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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Family Heirlooms · Antique Twin Baby Dresses

We don't have very many antique garments from our extended family, but my meager collection grew exponentially this year!

When my paternal grandmother's twin sister, Aunt Daisy, died earlier this year, the family cleaned out her home over the course of several months.  We went over several times to sort what to keep and what to donate, and we were able to get several vintage accessories to remember her by. :-)  Near the end, Mom went over one day to pick up her sewing machine and happened to notice a box of donations containing old kitchen towels.  Upon closer examination, she noticed that it also contained baby clothes!  She brought the box back home and it was like Christmas. :-D

I have a fond spot for vintage baby/children's clothing and the family connection made them even more special!  However, the best part of it all was that there were still a few "twin" outfits together!  I don't know how often they wore coordinating clothing, but judging by the pictures that survived, I don't think it was often, if ever.  I think the remaining "un-matching" dresses were just Aunt Daisy's share of the saved baby clothes.  I thought it would be fun to share the matching outfits I have today! :-)

I got several white dresses like these, but these 2 are my only matching set.

Look at all those pin tucks!  They're all machine sewn, but sooooo tiny!  The tag says, "Hand Made" (like many of the other dresses) so I think these were purchased rather than home-made.

The sleeves are so adorable- I just can't get over all the detailing that goes into these antique dresses!  Impossibly tiny!  The center front of the hem is embellished with a little bit of embroidery.

The middle button on the back is missing- ironically both dresses are missing the same one!  Makes me wonder if that one just got more stress than the others?  All the buttonholes are made by hand, as well as the embroidery.

There were also a few slips, including a matching set! :-)

I love how even though they're just slips, they still have a little bit of embroidery and a detailed scalloped edge. :-)  I'm pretty sure all the edging was done by hand, but I'm not positive on that.  The sheer amount of work that goes into all these baby garments is astounding and inspiring!

The slips close with buttons on the shoulder, but amusingly- all of the buttons are different!  I don't know if that's original or replaced. ;-)

There were also these sweet toddler dresses!  So, so cute.  The twins were born in 1927, so these dresses are from the late 20s or early 30s.

I'm pretty sure they're made from silk, but they are in need of some more special repairing than the rest of the clothing.  They are still intact, but there are several seams that have come out and some fraying and tiny holes.  I suspect that these were worn several times, just due to the evident wear.

I love this idea of alternating pin tucks and regular tucks! :-)

The dresses are very simple- a tunic style with a snap closure on the left shoulder and the neck band closing with a bow.  They are embellished with a small embroidery motif around the hem.

I suspect that they are home-made due to the lack of tags, but mainly due to the difference in hemming- one dress has a simple hem, the other is faced in lightweight cotton!

I have several more of Aunt Daisy's baby dresses to share, including one that I was able to identify from her baby pictures!  I also have a couple wedding dresses, so "Family Heirlooms" is destined to become a (semi)regular feature. ;-)

I was originally planning on doing my post this week about my new costume for a Masquerade Ball we're attending this Saturday.  But then I remembered that several of the attendees are also blog-readers, so I won't be able to retain my element of surprise if I divulge the details before the event!  So, sorry.  Now all the rest of you will have to wait a week or two to see it. ;-)


  1. AHH! SO cute!! You'll just have to have twin girls someday. :-)

  2. The white dresses and slips are just precious! My two younger sisters are twins, and I know that my mom enjoyed dressing them alike occasionally. The detail work is so lovely! The tiny tucks are a marvel to me, how someone could keep them so very even!


  3. These are beautiful. I love the tucks and pintucks. Should think about how I can incorporate it into my sewing.

  4. Such darling little pieces! I love it! I can't wait to see what else you'll feature. I love looking at the details on old clothes, and am always astounded by the amount of effort that got put into making the garment just so.


    the Middle Sister and Singer

  5. Oooh. Those are amazingly beautiful, not to mention so precious! And how neat is that to have them be from your own family! I am jealous! :)
    I intend to start my own "mini-museum," so to speak, of actual vintage clothing. It is all so amazing, and who knows how long it will be around if we enthusiasts don't buy it, right? I got an adorable baby dress at the antique store the other day. It is made out of teeny tiny gingham with teeny tiny ricrac on it. It's actually made out of quite small pieces, so the momma probably had made a dress for herself out of it earlier. I just love vintage paraphernalia!! :)
    Sorry I got so wordy! I am looking forward to your masquerade ball post!

    1. That sounds so, so cute! What a great find! :-)

  6. Oh my! How very fine & lovely. Such time & loving care usually aren't spent on wee one's clothing nowadays. (Present company excluded.) ;) How very precious.

  7. I'm glad these could be shared with people just as enthusiastic as me! ;-) As always, thank you for your comments!



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