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Introduction

She never cared for sewing, but it's different now, you know,
For she sits each day and stitches, and her eyes are all aglow,
As she handles each wee garment, and her glad heart sweetly sings
With a mother's love and longing as she makes those tiny things -
I am stitching dreams my baby, many a dream and many a prayer
Will be sewn into the garments that my liltle
one will wear,
And I think, perhaps, they'll whisper very soft to you, my dear
Of the love Owl has been waiting just to make you welcome here!" (1)

 

At the turn of the twentieth century, most women knew how to sew and the sewing machine was common in many homes. However, the belief that a layette or a baby's "first clothes" should still be made by hand was widely accepted. Mothers-to-be were advised to use only the best quality materials in making a layette. Dr. Ellen Dean Wade stated in the Twentieth Century Baby that:

The material for the baby's first clothes should be as fine and soft as one's means will allow .... Everything for the baby must be of the best quality obtainable. (2)

A layette consisted not only of garments but also included bedding and toilet articles for a newborn child. According to an article in the 1917 American Dreddmaking Step by Step, the following items were considered a necessary part of a basic
layette: (3)

4 Dresses
3 Petticoats (flannel)
2 Sacks
3 Pairs Booties
1 Diaper Cover
1 Coat
2 Shawls
6 Dayslips
3 Petticoats (white)
3 Flannel Bands
3 Pairs Stockings
4 Dozen Diapers
2 Bonnets
1 Carriage-robe
6 Nightslips
2 Kimonos
3 Shirts
4 Pinning Blankets
6 Bibs
1 Veil
1 Receiving Blanketquiltmaking, to plantation life.

Introduction | Long gowns | Short dresses | Accessories | Christening gowns | References | Credits | Past Exhibitions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dream Stitches: Baby’s Layette

Exhibition Dates: January – December, 1997

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LSU Textile & Costume Museum
140 Human Ecology Building
LSU School of Human Ecology
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Telephone: (225) 578-5992 and 578-2281
Fax (255) 578-2697
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