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Antique, Vintage and Vintage Style Baby Clothes and Clothing

Updated on November 19, 2014

Vintage and antique clothing, holds a particular beauty and finesse that is historically sincere. The colors, the textures, materials, patterns, layers, small details, all culminate to a wistful style that has withstood the test of recent times and trends. Vintage and antique baby clothes are nostalgic in a way that captures the imagination and the emotion. The fabrics and styles can be freer and lighter than those of their modern successors. They are simple yet playfully complex. Vintage and antique clothes have become sought after classics.


uploaded Dec.1, 2008 by Playingwithbrushes's "silk Baby Robe http://www.flickr.com/photos/playingwithpsp/  some rights reserved.  Creative commons license attached.
uploaded Dec.1, 2008 by Playingwithbrushes's "silk Baby Robe http://www.flickr.com/photos/playingwithpsp/ some rights reserved. Creative commons license attached.
From Mrs. Bird: Salmon Cotton Dress      C.1940.                     Unusual salmon color.  Pintucks, embroidered flowers and dots, scallop design, and 13 buttons down the middle. Constructed by hand. French seams throughout. Collar and cuffs careful
From Mrs. Bird: Salmon Cotton Dress C.1940. Unusual salmon color. Pintucks, embroidered flowers and dots, scallop design, and 13 buttons down the middle. Constructed by hand. French seams throughout. Collar and cuffs careful
www.etsy.com/
www.etsy.com/
ZiaTia "green" organic vintage style clothing
ZiaTia "green" organic vintage style clothing
newborn organic cotton pink pointelle outfit found at Time Well Spent.
newborn organic cotton pink pointelle outfit found at Time Well Spent.

My fascination with vintage baby clothing began at a very early age. My mother had a toddler sized Madame Alexander Doll. One of the first of that size ever made. Her name was Rebbecca. Rebbecca wore a most beautiful, simple, and divine dress and bonnet. White and soft with hand embroidery. She also wore a silky under slip, bloomers and delicate slippers.

Then there was Julie. Julie was infant sized, also my mother's. Julie's dress had smocking and her little shoes were trimmed in lace. My mother replicated this dress and slippers for me to wear at a wedding.

My mother did a lot of sewing. It was more likely that I would be wearing one of her handmade dresses than a store bought anything. I grew up wearing simple dresses with white pinafores, pockets a must, needle pointed with Beatrix potter characters and other simple yet fine embellishments on them. Smocking came later. And bloomers, always bloomers, were worn in the spring and summer.

As for shoes, those were vintage style as well. My first pairs were white booties much like the ones shown in the sidebar. Then came my black and white, rounded toe, Buster Brown saddle shoes, a style worn by me until they no longer carried them in my size. Those seem to have faded out of style in the late 70's; though I do see them making a bit of a modernized comeback in various shades and styles.

I tended to do the same for my babies; as far as style went I went the vintage route, normally sticking with 1930s through 1950s styles. Breatheable, natural, layered, soft colors, small handmade details. Unfortunate I never had the full patience my mother had for sewing; but I searched, and I did find. Mostly secondhand, some never worn, if you can believe.

For their first months, my boys were likely to wear bloomers over their diapers, and long gowns as opposed to footies until they were old enough to wear soft, loose, rompers. My girls wore bloomers until I was hard pressed to find them in their sizes. Only now do they seem to be more readily available and affordable than they have been for quite some time. In this part of the country at any rate.

The Internet is a blessing for anyone searching for those hard to find and just so items. There are blogs and shops dedicated to vintage and vintage style baby apparel. EBay is another excellent source, as is Etsy (becoming one of my favorite places to look for such items for baby). Many "green" sites also offer vintage style clothing.

Vintage Memories

We all hold memories of our clothing items. Somewhere inside, they stir emotions and memories. While many people tend to throw away and donate most of these, there are a few clothing pieces we tend to want to hold onto for one reason or another; often times, if we do not, in days gone by, we wish we had.

Vintage clothing is an art form and offers a variety of after wear uses.

  • I have seen many vintage baby dresses, bonnets, and rompers, hung artfully on walls,
  • some on mannequins;
  • bonnets or baby shoes are framed;
  • clothing and bonnets placed on dolls.

All to be admired, cherished, and remembered, the crafty, handmade details of each piece displayed for appreciation.

