Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Antique Baby Gown and Tomorrow's Antique Baby Gown

Several years ago, my grandmother, Esther Lewis (on my mother's side) gave me a beautiful, handmade infant gown worn by my grandfather Leon Chester Lewis. He was born in 1898 in Hancock, VT and died in 1965 in Spofford, NH. This little nighty, so painstakingly hand sewn, is over 100 years old.

The details are exquisite. Tiny little pintucks, and lace adorn the front of the cream colored, cotton batiste gown. Look at the sleeves in the first photo. I am intrigued by the details. The bonnet is as exquisite as the gown, with delicate lace around the front edge. It is hand crocheted cotton lace on the outside with a lining of cotton flannel. I  imagine that any baby wearing such a gown would look absolutely cherub-like.

I just love this is so sweet.

I assume that the gown and bonnet were worn by other infants in the family as there is evidence of  much wear. There is an area that must have become torn at one time and it is very carefully patched. Look carefully to see patch below...

My grandfather in 1899--wish the photo was not so blurry.....

His great-grandchildren (my three daughters) had beautiful hand sewn nighties and dresses. My mother took full advantage of her grandmother-hood and made my daughters the most elegant baby clothes. They really did look like angels....For examples:

My mother made this little nighty and bonnet set for my middle daughter, Emily. Similar to my grandfather's gown, it also has tiny little pintucks, tiny pearl buttons, satin trim, ribbon and eyelet lace. It is a very lightweight cotton. I can still remember her wearing this. One evening I had to run to the grocery store with her and she got plenty of oohs and aaahs wearing this .

Here are some other examples of the beautiful, hand made clothing my lucky little babies wore. It was so fun dressing them....

Cotton nighties--Pink one is all eyelet, White one is trimmed in eyelet lace, so so sweet!

I loved bonnets--nothing cuter than a baby in a white eyelet bonnet.....

......except maybe a baby in a pink, quilted satin bed jacket and matching bonnet

......or perhaps a baby in a pink batiste dress with a white eyelet pinafore and matching eyelet bonnet....

Thanks to my mom I have nighties like these that range in size from newborn to girls size 14. I have enough pink, white, eyelet, ribbons and ruffles to dress the children of a small village. I cannot part with any of them.I remember each nighty, and have such fond memories of my daughters wearing them. They were dressed as elegantly as children of the Victorian Era.  Since my mom made so many, they are in pristine condition and I  hope that my own (future) grandchildren will be wearing them some day.(no pressure intended for my daughters Jenn, Em or Lindsay) Nothing like giving your new baby girl a bath, and putting her in a beautiful, hand sewn (with extra special love) nighty that "nana" made. Sweet dreams for sure!

Just another fifty years or so, these too will be antique baby gowns..... 

"It is easily overlooked that what is now called vintage was once brand new...."
Tony Visconti

"Little girls are precious gifts wrapped in love serene-- their dresses tied with sashes, their futures tied with dreams...."