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Baby Undershirt (Camicino)

Public Submission
Lombardy, Italy
Materials & techniques
Cotton muslin; Embroidered, cut work
Italian Cultural Centre of Vancouver
The preparation of clothing and household linens, especially for women, was an important part of the initiation into life changes, especially in anticipation of childbirth and marriage. According to Filomena Picciano, a professional tailor from Oratino, Molise, Italy, who immigrated to Canada in November, 1967, a mother-to-be prepared for the baby’s trousseau in the third month of pregnancy and continued for the next six months until the baby was born. For women of the lower and middle classes this often required time away from work to prepare for their next stage in life. As well, it necessitated the assistance of many members of the extended family, such as the mother, grandmother, aunts and even sisters. For those who came from affluent backgrounds, this outlay of time was not as onerous, since they could afford to hire tailors and seamstresses to prepare the needed items. These items assured that the bride, and later, the baby’s needs, would be met for the entire first year.

This baby undershirt is made of cotton muslin, a very fine cotton fabric. It is hand embroidered around the neck and the arm hole in a cut work (It. Intaglio) pattern. The floral embroidery is done in a satin stitch (It. Ripieno). 
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