This page includes a detailed discussion of the Welsh and English terms used for Welsh costume.

Contents of this page:

  • Introduction
  • Use of English and Welsh words
  • Welsh costume
  • National Costume
  • Woollen cloth
  • Flannel
  • Kersey
  • Felt
  • Linen
  • Cotton
  • Calico
  • Silk
  • Hemp
  • Linsey Woolsey
  • Minco
  • Silk linsey
  • Plaid and Brethyn
  • stripes, checks, etc
  • Costume
  • Underclothes
  • Underskirt
  • Stays
  • Skirt / Petticoat
  • Gown / Bedgown
  • Coverslut
  • Polonaise
  • Kirtle
  • Gown (former use of the term)
  • Dress
  • Shawl
  • Whittle
  • Nursing Shawl
  • Kerchief / headkerchief / headcloth
  • Neckerchief
  • Handkerchief / kerchief
  • Fishu
  • Coat, cloak, cope, mantel
  • Cloak
  • Apron
  • The cutter’s guide in English and Welsh
  • Dictionary Sources (abbreviations used for the sources of the words)


Two main languages are used for costume terminology: French and English. Costume experts are likely to use words derived from the French: some Welsh words have derived from both of the other two languages. There is some confusion over the meaning of certain terms, such as beaver and bedgown which have changed over time.

The following  is based on:

  • an analysis of descriptions of Welsh costumes from 18th,19th and 20th century accounts of tours of Wales (nearly 80,000 words)
  • digital searches of Welsh words for costume in newspapers, novels, and other popular publications for evidence of their use.
  • a study of essays on the women of Pembrokeshire, Cardiganshire, Breconshire, Anglesey and Wales in the Welsh language women’s magazine Y Gymraes, 1850-1851.
  • a study of terms for costume used in Welsh ballads
  • a detailed study of a random selection of 18th and 19th century dictionaries (Welsh, English-Welsh and Welsh-English).

There may be some benefit in studying lists of dialect words which have been compiled over the past few centuries (although many of these might have been included in academic dictionaries). See Jones, Tom, A Bibliography of the dialects of Wales, The Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, Vol. 6, (1933), pp. 323-344 which contain 171 studies of lists of dialect words.

The writings of tourists are often based on earlier publications; on assumptions and on myths of what life in Wales was like or was wished for. They would not normally have been familar with Welsh terms, but some made an effort to learn them. However, the enormous number of descriptions and illustrations which are being presently analised, should yield some reliable evidence.

The dictionaries may not be a reliable index of words generally used in Wales, but presumably they reflected current use (as far as the compiler was concerned) and influenced use by the purchasers of the dictionaries. It is however likely that many terms were simply copied from earlier dictionaries.

In most dictionaries, no record is made of which part of Wales the word was generally used. At present, there are often different words for the same thing in north and south Wales; in the past, there might have been many more variations.

Use of English and Welsh words

During the 19th century in particular, many English words were introduced to Welsh speakers. Some of these were written with phonetic Welsh spelling (for example sgirt for skirt) and some dictionaries included these with their Welsh equivalents. During the 20th century, words with Welsh roots have been created for English words which had previously been adopted by Welsh speakers. However, some of the English terms have survived, or have even ousted Welsh words

The term pais a becwn (various spellings, meaning skirt/petticoat and bedgown) occasionally occurs, sometimes with Welsh terms for other elements of costume, in newspaper articles otherwise written in the English language, for example:

  • [At a Tregaron school entertainment, girls appeared] in old Welsh costume illustrative of the dress in vogue about 150 years ago. There were the “Pais and Becwn bach,” the “Shol fach,” Fledog Streip Wlanen,” the tall hat and cap, etc. Cambrian News and Merionethshire Standard, 27.12.1907 (Northern) [Translation: skirt and bedgown, small shawl, woollen striped apron].
  • At the Cremation of Dr William Price Llantrisant, ‘The little girl wore the Welsh pais a becwn, and a red shawl, and presented a very picturesque appearance. Miss Price also being dressed in Welsh costume, Miss Llewellyn followed, wearing a dark cloak, and the Welsh national hat with a low crown. (Cardiff Times, 4.2.1893)
  • When the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Aberystwyth in 1896, a Welsh Costume was made for the Princess. ‘The Messrs. Tyler of Mount Gernos, have manufactured a special cloth at their Maesllyn Mills with which to make a Welsh costume for the Princess of Wales. The tailors, Messrs. D. Jones and Sons, Penrhiwpal, are now engaged on the work. In a letter to a friend the latter say the costume is to be “cyflawn, sef pais a gwn bach, cap, hat uchel, ffedog a sleeves.” [Translation: ‘complete, that is, skirt and small gown, cap, tall hat, apron and sleeves’] (Evening Express, 19.6.1896)

In a significant number of Welsh language articles (at least 23 between 1859 and 1910) the English term ‘Welsh Costume’ is used rather than Gwisg Cymreig, and in at least once case, the phrase ‘yr hen wisg Gymreig’ was followed by ‘(Welsh Costume)’ as if the Welsh term was incomprehensible to the readers, or that the term ‘Welsh Costume’ had been adopted by Welsh speakers as the term for their traditional costume. (Llangollen Advertiser, Denbighshire, Merionethshire…, 16.11.1906)

In contrast, several reports of a Royal visit to Wales in 1896, used Welsh terms (only) in an English language paper.  In preparation for the visit of Prince and Princess of Wales to Machynlleth, Aberystwyth and Cardiff in 1896, a Welsh costume was prepared as a gift to the Princess.
The Messrs Tyler of Mount Gernos have manufactured a special cloth at their Maesllyn Mills, with which to make a Welsh costume for the Princess of Wales. The tailors, Messrs D Jones and Sons, Penrhiwpal, are now engaged on the work. In a letter to a friend, the latter say the costume is to be ‘cyflawn, sef pais a gwn bach, cap, hat uchel, ffedog and sleeves. [complete, that is short gown and skirt, cap, tall hat, apron and sleeves.] The Messers Tyler will present it to the Princess on the occasion of her forthcoming visit to Wales. (Evening Express 19th June 1896)

Note on mutations. Some letters at the beginning of Welsh words change depending on the words that precede them, their context and their gender. In a very few examples, the gender of a word is different in north and south Wales. Magu (normally meaning to rear or bring up) which was used for a nursing shawl (siôl magu) was occasionally mutated to siôl fagu.

Words used in modern Welsh, derived from the Geiriadur yr Academi (Welsh Academic Dictionary) and Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru (Welsh University Dictionary) are also given in the lists below. It is surprising how many of these are based on words from other languages, and not on what appear to be older Welsh words.

The sources give the earliest date found in late 18th and 19th century dictionaries.