I ran across one blog in particular that stole my heart. I recommend this blog site to you, one post in particular, which I hope you take the time to read, as it has to do with just this topic of clothing and the memories they conjure. This post concerns a vintage baby gown and a bit of vintage baby gown history. It is a beautiful and heartfelt story.

Her Blog is called "The Bunny Bungalow", and the post is "My Brother's Dress."

From Mrs. Bird: Butter Yellow Romper with Embroidery        C.1950.                       Never worn, sunny, refreshing, yellow one-piece romper. Fancy white collar and cuffs with yellow-thread embroidery, looped cotton trim and fagoting.
From Mrs. Bird: Butter Yellow Romper with Embroidery C.1950. Never worn, sunny, refreshing, yellow one-piece romper. Fancy white collar and cuffs with yellow-thread embroidery, looped cotton trim and fagoting.

Mrs. Bird

I was most delighted to come across one shop in particular, that belonging to a Mrs. Bird, whose site in no longer accessible (perhaps she is retired). Her collections were simply amazing. And yes, they were all original antique and vintage pieces, and were surprisingly affordable (see sidebar photos). Nothing new about them but their crisp clean look.

So how did Mrs. Bird have such brilliantly fresh vintage items? She knew how to care for them. She could do the same for yours, as she offered restoration and cleaning.

From Mrs. Bird, no longer in business.
From Mrs. Bird, no longer in business.

Baby Bean Vintage Daywear

Is a Cool Mom Picks. See "Went to a Garden Party" below for details. Baby Bean (a site that's no longer available unfortunately) has vintage inspired clothing. A nice twist on authentic vintage. Many shops are doing this now, some items made from refurbished vintage materials.

Belle Heir... Check related links for more information on these and other gorgious vintage infant and toddler apparel.

"Belle Heir" dogwood dress c. 1940    pale peach lightweight cotton gauze    smock dress with peter pan collar.    finished with beautiful dogwood     applique + embroidery.    one snap closure in back.    Sh: 10.5"    L: 15"                Item No:
"Belle Heir" dogwood dress c. 1940 pale peach lightweight cotton gauze smock dress with peter pan collar. finished with beautiful dogwood applique + embroidery. one snap closure in back. Sh: 10.5" L: 15" Item No:
"Belle Heir" yellow + white short set c. 1920   a finely tailored and hand detailed    striped short set.   top is finished with unique embroidery along the collar and sleeve cuffs.   shorts have buttonholes with twill belt.   top measures   Ch: 10:
"Belle Heir" yellow + white short set c. 1920 a finely tailored and hand detailed striped short set. top is finished with unique embroidery along the collar and sleeve cuffs. shorts have buttonholes with twill belt. top measures Ch: 10:

The Best Part About Vintage Wear...

Babies and kids can play as much or as little as they like in them, and they'll always look cute and fabulous doing it!


Vintage Clip

Don't forget to check out the wonderful related links. Got any online children and baby vintage shops or blogs you'd like to share? Let us know via e-mail or comments box.

As always, thanks for reading.

"MOTHER AND BABY CARE" in Pictures by Louise Zabriskie. Published in 1935. Photo from inside the book and found at http://www.davenportandco.com/books.htm
"MOTHER AND BABY CARE" in Pictures by Louise Zabriskie. Published in 1935. Photo from inside the book and found at http://www.davenportandco.com/books.htm

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    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 5 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      So much work in those clothes. I remember watching my mother smock and lace. It would take her soooo long just to make a dolls dress. But you could be sure they would last and would be admired for a very long time. Yes, I remember that hub. I think it was one of my inspirations for this if I'm remembering correctly. Great to see you here, Peggy. Thanks much.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Like you, I have seen some beautiful vintage clothing framed and used as artwork. I love looking at some of the old family photos that I have where some of our relatives are wearing vintage clothing. Of course, it wasn't "vintage" back then! My parents had our baby shoes bronzed...one of my hub topics...which was also a way of preserving some of the past. I still have them today. Loved seeing all of the photos in this hub of yours. That old Spanky video was cute. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Online Childrens Boutique 5 years ago

      Thanks so much for this. This is awesome post I ever seen on internet. This is rare to find that’s why difficult to understand. Anyway,

      you are definitely someone that has something to say that people need to hear. Keep up the good work. Keep on inspiring the people.

      http://www.babatude.com

    • srubenstein profile image

      srubenstein 5 years ago

      I think these clothes are so authentic and beautiful!! They have such a cool look to them.

