Sunday, December 23, 2012

Baby Dress

A close-up of some of the machine stitched embroidery

Exquisite! This lovely confection makes the textile lover in me quiver! Imagine dressing babies in cloth as delicate as this! It feels light as breath and makes me think of things like butterfly wings and flower petals, morning mist and angel voices. This little dress is part of the trove I inherited, but it comes from the paternal side of my family, unlike the handmade needlework I have of Great Grandma Ragna on my maternal side. It was perhaps what my Grandmother Millicent Johnson Martine wore as a baby as it was amongst her things and arrived in my possession with others like it. I am thankful for the mother's sentimentality that caused her to save the little garments her child wore. This is yet another example of how women and textiles understand each other and how interwoven in our lives they are. This dress is made out of organdy, a very light weight textile prone to wrinkles but delicate feeling. It is lovely stuff once fairly popular in Victorian days. I believe it's what makes up the blinding white clothing we see children wearing in old time photos. I must make a study of organdy for myself and I will post what I find. It isn't something we see around these days. To me this dress, and those like it, speak of the emotions a mother felt who thought it was a good idea to dress her child in such thin, white fragility. She loved her little girl and by dressing her in this dress she was saying, "You are as beautiful and dear to me as butterfly wings, flower petals, morning mist and angel voices." What a priceless thing to say and it was spoken in the language of cloth.
Layers of cloth on cloth, like a dress over a dress, make me swoon. Here is a view of the hem on the the baby dress after I folded the dress over upon itself. Such layers of wonderfulness! All my life I have loved the description of Heidi climbing up to see her grandfather wearing all her dresses at once to save having to carry them! Enchanting!

1 comment:

  1. Think we replaced our wardrobe with jeans! However, as a little girl, I was a Tomboy and would have dyed a thousand deaths if I had to wear this in public. It is amazing what was once made and is no longer seen.