Asked on Jul 25, 2014

How to save this beautiful antique crochet lace.

My grandmother gave me a set of four crochet/tatted lace pillowcases. I have been told they are tatted and then I have been told they are actually crochet. I don't know what they are.The actual pillowcase fabric is disintegrating.
How can I save this beautiful lace? SK Sartell
Crochet/Tatted Lace Pillowcases
  40 answers
  • Marilyn Highley Marilyn Highley on Jul 25, 2014
    Do you simply want to save the lace? Or do you want to attach the lace to something else? It most definitely is crochet.
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 25, 2014
      @Marilyn Highley I would like to save the lace, but am not sure what to do with it. It seems a shame to just put in away in a safe place. I believe in showing our heritages. sk
  • Michelle Thompson Michelle Thompson on Jul 25, 2014
    You could cut the lace from the current pillow slips...being very careful not to cut the lace. Then attach lace to another pillow slip of your choosing. Remember to never use bleach on the lace, it will cause it to yellow and degrade
  • Judy H Judy H on Jul 25, 2014
    There are SO many things you can do with it. It is gorgeous lace, and really deserves to be preserved in a way that you can see it and enjoy it often. Some ideas are: 1) frame photo of your grandmother and decorate the picture frame using the lace 2) create a holiday ornament from the lace so it becomes a family heirloom, 3) make a wall hanging, 4) use the lace to make sachets, 5) make a journal or photo album with a cover decorated in lace. If you have lots of photos of your grandmother, this would be a perfect place for some of them. See the photos attached for other ideas! With any of these ideas, if you are concerned about the beautiful lace falling apart, you could treat it with a finishing spray that will preserve it.
  • Michelle Thompson Michelle Thompson on Jul 25, 2014
    No problem sweetie... I was told 'No Bleach' over and over and over... Glad I listened.
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 27, 2014
      @Michelle Thompson So glad you listened too. I would have been heartbroken if I ruined these with something so stupid as bleach. sk
  • Marilyn Highley Marilyn Highley on Jul 25, 2014
    Do you sew? Salem has some nice sewing machine/supply stores. Maybe someone at one of the stores could make some suggestions or connections with other people for you.
  • Terri Brodfuehrer Terri Brodfuehrer on Jul 26, 2014
    my great grandmother did tatting all the time. it's much finer than regular crochet due to the tiny tatting tool used. why not use the lace as a matte around a picture of her, cover in glass so it won't yellow?
  • JS JS on Jul 26, 2014
    Beautiful work! Suggest *carefully* cutting the material above where it is attached (or even the whole hem, since it's not likely to be as worn). Then attach to a shawl; won't get as much stress but still a special remembrance of your grandmother and all the time and work she put into crocheting them for you. It is likely mercerized cotton so it would hold a due if you want to change the color.
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 27, 2014
      @JS Thanks JS. My grandmother died at the age of ninety-three seven years ago. So we calculated these are at least seventy-five years old. sk
  • I would do a part of the pillow case and lace in a frame with a picture of your grandmother and even maybe something else of hers. Give another part of it to a sister, child or other family family member to do the same. Heirlooms are wonderful.
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 27, 2014
      @Love Design, Decorating, Furniture Painting Thank you. I do have four so I could do this. My daughters would appreciate them. sk
  • Linda H Linda H on Jul 26, 2014
    I took some of my grandmother's and used them as a border around pictures, I also have 3 with needlepointed women with crocheted dress on pillowcases. I folded them up and put them in a frame.
  • Barbara Ann Barbara Ann on Jul 26, 2014
    I think you could remove the lace with a seam ripper if you are used to using one. If not, so to someone who sews and has experience and that person can remove it from where it was attached to the pillow case.
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 27, 2014
      @Barbara Ann Thanks Barbara. I have an expert seamstress that is willing to spend some time with them. sk
  • Annie Annie on Jul 26, 2014
    DP Paducah Ky. You could fold and have them framed. If you had someone special do that and gift them, I think they would be beautiful that way,,
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 27, 2014
      @Annie Thanks Annie. I have an expert museum quality framer who does beautiful work. I am leaning that way. sk
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jul 26, 2014
    I would suggest that you cut the lace off, but leave an inch or two of the original pillowcase on it. Then use it to decorate another, new white pillowcase!