Welsh costume (including mutations and plurals)
Gwisg Cymreig
Hen wisg Gymreig (pais a betgwn) (Baner ac Amserau Cymru, 12.10.1887)
Hen wisg Gymreig, yn bais, betgwn a diddosben gorynuchel. (Baner ac Amserau Cymru, 25.12.1895)
‘Welsh costume’ [where most of the rest of the article is in Welsh] (Baner ac Amserau Cymru, 14.8.1861; Genedl, 17.2.1881; Cenedl, 13.7.1887)
National Costume
Dullwisgoedd Cymru (Gwent and Dyfed Eisteddfod essay title, Cardiff, 1834)
Gwisgoedd Cymreig (Baner ac Amserau Cymru, 29.9.1858; 10.1.1883; 20.8.1887; Goleuad 5.2.1896)
Dillad Cymreig (Goleuad 31.5.1879)
Ddiwyg Gymreig (Welsh Costume) (Y Genedl, 4.12.1900) [both terms were used together].
Hen ddull Cymreig (Baner ac Amserau Cymru, 29.9.1858)
Dullwedd Cymreig (Goleuad 16.12.1876)

The Welsh woollen industry was a very important part of the economy of Wales during the 19th century. Much of it was exported, but some was made especially for local use. There are many words for different types of cloth which were often made entirely of wool.

Woollen cloth / brethyn
cloth                     brethyn                      Walters, 1815, 1828
cloth woven on broad and narrow looms were also given special names:
cloth, broad               brethyn deu-led        Walters, 1815, 1828
cloth, narrow             brethyn un-led           Walters, 1815, 1828
cloth, narrow             brethyn cul                 Evans, 1852
A distinction was made between homespun coarse cloth, often made especially for locally worn working clothing, and fine cloth which might have been used for finer clothes.
cloth, home spun     brethyn cartref           Evans, 1852
cloth, fine                  brethyn dinesig         Evans, 1852
This distinction between home and town (dinesig = of the town) suggests that fabrics sold and worn in towns were generally of finer quality than in rural areas.

There are other terms for fine and coarse wool cloth
cloth, woollen, fine        brethyn main             Evans, 1852
cloth, woollen, fine        brethyn teg                Evans, 1852
Evans, 1852, gives three other Welsh phrases for home-made cloth:
brethyn garw [garw = coarse, rough]
brethyn gwyn talpentan (home made white cloth) [pentan = homely?]
brethyn talpetan
Brethyn now means cloth, woollen cloth; coverelet, tapestry; the cloth (GPC)

There are also many terms for the different woollen cloths which were processed in different ways:
cloth with nap           brethyn casnachog    Evans, 1852
cloth with nap           brethyn graog             Evans, 1852
[casnachog  = nappy; graog = of fur, of ermine]

Brethyn Llwyd (grey cloth) was the term used by manufacturers who were applying for contracts with the Welsh Army at the beginning of the First World War (NLW, Welsh Army Corps Records). Some Welsh regiments wore grey rather than khaki uniform.

Flannel (gwlanen)
Flannel was originally a Welsh word derived from gwlanen.  It was sometimes also referred to as stuff (stwff).

Kersey derives its name from the village of Kersey, Suffolk. Kersey yarns were spun in large gauges (thicknesses) from inferior carded wool, and made into thick and sturdy cloth. Kersey was a warp-backed, twill-weave cloth woven on a four-treadle loom. [Wikipedia]
Kersey cloth              brethyn caerog          Evans, 1852
kersey woven cloth  brethyn caerog          Pughe, 1866-1873 (W-E)
(Caerog = twilled, ribbed, interwoven, brocaded, damasked)
twill                             brethyn caerog          GyrA and GPC
kerseymere               carsimêr                     GPC

Felt (ffelt, llawban; brethyn llawban, (llaw-ban, llaw-bann))
Felt is a cloth made from the hairs of animals (beaver was considered best, but wool was most common). The hairs are formed into a mat by various processes. It was used for many men’s and women’s hats – so much so that in one Welsh dictionary it was translated as hat fabric (brethyn hetiau) Jones, 1843 (E-W)
The term was not included in Evans dictionary (1771).

linen cloth                 lliain (llïain)               Walters, 1815, 1828
linen cloth                 llieinwe                       Evans, 1852
linen                           lliain we                      Evans, 1812 (2) (E-W)
linen garment           gwisg liain                 Walters, 1815, 1828
linen, coarse             braslïan                      Pryse, 1866 (W-E)
The word gwe (the g dissapears when gwe is mutated) is Welsh for web; it was used as a suffix to a number of words for woven cloth. Webbing (or webs) is a sort of woven cloth.

Cotton (Cotwm)
Cotton was imported from America in raw state and processed into fabric in Lancashire and Yorkshire. There was a cotton manufactory briefly at Haverfordwest; the Cotton Twist company had four mills at Holywell which produced cotton thread for England and Scotland; there was also a cotton mills near Mold and another, briefly, in the Vale of Llangollen around 1800, but it is not known exactly what they produced.

Calico (calico, calicw) – a closely woven cotton – was used in the lining of the tailored bedgowns

Silk (sidan)
Most silk would have been imported since none of the British sericulture experiments were successful. However, Elizabeth Baker produced a few ounces of silk near Dolgellau between 1772 and 1782, probably under the patronage of Hugh Vaughan.
Most of the surviving women’s tall, flat brimed Welsh hats and men’s top hats were covered with plush (plwsh, plỳsh) – a long silk pile on a cotton fabric.

Hemp was made into yarn and processed into fabric either on its own to make sacking or with wool to make heavy duty fabrics such as aprons for industrial use. The tip girls of Tredegar wore aprons ‘made of material resembling hop cloth or fine sacking’  Bristol Mercury, 29.4.1865, illustrated in Tozer etc, Fabric of Society. On Anglesey (where there was a shortage of wool) coarse cloth was made with or without wool until the late 18th century (Jenkins, J.G., The Welsh Woollen Industry, p. 231)

Some fabrics were made of wool in combination with linen or cotton and occasionally, silk. The Welsh costume dolls project has identified a number of fabrics of mixed materials.

Linsey Woolsey
Linsey-woolsey (linsey wolsey, wincey) – a union cloth of a linen warp and a wool (sometimes worsted) weft.
The term was used by visitors to Wales in the 19th century to describe some clothing fabrics. It is almost impossible to identify mixed fabrics with certainty without a microscope so it is likely that linsey-woolsey became a generic term for home-made cloth. It may also have been used for union fabrics of wool and cotton.
The number of Welsh terms for linsey woolsey show how important a fabric it was.
not listed                                                                    Evans, 1771 (E-W)
cymmysg-we (mixed web)                                     Evans, 1812 (2) (E-W)
cymmysgwe                                                              Evans, 1852
gwe o lin a gŵlan (web of linen and wool)          Walters, 1828
llinwlanen (linen wool)                                            Evans, 1852
linsey-woolsey                     tenlli                            Walters, 1815, 1828
linsey-woolsey, shalloon    tenlli                            Pughe, 1866-1873 (W-E)
cloth, home spun (coarse) tenllif                           Walters, 1815, 1828
[tenlli = thin coarse cloth, wincey, linsey-woolsey, mixed fabric, wadding, cotton wool (GPC)]
[shalloon = a fabric of tightly woven wool, mainly used for the linings of articles of clothing (Wikipedia)]

There are special terms for linsey-woolsey in other languages too, showing that the mixture of linen and wool was commonly used.
drugget                      Irish
eglhinolly                  Manx (Gill, 1866)

1801, north Wales
They also make great quantities of linsey-woolsey of different patterns, which they call stuff, for women’s gowns etc.
Williams, William, (1738-1817), Observations on the Snowdon Mountains with some account of the customs and manners of the inhabitants, (1802), pp. 25-26

Minco (Minco)
Welsh wool was sometimes woven with other wools or with cotton.
Minco – a kind of weave; a garment made from material woven in this way, (1869) GPC

