I thought I would write about something a little different this week. I have had the privilege of having a close look at a handmade garment which has been passed down several generations babies in my husband’s family. I believe it was originally made for my father in law by his mother- it’s his christening gown.
As far as I can tell, the whole of the gown has been sewn by hand. It must have been a real labour of love, because the stitches involved are tiny and beautiful!
There are actually two parts to the gown, an outer of white broderie anglaise, and a pale blue lining. I guess the blue lining must have been a little prone to fraying because all the raw edges have been enclosed. The side seams are felled seams and there is a double turned hem.
The neckline and armhole edges have been enclosed in a narrow self fabric binding, which it is hard to tell, but I think is cut on the bias.
There are little metal snaps sewn into the shoulders for ease of getting it on over a babies head too.
On the outer dress, the side seams have been left raw, but most of the other seams have been enclosed in a white cotton bias binding. The two back bodice pieces have been carefully cut to use the selvedge edge to help stabilise the opening in the neckline.
The seams attaching the bodice to the gathered skirt have been carefully topstitched, I think to help the gathers and seam allowance to sit flat.
At the back there is a pair of tiny thread loops to close the back neckline. They are just so neat and dainty!
Having a close look at such a special garment has been a lot of fun. I can see the hours of careful sewing that must have gone into creating it and it is a real family heirloom as a result. It makes me consider my own sewing, and while I am improving my finishing and hand sewing all the time, I don’t think I have ever sewn something with quite the same level of care and attention as there is in this little gown. Definitely something to think about for the future. Which of my makes would I want to become family heirlooms to be handed down through the generations.