Featured Can anyone help date this antique lace?

Discussion in 'Textiles, Needle Arts, Clothing' started by Starry, Jul 5, 2020.

  1. Starry

    Starry Hobbyist collector/walking disaster

    // Please excuse the terrible backdrop and lighting in the pics, I'm an antique collector not a photographer //

    I recently mentioned to my Aunt that I was into historical fashion, and she gave me her small collection of antique lace. This particular (what I presume is a) fichu/pelerine interests me:


    And here it is on my 1840s bodice to put the size/fit into perspective (yes, the "mannequin" is just a massive ball of acid-free tissue. I've never found a mannequin small enough for this bodice's tiny waist):


    Unfortunately I don't specialise in this area of fashion and am not entirely sure what decade/era this one's from. If anyone does, please tell me! :)
  2. Houseful

    Houseful Well-Known Member

    @Northern Lights Lodge
    Welcome Starry. I’ve tagged our lace specialist Leslie. There are several articles about lace on the forum. Can you get some good close up pictures?
    Any Jewelry and judy like this.
  3. Starry

    Starry Hobbyist collector/walking disaster

    Hi! Here are some additional photos of it from the front and back:


    And one of it fully spread out (forgive my awful carpet):


    As you can see it's made out of four panels. The pattern is a fairly simple repeating pattern of flowers (roses?), and the two stripes are some form of thin/semi-translucent shiny fabric that feels a bit like satin. Here are a few close-ups:



    Any Jewelry, lloyd249 and Houseful like this.
  4. Houseful

    Houseful Well-Known Member

    Keep checking in and post more pieces you have questions about Starry, people are in and out etc. and we like looking at them:)
    lloyd249 and judy like this.
  5. Northern Lights Lodge

    Northern Lights Lodge Well-Known Member

    Hi @Starry
    SAW-WHEEET! What a cute piece! I love the shape! Love the little bee pin and the darling wee bodice also!

    Ok... from what I can see... it is machine. Interesting from several perspectives!

    First it appears to be a "filet net" - a square "knotted" ground (or netting). I can't "quite" see what the fibers in that square net are doing; but it "looks" like it isn't really knotted (at the corner of each square) but it looks like two twisted threads running in one direction (let's say -"up and down") that "intersect" at the corner of each square. For more info on "filet lace" - you can refer to "Lace Lesson #1"; posted at the top of the Textile Forum.

    More clearly put; two threads twist together coming from "up and down" - and allow the two threads that are twisted together from "side to side" to pass between it and then the "up and down" threads resume twisting. I can't say that I've seen this before. It gives a very "handmade" look to that netting.

    If you feel the junction of each of those little squares; a "REAL" knot would feel like a little nub at each corner of the square. Magnification could prove that as well.

    Moving on to the florals.... very interesting and pretty use of two tones of thread! The more ecru may be cotton and the lighter with a silky sheen may be indeed silk. A marketable silk replacement thread was not widely available until the 1890's.

    Now to the way that the stitches are made to form the florals.... they clearly appear to have long stitches that run above or below (depending upon if you are looking from the top side or the bottom side) the stitches running the opposite direction (side to side vs top to bottom). This really is typical of machine made lace.

    As for dating the piece. Proving or disproving whether or not it is silk; would narrow it down a little.

    Machine made lace was not widely used until the mid 1800's. I am tempted to say that it is circa: 1860-70.

    I particularly like the little stand up collar and the chain stitching in ecru on the fabric.

    It really is a doll of a piece! It "looks" like it might stand up to hand washing?

    Thanks for sharing!
  6. Starry

    Starry Hobbyist collector/walking disaster

    @Northern Lights Lodge

    Thank you so much! I did start to suspect it was mid-19th century when I found a few similar pieces online dated to 1850-1870. It is an absolutely gorgeous piece indeed - came to me with an 1860s child's dress and a piece of very deep black lace which I think was part of a mourning dress. Wouldn't surprise me if they were from the same family or even the same person. My Aunt was given them by a friend she hasn't seen for many years, with no information on their origins.

    Thank you for helping me understand this intriguing item! :)
  7. Northern Lights Lodge

    Northern Lights Lodge Well-Known Member

    My pleasure! It ıs always fun to see someone elses treasures! Thanks for sharıng! Leslıe
    Starry likes this.
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