Fine Heirloom Sewing, Smocking and Hand Embroidery

"Baby will be well and smiling in little garments made by Mother, Auntie, Grannie and loving friends!"

Please join me as I teach the old fashioned techniques and skills needed to sew baby clothes. You will find lessons that start at the very beginning and take you step by step as we sew little baby clothes together. May you find much joy and pleasure in making them.
It's easy and it's fun!!

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Showing posts with label History of Baby Clothes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History of Baby Clothes. Show all posts

Thursday, September 16

Exquisite Embroidery and History

More details from the Antique Christening Gown featured in the last post.
While there was a wide frilled panel that went from the bodice to the hem in the front of the Antique Christening Gown, the rest of the gown was still magnificent!  This is part of the embellishment that went all around the Christening Gown.   All Hand stitched.  Perfect Featherstitching!

The fabric was sheer and fine but closely woven.

I had to show you the two different rows of Featherstitching again.  I think it is my favorite part.

The eyelets are finely stitched and the padded satin is perfect!  Every stitch you see here..worked by hand!

There is a little shirt that appears to go with the gown.  It has the same lace  on it.  There was also a silk slip that looked to belong.

Close up of the monogram on the little shirt.

Notice the name at the top.  The initials PA are a match!!

Hope you enjoyed seeing this gown as much as I have.  

All Designs Are Copyright Protected copyright 2010 Jeannie Baumeister

Wednesday, April 21

White Wednesday -Baby Anna's Circa 1920 Bonnet

Baby Anna's Circa 1920 Bonnet
This is the bonnet we were making at the Elegant Stitces Retreat.

The Brim is made up of three triangle pieces.
This bonnet is a reproduction
 of one made circa 1920 for Anna by Mrs. Barrett.
The center Brim Piece overlaps the other two Brim pieces.
The center Brim piece has  a  pretty embroidery design on it.
All three Brim pieces have Lace Edging slightly gathered and stitched  around them.
A little Bullion Rosebud (taken from the center Brim design) graces the side Brim pieces.
The ribbon edge is turned under to enclose any raw edges.
Silk Satin ribbon is attached to the side fronts of the Bonnet.
The ribbon is sewn to the wrong side of the bonnet.
Notice the pretty entredeux that is used to finish the neck.
A pretty ball Mother of Pearl Button is sewn to the right side edge.
 I used beautiful French Maline Laces for the Bonnet.
Gathered Lace Edging  is stitched around the bonnet. 
 The lace is also stitched around the back crown.
The Bonnet is made from Swiss Nelona weight Batiste.
I can't wait to see a little baby face in this bonnet!

This design is copyright 2008 Jeannie Baumeister

This is my White Wednesday post thanks to Faded Charm.

Sunday, February 14

Dream Stitches: Baby's Layette - (Five)

Sweet & Simple Daygowns pattern  For Girl (left) or Boy Baby(right). 
Sweet little Daygowns are the staple of Baby's Layette for the Old Fashioned Baby today.  Make them out of soft fabric like the  Lawn  shown above.  Front buttons make it easy to dress baby.  Use cotton and don't worry about wrinkles. The fabric is  soft and comfortable!!  And baby is happy!

Baby Layette Circa 1917

A layette consisted not only of garments but also included bedding and toilet articles for a newborn child.  According to an article in the 1917 American Dressmaking Step by Step, the following itmes were considered a necessary part of a basic layette:

4 Dresses  (these dresses/gowns would have been at least 27" long)
3 Petticoats (flannel)
2 Sacks
3 Pair Booties
1 Diaper Cover
1 Coat
2 Shawls
6 Dayslips (Daygowns today)
3 Petticoats -white
3 Flannel Bands
3 Pairs Stockings
4 Dozen Diapers
2 bonnets
1 Carriage-robe
6 Nightslips
2 Kimonos
3 shirts
4 Pining Blankets
6 Bibs
1 Veil
1 Receiving Blanket

This was a basic layette which meant "the minimum" baby would need.  It might be much more elaborate if ones means allowed.
Shadow Embroidery Bows on the front of the Daygown.  
I used baby tatting for the boy Daygown  but tatting is nice for either.  And baby Lace for baby girl.
Shadow Embroidery Bird at the hem of Daygown.Embroidery is from my Jeannie B. Embroidery Book.
Sewing the layette garments for a new baby is still the thrill it was when the poem Dream Stitches was written.  And it feels like we have wrapped that baby up in our love when they are wearing something we made for them.    "Many a prayer and many a dream"

Thursday, February 11

Dream Stitches: Baby's Layette - (Four)

Circa late 1800's or 1900's photo appeared in the LSU Textile exhibit Dream Stitches: Baby's Layette.  Notice the Beauty Pin on the Baby's gown!    From the Gandy collection.

