This gorgeous concoction came from France, likely made by a most experienced seamstress who fashioned elegant clothing for the top echelons of society. The few that made it to America were usually brought back by wealthy newlyweds who went abroad for their honeymoon and bought a christening dress in hopes that a baby was sure to follow. Made from a lightweight metis linen, it is embellished with an alternating panel of Valenciennes lace and nun’s pleats from neck to hem. A cotton cording held with tiny crocheted loops criss-crosses down the front and stops about midway. Notice how the ends of the cording were made into elegant soft tassels? Heaven. There are bows at the wrists and center bodice as well. The length indicates it dates to around 1880 or before. Incredibly, the only damage is 2 small breaks in the net and a few minor breaks around the edge of the lace (see pictures). The measurements are as follows:
Underarm to underarm: 22”
Skirt circumference: 53”
The cording, ribbons and bows are new. I found it interesting that the original ribbons were in a harvest gold color. This came from a dealer who specializes in antique furniture. One of her buyers bought a trunk and this was inside, wrapped it butcher paper and tied with a string. Since she didn’t have a clue as to how to clean it, she sold it to me. I brought it back to a perfect white with no stains whatsoever. Don’t you just love it when a project goes right?? It is still strong and completely wearable. Oh, the lucky baby who gets to wear this on her special day.
Hand Cleaned, air dried and pressed. Excellent condition. c. 1880 or before