Thursday, January 10, 2008

Plain & Simple..............Simply Beautiful
Something about this time of year always brings babies to I was looking thru the many baby shirts and bonnets I have here, looking for something to Blog about...when I found myself wanting to share EVERY piece with you all! Then I remembered a special dainty pair of 18th Century Baby mitts I just had to share. I have some really extravagant things here at the Museum, but oddly enough, some of the most simple pieces have the most extraordinary workmanship and smallest stitches~ truly beauty in its simplest manifestation. Pippin couldn't very well model them 'naked', so we picked her out an early 19th century day gown. These were worn in the hot summer months as a dress themselves, around the house, but were made as under dresses~ being a petticoat & chemise in one.
IF I were just to show the next picture, the tiny scale of these fine cambric mitts could not be appreciated. As you can see, they fit my Pippin nearly perfect, she turned 2 years old this past Sept.
The stitches are so tiny on these, I could not capture them with the camera. A mere 10" long, they reach from the knuckles of the hand, to just above the elbow. One has to wonder the special little girl who these were originally made for. In 1720, it has been recorded that Mrs. Papendick's small daughters wore long gloves tied over the elbows "to preserve the arm in beauty for womanhood". Elbow length fingerless gloves with a triangular flap that folded back over the hand became popular in the mid to late 18th century. I received these mitts together with a pair of adult size linen elbow length gloves, very fine, from the last quarter of the 18th century.
No fancy frippery here. This is how sweet children dressed for everyday
It was hard enough just to get a picture of Pippin~ she never holds still! Mitts like this p air are extremely rare~ everyday dress just did not survive, as they were worn, and worn again...and when they didn't fit, they were given to the next child, and when they finally wore out, they made their way to the rag bin and were reused in the household. These little mitts are cambric~ so thin and soft and delicate~ they definitely were not made for any special occasion, which means the reason they were kept, sadly enough, was most likely because the child didn't survive long after their use.
This little day dress looks just like every other 'Victorian white', but upon close inspection, its a miraculous piece of handiwork! The lace on the sleeves finely hand embroidered & drawn...the stitches so fine~ I stopped counting at 30, per INCH
tiny gathers like this, evenly spaced, is referred to as 'gauging' towards the mid 19th century.
And LOOK at the darns! I get so excited over darning~ they show wear, and mending, which says 'Hey~ look at me~ I was a favorite dress'.......and they're so well done, you really have to look closely to see them. Wonder if the little girl, or boy who originally wore this dress got in trouble for playing to hard and ripping it???


Christine LeFever said...

Pippin is beautiful and adorable and darling and models to perfection those dainty pieces.

Thank you for that little history lesson. I would love to know how to darn. Do you ever darn?


lovetheprimlook said...

Pippin is just beautiful. I love the history of the old clothing. I would love to see more :)


T.F.C. Folk Art said...

Pippin in just the cutest little model ever!! I have a small collection of antique children's clothes, and I have to say they all have little spots that have been mended. I think it makes them so much more special.

Suzanne said...

Oh my! What a delicate piece...and Pippin is the cutest!

AscenderRisesAbove said...

adorable little angel!!