Mary Curtis, writing in 1877 refers to minco which she defined as ‘composed of yarn and worsted; the worsted is of a coarse kind; the yarn is the wool.’ This term was also used by T. J. Llewelyn  Prichard, (The Adventures and Vagaries of Twm Shon Catti; Descriptive of Life in Wales (1828), p. 48); Mary Curtis, The Antiquities of Laugharne, Pendine and their Neighbourhoods. (written in 1877), 2nd edition 1880, 40-44

Silk linsey (brethyn fetal or fetal dau-liwiog = metalic fabric)
Silk was incorporated into woven cloth and gave it a metallic sheen. Some examples of this survive in north-west Wales. Although these seem to have been made for the gentry, for wedding dresses and as samples for show at trade exhibitions, it has been suggested that some of the dresses were worn daily. No bedgowns of this mixture are known to survive.
Huw Roberts, Pais a Becon, Gŵn stwff a Het silc, Traditional Welsh costume in nineteenth-century Anglesey, pp. 7, 38

Around Waunfawr and Beddgelert, both situated among slate quarries, where layers of slate varied in colour and quality … the terms pais fetal (metal petticoat), and ffedog fetal (metal apron) were used to denote clothing made of coarse cloth with wide stripes of different colours. {A sandwich of bread with a filling of oatcake was known in Caernarfonshire as a brechdan fetal (metal sandwich). Metal can mean ‘shale of various colours and kinds’ (Wright, Joseph, The English Dialect Dictionary (1898))}.
Tibbott, S Minwel, Oatmeal and Oatcakes, Melin, (Journal of the Welsh Mills Society), vol. 30, (2014), pp. 37-65 (translated by Siân Lewis from Welsh of the original article in Melin, vol. 4)

Use of the terms Plaid and Brethyn
Siôl Brethyn              Tecstil di-siâp, yn gorchuddio hanner uchaf y corff neu fwy
Shawl, Plaid               Unshaped textile, covering upper half of body or more

The term plaid (sometime spelt plad / plaide / ploid) refers to:
1 a long piece of twilled woollen cloth usually having a chequered or tartan pattern forming the outer article of the highland costume [for men in Scotland]. The Lowland shepherd’s plaid of a black chequer pattern on white is commonly called a maud.
2 The cloth of which plaids are made
3 A man wearing a plaid; a highlander  (shorter OED)
It can also mean the checkered pattern.
[The shorter OED use both ‘chequered’ and ‘checkered’]

stripes, checks, etc
Brith               of divers colours, pied, speckled or spotted. (Edward Jones ( 1752-1824, Bardd y Brenin), NLW add mss. 169 Miscellanea, p. 86)

CLOTHES (apparel, raiment)
There are a number of terms for clothes in Welsh. These could mean different things which might have changed over the centuries.
achre              Walters, 1828
archro             Pryse, 1866 (W-E)
dillad              Evans, 1771 (E-W)
gwisg              Evans, 1771 (E-W)
amdawd         Evans, 1852
archenad       Evans, 1771 (E-W)
dillad-wisg     Walters, 1815, 1828
trwsiad            Evans, 1771 (E-W) (is this = French/English trousseau?)

Evans, (1852), is one of the few that gives Welsh words for costume.
dullwedd        Evans, 1852
dullwisg         Evans, 1852
dullwisgad     Evans, 1852
priodwedd     Evans, 1852
priodwisg       Evans, 1852

The title of an essay set for the Gwent and Dyfed Eisteddfod, Cardiff, 1834, was ‘On the Advantages Resulting from the Preservation of the Welsh Language and the National Costumes of Wales’ /  ‘Y Buddioldeb a Ddeillia Oddiwrth Gadwedigaeth y Iaith Gymraeg, a Dullwisgoedd Cymru.’ The implication of the translation is that ‘Dullwisgoedd’ meant ‘National’ but dictionaries show that it meant style, fashion or just costume.

style                            dullwedd        Pughe, 1866-1873 (W-E)
style                            dullwedd        Pryse, 1866 (W-E)
costume                     dullwedd        Evans, 1852
costume                     dullwisg          Evans, 1852
costume                     dullwisgad     Evans, 1852
style of dress             dullwedd        GPC
style, idiom                dullwedd        GPC
fashion                      dullwisg          GPC


Generally, women wore a shift (English) chemise (French), pais laes or sifft? (Welsh) made of flannel, cotton or linen under their gowns. They may have been made in a simple T shape like a man’s smock but if this was so, some had a low-cut top since they are not shown in the illustrations where the bedgown was low-cut and no shawl or kerchief was worn around the neck. A few illustrations show v-necked undergarments, where the flaps of the gown have been opened.
Only one reference to underwear has been found in the literature, and this by a Welshman (who had more reason to know what Welsh women wore under their bedgowns than an English visitor). Pritchard, in 1828, advised the women of Pembrokeshire and elsewhere in Wales ‘to throw off their flannel shifts, and wear linen ones’. T. J. Llewelyn  Prichard, The Adventures and Vagaries of Twm Shon Catti; (1828), p. 46

chemise                     pais laes        GyrA
combinations           crys-drafers   GyrA
combinations           crys-drôns      GyrA
drawers                      drafers            GyrA
drawers                      trôns               GyrA

There is little evidence that the women of wales wore stays. Indeed, tourists notes their absence, but some illustrations of women working in the fields in England show them stripped down to their stays.
‘canol-rwymyn (stays)’ (Merched Swydd Frycheiniog gan Eppynt, Y Gymraes, cyf 2, rhif 6, Mehefin, 1851, td. 173)
‘gwasg-rwymyddion (stays)'(Merched Porthmadoc gan Hen Lanc, Y Gymraes, cyf 2, rhif 12, Rhagfyr, 1851, td. 370)

Skirt (Sgert) / Petticoat (Pais)

A skirt is a length of fabric wrapped around the lower part of the body and is the first visible layer below the waist.
The term petticoat is now used for a skirt-like garment worn beneath a dress or skirt but the origin of the term petticoat as a woman’s garment seems to be based on the fashion in the 17th century where a full length item of costume, then known as a coat, was worn under a gown. The lower part of the gown was opened at the front during the 18th century to expose the lower part of the coat (the petticoat).

The Welsh word ‘pais’ is often used for the visible skirt worn with a gown, bedgown or bodice, but it has also been used for a coat and chemise.

Distinguishing between a skirt and underskirt

In general, underskirts are of a lighter material, both in colour and weight, and sometimes have a waistband of a different material (for example, calico or checked cotton), but it is possible that skirts also had waistbands of a different material. Illustrations are of no help in determining the difference because the top of the skirt is normally hidden beneath other garments and the underskirt is normally completely hidden. It is also possible that more brightly-coloured underskirts have survived than plain ones because they were considered unusual enough to keep and were in better condition because they were protected by the skirt.

Many Welsh costume dolls have skirts and underskirts, which, if correctly dressed, help distinguish between the two, but often the top of the underskirt could not be examined.

