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Baby bootie

A large part of any family’s daily effort goes into caring for babies and young children. Until recently, so much time had to be spent on the necessities of life for babies, including the hand washing of diapers, that it is remarkable that women in the family could devote so much detailed attention to making infants’ garments like these booties, never to be walked on and soon to be outgrown.

Where was this textile created?

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The Cradle

Baby bootie
North America: Canada
Early 20th century
Linen and silk, bobbin lace technique
11 cm x 12 cm
Gift of Jennie Davidson
T95.0349A-B Textile Museum of Canada

With painstaking care, the maker fashioned the ornate soles of these tiny booties in bobbin lace, attached them to the lace uppers with gossamer fine threads, and lined them with soft silk fabric. Bobbin lace is a kind of lace-making technique that involves the manipulation of many threads simultaneously. Each thread is kept in order by a bobbin, which acts as a weight, and the work is pinned to a pillow while the threads are twisted, plaited and interwoven to make the lace.

These boots are delicate, limp little pieces of soft sculpture, made from impossibly fine linen threads, to adorn the toes of someone’s precious infant for a very special occasion.

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