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Home » A 1900s petticoat – the lacemaking process

A 1900s petticoat – the lacemaking process

At the beginning of this year, I sewed a 1900s petticoat with a lot of handmade lace. We already
published a blog post about the sewing process of this garment. This blogpost here focuses on the lacemaking process. So if you want to know more about that, keep on reading!

Bobbin lace for a 1900s petticoat

Edwardian petticoats were overloaded with lace. The more lace they had, the better. With the still
ongoing industrial development in the textile industry, lace as a machine-made product became way
cheaper to produce than ever before.

My petticoat mainly consists of handmade bobbin lace (some of it is storebought though). My main
goal was to create lace that would be fun to do. But also, as I would have to make a lot of it, I
wanted to make lace that was fast to produce.
When it comes to the surface area of bobbin lace, the half stitch is the fastest lace stitch to use. As
the weave of the bobbins is less dense, more lace can be made in a shorter amount of time. This
really influenced my choice of lace pattern as I didn’t want to spend a whole year on this petticoat. In
the end, it only took me a few months – which is quite fast, considering how much work lacemaking is

Work in Progress of a bobbin lace strip made of half stitches
Work in Progress of a bobbin lace strip made of half stitches
Half stitch bobbin lace close-up

The main bobbin lace pattern was taken from the publication “Wiener Spitzen” by Hartmut Lang. For
this book, existing lace from the pre-WW1 era was examined and analysed. This book presents the
original lace, as well as a reconstruction and instructions to make your own one.
I highly recommend this book. The instructions are very clear to follow, and the choice of lace is
really wonderful. It covers a whole range of Torchon lace, as well as Guipure and Cluny lace.
As I didn’t want to make one single lace design for the whole petticoat, I did some small changes and
variations to the lace design (see below). The left side shows the original lace. The middle and right
side show the subtle changes that I made.

Close-up of bobbin lace variations

Additionally, I made two strips of lace using a linen stitch (or cloth stitch). This pattern is not based
on an existing design but was self-designed. It took a bit longer to make but as I used a thicker
thread, it didn’t feel like much of a difference.

Close-up of 8 bobbins and a strip of bobbin lace made in a linen stitch

In addition to the handmade lace, I used storebought lace to cover the hem of the petticoat.

Detail shot of a skirt hem worn by a person that is walking through grass
Edwardian Skirt with white lace
Edwardian Skirt with white lace
Close-up of a blooming tree with red-coloured blossoms
Close-up of a blooming tree with red-coloured blossoms
A historical building with a little garden
Close up of a white person holding an old 1920s camera in her hand.

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