Skirt can also mean the edge of something as well as a garment; the two meanings might be related.  The following list of Welsh terms includes words which mean one or the other, or both.
aden               Walters, 1815, 1828
cwr                  Evans, 1812 (2) (E-W)
cwrr                 Evans, 1771 (E-W)
dibl                  Walters, 1815, 1828
godr                Evans, 1852
godrau            Evans, 1771 (E-W)
godre              Walters, 1815, 1828
godref             Evans, 1852
ymmyl gwisg Evans, 1771 (E-W)
ymyl                Jones, 1843 (E-W)

This is a phonetic Welsh spelling of skirt. It is not normally found in 19th century Welsh dictionaries.
sgert                                                               GyrA
sgert               (nf, sgertiau, sgerti),             GPC
sgyrt                (nf, sgyrtiau)                         GPC

Pais (Skirt)

pais                             Evans, 1771 (E-W)
pais (bûn)                  Walters, 1815, 1828
pais benyw                Walters, 1815, 1828
pais merch                Jones, 1843 (E-W)

Pais was also used to mean a coat
coat                 pais                 Walters, 1815, 1828
great coat       gorbais           Jones, 1843 (E-W)
waistcoat       crysbais         Spurrell, 1848 (W-E)
coat                 corphbais       Jones, 1843 (E-W)

Pais was also used in other clothing terms
chemise         pais laes        GyrA
petticoat         crysbais         Walters, 1815, 1828 (crysbais also used for waistcoat)

An underskirt might have been worn under the visible skirt or or petticoat (pais). They might have been of a lighter material, both in colour and weight, and have a waistband of a different material.

The Welsh terms for this all mean underskirt.
isbais                          Walters, 1815
pais isaf                     Walters, 1815
ambais                       Jones, 1843 (E-W)
(bais is the mutated form of pais)

The modern Welsh terms for underskirt are pais and sgert isaf           GyrA

Bedgown / Gown
Two main types of gown were worn in Wales: one had a bodice with low-cut front and integral tail, normally of flannel, elegantly cut and put together with very fine tailoring. It is proposed to refer to this as a gown (gŵn). The other was a much simpler, loose T shaped gown like a kimono, normally of cotton. It is proposed to refer to this as a bedgown (betgwn) (even though they were not worn in bed).

Generally, the gown or bedgown was referred to as a bedgown / betgwn during the 18th and 19th centuries and a lot of confusion has been created by this. Both were worn by working women almost anywhere except in bed.
It may be distinguished from the item for which two words are used – bed gown, night gown or night dress (with or without hyphens) which was worn in bed.
The term for night-gown in the Midlands of Wales is crys-nos; g(o)wn nos and cot nos were used in the south. Thomas, Alan R., The Linguistic Geography of Wales, (1973), p. 51

The term gŵn gwely (a literal translation of bedgown) is never used.

BEDGOWN. The Old dress of Cheshire, most becoming to the figure, worn within memory of the present generation, by farmer’s wives, peasant women, and most women servants. It is a short gown, open in front, tied at the waist, in fact an upper jacket to the striped linsey petticoat, generally red and black, or blue-black, and worn everywhere except in bed.
Egerton Leigh, A glossary of words used in the dialect of Cheshire, (1877)

Anthea Jarvis, formerly of the museum of Costume, Platt Hall, Manchester, wrote: “Bedgown” is a very tricky term. At Manchester we assumed it meant the T shaped garment, wrapped over the front and held in place by the apron strings, about mid-thigh length, but when pulled in at the waist would end up shorter. (Called “short gown” in the USA) The fitted-bodice version I think I would call a gown, if it had a long “tail” at the back, or a jacket-bodice if it was fitted and had a short, all-round peplum below the waist. The latter style was very common in peasant dress in Europe, and was worn informally in Britain in the 2nd half of the 18th century, sometimes referred to as an “pet-en-l’air”  

Another definition: A loose negligee gown worn during the 18th century by both sexes. The name was also given to a loose house gown worn by women in the mornings which had elbow length sleeves, a bodice and a long skirt open in front displaying a petticoat.
Yarwood, Doreen, Costume of the Western World, (1980), Bedgown

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) costume term list list does not include the term bedgown at all (nor any of the Welsh versions of this word). The nearest is Woman’s garments no. 1.12 Dress, two piece, comprising bodice and skirt and Woman’s garments Dress (3) three or more pieces, comprising Gown, Petticoat and Stomacher (18th century). Elsewhere, a single garment comprising a bodice and tail (as illustrated in the first sketch in 1.12) is called a gown, or sometimes, open gown which was normally worn with a petticoat or pais.

The other main sort of bedgown, the T shaped short jacket, would fall into category 1.22 (Bodice, Jacket, Cardigan)

There are hundreds of references to the term bedgown, gown or jacket in tours of Wales, newspapers, novels, official reports and academic articles. It appears in both English and in phonetic spellings of bedgown in Welsh.
becdwn          Hughes, John Ceirion,       1862   Anglesey
becon             Roberts, Huw                   (2006)  Anglesey
bectwn            Edwards, Owen M.,             1896
bectwn            GPC
becwn             Cymru, v, 225                       1893
becwn             Y Geninen,                           1899
becwn             Cofiant J. Evans,                 1903   Eglwysbach,
becwn             Cymru’r Plant,                      1903
becwn             Eisteddfod report                  1905   Aberpennar
becwn             Fynes-Clinton, O.H.,           1913   Bangor
becwn             Phillips, D. Rhys,                 1925   Neath
becwn             Peate, Iorwerth C.,               1937
becwn             GPC
becwn cwta    Parry, Robert,                        1857
bedgwm         Llangollen Advertiser                      1887
begwn             Owen, Daniel, Gwen Tomos          1894
begwn             GPC
bekkun           Fynes-Clinton, O.H., Welsh vocab of Bangor, p. 36      1913   Bangor
betcown         Wallace, Alfred Russel       1843   Wales, south
betgown         Evans, Hugh,                       1933   Cwm Eithin,

betgwn           Y Cyfaill o’r Hen Wlad yn America, p. 71            1838
Betgŵn cwts a’i phais linsey fraith (Baner ac Amserau Cymru, 28.9.1859)
Het a betgwn a hanner llewis (Baner ac Amserau Cymru, 19.6.1861)
Betgwn linsi (Goleuad 6.4.1878)
betgwn           Daniel Owen’s Y Dreflan (GPC)   1881
Pais a betgwn ystwff (Baner ac Amserau Cymru, 11.7.1894)

betgwn           Peate, Iorwerth C.,               1929
betgwn           Anon                                      1938
betgwn           Peate, Iorwerth C.,               1953
betgwn           Tecwyn Lloyd, D., Cymru a Saesneg,      1964
betgwn           GPC

betcwn (pl. betcunau) used several times for the long-tailed gown by John Richard Jones originally of Llanelli, who gathered notes on Welsh costume. (JR Jones collection, NLW)

[note: betgwn mutates to fetgwn; pegwn, (nm (pegynau) pole, chuck, trunnion) can mutate to begwn]

The term betgwn (and similar spellings) does not appear in dictionaries until the late 19th century and doesn’t appear at all in the Geiriadur yr Academi (1995). In a series of essays in Y Gymraes, 1850-1851, it appears only once as ‘yn ei “phais a bed-gown”…’  (in quotation marks, italics and mixture of correctly mutated Welsh and English). (Llawdden [David Howell], (Treoes), ‘Gwisgoedd Merched Cymru’, Y Gymraes, cyf 2, rhif 9, Medi, 1851, td 268-270.) The terms used in other essays in Y Gymraes are gwn, gŵn and gwn bach.

