Thursday, January 24, 2013

Embroidered baby dress

The gathers make a small ruffle around the waist.


All I have to do is take this dress out of the treasure chest of inherited textiles, unfold it from its wrap of tissue paper, and find I am holding a summer day. Even now in the coldest part of winter with ice and snow on the ground and more headed our way I am transported to another time and another place full of sunshine. I hold this little toddler's dress and the light wight of the thin cotton fabric brings to mind the warm days and gentle breezes, the kind that move through the grass and flutter little dresses like this into small gentle movememts like the wings of a butterfly.  I am reminded of how the warmth of the sun feels on my skin through fabric which is nearly as weightless as the air itself. Warm, light. It's a free feeling, a feeling of being barely dressed and with ease of limb, moving about outside as something soft and made almost of cobwebs brushing light fingers over me as I move. And then there are the flowers on this dress. I do not think they were hand embroidered and though the hem looks like it could have been hand stitched I believe this was a machine made dress of the simplest design, perfect for the simplicity of a perfect summer day. The flowers, as I was saying, bring violets to mind for me and the blossoms of hollyhocks and maybe the little daisy my grandmother used to grow in her garden and which spread into the lawn. It was my grandmother Ester Krabbe who wore this little dress in the early years of the 20th century. This dress lets me meet her as a tiny child and imagine the kind of summers she had as a toddler playing in the sun of the back yard in and out of the slight shade from the trees and in amongst her father's flowers.

Slightly blurry, but this is the backside of the embroidery and includes the hem and a side seam.
Daisies? Hollyhocks? Any flower meant to remind us of them all? The little green and purple chain reminds me of a daisy chain, the kind pieced together while lazing in the  grass or the sun

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