      Stuart

      http://www.babyoutfitstoday.com

    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 6 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Oh very cool, edwardelward! I bet you can't wait. I love love love those midbuttoned romper suits! And knit will be so cute. You're very welcome. Thanks so much for the visit.

    • edwardelward profile image

      edwardelward 6 years ago

      Love this article! Thank you for posting and for all the links....I knit vintage patterns in modern wools for my little boy and I'd love him to wear some of the midbuttoned romper suits, so far its been too cold!

    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 6 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Thanks Lena. Best to you as well. So glad you enjoyed this.

    • profile image

      Lena 6 years ago

      Wow! Great vintage BABY clothing! really amazing & cute.

      Very Informative article.

      Thanks Best regards

    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 6 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Sadly I believe she just might be. Thanks for bringing that to my attention kym. =(

    • profile image

      kym 6 years ago

      just came across this and can't find Mrs. Bird. Is she still in business???

    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 6 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Marilyn, thank you so very much for sharing your wonderful story. You are so lucky to have been able to share your baptism dressings with your daughter. That is so touching. What an absolutely perfect day for you and your family. Congratulations. I would have soooo cried too. Thanks again, Marilyn.

    • profile image

      marilyn 6 years ago

      my husband and i just had our 14 year old daughter baptized last month.we are roman catholic and since i wasn't baptized until i was 15,she wore my poofy white dress and bonnet.since i was baptized in the fall i wore white tights,but we had her wear the lace anklets and white shoes.my cloth baptism diaper was still in good shape so i put that on her,and got her a new pair of rubberpants to wear over it since mine were all cracked from age.she looked very cute and pure and i cried a little as was baptized like i was.

    • profile image

      Baby Outfit 7 years ago

      i really very thankful to you that you provide designer baby cloths in cheap rate....

    • profile image

      Baby Cloths 7 years ago

      These clothes and outfits are very beautiful and cute....never seen before...

    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Thanks so much Nimain and cheap designer baby clothes. Glad you stopped in for a read. Inspiring clothing, aren't they.

    • profile image

      cheap designer baby clothes 7 years ago

      Those outfits are beautiful!! I had a similar christening gown as the one at the top of the page and i've been dying to find one like it for my little girl!!! Thanks!!!

    • profile image

      Nimain 7 years ago

      Hey Frieda, Nice Vintage Baby Clothing. I never seen it before.

    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Hmmm, I wonder too. Never thought of that. Great question.

    • profile image

      baby designer clothes for cheap 7 years ago

      I wonder if these items were the gucci of the day?

    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Thanks, Nalins. I'm so glad you enjoyed this and found it useful.

      @kids designer clothing: Hi and thanks. That is a LOT of buttons. Looks pretty on those vintage outfits, but yes, quite a pain in the patukus. The key is to wash gently and simply. I'm not an expert on it, but what I have I wash on the lightest cycle, which on my machine is a handwash cycle, with woolight. I use a tad of borax if it needs to be whitened up. And I always lay them flat to dry. There are some dry cleaners that specialize in vintage clothing, but they are hard to find. I know there are places you can mail to, like Mrs. Bird that I linked to. Places like these will be able to deal with stains and discolourations a bit better. There's probably some wonderful tips online as well, though I would definitely make sure that you tested these tips first on similar vintage clothing whose material or issues are the same. Hope this helps.

      Worn Flowers, love love love etsy and your site on there is great. Thanks much for the link.

    • profile image

      cheap designer clothes 7 years ago

      Vintage baby clothes looks so cute and cool.

      For more online clothing please visit on our website here cheap designer clothes

    • profile image

      WornFlowers 7 years ago

      Hi!!! I've been collecting vintage clothing for many years. My youngest daughter wears alot of it : ) I love your post and all the pretties!!! I wanted to tell you about my vintage new clothing line I have started. I work alot off of actual vintage patterns or original vintage items and create original patterns or use them for inspiration. I just posted up these super cute vintage new pajama set. they are made from an original vintage pattern but they are new!!! I love them sooooooooooo much more than what you find in the store! they are so girlie and fun! what do you think? : ) http://www.etsy.com/listing/47754512/vintage-repro...

    • profile image

      kids designer clothing 7 years ago

      How difficult is it to clean them? beautiful clothes, but they do look fiddly to look after!