John Blackwell used the term ‘pais a gŵn bach’ in his essay of 1834. ‘What is called in Dyfed ‘pais a gŵn bach’ a petticoat and bedgown, forms a peculiarity in the Welsh female dress.‘ He went on to describe different regional types of gown and bedgown in Wales. By Dyfed, he almost certainly meant parts of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.

The words betgwn / becwn have been used extensively in recent publications. Huw Roberts (of Anglesey) used becon in the title of his book in 2007. The phrase pais a betgwn or becwn a phais were often used together in print from the late 19th century and many Welsh women use betgwn (rather than bedgown) even when speaking in English.

Visitors to Wales tended to use the terms jacket or gown. The earliest known use of the term ‘bedgown’ by English visitors to Wales were in 1796 (Anon, NLW MS 4489, 6th July, 1796), and in 1797 by Catherine Hutton on her trip to north Wales. (Hutton, Catherine, Letters written during a Tour in North Wales by Miss Hutton, of Bennett’s Hill, near Birmingham, Letter XI, Caernarvon; Sept. 13, 1797. Published in the Monthly Magazine, 1816)

There are a number of Welsh language newspapers in 19th century newspapers on line which have been searched for different phonetic spellings of bedgown. However, there are more Welsh phonetic spellings of bedgown for the 20th century, from academic articles, than there are for the 19th century [This might be a result of search methods: also, the bias is likely to be towards bedgown (normally, a digital searched will also find bed gown and bed-gown) rather than equivalent terms which have not been searched for so thoroughly.]

The terms for the bedgown and skirt (becwn a phais OR pais a becwn) were often used together from the late 19th century in academic articles.

The term ‘bedgown’ was often used in official reports of the 18th and 19th century which dealt with the poor in Wales, including records of court cases. Although it is possible that these refer to night dresses, the value put on them in court cases suggests an outer day garment.

This association of the term bedgown with the poor is strengthened by the fact that it was also often used at the end of the 19th century to describe the costume of old women, wearing old fashioned clothes: sometimes the term had to be explained. It was also mentioned in lists of items of costume purchased for individuals by the Overseers of the poor.

The difference in the way the terms jacket, gown and bedgown were used is impossible to define, partly because the three words may well have been used for exactly the same garment in different places at different times, and equally, the different garments may have been described by any one of the three words. Also, it is not clear whether there was a well-defined difference between gown and bedgown or whether the writers just used terms which were the ones familiar to them.

Elizabeth Spence used both terms when describing Welsh women’s costume in 1808 – a very long-waisted gown at Brecon and a long jacket or bedgown at Swansea. It is likely that she was distinguishing between the gown and bedgown as defined below. (Spence, Elizabeth, (1768-1832), Summer Excursions through parts of Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Derbyshire, and South Wales, volume 2, p. 56-7; p. 112-3)

The terms used by visitors were presumably those normally used by them at home, thus many of them used the words jacket, gown or bedgown, rather than a term which was used locally in Wales: this in particular applies to those who used these terms when abroad.

Similar garments
Similar garments to the gown / bedgown are the kirtle; the sacque; the caraco; the basque (a bedgown with a short tail); the coverslut; the slammakin; the chapan (worn in Central Asia) and the kimono (Japan). The terms jerkin, jacket, riding coat, riding habit and riding jacket are used for articles of costume similar to the gown and bedgown.

Cwta or Cwts
This appears to be a phonetic Welsh spelling of cut, and as Mary Curtis explains, it means cut short.
In Pembrokeshire they wear a short jacket, cut low on the neck, and called “cwta,” which means short; bobtailed; especially applied to a dress. (Curtis, Mary, The Antiquities of Laugharne, Pendine and their Neighbourhoods, 2nd edition 1880 p. 43)
It was also used in a newspaper: Betgŵn cwts a’i phais linsey fraith (Baner ac Amserau Cymru, 28.9.1859)

The coverslut
Ladies attending Bangor fair this morning, and in particular elderly ladies, wear their garments neither long nor short in the waist, the length of the waist being exactly half the distance betwixt the neck and the heel. A superb mantean, called a coverslut, is worn by most married ladies when in walking costume. The coverslut is generally of rough spun woollen material, and of a muddy colour called kide dirt. … Young ladies generally dispense with the coverslut. Some indeed go so far in the way of simplicity as to promenade in a bedgown and black stuff or check or strip linsey woolsey petticoat. The bedgown is of white or printed calico, the sleeves tucked up to the shoulder, so as to display the rouge naturelle of the arm in all its beauty; two pieces of broad tape are fastened at the back, but never tied round the waist, being allowed to hang down as an ornament, the bedgown being fastened over the bust with two or three pins. (North Wales Chronicle, 25.6.1833)

Polonaise / Polonese / Poloeneze
This term seems to apply to something similar to a bedgown.

The looping up of the skirt of the gown is the beginning of the polonaise style of the 1770s, worn at balls. … The half -polonaise is a fitted jacket, cut without seam at the waist, its fronts below the waist curving to the back, … less masculine than the riding habit. (Buck, Anne, Dress in Eighteenth-century England, (1979), pp. 28, 53)

The Polonaise gown was worn with the skirts puffed up over a petticoat, and was very fashionable 1770 – 1785 (Tozer, Jane and Sarah Levitt, Fabric of Society: A Century of People and their Clothes 1770–1870, (Laura Ashley Press, 1983), p. 43)

At Dinas Mawddwy in 1776, Joseph Cradock reported:
As to Fashions, they are similar to those in Town—the headdress of the Females is very high, and in a morning they generally wear the Half Polonese [his note] (Jackets and petticoats). (Cradock, Joseph, An account of some of the most romantic parts of North Wales, (London, 1777), p. 11)

Half Dress for January. Long Polonese gowns over puckered satin coats, trimming quite round the gown and coat, with buttons and loops; jacket sleeves, half down the arm, with Tunbridge knots. Pantheon aprons and handkerchiefs. Vandyked, round, narrow, black collars. Stomachers braided. French hoops. Large winged caps. Slippers. The Deshabille for June. Short Polonese of muslin or dimity, with a deep border round the petticoat, and narrow round the gown. Large net handkerchiefs, short aprons, with slippers and roses. The echarpe cloak, and l’ete bonnet. (The Lady’s Magazine Or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex …, Volume 12, (1781), pp. 16, 287)

Polonaise, 1773, robe or dance. A dress or over dress consisting of a bodice with a skirt open from the waist downwards suggested by the dress of Polish women. (Shorter Oxford English dictionary, 1978)

Anglo-Saxon: cyrtel; Old Norse: kyrtill. From Latin, tunic or short shirt (Weekley, Etymological Dictionary, 1921)
A sort of gown or petticoat. (Skeat, Etymological Dictionary, 1898)
Kertle / kirtle is refered to under barclod in GPC
kirtle    cwr      GPC

A peplum is a short flounce or overskirt attached to the waist or the bodice of a dress or jacket. The short tail at the back of a Pembrokeshire gown is sometimes described as a peplum.

The original meaning of Gown
The gown was originally a full length garment, completely surrounding the whole body beneath the neck. It is thought to have developed into the tailored gown (described above) as a result of opening the front of the lower part of the gown (the skirt), to expose the lower part of the coat (the petticoat) which was worn beneath it, leaving a tail at the back.

