Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Making a baby layette

There's a word I haven't heard for awhile--layette. So I googled it: "A layette is a collection of clothes and bedding for a new baby. In the past, women would have hand-sewn everything the baby would need during pregnancy. Now we can buy everything." If you want to make something for a baby, learn to crochet or knit. Using a sewing machine is a lot of work for something outgrown in a few weeks and which is worn 5 minutes before all your hard work is covered in spit up or poop and thrown in the laundry.

I did make a few things during my first pregnancy, and still have two patterns, and one little nightgown. I may have made more, but apparently only kept one. My machine didn't overcast or zigzag which means seams had to be hand finished and the tiny sleeves hand hemmed, etc. I think I made some of these just to keep busy the summer of 1961. Even then, ready-mades (as we called them) were inexpensive and more practical.

When I opened this I found only the iron on embroidery patterns. I found one little smock, yellow flannel, in the baby clothes with embroidered flowers. It didn't look like it had ever been used.

From this pattern I found one white flannel nightie trimmed with a green and white seam binding and then I'd embroidered a little green design at the neck in a matching color.

We were living on the third floor of an apartment building on Third Street in Champaign. Most of the people I knew had graduated and left campus, but I did meet two women in the building, one who was also pregnant and the other, who was only 16, had a year old baby. There was a wringer washer in the basement that would run for 30 minutes for a quarter. Fortunately, I remembered watching my mother use one, and soon got pretty good at it.

1 comment:

Nea said...

Isn't that the truth, back when my babies were born, everyone made these, and had a whole layette all ready for the baby. But this was back when we used real cloth diapers. I have kids all the way from 37 down to 11. So I have seen many changes.