Vintage Lace Wedding Dresses…

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!


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!


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




Heavenly12 Heavenly14-1




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!


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

Heavenly Vintage Brides on Love My Dress


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.