Thursday, January 16, 2014

Vintage Lace - Storage & Preservation

When Lulu and Arthur were in the antique business in the 1970's, the owner of a store in Adams, The Grove, called them to see if they would be interested in buying the contents of a storage room.  They went to look at the stuff, and Lulu gleefully said "Yes!"  Now Carolyn and I have most of that collection of vintage machine made laces, ribbons, trims, veils, even a few millinery flowers.

For many years I have had a note attached to the two files boxes that contained my collection of vintage lace trims, "Get lace off cardboard!"  The old pieces of cardboard the trims were wrapped around aren't really good for storing lace.  The cardboard is acidic; and acid free containers and materials are not inexpensive.

I finally got around to the project one afternoon last week, thinking that's all it would take, one afternoon.  Three days later I was still working on it.  But it was worth the effort.  The lace trims are now in a more acid free environment, plus I got to re-visit my large (probably too large) collection of vintage trims, and it is now more easily accessible.  Which means I will use it more.

I thought it would be cute to wrap some of the laces around old thread spools and clothespins and store them in an old Necco candy jar I bought several years ago, when I worked in an antique shop in Arlington.  First I tore old sheets into strips to cover the wood spools and clothespins (wood also is not good for vintage anything).  I shop at the Goodwill store for old sheeting which I use for dust covers around my house in the spring when it gets very dusty.  Here are the cotton-covered spools ready for use:

One of the spools above is wrapped in lace.  So the lace will not come undone while in the large candy jar, I take two back stitches in the lace, using a small tapestry needle, in a color that is visible against the white lace.  These back stitches can be easily removed.  Leave a couple inches loose at the end, so you can see what the lace pattern looks like.

I put another piece of sheeting on the floor, to unwind the lace off the old cardboard.

There was a LOT of lace!

Most of the lace trims were too long to wind around the spools, so I just wrapped around my fingers and made into neat bundles.  They are stored in a large decorative box I found at Michaels, half price.  I lined the box with more sheeting.

Here is my old Necco candy jar with the lace wrapped spools and clothespins:

I also wanted to have some of the laces decorate my craft shelves.  A cardboard tube left over from Christmas wrapping paper was covered with strips of old sheeting which I cut on the bias.  A string ties it to the metal shelf:

I left a pale yellow lace (above) on the cardboard it came on, as it was stamped "Made in France" and it was so pretty.  But I unwound the lace, covered the cardboard with sheeting, and re-wrapped it.

It was interesting to see what the clerks in the old Grove store wrapped some of the laces around:

Many of the laces had these papers pinned on them, indicating the yardage left and the "ceiling price," (4 cents on these labels), which I think would date them to the 1940's or before.

I also have some beaded trims from The Grove, which I may sell on Etsy.  Photos to come....