so sweet.

I don’t know about you, but I am always amazed by the level of detail that went into some of the vintage linens that I find out there.  Especially the baby dresses.

Last weekend I pulled out a small stack of linens that I needed to clean and iron before taking them in to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell.  Most of them came from my picker, Sue.  But a couple are pieces I found at garage sales last summer.

I’m no expert, so I hate to give advice knowing that there may be some of you out there who are really careful when it comes to laundering vintage pieces.  But if you’re curious, I just soak mine in OxyClean for an hour or two, rinse thoroughly by hand, line dry and then press.

I’m guessing that this one was an undergarment rather than a dress just based on the simplicity of the top.  But check out this beautiful detail …

I think that is tatting (although I’m not sure).  If any of you know for sure, please leave a comment.

But can you imagine the hours that went into making that?  It bums me out that someone put that much love into handcrafting this piece and yet it was going for peanuts at someone’s estate sale.

This next baby dress is nearly as light as tissue paper.

It’s a bit on the longish side, which makes me think maybe this one was a christening gown.  It’s so incredibly delicate though.  Maybe it was meant for a baby getting baptized in the middle of August in a tropical climate.

It certainly wouldn’t be warm enough for Minnesota except on the balmiest of days.

I can’t imagine actually putting this on a baby.  Wouldn’t it be ruined in about 2 seconds flat?

What beautiful stitch work!

Even the back of the dress is beautiful with its tiny little pin tucks.

This last one is a bit shorter and little bit more sturdy.

Still, it seems far from being practical for a baby.

I wish I could think of a really fabulous and unique re-purposing idea for these beautiful pieces.  I’ve seen a few great examples of people just hanging them on wall including this one from Miss Mustard Seed …

And this one from Cedar Hill Farmhouse …

But aside from that I can’t really think of another fabulous use for them, how about you?

25 thoughts on “so sweet.

  1. They are beautiful. I think they look lovely in bedrooms. I have mine hung in my laundry room with other vintage laundry items. I also love photos of little girls in white cotton dresses like the slip with the tatting.
    A great collection.

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  2. The detail is unbelievable. So delicate and yes, would be ruined in a flash 😉 I’ve seen some vintage clothing made up as pouches when you just sew the bottom (or could line it with a pre-made bag so as not to ruin), mostly to hold clothes-pins. I think it would be cute to make some for a nursery to hold burpcloths or bibs. Just hang from a vintage wooden hanger from a dresser handle? For diapers even…little socks, I could go on and on 🙂

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    1. I feel like these are too delicate to be very functional as bags. Although I do have an adorable bag like that to hold my clothespins 😉 It’s made of much sturdier fabric though.

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  3. Its tatting, my grandmother would sit for hours and tat………….patience!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And talent, she was a seamstress and made all of my clothes and for others.

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  4. I agree that seeing precious family heirlooms, made with so much love and care and saved for a lifetime, being pawed through by strangers and sold for pennies at estate sales. I have a love / hate relationship with estate sales… excitement at finding treasures to upcycle and use, then sad to see a persons entire life laid out for all to see. Guess I’m too sentimental.
    I have a small jacket my grandmother sewed for me, when I was a baby, hanging on a vintage hanger in my laundry room.

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    1. I have a sweet little crocheted dress that my grandmother made for my mother (you can see it here). I used to keep it boxed up for protection, but a while back I realized that no one in my family wanted it after I’m gone. So now I display it hanging on a jelly cupboard in my guest room. It will likely fade and get ruined more quickly, but at least I can appreciate it now rather than keeping it in a box.

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  5. My Grandmother and my Mother created some of those beautiful pieces- dresser scarves, handkerchiefs, dresses etc. I have one hankerchief that I put in a frame with a light pink backing. It hangs in my bedroom. Thanks for the tip on cleaning.

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  6. I, too, pick these up when I find them at estate or garage sales at reasonable prices. I just use them as decoration in my booth when I have child/baby related furniture pieces. They were imported from the Philippines I believe, up through the 70’s, I purchased a few new for special occasions for my daughter when she was a baby. They are also great for doll collectors to put on life size baby dolls, they won’t get spit up on them that way! And I buy, clean and sell a lot of vintage linens and oxyclean soaks are typically how I clean anything cotton and linen. So sweet, indeed.

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    1. First, thanks for sharing that info about these being imported from the Philippines. Now that you say that, it sounds really familiar to me. Maybe you mentioned that once before? And I’m glad you hear you also use oxyclean, so I’m not too far off the mark on that process.

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  7. Dear Miss Quandie…….I’m going to make a remark that I’ve been told might be insensitive: I’m surprised that you never had children. I say it with love and kisses ;-* ;-* ;-*

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  8. I had several similar dresses when I was a baby. Someone told me my aunt made them. And also hand-embroidered kimonos. I was so upset when they disappeared after my parents were divorced. I bought one at an antique market & hung it with my boyfriend’s baby sweater in my bedroom.

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  9. absolutely adorable, I used my uncles christening dress for all 3 of my girls, it was so thin and delicate. For years I have been meaning to display it but have not, perhaps you will inspire me 🙂

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  10. I love those delicate dresses also. I don’t think the one with the design toward the bottom is tatting. I tried to zoom in but wasn’t sure. Tatting would be done like a lace and sewn in. I think this is where they pull out threads then make a design by “ weaving” or tying the left on threads together to form a pattern. I can’t think of the term but something like drawn work – drawing the threads out. It is used on tablecloths a lot.
    I really enjoy your blog being a fellow Minnesotan.

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    1. I took a closer look after reading your comment Nan, and I do believe you are correct. Those sections are not sewn in, no seams. I googled ‘drawn work’ and found pictures that look just like it. It’s also called ‘whitework embroidery’. Hardanger embroidery is also a form of drawn work. Which makes sense, this being Minnesota, we have a lot of Norwegian heritage … and your name being Swenson, I should have guessed you were a Minnesotan 😉

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