ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Collecting Mania: Vintage Childrenswear Part 2

Updated on May 28, 2010

The number of children's garments made by hand decreased dramatically as the 20th century progressed, owing to increased opportunities for women in the workforce and the availability of affordable, mass-produced clothing in department stores. Although handknit sweater, hat, and bootie sets were still being created for infants, the majority of clothing for the entire family was store-bought. While textile scholars and serious collectors focus more on the 19th-century pieces, the early-20th-century items are being snapped up by new parents who appreciate the retro styling and wearable condition of the later pieces.

Antiques shops, flea markets, and vintage-textile shows number among the venues where antique and vintage children's clothing can be found today. Internet auctions are also a good bet; typing in "antique children's clothing" in the search field often brings up pages of listings. And don't miss an opportunity to scour thrift shops, yard sales, and children's resale shops for unexpected treasures. Beware that there are some unscrupulous sellers online who will try to pass off junk Chinese clothing that has been artificially aged as a true original. It is very easy to be fooled by the carefully taken photographs and deftly worded descriptions that lead you to think that you're getting the real thing, when instead you're shelling out good money for a worthless piece of modern apparel.

To prolong a collection's life span, proper care is key. When it comes to cleaning, do only what you must. Each time you clean old garments, you risk damaging delicate fabric and stitches. When light cleaning is called for, vacuum with a handheld vac covered with cheese cloth. Cottons can be hand-washed with a mild soap such as Orvus (available at needlework and quilting supply stores). Because the chemicals used in dry cleaning can be harsh, this method is usually discouraged by textile experts, especially for early silks, which can disintegrate easily. For storage, place vintage clothing in archival boxes in an area of your home where heat and humidity fluctuations are minimal. Stuff sleeves and folds with acid-free tissue to prevent permanent creases.

Prices for vintage children's clothing can range from $10 for a simple 1930s store-bought outfit to $1,000 or more for a rare 19th-century hand-stitched calico dress. As is the case with any vintage textile, condition strongly affects value. Pristine examples are difficult to find, given the hard use they were wont to receive from their original owners. Mint-condition knitted clothing is also rare, owing in part to the frequency of moth and mouse damage.

Collectors who choose to display prize pieces should take care to keep them out of the line of direct sunlight. If you have a large collection, rotate items to prevent any one getting too much exposure. When hanging a dress, shirt, or jacket, use a padded hanger to protect tiny shoulders. Finally, keep little hands and pets at bay by displaying your pieces out of their reach, on a peg board or a high shelf. Whether worn or displayed, these tiny treasures serve as charming remembrances of childhood in America.

Back To Start


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)