsh spelling betgwn, the bedgown is part of Welsh national dress.
Bedgowns lingered as fashion garments into the mid-20th century, usually under the newer name bedjackets, in the form of short robes or wrappers worn over a nightgown or negligee for warmth and modesty while sitting up in bed for breakfast, reading, or similar pursuits They had mostly fallen out of fashion by the 1960s.