Saturday, 21 April 2012

Antique stuff!

I have been having a clear out and a reorganise, with the assistance of DD2. She has been very strong, and made me be equally strong, and made me throw out those silly little bits of ribbon that you know are too small to do anything constructive with, but hang on to just in case, and all the stupid odds and sods that cannot viably be used for anything. I know she is right, but, but, but...

And while we were looking at some scraps of ancient lace, probably hand made- which I didn't let her make me discard- I commented to her that I had a family frock in the cupboard, which none of mine had ever worn, and that it will be over 100 years old.
 'Can I see? Now? please?' so up we went and got out of the cupboard, the hangers with dress, and Christening robe, and Christening cape.
These were examined carefully. Hand made dress, with all its little tucks and pleats, inside French seams, openwork and lace. Structure of the sleeves, so sweet, never used by my children as it felt too precious.
A soft, pretty, slightly peachy pink, white collar and lace details. hand embroidered little flowers and satin stitch ribbon.

 The pretty faux pocket, It is just so beautiful. I shall let the pictures tell their tale.

Look at the size of those buttons! The detail on the collar, those tucks. I wish I could hand sew like that!

This sleeve is cut in one piece, with fullness at the top and gathered into the 'cuff' which has been embroidered and lapped, but is not a separate piece of fabric.
 Now, I know, because I was given this by an elderly relation, who wore it as a baby, that this dates back at least to 1908. It has a label in it, saying 'hand made' and Eastern Isles. This is Scottish work, and I believe comes from the Hebrides. It is a real piece of family history, and Jeannie Muir gave it to me, along with a silk sash, worn by her mother, or grandmother,  at my great grandfathers wedding.  It is a piece of Stuart tartan, because Great grandfather was a Stuart. I must see if I can get an accurate date for that wedding! I should be able to on the Scotlands people site?

Have I bored you rigid yet?

The other pieces she had to investigate were the Christening set. We know my grandfather wore this robe, and cape, and my father, and his brother and sister, and my brother all wore it, and my three children too. I know these Victorian Christening robes are quite common, but the cape, made from nun's veiling, and originally lined with silk, is less comon.
The silk deteriorated with age, and was replaced with linen, with scraps of the original silk attached, by my Granny, about 50-60 years ago. The silk is gossamer fine and fragile, and the cape is showing signs of age but they are still beautiful.

The little sleeves were a later addition, they are a different fabric, and the lace edging is different too.

This broderie anglaise type trim is lovely, and the tucks are a lovely detail.

This is the cape. At some point there was a matching bonnet, but that disappeared in the way things do. I believe the ensemble was lent out to various folks, and at some stage the bonnet went awol.

The details on this, I believe are applied, not sewn as such, a form of fine braiding couched into place. I cannot inspect the inside, so I am not absolutely certain of this.
On this picture you cn see the triangle of silk Granny salvaged, and the silk tassel, only one of which survives.
The cape has a second cape, and a collar. There are two ties to keep it on, and it just sets baby off beautifully at the christening.

I hope you enjoy seeing these pieces, I am glad to have put them on record, anyway.
I wonder how many other babies may get the use of them in the future, before they get too fragile to be used.


Lucy @ Charm About You said...

Incredibly beautiful!

Truly Myrtle said...

These are so beautiful - see, keeping stuff does have it's virtues! I empathise with dilemma's throwing away your iddy biddy bits of lace :) I have a box of very similar bits and bobs....surely, one day they'll be useful?
Anyhow, the handstitching on the first gown is stunning isn't it? I am inspired by the pin-tucks.

Archie the wonder dog said...


JoZart said...

Wow! they are so beautiful and how luck that you are their guardian. Treasures indeed.
JoZarty x

Janine said...

Reading your post, I kept thinking these are exquisite. Then I saw Helen had said that already so I feel unoriginal! I'm always in awe of our ancestors workmanship :)

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