Kit used to be a widely popular brand of children’s clothing noted for its vintage styles. Vintage Kit is no longer in production or distribution, but I see it frequently at garage sales. Many collectors are also active buyers on eBay, where vintage items are often found. Auction prices vary greatly and can generally be negotiated. If you’re interested in collecting vintage Kit for yourself or as a gift, it’s an excellent idea to familiarize yourself with the styles and patterns of old vintage Kits.
What is Vintage Kit?
Vintage Kit was introduced in 1888 by the Gump Company of San Francisco. The Gump Company has been selling high-quality fabric since 1849. When they noticed children wearing their fabric, they decided to capitalize on the trend and introduce a line of children’s clothing.
The Gump Company was known for quality fabric and excellent tailoring, so it should come as no surprise that the initial run of Vintage Kit clothes was extremely well-made and durable. The first kits consisted of children’s dresses, skirts, blouses, and bloomers. They came in striped or checked fabrics, often with matching ribbons or sashes.
As the brand grew more popular, details like embroidery, appliques, smocking, ruffles, lace, and ruching were added to enhance the styles. Over time, many of these items were phased out of production due to low demand.
Types of Vintage Kit
Vintage Kit is generally split into two categories: Historical Revival Kits, which are styles that were popular throughout the nineteenth century, and present-day Kits. Historical Revival Kits consist of old-fashioned dresses, pinafores, shirts, bloomer outfits, and rompers. Many Historical Revival Kits are extremely rare and collected by Kit enthusiasts.
Present-day Kits came in various styles, including blouses, skirts, dresses, shorts sets, pinafores, jackets, coats, boots, hats, mittens, and gloves for winter wear. However, they were most noted for their smocked clothing
Originally, all Kits were made of a check or striped fabric. Then in the later decades, both fabrics were produced along with more unusual prints with large-scale patterns. There are also some rare styles without any print at all! The most popular designs include hearts, flowers, animals, and fruit, although solid colors are also fairly common. In addition, some rare Vintage Kits have been found with small prints featuring patriotic images like eagles, flags, and stars.
When you’re shopping for a vintage Kit, be sure to check for these features as they indicate a higher-quality garment. There are other identifying marks that can help you find a high-caliber Vintage Kit, but these are the most common.
It’s also important to keep track of the different types of smocking that exist. The first type, called smocked-in pleats, consists of small vertical folds made by stitching fabric together. This style is very rare and the few garments remaining are invaluable to collectors around the world! The second type, called smocking, consists of small flat horizontal folds. Some Vintage Kits feature smocking in the form of flower petals, while others have solid bands or polka dots.
Smocked Kit often has a white background with colorful motifs added in flowers or stripes. If you find a smocked kit with no design at all, there’s a good chance it’s a Historical Revival Kit.