Turns out I am the keeper of our family’s textile treasures. I have drawers and drawers full of beautiful vintage linens, fabrics, ribbons and trims that at one time were lovingly handmade and used by past generations in our family. Although some things are not in great condition, I have saved each little bit knowing that one day I would find the perfect use for them. So when my niece got married last month, I knew it was a wonderful chance to work with my stash and make her and her husband a little gift to remember her family.
But unlike ladies of the past who spent hours making tatted and crocheted lace by hand, I had waited to the last minute to make this gift and was short on time to get it finished. Let’s hear it for today’s technologies! Working with my computer and machine embroidery software, I typed out the bride and groom’s names, transferred it to my sewing machine, threaded up the machine and stitched it onto a piece of raw silk fabric that great-gran must have used for curtains. I washed the fabric before stitching the embroidery as I wanted to make sure the finished pillow could be cared for easily in the future. The washing softened the fabric and brought out the texture of the weave. A nice contrast to the cotton embroidery thread.
I found a gorgeous strip of tatted lace that was still attached to part of a silk chemise top. It was one of the shoulder straps.
The silk fabric was very fragile and falling apart but the lace was in great shape. So I carefully clipped it from the fabric and washed it by hand. After it was dried and pressed, it was even more beautiful.
I hand stitched the lace below the embroidery…
…added a two more rows of narrow tatting above the embroidery….
…and sewed on a few vintage buttons from my stash.
Didn’t take much time to then make the pillow cover and insert the pillow form.
As I worked on this project, I kept thinking of the talented ladies in generations past and what they would have thought of all the tools and technology we have at our fingertips today. I am so glad that my husband’s great aunt had the patience and passion to make such beautiful lace and I feel honored that I could use it again to make a little reminder of how much family is part of the fabric of our lives.
Congratulations to Becca and Mike! Many years of happiness.
Love, Aunt Elaine