Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yesteryear---French Seams and Christening


Seems as though some things about vintage culture have been lost. We are recovering some of the culture, especially the clothing, thru a keen desire of younger people to reclaim the styles and actual clothing of yesteryear. You commonly see people wearing the old clothes, and buying the old styles at thrift stores etc.








One type of vintage clothing, I fear, is a lost art. What type, you say? How about the christening gown worn by infants at the religious ceremony to be christened or baptised. They were long gowns, usually white, for either boys or girls, made for, or purchased especially for the ceremony. These were cherished for years by the entire family, and sometimes handed down from generation to generation. My husband still has his, which was bought for him by his fraternal grandmother. I fear that this tradition has been lost, because religion is cast away so easily in today's generation. Regardless of the transitions, these gowns were a work of art with all their tucked yoke sections, french seams,chambray or voile fabrics, eyelet or lace edgings, and embroidery work and ribbon.

My husband's gown, which was used by one of his daughters, is of a somewhat transparent fabric and so has a charming lightly embroidered slip made of the matching fabric. I would show it to you but my camera is still broken. I have to use the pictures that I have in my file. (For those who are interested, the following is a general tutorial of how to make a simple christening gown.)

The pattern is relatively easy with a yoke front and back pieces and a skirt front and back rectangular section. Small tucks are sewn first before the yoke is cut out. Then after cutting, the yoke pieces are sewn together at the shoulder. Edges are finished with a whip stitch and a pretty edging (lace, etc.) The tucks in the skirt are also sewn first. Embellishes of ribbon, lace, or eyelet are added after the side and back seams are sewn. Ribbon can be threaded thru the eyelet. Bottom seam is finished with desired trim. Gather the skirt section and attach to the yoke. Finish the back opening and the arm holes with a 1/4 seam, hand whipped. To finish you can add several crocheted chain loops for button holes and attach some pretty tiny round pearl buttons. Also, you can add a pastel ribbon bow to the front yoke seam for a sweet finish.

6 comments:

Judy Nolan said...

What a beautiful piece you've shown! Sadly, I can't say I have done this type of sewing, although I have done French seams.

Kathleen said...

Lovely christening gown! Mom made one that she used for Mary and I. When my daughter got married, I saved the scraps from her wedding gown (yep, I made that *winks*) and I made a christening gown. She has used hers twice =) Very fun to carry on special traditions!

Very Verdant said...

For our first three children I only sewed the necessities. It was not uncommon to see either one of the children wearing something I had made for them on any given day. It was not until our youngest was born that I started making Heirloom style clothing. They were her favorite things to wear and we have now tucked them away for future generations. Yay, for keeping traditions alive.

Great Post.

Marlene said...

That is a lovely gown. I am not a seamstress, just very simple sewing. You are right about traditions falling to the wayside and it is very sad. I wish we could all go back to a more simple time.

Nico Designs said...

Our daughter wore my gown. My husband's family thought it was weird and actually made comments about if we did not have enough money to buy something new. I feel sorry for them in so many ways.

tamdoll said...

You're right, the precision and details of heirloom clothing is gone and replaced by fast-changing trends and quantity. I think if we had to do with less, everyone would appreciate things like this again.
As long as there's the internet and we have these things to pass on to our kids, we can hope to keep the skills and charm alive for future generations.