I tweeted out my ignorance last night and by the time I woke up this morning there was a reply from the Museum of Childhood, London, England which houses the Victorian & Albert Museum’s collection of antique children’s clothes.
Collections manager Catherine says they’re baby clothes known as 1st shirts, popular during the 2nd half of the 19th century
Thank you so much! There will be more of these beautiful little first vests and their accompanying clothes listed in my shop over the next day or so.
I have a huge stack of these tiny lawn and cotton baby… ?? That’s the thing, what are they? Nappies? Vests?
I’ve googled them and found them labelled as both. Despite having had five babies of my own I can’t work out where or how these tiny scraps would wrap around a newborn baby.
Some of the sleeves / legs have lace on both ends. Do the flaps fold up and get safety pinned around a nappy liner, or do they fold down over a tiny chest and back?
I think some some of them are very old 1850s or 60s as they came with a small collection of other dresses and gowns that are marked with the same name. They have the names of the owners written in a cursive hand in black indelible ink. This is for laundry purposes.
If anyone reading this does know what they are please let me know. I’d love to find out!
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