The term ‘gown’ does not appear in the earlier Welsh dictionaries, but in later ones it appears as a phonetic spelling of the English – gŵn (the circumflex lengthens the vowel and distinguishes it from the word gwn for the English word ‘gun’).
gown, loose robe                 gŵn                 Spurrell, 1848 (W-E)
gown, robe                            gwn                 Pughe, 1866-1873 (W-E)
gown, robe, loose robe       gwn                 Pryse, 1866 (W-E)

The noun ‘dress’ can be both a generic term for clothing and a specific garment.
achre                          Evans, 1852
achris                         Evans, 1852
achro                          Evans, 1852
addrun                       Evans, 1771 (E-W)
addurn                       Walters, 1815, 1828
addurniad                  Evans, 1852
amde                          Evans, 1852
archenad                   Evans, 1771 (E-W)
dillad                          Evans, 1771 (E-W)
diwyg                          Walters, 1815, 1828
diwygad                     Walters, 1815, 1828
gwisg                          Evans, 1771 (E-W)
gwisgad                     Walters, 1815, 1828
telyw                           Evans, 1852
trws                             Evans, 1852
trwsiad                       Evans, 1771 (E-W)
tudded                        Evans, 1852

In his Welsh dictionary, Jones, (1828) gives the Welsh word dress as meaning  gwisgiad hardd (beautiful, or presumably fine, dress).

The GPC give cadach (nm, cadachau) as the term for dress

The shawl was an essential component of a working woman’s costume in 19th century Wales and fine examples were worn with a best set of clothes and became status symbols. However, the word ‘shawl’ rarely appears in 19th century English-Welsh dictionaries, and the phonetically spelt Welsh word siôl does not appear at all in 19th century Welsh and Welsh-English dictionaries.

The term ‘shawl’ is derived from the Persian ‘shāl’ – a scarf, turban or girdle, made in Kashmir from the hair of the Tibetan shawl-goat and worn in parts of Asia. Travellers to India recorded them in the 17th century. Kashmere shawls spread into Eurpope during the 17th century and by the 18th century, they were being copied in Britain, especially at Norwich, Edinburgh and Paisley (where the original pattern was reproduced so often it is now referred to as a Paisley pattern).

The first record of a shawl as an article of clothing in Europe is found in Sterne’s letters of 1767 – a covering worn about the shoulders or head, worn chiefly by women. [OED 1989] The word shawl was added by Todd to Johnson’s dictionary in 1818. A phonetic spelling of shawl is found in most European languages. Lots of quotations in OED

A square of woollen fabric, made to be worn around the neck and over the shoulders is such a simple idea, that it is difficult to believe that it wasn’t worn in Europe before the 18th century. The natural coloured shawls which were worn by many women in Wales during the 19th century (as distinct from the multicoloured shawls with woven or printed patterns, worn mostly on special occasions), do not often appear in illustrations of women in Wales during the 18th century, and it is quite likley that what they wore around their neck or head was a kerchief of some sort (see below).

It is worth noting that the shawl in Wales was not generally worn over the head (as it was in Ireland and Scotland), but E Owen, in his ‘Archaic words of Montgomery’, (Montgomery Collections, vol 11 (1878), p. 323) gives the term ‘Hooze or ooze’ as to wrap oneself  e.g. with a shawl over head and shoulders.

The use of the shawl on the shoulders rather than over the head might well explain the origin of the Welsh terms used for shawls (other than siôl) which include the element gwar (= shoulder or the back of the neck)

Evans’s (1852) is the first Welsh dictionary to include ‘shawl’ and gives gwàr, gwargob, gwarlen and gwarug  as its translation. Hugh Derfel Hughes in his Hynafiaethau Llandegai a Llanllechid [Antiquities of Llandegai and Llanllechid] (Bethesda 1866) felt the need to add the English word ‘shawl’ in brackets after ‘gwarlen’, implying that gwarlen was a relatively new or rarely used word.

Gwarrlenn is a Cornish term (George, 2009)

Moled is also used shawl and for various sorts of kerchief. (GPC)

Modern terms for shawl
Siôl                                                     GPC, GyrA
Gwarlen, gwarug, gwarwisg          GPC
fold-over shawl         (not known)
Paisley shawl           siôl ffilt, siôl Persli     GyrA
shoulder shawl         siôl war      GPC

The whittle was a long rectangular or square shawl, often with a long fringe. The term whittle was mentioned by Roger North in Dorset in 1680 and by Celia Fiennes in 1698 in Devon. In Wales, the whittle seems to have been restricted to the Gower, the Swansea area and parts of Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire. (Some suggested that its distribution was a result of Fleming influence. The Flemings were settled in parts of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire by Henry I in the early 12th century and they are credited with influencing language and culture in the area.)

Theophilus Jones defined a whittle as a kind of short cloak – or piece of flannel – pinned or tied around their shoulders.  (‘Cymro’, [Theophilus Jones, (1759-1812)] Cursory Remarks on Welsh Tours or Travels (1799), Cambrian Register II, (for 1796), pp. 440-441)

Edward Jones ( 1752-1824, Bardd y Brenin), made a list of English-Welsh costume terms, but the only one he defined was ‘whittle, a double blanket, which women wear over their shoulders in south Wales, as elsewhere short cloaks. AS [Anglo Saxon?] Hwitel, Sagum, Saga, loena? a kind of garment, a capoch?, an Irish mantle. Rays Proverbs‘ For Hwitel see Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon dictionary, ‘gafol-whitel, (NLW add mss. 169 Miscellanea, p. 86)

Very few dictionaries include the term ‘whittle’. Thomas Jones gave the Welsh term for a Whittle as Mantle fagu (a nursing shawl)
Jones, Thomas. Geiriadur Saesoneg a Chymraeg. An English and Welsh dictionary; in which the English words with many of the English phrases are explained … (Chester, 1800); Jones, (1843 E-W) gives his translation as fagu, also implying that it was a nursing shawl.

Whittle = small woollen shawl, made in Llanidloes. (Owen, E., Archaic words of Montgomery, Montgomery Collections, vol. 11 (1878), p. 324)

Whittles were also worn around the waist and used for carrying bread and other goods.

The phrase ‘Welsh (or Welch) whittle’ was often used in drapers’ adverts, even in those written in Welsh.

In a survey of Welsh dialect words in 1924 in Beulah, Ceredigion, ‘whidl’ was recorded for shawl. (NLW David Thomas, B5)

The term ‘ddrums’ was used for the fringe in one publication and repeated several times subsequently:

The women wear what is called a whittle, made on fine wool, and dyed scarlet ; it is nearly two yards square, with a fringe at the bottom called ddrums. It is thrown across the shoulders, and fastened with a pin or broach; anciently it was fastened with the prickle of the blackthorn.
Swansea Directory, 1816; The New Swansea Guide, (1823), p. 77, and also published as a note in Hall, Mr S.C., and Mrs,  ‘The Companion Guide (by Railway) in South Wales’, The Art Journal, (1860), note p. 312 and in Hall, Mr S.C., and Mrs, The Book of South Wales, the Wye, and the Coast, (1861), p. 349

Nursing Shawl    siôl magu / siôl fagu
(Magu was sometimes wrongly mutated to fagu because it was thought to be a masculine word).
Sometimes called siôl nyrsio (nursing shawl)
It is not clear whether there was a difference between the whittle and the nursing shawl, except, possibly, the nursing shawl was of softer fabric.
Jones, (1843 E-W) is one of the very few dictionaries which include the term whittle, and gives his translation as fagu, implying that it was a nursing shawl.

