Exquisite Maline Lace

Vintage clothing appeals to me, especially if it has finely detailed construction, and is made of beautiful fabrics and trims.  Probably my favorite clothing is from  between the Victorian and WWII eras.  Over the years I’ve enjoyed putting together numerous heirloom dresses for my granddaughters (they are too “grown up” now to enjoy them anymore), and a few items for myself, made from 1920-1945 patterns.  I love fine laces and was pleased to find an article about Maline lace (ah, I never knew that was the name of it) from my favorite on-line sewing supply store.

From the article:

Maline lace is a French lace but it originated in Mechlin, Belgium. It is sometimes referred to as “Mechlin lace”. It is categorized as a pillow lace because historically it was hand-made on a pillow using bobbins. Each thread used to weave the lace would be attached to a wooden bobbin and the lace would be woven by crossing the bobbins in a pattern and pinning the threads on the pillow. The thread to make the background part of the lace (known as the “groundwork”) would be done in a finer thread than that which was used to weave the design on the lace. You can see how this would be an incredibly time-consuming process! One of the distinguishing features of Maline lace is that the designs are woven at the same time as the groundwork. Other laces such as Alencon lace would be made by first weaving the groundwork and then separately creating lace motifs which are later sewn onto the background piece.

…Maline lace has been recognized for its dainty beauty for hundreds of years. The story has it that in the late 1600s, Queen Anne of Great Britain enforced an embargo of lace made in France, but made an exception for Maline lace! It was worth it to this sovereign queen to break her ban on French laces just so she and her subjects could get their hands on some stunning Maline lace! Maline lace is also fairly well known. Just the other day I was reading a book by British author Agatha Christie and it briefly described a character’s blouse as being “trimmed with Mechlin lace”.

The example given comparing a good French lace (the one at the top)  to Mechlin lace:


I have amassed a few Mechlin laces to construct a blouse for myself:


All this reminded me of a song…


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