Vintage Irish Lace

by lakeerieartists

If you love lace, then vintage handmade Irish lace is a wonderful addition to any of your existing modern or vintage clothing.

Artists and dress makers often add vintage accessories to modern clothing to enhance the style or look of the clothing. Authentic vintage lace makes a unique addition to gloves, collars, or bibs, with the handmade quality that can no longer be duplicated. Vintage lace can also be added to home decor items made of fabric including wall hangings, tablecloths, and placemats.

Irish lace is one of the finest exports of Ireland, and finding authentic vintage and antique lace is a real find that collectors enjoy. Depending on the style and rarity, vintage Irish lace can be very affordable as a gift or to enhance your own wardrobe or home decor.

Collecting and Using Vintage and Antique Lace

One of the most well known products of 19th century Ireland is handmade lace.  While men worked at their trades or in the fields farming, many Irish women made lace to help support their families, selling the lace itself, or incorporating it into clothing, accessories or home decor.  Making the lace was an extension of the needlework that most Irish women could already do to create clothing for their families, so when money was needed, creating lace made sense to earn income.

There are several types of antique Irish lace, although many of them are no longer being made today.  Some of these types are Kenmare lace, Irish crochet, Carrickmacross lace, Youghal lace, and Limerick lace, each named after the part of Ireland that the lace came from.

Vintage lace, if packaged well, can last a very long time, because it is not as fragile as it looks.  And if the lace was only used for special occasions, it was not exposed to dirt, dust, and air to discolor it.  The most common Irish lace to find are small accessories like gloves, collars, or doilies which would have been easier both to make, and to maintain over the years.  Even these small touches can make a huge difference in the look of an outfit or table decoration, and if you are a clothing designer, adding a lace collar or cuff to a dress or blouse can take if from ordinary to extraordinary or one of a kind.

Vintage Irish Lace Doily

Vintage Irish Lace Collar

Vintage Lace Doilies

When I was young, my mother and grandmother used lace doilies under just about vase or bowl for display on a table and under centerpieces on our dining room tables.  Lace doilies add a lot to the decor of a home.  In modern days, we have become much more casual in our idea of decor, but a vintage Irish lace doily can add a lot to any room, living room, bedroom, or dining room, and they are not expensive unless you find a very rare and unusual piece.

Vintage Irish Lace as Gifts

If you are looking for a meaningful gift for a man or woman that loves and collects either Irish collectibles or lace collectibles, vintage Irish lace handkerchiefs or gloves make a good choice.  These are small, relatively affordable vintage items, and can be used to add to a collection and worn for special occasions.  Often you can find some vintage Irish lace items that have never been used, which makes them extra special

Vintage Irish Lace Handkerchief (Hankie)

Vintage Irish Lace Gloves

Vintage Irish Crochet

"Irish crochet" is a type of lace that has its origin in the famine years of the 19th century in Ireland. This type of lace is characterized by separately crocheted motifs, which were later assembled into a mesh background.

Irish Crochet Lace is made with a very fine steel crochet hook and fine crochet cotton or linen thread. It begins with an outline of the pattern on a piece of cloth. Each motif is then crocheted separately, using cotton cord for volume and shaping. The finished motifs are then basted (sewn with a loose stitch for temporary tacking) onto a cloth in the shape of the pattern. The motifs are then joined using chains and picots. When all the motifs have been joined together forming one piece of lace the basting stitch is removed from the back cloth revealing the completed lace.

Irish crochet is one of the types of lace that was a popular way of earning money during the great potato famine of the 1840's, because it was easy to travel with, using less tools to create.

Vintage collectibles for St. Patrick's Day range from porcelain ceramic figurines to Irish coffee mugs trimmed with gold.
Updated: 02/10/2015, lakeerieartists
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Raintree on 09/26/2013

Lace is just so beautiful. I love it and have several pieces. I enjoyed your article and the lovely lace :)

BrendaReeves on 03/08/2012

I've been looking for a crochet pattern for a wedding veil. Irish lace would be great for that. Let me know if you run into any. Thanks for the article.

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