Kerchief / headkerchief / headcloth
The following are given as translations for kerchief:
gorchudd pen            Evans, 1852
gwisg pen                  Evans, 1852
pen guwch                 Walters, 1815, 1828
pen lliain                    Walters, 1815, 1828
penllian                      Evans, 1852
penwisg                     Evans, 1852
Pryse, (1866)  gives penllian as a translation for headcloth
The use of the term pen (head) implies that all of these were used to cover the head.

ffunen                         Pughe, 1866-1873 (W-E)
ffunen wddf                Pughe, 1866-1873 (W-E)
(wddf = neck)

siôl bach                 National Wool Museum, Drefach Felindre

handkerchief / kerchief
cadach                       Jones, 1843 (E-W)
cadach poced           GyrA
cadach wyneb           Walters, 1828
cedaflen                     Evans, 1852
chwyslïain                  Walters, 1828
chwys-llïain               Jones, 1843 (E-W)
llïain (cwrsi) llaw       Walters, 1828
llian llaw                     Evans, 1852
cwrsi llaw                   Evans, 1771 (E-W)
ffunen                         Pryse, 1866 (W-E)
llawfoled                    Jones, 1843 (E-W)
llawlïain                      Evans, 1771 (E-W)
lloflïan                        Evans, 1852
moled                         Jones, 1843 (E-W)
napkyn (napcyn)       Walters, 1828
neisiad                       Evans, 1852
Walters, (1828)  specifically attributes the word neisiad  to Glamorganshire. The list of items of clothing given by Lady Llanover to her tenants in 1879 included ‘neisiad’. A contributor to this page, from the Swansea valley, reported that her family always pronounced this ‘nished’.
The use of the term llïain (linen) indicates the material from which some handkerchiefs were made.

Modern terms for handkerchief are:
hances (nf, hancesi)           GPC
hances boced                       GyrA
hancets                                  GPC
hancisier                               GPC
macyn                                    GyrA
neisied (nf, neisiedi)           GPC

Modern terms for neckkerchief are:
cadach gwddf           GyrA
crafat                          GyrA
ffunen                                    GyrA
gyddfliain                  GyrA

Fishu (a term of French origin)
This term was used by Dr Ilid Anthony in her booklet on Welsh costumes for a scarf or small shawl worn around the neck, but it is not really the correct term to use in the context of Welsh costume. A fichu was a delicate fabric, often with lace whereas the kerchief worn in the same way by a Welsh woman was probably a plain square or rectangle of cotton. The fichu was worn by ladies throughout the 18th century in order to cover the low décolleté, more for modesty than for warmth.

Coat, cloak, cope, mantel,
These terms, all of which are normally enveloping garments, have a number of Welsh terms in common.
coat                 amwisg          Evans, 1852
coat                 arwisg            Evans, 1852
great coat       arwisg            Jones, 1843 (E-W)
coat                 côb                  Evans, 1852
cope               côb                  Pryse, 1866 (W-E)
coat                 coban             Jones, 1843 (E-W)
coat                 corphbais      Jones, 1843 (E-W)
great coat       gorbais           Jones, 1843 (E-W)
coat                 hesis              Evans, 1771 (E-W)
coat                 honffest         Walters, 1815, 1828
coat                 hug                 Evans, 1771 (E-W)
coat, gown     hug                 Pughe, 1866-1873 (W-E)
coat                 hugan             Evans, 1771 (E-W)
coat                 hugyn             Evans, 1852
coat                 mantell           Walters, 1815, 1828
coat                 pais                 Spurrell, 1848 (W-E)
coat                 rhuchen         Walters, 1815, 1828
coat                 siacced          Walters, 1815, 1828
coat                 telyw               Evans, 1852
coat                 tudded            Walters, 1815, 1828
coat                 twyg                Evans, 1771 (E-W)
coat                 tŵyg                Walters, 1815, 1828

The word is derived from old North French meaning bell, from its shape and the Welsh term cochl appears to derive from the French for bell (cloche) rather than Welsh for red (coch). Most early 19th century cloaks were blue in Wales and more commonly red in England. Red cloaks become more common in Wales after the 1860s.
The cloak might have replaced the mantle during the 19th century.
Cloaks with hoods large enough to cover a tall Welsh hat appear in drawings from the mid-19th century.
Some of these terms mean ‘to hide’, ‘to feint’ or ‘to disguise’ all of which could be applied to the wearing of a cloak as a deliberate attempt to conceal ones self.

not listed        Walters, 1815, 1828
amdrws          Evans, 1771 (E-W)
brat                 GPC
clôg                 Evans, 1771 (E-W)
clog (nf, clogau)       GPC
clogyn           Pryse, 1866 (W-E); GPC
côb                  Evans, 1771 (E-W); GPC
coban             Evans, 1812 (2) (E-W); GPC
cochl              Evans, 1771 (E-W); GPC
côp                  GPC
cwnsallt         Walters, 1828
enhudded     Evans, 1852
enw                Evans, 1852
esgus             Evans, 1852
ffaling             Walters, 1828; GPC
ffalling            Walters, 1828
ffuant             Jones, 1843 (E-W)
ffug                 Evans, 1852
gorchudd       Evans, 1852
gwalling         Evans, 1852
gwalling         Walters, 1828
gŵn                GPC
hûg                 Evans, 1771 (E-W)
hugan             Jones, 1843 (E-W)
lliw                  Evans, 1852
mantell           Evans, 1771 (E-W); GPC
rhith                Evans, 1852
segan             Spurrell, 1848 (W-E)
simmwr          Walters, 1828
tabar               Walters, 1828
tarw                 Evans, 1852
tôr                    Walters, 1828
toron               Evans, 1771 (E-W)
toryn               Walters, 1828
twyg                Evans, 1852
ysgin              Walters, 1828
yspaen-wisg Walters, 1828

cloak with hood       cochl cwccyllog        Walters, 1828
cloak with hood        cochl cycyllog           Evans, 1852
cwcwll or cocwll is a cowl, hood, capuche (the hood of a cloak); hat or bonnet (GPC)
cloak, coarse             carthen                      GPC
cloak, coat                 côb                              Spurrell, 1848 (W-E)
cloak, felt                   cochl croen               Evans, 1852
cloak, little                clogyn                                    Walters, 1828
cloak, little                clogan                                    GPC
cloak, little                clogyn                                    GPC
cloak, little                cochlan                      Walters, 1828; GPC
cloak, little                cochlyn                      GPC
cloak, little                hugan                                    Walters, 1828
cloak, little                toryn                           Walters, 1828
cloak, little                twyg                            Walters, 1828
cloak, loose               hugan                                    Pughe, 1866-1873 (W-E)
cloak, loose or cloak hugyn                       Pughe, 1866-1873 (W-E)
cloak, mantle, robe  arwisg                                    GPC
cloak, robe                 cwnsallt                     Spurrell, 1848 (W-E)
cloak, small              cochlan                      GPC
cloak, small              cochlyn                      GPC
cloaked, white          clogwyn                     GPC

Words for cloak in other languages
brat                 Manx (Gargher, 1979)
breid               Manx (Gill, 1866)
cloagey          Manx (Gargher, 1979)
cloagey          Manx (Gill, 1866)
cloca               Irish (Bhaldraithe, 1987)
coodagh        Manx (Gill, 1866)
klok                Cornish (George, 2009)
mantell           Cornish (George, 2009)
cloak, hooded  huk  Cornish (George, 2009)

Other terms for cloaks or mantles:
Pallium           cloak or mantle
Pelerine          cloak or mantle
Pelisse             cloak or mantle
Peplos             outer robe or shawl worn by women in ancient Greece
Sagum            Cloak worn by Roman soldiers, also woollen cloak worn by ancient Gauls, Germans and Spainiards.

