Thursday, 22 December 2022

Machine lace imitating handmade designs


These lace trims were made in the 1960s on the Levers lace machine but they all have their origins in nineteenth century handmade lace. That is probably not surprising as a large part of the training for machine lace designers included copying old lace patterns and designing lace that appeared handmade. The fine little trim at the top resembles Buckinghamshire baby lace, a simple pattern that was one of the first a bobbin lacemaker would learn. The dainty black lace resembles Chantilly lace, a fine French handmade lace with an open net background and a design outlined with a thicker gimp thread. The two lower laces also resemble old Buckinghamshire bobbin lace designs, the upper one is similar to the sheep’s head pattern, another fairly simple handmade lace that a beginner would learn, and the lower one resembles floral lace, which was a much more complicated type of bobbin lace. Examples of these types of old bobbin lace patterns were kept by machine lace manufacturers in design portfolios specifically to inspire their designers and it’s interesting to see that these old designs were still inspiring lace in the second half of the twentieth century.       

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