This sweet picture shows a little girl and a baby, probably a sister and brother but the baby might be a girl.  Babies were dressed alike at that time.  The baby might or might not be wearing a Christening Gown.  In our time we think any long gown is a Christening Gown.  However the length of  an infants gown prior to 1900 was quite long, often longer than 36" for everyday wear and could be very fancy.  By 1920 the recommended length had been reduced to 28" or less.  This would be considered Christening Gown length today.
Old Fashioned Baby Christening Gown from  Baby Gowns pattern.
My Old Fashioned Baby Gowns pattern is very similar to the one the baby is wearing.  This style is often seen in old pictures of babies.  It is really just a basic yoke gown that has a ruffle around the yoke and the hem.
Christening Gown made from the Baby Gowns pattern.  Gown is Swiss Batiste with Swiss Edging at the yoke and hem.
This Christening Gown features tucks and lace in the hem and yoke.   Simple but elegant!

Wednesday, February 10

Dream Stitches: Baby's Layette - Three

Old photo from the Gandy collection displayed in the Dream Stitches exhibit.
Mother and Nurse weigh  Baby son. Taken 1908.

What a fat little baby!

We often think babies are bigger today than they were in days gone by but it's not the case.  Listen to this quote from 'Womans Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences, 1917'  "The measurements given may be considered as standard for the infant of normal size - that is, one that weights about 8 pounds at birth...."

The average baby born today is  7 lbs. 10 oz. (according to The Center for Disease Control).

Standard Infant Measurements of 1917 (from Womans Institute)

Neck............9 1/2"
Armhole......9 1/2"
Inside sleeve length..6 3/4 to 7"
Wrist.............6 1/2"
Dress length....26 to 27"

Tuesday, February 9

Dream Stitches: Baby's Layette - Two

A page I made for my own "Layette Diary" in my Old Fashioned Baby Column.  
See May/June Creative Needle 1997.
The Layette Diary makes a wonderful reference of the garments you made (or purchased) for your baby.  It's also a beautiful keepsake.
Inside the Layette Booklets from the LSU Collection.
The Layette booklets were made in 1926 by Louisiana high school home economics students.  These charming booklets depict items that would be included in baby's layette.   They included garment illustrations cut from magazines of the day, fabric samples and projected costs.
Covers of two of the Layette Diaries in the LSU Collection. The covers were embellished with paints.  
The original layette booklets were displayed in the exhibit  Dream Stitches:Baby's Layette.  I was guest curator for this exhibit.  They were very cleverly done and very pretty.  It was clear that the students followed direction from the teacher as several pages were similar in design.

Thursday, December 17

Lesson on a Gertrude Baby Slip - Layout

Gertrude Slip.  Embellished!
 Baby Slips are an essential item in a baby's wardrobe.  They keep baby comfortable and warm and they flatter the gown or dress worn over them. A "Gertrude"  is a style of slip or petticoat  that buttons at both shoulders.  As the baby's comfort  became the focus of infants clothing at the end of the 1800's, the Gertrude was considered superior.  It did not restrict baby's movement and was easily removed without disturbing the baby's other clothing when it became wet (a frequent occurrence before rubber pants which preceded disposable diapers).

Slip Front and Back are cut on the fabric fold. I am using the slip from Priscilla's Layette pattern.

The fabric selvages must meet in the middle because both slip front and back are cut on  a fabric fold.  This can be tedious because you must measure from the selvage to the fold from one end of the fabric to the next to make sure fabric is on grain.
Let me show you an easy way to do this.
Match selvages evenly.
First fold fabric right sides together, matching selvages.  Smooth fabric.

 Use your thumbnail to score (crease) the fabric fold.
Crease the fabric fold.  This will mark the center of your fabric.  Open up fabric so crease line is in the center.  Now, just fold each selvage in to  meet the fabric center crease line.  You can quickly measure to check but it will be right.

Fabric selvages meet in the center!!  Easy! 
Use your pattern slip pieces and pattern instruction guide to aid you in the layout, marking and cutting our process.    For detailed pictures and instructions for Pinning, Marking and Cutting out see the Lesson from Priscilla Daygown Lesson 3.