Cowyll           A garment, or cloke with a veil, presented by the husband to his bride on the morning after marriage ; and in a wider sense, the settlement he made on her of goods and chattels, adequate to her rank.
Pughe, William Owen, A dictionary of the Welsh language (1832)(From the Welsh laws)

Apron (Ffedog, brat)
Derived from the Middle English word Napron, linked to nape and nappe.
Aprons were made of coarse linen or cotton, flannel, linsey-woolsey or silk-linsey (for best). They were a very practical form of protecting the skirt or dress and could be folded up and used to carry bulky items.
Late 18th century illustrations show aprons made of plain light-coloured fabrics, as do some of the later prints, but most of the photographs show black and grey or black and white checks or a mixture of all three and most of the surviving examples are of simple natural wool colours – black, brown, grey and white checks.
Earlier aprons may have been woven on a narrow loom or set-up, with patterns down the sides.
Most Aprons were large and covered most of the front from the waist to the toes, but later aprons, especially those worn as part of a ceremonial costume were small. Those produced from the 1930s for girls to wear on St David’s day often have lace edging.
The apron was an integral part of the Welsh costume although it would not normally be required to protect the dress or skirt on formal occasions: indeed, it hid part of the skirt which might have been of fine fabrics. Some of the mid-19th century prints show women in dresses (rather than bedgowns) wearing aprons.
arffedog         Evans, 1771 (E-W)
balog              Walters, 1815, 1828 (balog also means lap)
[‘codpiece’ earlier, compare ‘copis’ in Welsh. Both ‘balog’ and ‘copis’ used today for ‘flies’]
barclod           Evans, 1771 (E-W); GPC
barlen             Evans, 1852
brat                 GPC
feddog            Evans, 1771 (E-W)
ffeddog          GPC
ffedog (nf, ffedogau),          GPC
ffedog (nf, ffedogau),          Spurrell, 1848 (W-E)

A brat can be a cloak or an apron (see above), but is was also a pinafore worn by a child
Owen, E., Archaic words of Montgomery, Montgomery Collections, vol 5, (1872), p. 200

The cutter’s guide in English and Welsh
In 1840 Thomas Humphreys published a bilingual book containing detailed instructions for tailors for cutting out various items of outer clothing. Clearly, these clothes were for the gentry, and the use of English terms in the Welsh text suggests that many of the formal outer garments, except cloak (clog), gaiters (brocs) and breeches (clos), were new to Wales. There was an inconsistency in the term used in Welsh for waistcoat (wasg-bais, wasgod, waistcoat). The pages are alternately in English and Welsh, except the title which is in English only. It included illustrations for cutting fabric.
The book contains instructions for cutting the following (words in brackets are those used in the Welsh text):
coats (coat);
waistcoats (waistcoat neu wasg-bais);
trousers (trousers neu llodrau);
dress coat (corf-bais-wisg);
Albert over coat (Albert over coat);
Spencer Jacket (jacket gron);
gaiters (brocs byrion);
Chesterfield  (Chesterfield wrapper);
Paletot (Paletot);
riding coat (riding coat);
shooting coat (shooting coat);
dress breeches (clos byr);
grooms or riding breeches (clos Marchogaeth);
long gaiter (brocs hiron);
tunic (tunic);
sleeve waistcoat (waistcoat-llewis);
Ladies Riding habits (Ladies Riding habits);
Ladies Polka or Jacket (Ladies Polka neu Jacket);
Stable Jacket (Stable Jacket);
oval leggings (oval leggings);
cape (cape);
half-circular cloak (clog haner gron);
Spanish cloak (clog Yspaenaidd);
double breasted waistcoat (wasgodau dwbl-brest);
waistcoat (waistcoat);
boys trousers (trousers plentyn).
Humphreys, Thomas Darwin, The cutter’s guide in English and Welsh, Containing Practical system of cutting all the leading garments in the trade to fit the human shape to which is added a complete practical treatise on disproportion and remarks on the system for producing different garments, making up etc.  (Manchester and Caernarfon, 1840). 

Terminology in 1879
Lady Llanover presented items of clothing to the residents of Llanover, Llanellen, Goytre and Mamhilad in 1879. Among the items listed are shirts (crysau), petticoats (pais), handkerchiefs (neisiad), aprons (ffedog), gowns (gwn), sheets (cynfasau) and coverlets (cwrlid). (Abergavenny Museum A.1998.64.21)

Dictionary Sources
Bhaldraithe, Thomas de,    English-Irish Dictionary, 1987
Evans, 1852                          English-Welsh dictionary, 1852
Evans, William, 1771          A new English-Welsh dictionary, 1771
Gargher                                 English-Manx dictionary, 1979
George, Ken,                        English-Cornish Dictionary, 2009
Gill, W., and Clarke, J.T.,    An English and Manx dictionary 1866
GPC                                       Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru (Welsh dictionary which includes English words and terms)
GyrA                                       Geiriadur yr Academi. The Welsh Academy English-Welsh Dictionary (1995)
Jones, Rowland, 1828         Geiriadur poblogaidd, 1828 (entirely in Welsh)
Jones, Thomas, 1800        Geiriadur Saesoneg a Chymraeg. An English and Welsh dictionary; in which the English words with many of the English phrases are explained … (Chester, 1800) [Whittle = Mantle fagu; No entry for bedgown, becwn]
Jones, Thomas, 1843          Geiriadur Saesoneg a Chymraeg, (English – Welsh) 4th edition, 1843
Pryse, Robert, 1866             Geiriadur Cymraeg a Saesneg, 1866
Pughe, W Owen                  Geiriadur Cenhedlaethol, Cymraeg a Saesneg (1866-1873)
Spurrell, William, 1848        Geiriadur Cymraeg a Saesonaeg, 1848
Richards, Thomas.             Antiquæ linguæ Britannicæ thesaurus: being a British, or Welsh-English dictionary: … To which is prefix’d, a compendious Welsh grammar … (Bristol, 1753) [No entry for bedgown]
Richards, William.              Geiriadur Saesneg a Chymraeg. An English and Welsh dictionary, in which the English words, and sometimes the English idioms and phraseology are … (Carmarthen, 1798)
Walters 1815                         Walters, John, English-Welsh dictionary (including idioms), 2nd edition, 1815
Walters, 1828                        Walters, John, English-Welsh dictionary (including idioms), 3rd ed, 1828

I am extremely grateful to Gareth Bowen, former head of Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru; Anthea Jarvis, formerly of the museum of Costume, Platt Hall, Manchester; and Siân Edwards, Cardiff, professional translator for their contributions to and comments on, this work.