This exquisite baptismal gown was created by my grandmother Maggie Carty Neu in 1910 prior to my Mother’s birth, her first born child, in 1911. All 3 of G’ma Maggie’s children wore this gown at their baptisms at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Napavine, WA. I am not sure if her 4th child, a son who died after birth, wore the gown.
I wish you could see the intricate details of the stitching on this delicate soft sweet fabric. The neckline & sleeve cuffs have this tiny, fine & intricate lace trim. The yoke has cutout embroidery work … the little flowers are connected with this rope chain stitching. The layered pleating on the gown skirt has the same delicate sweet lace adorning the top. The undergown is trimmed in a scalloped eyelet type design at the skirt bottom. The third underskirt is like a heavy flannel to keep the baby warm & is very plain. The fourth gown is a half gown so that when they changed the baby it would keep the other gowns clean from soiling.
As a young girl this gown became very precious to me. I used to love to just hold it & feel it. As a teenager I made it very clear that this was the only thing I ever wanted in my life … nothing else ever mattered to me.
I loved my G’ma Maggie so much. I can remember her hugs & Irish jigs on the kitchen floor entertaining us kids … her black tea freshly brewed aroma filtering thru the house. The quilts on her quilt stretcher in the sun porch, as she created hand stitched beauties. That freshly baked bread aroma filtering thru the house, greeting us at the front door. This gown is a part of her, she created it with her own hands, I loved it with all my heart.
When my first child, Emery, was born I was given the privilege by my Mother, Mary Caroline, to have my son baptized in this elegant gown, then my Michael Erin, Caroline Leighanne & Sean Ean. None of Mother’s other grandchildren were baptized in it. I asked Mother if I could have this gown since I was the only one who had a deep love & sentiment for it. When Mother & I closed down her brother Bill’s estate & the family home, Mother gave me the gown as permanent caretaker. All I could do was sit & hold it & cry from such great joy & love.
It has been my privilege to have all 3 of our grandchildren (Joshua, Ansel & Tatiana) baptized in this exquisite gown, which I am retiring as it has become so terribly fragile. I couldn’t bear anything to happen to it.
Thank you, Mother & G'ma Maggie, for treasured memories.
Picture order ~ (I wish I had pictures of my 4 children wearing this precious gown, but alas, they are missing.)