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 27, 2014
      @Jeanette S Thank you Jeanette. I would be a pleasure to be able to use them as they were meant to be used. sk
  • Barbara R Barbara R on Jul 26, 2014
    Edging on a beautiful throw pillow for a bedroom. You can make your own pillow...or buy one and hand sew the lace onto it. You'll get the's some ideas: If you have someone in the family getting married or need a baby gown for an occasion, use some of the lace for a small pillow or the bottom of the gown. What a precious gift as an heirloom!
  • Patricia Stevens Patricia Stevens on Jul 26, 2014
    Your lovely lace is not tatting, it's crochet. I do both. Love the pattern.
    • See 3 previous
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 27, 2014
      @Kimberly Arment As an artist I have never wanted to learn this fine art. I'm not patient enough. You learn for me Kimberly. sk
  • Donna Arsenault Donna Arsenault on Jul 26, 2014
    I recently watched an episode of Love It Or List It on Tv and they framed some of the grandmother's doilies with some lovely coordinating fabric for one of the home owners. I thought it was an awesome idea..we display many other collected treasures from our loved ones, but doilies etc...not so much out on display nowadays.
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 27, 2014
      @Donna Arsenault Thanks Donna, I do like this idea. I want to be able to see it on a daily basis. sk
  • Connie Shelton Connie Shelton on Jul 26, 2014
    I took some tatting off some of my grandmothers work and used them to make flowers and designs in shadow boxes for her grand children, they all loved them for they then had a piece of their grand or great mothers work safe behind glass to keep and pass on forever!!
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 27, 2014
      @Connie Shelton Thank you Connie. I love to have these for my children and grandchildren and great. Her work is priceless. sk
  • Connie Shelton Connie Shelton on Jul 26, 2014
    I also did some of her doilies behind glass with calligraphy of her name with love from her.
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 27, 2014
      @Connie Shelton So sweet Connie. It's amazing how much we want to remember that generation. I miss her still. sk
  • Angela Phillips Angela Phillips on Jul 26, 2014
    I would put it in a shadowbox frame with hatpins and maybe add a picture or 2 of your grandmother in there. I did a little of this with my memories of my mom!
  • Becca R Becca R on Jul 26, 2014
    It's crochet for sure. It would depend on how it's attached to the fabric, you might be able to take it off the pillowcase, or you might have to trim a little bit of the fabric with it. You can use the lace on another pillow case, a throw pillow, use it on clothing, or put it in a special frame with a few other things that reminds you of her. If you need help with it, in person, I live in Salem too.
  • Debbie Worley Debbie Worley on Jul 26, 2014
    Your lace is beautiful You should be able to remove it and put it on a new pillow case. Here is a great article on the differences.
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 27, 2014
      @Debbie Worley Thanks Debbie. I know she did do tatting, but as a child I wouldn't have know any difference. sk
  • Sharon Sharon on Jul 26, 2014
    I took the lace off some I had and put them on the bottom of curtains that I made. I learned the hard way, not to take the lace off the fabric. They put that stuff on with invisible stitches. Most of the fabrics this lace was put on was 100% cotton and usually had a good size hem. Cut on top side of the hemline. Then where you decide to put it you can adjust how much you need. Don't cut the lace until needed, from a pillow case, and make sure you zig-zag in smaller stitches to make sure they don't unravel. It does matter if the design matches or not. People will just be in awe of how creative you are! I used the lace from the sheets for the big windows and pillow cases for the little ones. It's just an idea. I'm prattling on.
  • Debra Anderson Debra Anderson on Jul 26, 2014
    I'd trim up above the lacing and frame it in a photo frame with a picture of your grandma in the middle. I wouldn't attempt to use a seam ripper, just trim it off the pillow case and frame it, or reattach it to another pillow case or on the hem of a curtain.
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 27, 2014
      @Debra Anderson Thanks Debra. I am leaning toward a museum quality matting and frame with her picture and dates. sk
  • Carolyn (Gail) Carolyn (Gail) on Jul 26, 2014
    Connie Shelton - your fabric is not safe when placed under glass. Research shows that fabrics need AIR and they do not get it when under glass. Everything I have read says never put fabrics under glass. I must admit that I have done it also.. I framed (under glass) the first two items that I embroidered when I was about 10 years old. Then I later read I shouldn't have!
