1885 Street Heritage Skills – Lace Tatting – By Vanessa Sztym

1885 Street

Tatting is one of the many forms of handmade lace that was popular in the Victorian period (1837-1901).  It is believed that tatting

The tools of the tatting trade

The tools of the tatting trade

originated with sailors in the British navy. While onboard ship they would spend hours creating decorative pieces using a wide variety of knots. They would then give these pieces to their wives or sweethearts on shore.

Vanessa showing off hours of hard lace work.

Vanessa showing off hours of hard lace work

The earliest examples of tatted lace come from around 1800. It was not until the Victorian era that tatting would become very popular, with Queen Victoria herself participating. Home magazines of the period provide a wide array of patterns and tatted lace became a popular addition to dresses in the form of cuffs and collars. Tatted lace was popular since it imitated the look of German point lace and was incredibly strong. As with other forms of lace, tatting was passed on from generation to generation due to the great amount of time required to create the pieces.

Every proper Victorian lady aught to have a lace collar, but the best Victorian lady can tat her very own!

Every proper Victorian lady aught to have a lace collar, but the best Victorian lady can tat her very own!

Tatting involves wrapping thread around one or more shuttles, and using these shuttles to create knots. Each stitch, called a double stitch, is made up of two knots, called a French knot and an English knot. These can be manipulated to create rings and chains in delicate and intricate designs. Tatting involves wrapping thread around one or more shuttles, and using these shuttles to create knots. Each stitch, called a double stitch, is made up of two knots, called a French knot and an English knot. These can be manipulated to create rings and chains in delicate and intricate designs.

Mrs. Beeton’s example of fine needle work from the Victorian era.

 

Tatting, as well as other forms of lace making, remained popular into the early 1920s. In the 1920s machine made lace became much more common and more affordable. This led to a decline in lace making and it became regulated to hobbyists.

By Vanessa Sztym