Good morning!  How are you? After a relatively quiet week on the blog in terms of posts last week {thank you so much, I've been so ill!}, I am back with a week full of bridal inspiration by way of beautiful real weddings, stunning photoshoots to inspire you and DIY guides for the crafty Bride :)  Now, I must mention, all you Jenny Packham fans need to come right back here to this wedding blog homepage by 11am this morning, to see a beautiful set of images, exclusive to Love My Dress, and showing Ms Packham's latest creations at their very finest.

Then later this afternoon I have the cutest ever wedding to share, but first, I'd like to start with a wonderful guest post from Helena Butler of Heavenly Vintage Brides. It's all about lace. Pretty, gorgeous, vintage lace.  Please enjoy – and I hope you are inspired by these lovely photographs, which are just some of Helena's sumptuous collection of original Vintage Wedding gowns

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I did not realise how much I loved lace until I became absorbed in looking for the perfect type of lace to recreate some of my favourite vintage wedding dresses

Love My Dress Wedding Blog, Photography Copyright (c) 2011, Heavenly Vintage Brides

Vintage lace wedding dress

Lace became fashionable during the 1500's, when all lace was handmade, and was highly prized by both sexes, as it was such a labour intensive process. 

To make an extravagant Gentleman's lace ruff (as was popular in Elizabethan times) using 45 yards of 3inch lace,  could take one person a whole  year,  and hence cost the equivalent of several acres of good land.  Rich fashionable ladies made their own, and the skills of lace making were considered important amongst a ladies attributes!

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Lace continued to be made as a either a rich ladies pass-time, or as a ' Cottage Industry' across Europe, for over three hundred years, until the Industrial Revolution, when the lace making machines were developed  in Nottingham in the early 19th Century.  By 1809 the new machinery could replicate hand-made lace.

This was the start of affordable lace, as we know it now. Today the French lead the way in Europe, with wonderful designs and quality, although beautiful traditional  lace is still produced in Nottingham, and in other European cities…

Vintage lace wedding dress

The French lace making Industry  is centred around a small area of Northern France, and is challenged by lace made in the Far East, where production costs are far lower.  When a French lace factory closes the local workers attempt to buy the lace making machinery ( Leavers machines named after it's British inventor) to keep it in the Country and prevent it being bought by far East producers!

I have been looking for lace with a Vintage feel to give authenticity to my small range of vintage inspired dresses, that I am planning for early next year, so I will be using European lace ( hopefully some French and some British) made mainly from cotton. It is a great joy to look at such beautiful fabrics, and I shall be sorry when I have to stop looking and make some decisions!

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Vintage lace wedding dress

In my opinion, the perfect lace has a high cotton content and a very small amount of polyester for strength. Cotton lace does not yellow over time, and has a firm feel to it,  so for remaking vintage wedding dresses, it is perfect…

{please note, all the dresses you see on this page are original antique dresses}

Vintage lace wedding dress

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How to Keep Vintage Lace In Good Condition…

Here are a few tips to keep your vintage cotton lace looking lovely:-

  generally I wash cotton lace very gently by hand,in cold water using natural products, and dry flat,

  then I  use a spray starch. spray liberally and allow a few minutes for it to soak in to the fibres and press with an iron using a cloth.

  I also repair the little linking threads( Bridges) very carefully by hand. Hopefully it should last for another generation to wear it!

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I hope you enjoy looking at some of my Original Vintage lace dresses I have about 50 dresses at my home in West London, do come and have a look!  By the way, the headdresses that feature throughout this photoshoot are by Cherished Vintage many thanks to Abby and Debbie!

Helena Butler
www.heavenlyvintagebrides.co.uk

Heavenly Vintage Brides on Love My Dress

Leave a Comment!
  • http://loveaudrey-loveaudrey.blogspot.com/ Loveaudrey

    I didn’t know how much I adored lace until I fell in love with my lace covered wedding dress. There’s just something about the fabric that makes me feel beautiful and elegant. We’ve incorporated it into other details at the wedding too, and I still have a rather large vintage lace table cloth to launder, so the tips above will prove very helpful :)
    These dresses are simply stunning!!
    Loveaudrey xxx

  • http://www.dressmakingdesign.co.uk Dana Bolton

    I know I love to work with lace but now I am inspired even more!!! Such gorgeous dresses reallly beautiful.I personally chose French laces which often have a high viscose ( rayon) content which also gives the right feel for vintage, expensive though as you say. I think lace is going to be a popular choice for some time still. There is something about the original vintage dresses, a real personality, that is so lovely and a continuing inspiration to designers.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/samanthasanderson Samantha Sanderson

    I am definitely on the look out for a dress with at least some portion of lace because it is detailed and intricate without being ‘too much’. These dresses are absolutely gorgeous, wish I could have factored a visit to Heavenly Vintage Bride in to my flying visit to London today so I could see them in real life!