Next Lesson will be the Shell Hem.  That stitch will be used to finish the armholes and the neck (instead of the lace).

Saturday, November 28

Gertrude Baby Slips

 Collection of Gertrude Baby Slips.  Each is a little different.
Baby Slips are an essential item in a baby's wardrobe.  they keep baby comfortable and warm and they flatter the gown or dress worn over them. A "Gertrude"  is a style of slip or petticoat  that buttons at both shoulders.  As the baby's comfort  became the focus of infants clothing at the end of the 1800's, the Gertrude was considered superior.  It did not restrict baby's movement and was easily removed without disturbing the baby's other clothing when it became wet (no disposable diapers then!!).  For winter, a slip might be made from a fine flannel.

This lovely set is from OFB pattern Baby Layette.
It is featured in Sew Beautiful magazine, issue 121.

Slips are made to match the dress for special outfits!  Just use the same lace, fabric, embroidery design or floss.  Something that ties them together.

The lace insertion and edging match the lace on the Daygown.  Part of the embroidery design was stitched between the insertion.

Friday, October 30

Jamie and The History of The T-Yoke Gown Pattern

The T-Yoke Baby Dress was made for Anna Gordon of Norfolk by her Mother,  Alice Virginia Gordon Barrett.
A Family Treasure!

T-Yoke Baby Dress circa 1920, made for Baby Anna.

Baby Anna Gordon Barrett was born on May 5, 1920.

Close up of Dress front.

Back of the original T-yoke Dress.  It had a yoke back with a placket  and lace insertion at the yoke.   My reproduction is open down the back.

Jamie, holding the dress made by her husband's Grandmother.

Baby is Jamie's  husband who is wearing the original T-Yoke Dress. He is the Grandson of Alice Virginia. 
(See, all Babies were once dressed like Babies!) 

My pattern (Antique T-Gown, Dress and Christening Gown), reproduction.  Includes Baby Gown on the left, " The" Dress and a slip.  The lace embellishment for the slip  is not in the pattern (slip is in the pattern but not embellished).  A 27" long  Christening Gown is included  and is a long version of the original Dress. 

 Pretty ruffles on the Dress and Slip!

Mother, Alice Virginia with Anna Gordon on the right and little sister, Shirley Louise on the left.

Thursday, October 15

History of Circa 1920 Handsewn Baby Gown

My Circa 1920 Gown

This Baby Gown is a reproduction of an antique  made in 1913 by Louise Walkup for her infant daughter Dorothy.  The gown is worked entirely by hand, as was the original.  The most striking feature on the gown is the unique method used to gather the ruffle at the skirt bottom (the antique gown also used it for a ruffle at the sleeves).

Hem Ruffle is gathered using the technique Snail Shirring.
I called this method Snail Shirring because of some information I found in an old sewing book.  The length of  Dorothy's gown was 27", as was standard at the time for an everyday gown.  This was considerably shorter than the gowns from the 1800's.  According to The Ladies Home Journal (1884) they were more than one yard in length at that time! I drew my own embroidery design for the gown I have made and shortened it to 25".  I also omitted the ruffle at the sleeve and have used Swiss Beading and gathered lace edging in place of it but my gown remains true to the original design.  I think it is lovely!
It was one of many  handmade garments done by Louise for her baby.  When Dorothy was two years old, her mother died, leaving the cherished clothing  as a legacy of the Mother's love.

Wednesday, September 23

The History of the Pricilla Daygown

I thought you might be interested in the history of the Daygown we are making from the pattern, "Priscilla's Layette".  This  pattern was inspired by an antique Daygown.  The original, View 1 - Classic Style was made for baby Priscilla, born in 1909, by her mother Maude.  The  hand worked stitches were fine, the hand made tatting was tiny and the love and care stitched into the little garment is apparent.  It was, of course, styled for a boy or girl baby.  This was a time before ultrasounds.  The only way to find out if baby was a boy or girl was to have  someone tie your  wedding ring on to a string and let it swing over your tummy.  Everyone would watch  to see the direction it spun.  " If a wedding ring or needle suspended over your belly moves in a strong circular motion, you’re having a girl. If it moves to and fro like a pendulum, you’re having a boy"  excerpt from an article on
The drafted pattern and embroidery are my own but the inspiration came from the creation of Priscilla's Mother.  The daygown was shared with me by Maude's Grandaughter (Priscilla's daughter), my friend, Ann.

Picture of Ann as a little girl.  Sewing, of course!

  When you make this little gown, think about Maude and baby Priscilla.

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