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Old lace without the arsenic

...And, let's switch focus again, with neck-bending speed.

I have been working on cleaning some of the lace ccunning  gave me (jealous?  You should be; I have me a special friend!) and I've been having fabulous success with a solution of 1/2-1 tablespoon of Sodium Perborate (purchased from a person who sells antique linen, cotton, lace, and sewing tools almost exclusively, and she uses it on her antique linen and cotton) in a large (4-5 quart) bowl of very hot water.

Obviously, you should never do this with silk.  But linen and cotton respond very well, though it makes the linen quite stiff, so needs to be rinsed thoroughly.  Behold the power of chemistry:

The lace on top was the same colour as the lace underneath when I started - sort of a deep tea-stained brown.  As you can see, it turned out much whiter - and the water ended up so yellowed, that I ran it through a second bath of SB.

The same lace, after ironing.  Isn't it beautiful?  There's barely enough to do anything with it, but I pulled out my embroidered coif...

I'm still pondering this move.  The lace will require a little careful mending in a couple of places, and I'm always on the fence about whether to use antique things, or save them, but it does look amazing, and it does fit.  It's also a good place for the lace - it will be seen, but very gently cared for, since the coif cannot be washed, or exposed to too much stress (light, sweat, dirt, etc.).  Input is welcome, whether it's "yes, that looks faboo!" to "OMG HOW CAN YOU USE ANTIQUES IN SUCH A CAVALIER MANNER!!!!ELEVENTY!!!".  I'm really undecided.  I have seen multiple coifs with lace of this type, for research reference (and more in pictures).

Then, I cleaned the brown lace from the first picture.  Speaking of OMG eleventy!!:

Holy cow, that's some pretty stuff.  It seems to have been repurposed at some point as a shelf edge/mantel topper, since it's seamed in the middle and hemmed on both ends.  The edging lace is made from a different quality of thread from the tape lace, and lightened a touch more.  It's gorgeous, but fairly short (43") long, and may be framed at some point.  Because, OMG. 

So pretty.

A couple of other pieces in the ccunning  Memorial Collection need some mendng, but are so gorgeous, I took photographs after pressing them:

This is an adorable little boudoir/nursery pillow made of very fine lawn cotton, with a scalloped edge, and whitework motifs. The butterfly is the main motif, and is so delicate.  it's only 13x16", including the scallop, which is fabric edged with sttching, then lace attached.

This is a lovely and delicate little child's day dess, made entirely of net. The upper skirt has come loose from the gathering at the waist, so I pinned it back in so it would look like it should.  It's for a girl about 8-10, and is machine stitched, with pin tucks and gathers.  The sleeves are elbow length.  I'm guessing it's from around 1910?  But I could be wrong.

And finally, this is the christening gown:

It has a huge hole on one shoulder, but it doesn't detract from the delightfulness of the piece.  Dating gowns like this is difficult, since the style changes so little, and they're often hand-made even when machine-made ones are available, but I'd guess it's from around the same date as the day dress.  The lace used is machine made, as are the inset embroidery pieces on the collar.  The collar is adorable!

The sleeve ruffle is gathered from the width of the sleeve, not added separately, and a hand-embroidered (I think) ribbon is laid over the gathering to create the cuff.  The three rows of inset lace at the hem are machine lace, as is the ruffle at the bottom, which is created by layering two pieces of edging lace (with a scalloped edge) over each other, and stitching them down.

In other news, I'm tired - but we has floor in the yellow bedroom:

And a mess in the hallway.  I'm out.


( 33 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
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May. 18th, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)
Think about it from the perspective of the orginal maker. They made it to be used and worn.

So, unless its very fragile, use it!

I have some 17th century pieces of gros point lace which I used on my Victorian dress. I have some 18th or 19th century gros point lace which will be used on my 1660s gown as will a piece of machine made 19th century gros point lace.

If its survived washing, it should be ok to stitch to a coif which will always be carefully treated.

As to the repairs - it looks like a bobbin lace. You could repair using the needlelace techniques by referring to a section which is the same and intact. The only issues it matching the thread used to make the lace.
May. 18th, 2009 09:53 pm (UTC)
The way I see it, someone perhaps spent a lot of time making that lace, and it would be a shame if it were locked away never to be seen or used as was intended. You aren't planning to cut it or destroy it, and it looks beautiful with the coif, so go for it.
May. 18th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
It's gorgeous, and deserves to be (virually) drooled over.

Think of your coif - do you want to frame it, or wear it? You obviously put a lot of work into it, just like the maker of the lace, so treat it the way you'd treat other delicate, handmade items.

And then take lots and lots of pictures of you in the completed ensemble. For the rest of us to drool over.
May. 18th, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC)
Use the lace! What is the point in keeping pretty things tucked in a box where no one else can see it.

BTW - Based on your success with cleaning the lace I'm going to try my hand at cleaning the pile of old lace I have. I just need to track down some Sodium Perborate.
May. 18th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
Another vote for "use eeeeeeeet!!!" As you said, going on the coif means it will be well cared for (not like it'd be on undies that will get get crushed & sweaty & need laundering). The lace will be seen & appreciated & loved. Better loved to death than ignored, imo.
May. 18th, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC)
I'm a vote for use it! It looks lovely with the coif and what better way for it to be admired and properly envied than on the esteemed head of attack_laurel?
May. 18th, 2009 10:49 pm (UTC)
I'm all for using it if it fits the purpose. However, coif on table looks very different from coif on head. How would it look with how you style your hair?
May. 18th, 2009 10:57 pm (UTC)
I am with the use it crowd it looks too good with the coif not too
May. 18th, 2009 10:59 pm (UTC)
*adding my voice to the 'use-it' chorus!*
May. 18th, 2009 11:01 pm (UTC)
I'm definitely jumping on the train to UseItVille.
May. 18th, 2009 11:42 pm (UTC)
Amy thinks I'm special too. Yea!

Use the lace, but know that one day I may come to you with a favor.... *cue "Godfather" music*
May. 18th, 2009 11:46 pm (UTC)
Also jumping on the "Use It" bus!! It's too pretty not too.. and it looks lovely on your coif.

*small evil sounding voice* do it, you know you want to... do it.. everyone is doing it.. you want to be like everyone.
May. 19th, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
Go for it!
May. 19th, 2009 12:29 am (UTC)
I love the color you picked for the floor, it looks so purdy!
May. 19th, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I love it too - cherry-like, but not *too* pink. Once we got the hang of laying the floor (it's a floating floor, so much easier than a fixed one), it went pretty fast.

You guys must come out some weekend this summer and help tape the garage, er, I mean, spend the weekend. *evil grin* Isaac and Emily will love the butterflies we get in July and August.

Alas, the vultures don't seem to have clutched this year, so no baby vultures in the barn. I think if I clear it out a little, they'll decide to use it again.
May. 19th, 2009 12:48 am (UTC)
Oh, he's special all right
May. 19th, 2009 01:55 am (UTC)
This from the man who likes to play with his wood in the basement. :)
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( 33 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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