Exquisitely Detailed Vintage Baby Dress

circa 1940 organdy baby dress

circa 1940 organdy baby dress


The bassinette skirt I’ve been working on is coming along, but it surely takes a lot of time to arrange the designs.  So while I continue working on that,  I thought you might enjoy looking at this sweet baby dress which has so many exquisite details.  It was given to me by a friend but she knew nothing about its history or origin.

The fabric seems to be a soft organdy, if there is such a thing.  It may just be that it’s old and has lost some–but not all–of its crispness.  Labeled Tiny Tots Originals  hand made Philippines, every stitch is done by hand.  I googled Tiny Tots and could only find references to a company by that name in the garment district of New York City.

The search also turned up other Tiny Tots Original garments for sale on etsy or eBay.  The information is not corroborated, but those garments were dated 1940-1960, though every vendor seemed to be giving it their best guess.

But my-oh-my the details!

CONSTRUCTION~  French seams are used throughout.  The exquisitely embellished, scalloped yoke has been hemstitched by hand to the gently gathered skirt.

Throughout the dress, the gathers are gentle–in the skirt, the sleeves and the lace.  I like that.

I’m not a big fan of tight gathers on anything for a baby.  Lace with a 2 or 3 to 1 ratio is very, very difficult to iron and you cannot see the pattern.  Skirts with that sort of ratio, in my humble opinion, seem to overpower a baby.  I once saw a baby cocooned in several yards of fabric and at least as many yards of lace.  My first thought was that there’s got to be a baby in there somewhere!   So I’ve always gathered in moderation.  But that is just my personal preference.  To each his own.

YOKE ~Before the hemstitching was done, the scalloped yoke was finished with a cutwork scallop edge.  Slightly gathered 3/8″ wide French Val lace was whipped to the underside of the cutwork stitches.


center yoke


Delicate flowers of white organdy have been appliqued in place and further embellished with surface embroidery.

NECKLINE FINISH~ The neckline, bound with self bias that is finished at barely 1/8″,   is hemstitched in place. Lace is joined to the hemstitching.


neckline hemstitching


PLACKET~The center back opening is very much like Debbie Glenn’s painless placket.    This easy, delicate and tidy application lacks the bulk of a continuous lap placket.




SLEEVES~As mentioned earlier, the set in sleeves are very slightly gathered.  These gathers are clustered right at the cap, distributed in a short distance on either side of the shoulder seams.


I apologize for the poor quality of this picture. Photography is not my strong suit.

There is lovely detail at the sleeve edge.  The single layer cuff was finished with a cutwork scallop, like the one at the yoke then French seamed to the gathered lower sleeve edge. Lace was whipped to the cutwork stitching, echoing the detail on the yoke.

SKIRT TUCKS~ These really have me puzzled.  I was curious about the strip of white batiste appliqued over the tiny skirt tucks.  My first thought was this must have been a cover up for a tear or a stain.  But looking at the underside of the skirt shows no evidence of any damage.  The thread used to whip the strip to the skirt is exactly the same as that used throughout construction, so I doubt it was added later.

On close examination, I can see that the tucks are not very even.  Could they have been a covered up as a quality control measure?  I find it distraction, but could it have been a design element?  What do you think?


As always with vintage textiles, I wonder about the previous owner(s) and how a precious little dress like this was sold at a yard sale.  I don’t wonder about what I will do with it–Baby Girl #2 will have this in her wardrobe.

Back to the bassinette skirt.  What are you sewing?

21 responses to “Exquisitely Detailed Vintage Baby Dress

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.