    • See 1 previous
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 27, 2014
      @Carolyn (Gail) Thanks for the information Carolyn. I appreciate your visiting. sk
  • Nancy Nancy on Jul 26, 2014
    That is crocheted. Beautiful - frame or make into a pillow
    • See 1 previous
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 27, 2014
      @Nancy Thanks to both of you. I will have it done by a professional. I would hate to ruin this precious memory of my grandma. sk
    That is crocheted ! And lots of time went into crocheting ! I would preserve behind class as others have stated !
  • Stephanie DuWig Stephanie DuWig on Jul 27, 2014
    Not tatting. That is crocheted edging. Just remove from the old pillow cases and sew onto new pillow cases.
    • See 2 previous
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 28, 2014
      @Evelyn Crocker Thanks Evelyn. sk
  • Joyce Spiteri Joyce Spiteri on Jul 27, 2014
    I used something similar.on a chest. I put an old sewing machine on top. it came quite nicely.
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 27, 2014
      @Joyce Spiteri Thanks Joyce. I'm so glad you were able to save and be creative with yours. sk
  • Kellianne M Kellianne M on Jul 27, 2014
    if you want to preserve it, i would suggest you contact a museum who would have professionals to handle it.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jul 27, 2014
    Anything that is a true keepsake should be museum framed. That is making sure that any paper boards used in the process are 100% rag content. You can tell because when you trim the mat to size, you can see that the center is white instead of a light cream colored. If you use a shadow box molding, you can provide ventilation by adding a couple of small holes punched into the corners.
  • Jacqueline Saam Cleary Jacqueline Saam Cleary on Jul 27, 2014
    U a lucky girl!!!
  • Tina Tina on Jul 27, 2014
    Thanks for all of the comments posted. I have a piece I thought could frame and protect. So glad I read the post I would have been crushed if I ruined my daughters keepsake piece from her great grandmother.
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 27, 2014
      @Tina Me too Tina. I am so grateful for the ideas and thoughts. I know what I will be doing. sk
  • Rose Rose on Jul 27, 2014
    The fabric looks like linen. The lace is crocheted. The lace will last and last so you could use it again or frame it which ever you choose. I think Michael's does a decent shadow box frame and you could ask about the backing. I've boiled and bleached crocheted lace I made years ago with no problem to get stains out. It works, too!
  • Martha G Martha G on Jul 27, 2014
    My daddy tatted when he was alive. Many of my clothes while growing up we're made by my mama and embellished with daddy's tatting!!
    • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jul 28, 2014
      @Martha G How Amazing. I remember my daddy fixing his socks on an old sock form. Good memories. sk
  • Shirley C Shirley C on Jul 27, 2014
    This looks crochetted on to that pillow slip maybe up could cut 1/4 of the fabric and sew it on to another pillow case
  • Marilyn Marilyn on Jul 27, 2014
    I would take them to someone who sews. Cut the lace off and sew them onto other pillowcases.
  • Sherry Poore Sherry Poore on Jul 27, 2014
    I'd frame most of it with her picture in the center, and if you have her crochet hooks I'd put them in the frame too. I have several that my grand mother did and all her hooks, plus a few other things she did, they are going into a shadow box. one for each grandchild. my mom did nothing in hand work except one embroidered thing from high school that is already in a frame, I have it in my kitchen,
  • Judy H Judy H on Jul 28, 2014
    That's a nice idea, to include the crochet hooks in the framing :)
  • Beatriz Maria Beatriz Maria on Jul 30, 2014
    Beatiful sheet ,it is linen surely but crochet is not the same than lace because is made in different way. Crochet can saved if you know to do with an special kind of needle, LACE is impossible to do it. Look for somebody, maby aged because we learned that in catholics school.
  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Dec 19, 2015
    I love the shadowbox ideas, but, I would also use some of it for a small throw pillow for your bed (or a guest bed if you're not a throw pillow person) so that the delicate beauty is there also to touch and value.
  • Dee5193856 Dee5193856 on May 30, 2016
    I had BAGS of lace my grandmother made and I didn't know what to do with it. All my pillowcases had lace on them as did most of my sheets! Soooo I found a really old-looking frame with a large outside framework, sewed (by hand) pieces of this beautiful lace onto a piece of black velvet. In between I glued pictures of her, of her and me, etc. Beautiful memory that hangs in my bedroom. Everyone comments on how great the idea is.