Thursday, 27 August 2015

FOR JEN ?

Im so sorry that im not sure of your name but i just saw on dees blog that jenane had left a comment to say about how she used to hand smock baby dresses for harrods in the 70s ....i have this vintage baby smocked dress , labelled harrods, i had assumed it was from the 50s but if they were still hand smocking in the 70s it may have been you that smocked it :) !



16 comments:

  1. Jen blogs at http://thebrynderwkids.blogspot.co.uk/ - I've posted a link to your blog post on Dee's blog post about smocking.

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    1. thanks for that, i follow her blog but couldnt remember if her name was jen ! xxx

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  2. Would that be amazing if it was smocked by Jenni! I will send her an email so she'll come check it out! :)xx

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    1. thanks dee...i was just so suprised to know things were still hand smocked for shops in the 70s, so this little dress could be later than i thought :) xxx

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  3. Gorgeous dress, gorgeous girl. What a small world...

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  4. 'Wouldn't that be wonderful' if it was.....although I can perhaps see that lovely doll losing her beautifully smocked dress if it turns out to be true!

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  5. Lovely dress! That would be so weird if it turned out to be one that Jenni had done! Toooo spooky!
    I have a neighbour who does beautiful smocking for her grandsons....yes, boys here wear a lot of smocking until they are about 5 years old.
    I've only done a few bits of smocking but it was such a rewarding feeling once it was done....although not a patch on this beautiful dress I have to say!
    xxx

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    1. i tried smocking too it looked pretty but when you see some peoples smocking i think its best left to the experts ! :) xxxx

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  6. Not one of mine, I'm afraid.
    By the late 70s things had swung back to either bishop style, curving round the neck and shoulders, or the front band of smocking under the high yoke with the buttons down the back. I think it was an early period of retro clothing for children, everybody liked the 50s styles again.

    I think, though I might be wrong, that this is a 60s dress. After the Queen had Prince Edward and Prince Andrew who, like the next two generations down of royal boys, wore those little romper suits of plain shorts and white shirts with a little smocking and a carefully embroidered placket for the button holes, there was a vogue for front fastening dresses for baby girls in the same style as the boys' shirts, but a longer. They seem sensible to me as they allow easy baby changing. My aunt made lots of them for Marshall and Snellgrove and Lewis' in Leeds at that time. She thought them awful! She said girls shouldn't be dressed in 'over-sized boys' clothes' but needed the income so carried on. I've seen this style in recent years again, but I think they are made overseas now.

    My grandmother also made traditional style smocked and embroidered baby wear for assorted high end department stores in the 20s to the 40s, but they were collected by a middle man and she never knew where they went.

    Mine were mainly dresses, loose from the smocking down for babies. Some were quite short as angel tops and others were traditional to the mid calf and both came as either bishop or wide band smocked. Sometimes I made them in larger sizes, up to about age 9, with a half sash to pull them in at the back, much like the ones we see on Sasha dolls now. I liked doing the older child ones as it gave a greater variety of pattern in the fabrics.

    There were two methods of completion - the most expensive ones had to be hand finished, right down to hand sewn button holes and hand stitching in the labels so they could be removed to save the baby's skin from being rubbed, the cheaper ones (but still silly money!) were sent on to be finished by machinists.

    I gave up when I actually went to Harrods and saw my work being sold at a 2000% mark up! But I made most of my daughter's dresses until she became a bossy 7 year old who told me in no uncertain terms that it was unacceptable to have home-made clothing. I'm hoping that there might be a couple of them in the suitcase of baby things I couldn't quite part with which is now in storage, as we have grandchild on the way and my eye sight isn't up to smocking now. Must have a look.

    It is lovely to see that the art of smocking has made yet another comeback. Funny to think it all started with making farm wear for men! I remember Grandpa Davy, my uncle's ancient shepherd, still wearing his in the early 60s for special occaissions, it was more beautiful than any smocking I've ever seen since, with local designs to the front and the back and down the top of the sleeves and anbove the cuffs.It must have taken months to make.

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    1. well thankyou so much for your very interesting reply, this dress seems to be all handstitched and has a very simple label sewn in that says harrods sewn in blue thread , kind of like a label you would sew into a childs pe kit .....i can imagine the cost of these clothes .... i was interested that your aunt sewed for marshall and snellgrove was it still open in the 60s ? i have 2 beautiful dresses that i bought together , i suspect they are mother and daughter ballgowns from the late 40s early 50s,the one for the mother is a fab brocade heavy strapless gown from marshall snellgrove and the daughter dress is from a company that i cant find on the internet but its the most beautifully made dress ive ever seen , i think it would fit a 10 yr old, ive thought about selling them but they need a wash and im not sure they should go in the washing machine and i cant afford dry cleaning but im not sure that people would want dresses like that nowadays , so they just stay hoarded amongst my endless stuff :) ...thankyou again for all the interesting info ....xxxxxx

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  7. Marshall and Snelgrove were open in Scarborough as late as 1960- we used to have icecream sundaes there if we had a rainy day whilst on holday. I think the London stayed open slightly longer and, though I don't remember it, Mum says that there was one in Leeds until 1963 but is now Debenhams. I probably thought of it as just one more of 'the big shops' of the day. There were other branches in cities - probably one in Harrogate too as my scary great aunt used to have all my school uniform sent from them and she lived there.

    Dry cleaning is so expensive now. You'd think in the days when most clothing is easily washable, they'd keep prices down to keep customers coming. I was quoted £105 for cleaning my childhood eiderdown - well, I know it's specialist cleaning, but I thought that a bit steep, so I put it in the large washing machine at a laundrette and hoped for the best, then part dried it in their tumble drier and finished it on our washing line at home - great results for £5! It was that or throw it out, so I took a chance. There was no other hope for it, but it sounds as though your gowns are in better shape.
    Jenni x

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    1. thanks for the info jen, i had thought they started winding down in 1949 and turning into debenhams so my dress may not be as early as thought , as for dry cleaning , i think both dresses would cost wedding dress cleaning rates which are extortionate , may just try washing them in the bath o get the smell of the loft out ....glad the risk on your eiderdown worked well xxxx

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  8. Not Jenni's and yet a wonderful post of very interesting details about clothing and clothing care. I love smocking on our dresses both back then and still today. Thank you VS for a great post! :) xxx

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