Right before Christmas, I got a call from one of my aunts. It’s not an aunt I normally talk to on the phone, so I was super surprised when I saw her number flashing on my phone. She called to let me know that she was bringing a bag of old lace to my mom to bring to me when she saw me over the holidays.
Old lace? Hello? You have my attention! When I asked about where it had come from, she told me lots of it her grandmother had made. MADE. Lace. Her grandmother. Like, super old shit. We’re not talking vintage, we’re talking honest-to-goodness antique.
What I got was a giant bag full of all kinds of lace, edging from old fabric, trim – truly a mixed bag. Lots of it was tangled, held onto old postcards with steel needles, some rusted through the fabric (insert extremely unhappy face here), assorted doilies. I went through the majority of it with my mom, ooohing and aaahing over certain pieces, wondering if other pieces could be cleaned. I knew it would be a huge under-taking and I attacked it when I got back from the holidays. I’m still not 100% finished sorting and cleaning it all, but I’m pretty close.
Holy gorgeous silk embroidery!
There’s a lot of tatting in the bag. Do you know what tatting is? It’s a kind of lace made by hand, back in the day. It’s almost like super-duper-mini crochet. Patterns can be incredibly detailed and the lengths I have are stunning. I’ve been able to clean just about every piece back to its original beauty.
Soooooo, some pieces are too short to do much with, but there is enough of one style. Lookie:
And do you remember this vintage goodie I found that was a total mess? It's a beaded cotton crown from the 1930's.
Oh my God, you guys? It totally got all pretty-fied.
Can you believe it? It’s such a beautiful little crown! Every single bead is in tact. I added a new buckram underlining and lined it in a pretty slub-weave silk. I’ve turned it into a headband that ties on with ribbon versus the original elastic thing. Now that’s I’ve got the length of tatting cleaned, I think the two will look perfect together! I do believe I have enough to make a 75” cathedral length veil. Dudes! First of all, I’m probably freakin’ nuts. That’s 12.5 FEET of hand sewing teeny tiny tatting onto tulle. Just shoot me right now. But you know what? It will totally be freakin’ worth it when it’s done!!! I can't wait!
And the flowers? Oh, the flowers. I found this amazing resource…..an old silk flower factory out of New York. It’s long been shut down, however, they have gobs of silk petals in pristine condition, meant to be made into gorgeous flowers, but never got there. And now I have them! What fun! I also found some other flowers that are soooooo pretty.
I simply cannot decide which thing/color/style is my favorite. So many pretty things, so little time!