Lace for Topsy..

Lace Pillow

Lace Pillow

Another report from my mother on the project to clothe Topsy..

Topsy’s dress is going to give me a reason for stitching and lacemaking. I have done some torchon lace but I want to learn a new kind of lace – Bucks Point. Lace making looks far more complicated that it is, at least when using simple patterns. There’s lots of guidance, since the design is pricked out (literally) on stiff card, often with little symbol to help you remember which stitch you are doing. The bobbins’ weight provides the tension, hence the decorative beads, and in all the patterns I have used so far, I was working with only four bobbins at any one time, even though there may be twenty, thirty, forty bobbins in the design.

I have chosen the very simplest pattern, just the new “ground” and a “cloth” fan. For none-lacemakers, the ground creates that part of the design where you are just space filling, in this case it joins the fan to the footside (the straight edge which will be used to mount the lace on cloth). The cloth stitch is made by a weaver pair of bobbins going under and over the other threads just as if you are weaving cloth. The complication lies in remembering the sequence of stitches – it took an hour and a half to work out the sequence for one fan and attached ground. Since the design is a simple repeat, the next one took three quarters of an hour with much referring back to instructions. Six fans on, it takes half an hour with just occasional glances and I am looking forward to cutting down the time as I continue. There is a long way to go as this piece is to edge Topsy’s petticoat. I have more ambitious plans for the dress itself.

Petticoat Lace

Petticoat Lace

It took four months, but I completed the first length of lace and attached it to Topsy’s petticoat. And I am pleased with the result. It’s neat, decorative, not flamboyant – just what I wanted. The first two or three sections are a bit wobbly but thereafter the pattern becomes more crisp. The blue gimp will echo the embroidery on the dress.

I had some difficulty in remembering not to cover the pin in this style of lace making, since doing just that was an essential part of all the Torchon lace I have made. But once I’d mastered that, the ground became easy to do, and, of course, the fan was worked exactly as I had done in previous lace making. Heartened by this, I felt I was ready for something more complicated.


  1. Penny Baugh says:

    Yikes!! “…ready for something more complicated”? Oh my, just looking at the bobbins and the thread is complicated enough for me. Your stitching is a ‘wonder and a miracle’!!!

  2. Sue Jones says:

    Very pretty lace and far more complex that I’d want to attempt, even if there are only four bobbins in work at one time. (Ha! I know what a mess I can get in with just one thread and a needle – I’ll leave bobbin lace to the experts.) Your mother is remarkably talented, Rachel.

  3. Cynthia says:

    This is way more complicated than I would attempt! It came out lovely. Topsy will have some gorgeous clothes.

  4. jenclair says:

    Wow, beautiful, but highly intimidating! Good for you, Rachel, to take Topsy’s sartorial splendor so to heart. Elegant, but tasteful!

  5. Dima says:

    Nicely done. I’ve always wanted to try this.

  6. Lady Fi says:

    Very complicated but progress is good.

  7. For a long time I planned to take up lace making, but somehow never got round to it ……. now I think that was just as well, as I think I would end up in a knot!!

  8. Wow! Your work is incredible!! xx

  9. Susan says:

    Very beautiful! I’ve watched the Lace Ladies do this and it seems easy when watching, but I’m all thumbs with those bobbins. I smiled at your mother’s description of what’s easy! To those who are proficient, or whose brains feel right at home with particular directions, it probably is easy, but to me, it looks quite complicated. My own inexperienced efforts on one occasion convince me that I will admire others’ work, as I do this beautiful piece by your mom!

  10. Carolyn says:

    It looks beautiful but not only do I have 2 left feet that applies to my hands as well!
    I think I will just look and admire.

  11. This is lovely. Looking forward to seeing the completed outfit. Lacemaking is something I’ve always fancied having a go at. I even bought a few starter supplies…. 25 years ago! I think perhaps it’s the sort of thing you need to start out at a class. Anyway, beautifully done. 🙂

  12. karen says:

    not complicated?? I’m not sure I would like to see what your mum thinks of as complicated….