    • profile image

      kids designer clothing 7 years ago

      My mother has a piece of baby clothing with 25 buttons on it, how ridiculous! Imagine trying to do that up on a baby.

      Wonderful article!

    • profile image

      Nalins 7 years ago from India

      Hello

      Great vintage BABY clothing...really amazing & cute.

      Very Informational article.

      Thanks & Regards

    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Aren't they, though. I know. I can't wait to be able to dress a baby again (no, not my own this time, lol). So glad you guys enjoyed this. Thanks so much for the read and the appreciation.

    • DustinsMom profile image

      DustinsMom 7 years ago from USA

      These clothes and outfits are just incredibly beautiful. Nice hub!

    • mulberry1 profile image

      mulberry1 7 years ago

      Wow, these are just beautiful. Love all the detail work.

    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Thanks belliott. Gorgeous aren't they. This was such a fun hub - it gave me excuses to share all the sites I found. =)

    • belliott profile image

      belliott 7 years ago

      Cute hub. Love the pictures!

    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Hey there marine22moma. Aren't they though. The boy clothes look quite feminine in the photos I have here, but if you go to any of the links you'll be sure to find some awesome little boy vintage clothes. Thanks for popping in.

      Hi Jack. Yes, so very beautiful. Classic styles that last forever.

    • profile image

      Jack 7 years ago

      Actually, Vintage Baby Clothing creates the milestone in the fields of fancy baby's clothing not casual cloths. Their fancy baby's cloths really very beautiful.

    • profile image

      marine22moma 7 years ago

      Those dresses are so cute, I didn't see any boy clothes though. I would love to have some vintage clothes for my son.

    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      new baby gifts, maybe, maybe not. They're probably much too young to know. But the older ones, if they see photos of their parents wearing the same things when they were younger, probably feel quite special.

      For women, yes, John, but for babies? not so much. Gorgeous site link by the way. Wonderful looking children's clothing.

    • profile image

      John  7 years ago

      What a dress glamor as well as sexy and very attractive also.

    • profile image

      new baby gifts 7 years ago

      vintage clothing makes babies feel that they are in their mom and dad generation in terms of wearing a dress like this.

    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Thanks babystuff!

    • profile image

      babystuff 8 years ago

      I showed these to my eldest daughter, she love it!

    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      You're very welcome abinavis. What a wonderful idea. And now there are so many more choices for fabrics to use, so you're very lucky there.

    • abinavis profile image

      abinavis 8 years ago from Bat Island

      They are very beautiful and cute clothing for baby. These will become my inspiration to make by myself for my baby clothing. Thanks for sharing.

    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Hi Christa, Same here! Well, for me it was the seventies. I never had to worry about comfort. I remember being so sad when they didn't have saddle shoes in my size anymore. I liked my stuff better too. Wow, thanks for sharing that with me.

    • Christa Dovel profile image

      Christa Dovel 8 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America

      Vintage clothing nice in so many ways. I love the simplicity of the little every-day dresses. My mother sewed for me and dressed me in saddle shoes... it was the 1980's, and while I didn't look like my classmates, it didn't bother me. I much preferred her sewing to the modern style store bought clothes!

    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Clucky. Well, I'm always good for a good cluck. LOL I think so too. Glad you think they're as beautiful as I do. Thanks for stopping in. :)

    • blondepoet profile image

      blondepoet 8 years ago from australia

      i think the Vintage clothing is exquisite, I much prefer it than the modern. Ooo and you have made me clucky lol.

    • Frieda Babbley profile image
      Author

      Frieda Babbley 8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      SweetiePie Aren't they? Can you believe they can get old stuff looking so fresh and beautiful?

      Goldentoad LOL! It's easier to find now that there's so many more nicer stuff at thrifts and second hands. Suprisingly, most new stuff is actually more expensive than this gorgeous authentic stuff now.

      Hey Elena. Very funny. Could you tell my heart is beating fast? Ah.

    • Elena. profile image

      Elena. 8 years ago from Madrid

      Hey Frieday - This hubmob and you are having an affair, I can tell :-)

      The Belle Heir yellow & white short set are SO "Death in Venice" !

    • goldentoad profile image

      goldentoad 8 years ago from Free and running....

      Much nicer than any hand me downs I got!

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Very cute outfits.