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A 1900s Blouse – The Bobbin Lace

The realization of a handmade historical wardrobe is like a little adventure. In my latest project, I not only sewed a blouse but also adorned it with my handmade lace. In this blog post, I want to share with you how I integrated my first bobbin lace into this blouse.

In the pursuit of authenticity, I chose to make my own lace. Since no purchased lace matched my already acquired doilies, which I definitely wanted to integrate into a blouse, the decision to make it myself seemed like the perfect solution. Inspired by my previous, not-quite-so-successful attempts with bobbin lace and the resulting realization that I should start with a simple pattern, I chose a Torchon lace pattern from the book “101 Torchon Patterns”.

Equipped with white cotton crochet yarn, I first wound the bobbins and then distributed them on my lace pillow according to the instructions. Then came the elaborate part: the continuous crossing and twisting of the bobbins. At first, it wasn’t easy to remember which direction to go, but with some practice, a pleasant rhythm emerged, even though it was occasionally interrupted by mistakes. Quickly, I learned valuable lessons: Adequate light is crucial! And a slight adjustment when winding the bobbins made the lace-making process much smoother. Things you probably only learn by doing.

Macro image of intricate bobbin lace meticulously crafted on a traditional lace-making pillow
Curled bobbin lace resembling a delicate crown atop a lace-making pillow, showcasing intricate craftsmanship and attention to detail

Parallel to sewing the blouse, I worked on the lace every evening. In doing so, I realized, as mentioned, that good lighting is of great advantage. When I reached the 60-centimeter mark for the first lace strip planned for the front part, I cut the threads, holding my first bobbin lace in hand.

Not content with just embellishing the front part, I decided to add more lace bands to reduce the volume of the sleeves and create a flattering silhouette. Starting the process again, I made two more lace strips.

When I noticed a slight color deviation from the doilies, I decided to bleach the lace strips as they appeared noticeably yellower. I used a curtain detergent that contains relatively little bleach but made the lace beautifully white.

Two strips of lace side by side, one bleached to a pristine white while the other retains its natural hue, highlighting the transformative effect of the bleaching process
Close-up view of two delicate lace strips laid atop each other, revealing intricate patterns and textures

I sewed the doilies onto the shoulder pieces and the strips onto the front part and sleeves. Despite considering removing the fabric under the lace, I opted against it to preserve the stability of the blouse.

While the blouse may not be the most playful, its simplicity, in my eyes, enhances the allure of the lace and makes it a beautiful addition to my historical wardrobe.

A woman seated gracefully on a bench, adorned in a refined Edwardian ensemble, capturing the elegance and charm of a bygone era
Rearview of a blouse adorned with exquisite bobbin lace detailing, showcasing intricate craftsmanship and timeless elegance

– White Crochet Yarn No 30

“101 Torchon Patterns” by Robin Lewis-Wild

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