Sunday, June 22, 2014

I'm Baaaack!!! With a lovely little antique booklet on how to dress your baby!

            How to Dress the Baby

     Summer is here, so I am hoping to have a bit more time to devote to my blog, as well as stitching, sewing and cleaning!  This spring was hectic, as we had 2 college graduations, mixed in with a lovely trip to Missouri to teach for the Show Me Stitchers.  I have started my (late) Spring Cleaning with a bang, and ran across this cute little booklet, so I thought I'd share it with you!  It was distributed by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and it does not have a date on it, but looking at the clothing styles worn by the mothers.........I'd say it was early 1920's.

                           The pages are yellowed, but to me, that only enhances the booklet!!!!

     The 'new' idea that shattered years of tradition was to dress your baby in clothes that open in the front (instead of the back).  Dr. Josephine Baker touted the benefits - more comfort for the baby and much easier for the mother.  You can dress your baby in 2 minutes!  There was also a pattern that came along with the booklet, although I do not have that (darn!).

     The idea is to layer the clothes (lay the petticoat over the dress, so when you put the arms in, you are putting the arms in the petticoat and the dress at the same time, etc.)

              I must say I am glad that we do not have as many layers today as in days gone by!   

     Besides ease, babies no longer had pins or buttons going up their back that they were laying on - makes sense!  I have my own rule of thumb regarding sashes that follows along the same line.  I do not put sashes on dresses smaller than a size 1 (or if I am making it for someone in particular, I don't put sashes on dresses of the wearer isn't walking yet), as I do not want them laying on a big bow at their back!
     Materials - of course a thin, sheer fabric for the dress!  Cottons are preferred, and no mention of polyester (at this point in time, polyester was not something that was used in yard goods).

     As I mentioned, I do not have the pattern, but there are some descriptions - the day gown (22 inches long) was made with tape or ribbon in the neck and sleeves.  This was so it could be drawn up to fit a newborn and then let out as the baby grew.



     And of course, for the discerning mother, a list of what you need for your layette!  Bands were used for up to 6 weeks on a newborn - at least until the cord dropped off.  They were tied around the stomach as a sort of support.  Diapers were often made of wool (held moisture better) and were changed as soon as the baby was damp.  Me?  I am thankful for disposables!!!!

   I hope you enjoyed this - I will be posting throughout the summer, I promise!

As an aside, this is the first year since about 2000 that I have not gone to Arlington, TX, to the Martha;s Sewing Extravaganza.    With the demise of Sew Beautiful (just got my last issue yesterday in the mail) and the end of the 'heirloom' part of Sew Beautiful, the show was not held this year.  Hello to all of you that I usually see in TX!  Miss you!

Happy Stitching,

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