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Embroidery Inspiration – Baby New Year

In a tradition stretching back to ancient Greece, the New Year is often represented as a baby. With this in mind, I thought it would be fitting to start my series of weekly embroidery inspiration posts with images of beautifully embroidered infants’ clothing. 

The majority of embroidery for infants is some form of whitework, which has connotations of purity and innocence, as well as being practical to clean. Antique baby bonnets and christening gowns often showcase beautiful examples of various embroidery styles, which were often stored away and preserved for future generations. This provides a wonderful source of period material for our research.

One of these styles is hollie point, which is a form of embroidery without any raised stitches. The completely flat surface would be gentle against a baby’s delicate skin. Below is an intricate bonnet with a hollie point center, as well as additional embroidery around the outer edge. MFA 07.852. 

Detail of another hollie point cap  with satin stitches and eyelets around the edge. The Met, 09.68.604.Embroidery Inspiration - Baby

Every inch of this early 18th c. baptismal gown is covered in some form of embroidery or quilting. De Young, 52916. It combines eyelets. quilting, cording, openwork, and satin stitches, among others. This is truly an heirloom to be passed down. 

This 1844 ensemble is comprised of beautifully embroidered gown and matching pantalets. The Met, 06.701a, b.

This 19th c. infant’s gown is comparatively simple, with bands of eyelet lace, a central motif made of satin stitches and eyelets, and delicate paisley-like scrolls in the lower corners. MFA, 49.516.

Compare that to this 1906 christening gown, which is the epitome of Edwardian finery. This piece is adorned with masses of embroidery, lace, tucks, and silk ribbon. Met CI51.64a-d.Embroidery Inspiration - Baby

You’ll also find an assortment of tiny jackets, shoes, undershirts and more.

 

I’ll be sharing more images on Facebook throughout the week, as well as pinning them to my Pinterest board.

Resources:

For more information on whitework, check out my class Overview of Whitework Embroidery, which describes the many changing styles of whitework that emerged during the early 1800s. I also recommend the Royal School of Needlework’s Whitework Essential Stitch Guide*.

A gorgeous resource embroidered infant’s clothing is Heather Toomer’s book, Baby Wore White*. Unfortunately, it’s out of print and I’ve been searching for an affordable copy for years. It is in a few libraries, so an inter-library loan might be your best bet for perusing a copy.

Other wonderful resources are some of Martha Pullen’s books, particularly Vintage Baby*, and the one from the Victorian and Albert Museum of Childhood*.

 

*Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. These are marked with an * after the product name. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers, and I do not recommend products solely to get a commission.

3 Responses to “Embroidery Inspiration – Baby New Year

  • Have you tried Amazon UK for baby wore white? A couple on there for $25, although postage might be a killer!

    • Oooh! I hadn’t looked there. Hedgehog Handworks carried it for a while, but I didn’t get a copy before they went out of business. Thanks! 🙂

      • I checked it out, and it won’t ship to the US. I may have to ask one of my UK friends to forward it on to me. Still a great lead!

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