  • http://twitter.com/#!/cyclingbride Lel

    Oh, this is a beautiful post to start the week! I just love lace and had collected so many images of vintage lace dresses as inspiration until I found my own very special 1950s gown back in March this year. Every time I go home to my parents I have to take a peek at the lacey loveliness! I’m pleased to hear that it is unlikely to yellow, this was a concern of mine.
    Oh and the gyp in the model’s hair is just divine! We are having clouds of gyp around the venue and down the aisle, it’s a good flower for creating a ‘lace’ effect. x

  • Donna

    Heavenly Vintage, do you have a Facebook page? Would love to know when your reproduction line is available as I’m a 16 and struggling to find an original to fit.

  • http://duckingfabulous.wordpress.com Carla

    Absolutely gorgeous – fabulous way to start a Monday! x

  • Helena Butler

    Hello , and thanks for all your kind comments about my vintage lace dresses, lace does have a certain magical quality doesn’t it, sometimes I see some vintage lace that’s beautiful I can’t stop looking at it.
    In response to Donna’s question above I am working hard on producing a small range of Vintage inspired dresses it is taking me longer than I imagined but I hope to have some to show you by the new Year or early Spring, I shall no doubt be asking lovely Annabel to feature them on her Blog! I don’t have a Facebook page but I shall get one soon for updates. Do contact me directly though, any time through my contact page.
    best wishes Helena at Heavenly Vintage

  • Aisling

    Gorgeous dresses and a wonderful post, lovely to learn a bit more about lace making.
    I got married a month ago today in my amazingly gorgeous vintage 50s lace over satin prom dress (it’s actually in one of your photos from the Feb. Designer Vintage Bridal fair at Highbury Hall)!

  • Aisling

    Donna, I’m a size 16 too and my dress was originally tiny. Thankfully it was too long so my wonderful seamstress could alter the bodice with some of lace and satin she took off the bottom. It was amazing, it became my dress, not some skinny girls from the 1950s!

  • Cathy

    These dresses are absolutely stunning and it is so reassuring to hear other readers talk about size! I’m between a 14 and a 16 and really wanted a vintage dress, I had pretty much written off the idea as I know they all have tiny waists to reflect the general sizes of the time, but this has given me hope!
    Helena your new collection sounds wonderful, excited about seeing it now!
    Cathy
    x

  • http://profile.typepad.com/lovemydress Love My Dress

    Thanks for all the love shown towards these beautiful dresses and the talents of Heavently Vintage Brides this morning. Every time I look at these beautiful creations, a little bit of my heart melts!
    Helena, thanks so much for getting back to Donna :)
    Kindest regards,
    Annabel xXx

  • http://www.london-bride.com Charley | London Bride

    Uh oh. I’m rather in love with that top dress… xo

  • http://www.mckinley-rodgers.com/blog pen

    Oh my, these dresses are to die for! Makes me want to get married again, just so I can wear one (to Cam, of course!)

  • http://www.homeclean.co.uk/ Ayana

    Wow – that top dress is just amazing! That is really classy and dreamy!

  • http://www.mariadefaci.com/ Maria De Faci Photography

    I am in love with the second dress!!

  • http://kristimcmurry.blogspot.com Kristi McMurry

    A couple of these are like DREAM dresses! I am extremely excited to be engaged soon and start planning my wedding, but am already feeling the stress of finding the perfect dress. Hopefully I’ll run across some beauties like these! *fingers crossed*

  • http://thedjnetwork.com/blog/2011/01/01/topics/ct-wedding-music-dj-ct-wedding-dj-reviews/ Kristina – CT Wedding Music DJ

    The photos are great! The dresses are absolutely stunning. The design is just simple but it looks the bride elegant. Thanks for sharing this post to us.

  • http://www.whiteazalea.com/18-prom Lisawhite

    I love lace wedding dresses!It’s so beautiful!Thanks for sharing this great photos!

  • http://sarahmcdonnell.co.uk/ Wedding Photographers

    Wow.. these dresses are really awesome and I reached them at the right time as I am going to get married and I want to give a dress to my to be bride.

  • http://Www.louiseholgate.com Louise Holgate

    Oh these are all simply divine! My bride on Saturday had an amazing vintage lace dress. Can’t wait to get stuck into the pictures today.

  • http://weddingdigestkenya.com/ Sarah Bridals

    I am obsessed with lace currently and even blogged about lace wedding gowns, Brides should know lace never goes out of trend and you can rock it from 1945 till kingdom come.