1920s Silk Bedjacket with Issues

A picture may paint a thousand words, but in this case it does not tell the entire story.  What looks to be a very nice lingerie piece from the 1920s is actually a fairly well trashed bed jacket.

I pulled this piece from the bins at my Goodwill Outlet and was sad to see multiple holes and staining.  When a piece, especially in silk, is in this type of condition there is nothing that can be done to restore it.

Still, I put it in my cart because the lace and ribbon were still good.  I kept thinking I could even replace the silk to make a pretty little piece for myself.  But that was about five years ago, and the thing has been hanging on a nicely padded hanger in my studio all this time.

I finally took it down to give it a good look and realized that even though it seems to be a complicated design, it is actually just a big rectangle with uneven edges, folded in half and a slit in the front for an opening.  Putting the lace onto another piece of fabric would be a relatively easy task.

But for now it will hang a little while longer, until I finish up some other more pressing projects, like flannel pajamas.  Yes, it is three days until the start of spring and I’m sewing cold weather pjs.  I’m running a bit behind.

So, is this piece worth salvaging, or should I just enjoy it in all its Miss Haversham-like glory?

As a bonus, the bedjacket has a label, something you don’t always expect to see in a 1920s lingerie piece.  Franklin Simon & Co. was a New York City department store that specialized in imported goods.  In the 1920s, that pretty much meant France, not China.

13 Comments

Filed under Vintage Clothing

13 responses to “1920s Silk Bedjacket with Issues

  1. poppysvintageclothing

    What a pretty piece, Lizzie…I can see why you wanted to save it!

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  2. At least the label looks to be in excellent condition! Such a pity though. It looks so pretty. 🙂

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  3. Could you do a sketch or photo of how it looks flat?

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  4. Were it mine, I’d be of a divided mind on whether to replace the fabric. In the end I would probably keep it as is, as a pattern, and try to reproduce it with new materials.

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  5. I’d ask myself, “When was the last time you wore a bed jacket?” Of course, in light-weight linen it would probably pass as a cropped top over a camisole or sleeveless summer dress. Maybe you could just copy it in new fabrics without the labor of transferring the lace or trim? I know you’ll do it justice, whatever you decide. A lovely “rescue.”

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  6. Lizzie, when you find the ‘right’ way to use this, let me know because I also keep quite a few too many salvage projects like this: too pretty to throw away, too damaged to use (sigh).

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  7. Christina

    I used to collect vintage lingerie. The bed jacket could have been made in New York by skilled seamstresses – reference to immigrant Arab communities who settled in NY. It could also be from the Philippines. I wrote about this (VFG in 2010). The Americans established many embroidery factories that produced lingerie for the western market in the Philippines in the 1920’s and it was a very large export industry during the following decades.

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  8. Well, I would consider this a museum piece to keep for its lovely details. There is no place for a bed jacket in my life.

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  9. All those mitered corners! I’d photo it and develop the patter – which you have already done. Then I’d think about selling it as a salvage piece for the lace and ribbon flowers. Because it would be very hard for me to cut into it.

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  10. Goodness! Goes to show what you could run across at the bins!

    It’s difficult to say if it is worth replacing the fabric, part of me thinks it is. But I would also be terrified of hurting the lovely lace and trim! So maybe remake it all together.

    Ah, imports from France. I like that idea a whole lot more!

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  11. QueensGirl

    What a great find, even in that condition! Do you think the lace is handmade?

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  12. I feel like I have the matching nightgown that I bought close to 40 years ago and it is in tattered condition but the lacework is very similar. And the Franklin Simon label takes me back to when I would shop at a branch of the store in Shaker Heights, Ohio back in the 70’s. What an elegant store. I still remember it well!

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