~antique french lace~

The first question I inevitably get asked when people discover I make wedding dresses is: “Do you have many Bridezillas?”  So far my answer has been a resounding No – because in my experience the complete opposite is true!  My brides have been so happy and excited about their dress that they are a joy to work with, and we both have a lot of fun at our fittings.

And often they show their appreciation by a gift of flowers or bubbly when they pick up their dress, or by writing beautiful letters with photos of  the big day enclosed, or in this case…

…..some absolutely gorgeous, exquisite, divine, dainty, antique, edging lace!

This bride was lucky enough to have a six week honeymoon in Europe, giving her plenty of time to browse the antique markets of Paris where she picked up this lace for me.  I have to say I was pretty blown away by her generosity!  Apparently both pieces are from the late 1800’s, and I think I can believe this as I haven’t seen anything like this quality before.  I haven’t tested the fibre content, but I think the gold one could possibly be silk, as it has that gorgeous silk lustre and gritty texture that silk often has. 

The craftsmanship is so fine, that the reverse side is barely detectable.  I presume they are machine-made, as lace making machines were developed in the early 1800’s and would have been quite widespread later in the century.  But I don’t know much else about these laces, so if anyone can enlighten me with further information, or reading recommendations, I’ll definitely appreciate it!

The bride knew I’d love them and told me to make something gorgeous for myself, but I think they are quite fragile and I would be sure to wreck them!  I think am going to be happy to simply admiring them in the piece – maybe I’ll frame some tiny swatches…..

And this bride’s dress?
Very sophisticated, minimal and svelte – ivory, strapless, empire-line, with a silk satin crumb-catcher bodice, fastening at the back with pearl buttons, and a double layered bias silk chiffon skirt with a 1m train.  And a lot of carefully hidden internal architecture to ensure it stayed put – it is true that the simplest of designs can be the most complicated!  It looks a little wonky and short on my mannequin, but amazing on the real thing…..

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I'm a designer/patternmaker who loves to share my sewing knowledge with others! Follow me as I sew my personal projects, sharing my favourite tricks of the trade along the way.

8 thoughts on “~antique french lace~

  1. Wow on the lace – you lucky girl and WOW WOW WOW on the dress, that is beautiful. What is a crumb catcher bodice? I imagne it to be a bodice that sits away from the body? Please tell me!

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  2. I can understand why the bride wanted to give you something special – the dress is so beautiful. She must have felt really special in that dress.

    The laces are amazing, but I would never dare to use them. I have a couple of pieces of fabric like that; fabric I don't think I am ever going to make anything of because I am too afraid of ruining it. Instead I just take them out once in a while to admire them and feel rich. Framing small pieces sounds like a great idea.

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  3. Ooohhh such pretty laces! I could imagine how hard it would be to actually cut or use them on a project. The bride's dress is absolutely lovely, too, beautiful job!

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