The Uses and Requisites for Victorian Tatting from Weldon’s

Weldon’s Practical Needlework houses a wealth of information on Victorian tatting. The following “uses” and “requisites” for Victorian tatting are reproduced here as they appeared in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 4, published in England in 1889. No corrections were made.


TATTING is largely employed for borders and edgings for trimming underclothing and baby-linen, it makes pretty collars and cuffs and is much used for dessert d’oyleys, antimacassars, and various other articles. Very pretty and durable trimmings for pinafores, aprons, and summer washing dresses can be made in tatting, and these need not necessarily be worked with white cotton, as nearly every shade is now manufactured in ingrain colours, warranted of fast dye. Tatting worked with silk in the style of passementerie is handsome for vests and for the panels of dresses.

Victorian tatting

Illustration of tatting tools from Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 4.


A SHUTTLE and a Pin are the only two implements required. When purchasing the shuttle see that the points are smooth and even and set closely together and that the brass pins which go through the centre and fasten together the two sides of the implement are fitted in perfectly flat; this is of importance, for if these pins in the least protrude they will cause great trouble by catching against the cotton; the block in the centre of the shuttle through which these pins pass should have a round hole in the centre of it for the cotton to be threaded through. Shuttles are made in two or three sizes, to accommodate cotton coarse and fine, the coarser the cotton the larger should be the shuttle. A shuttle 3 inches to 3½ inches long is a convenient size for ordinary work.

The Ring with a Pin attached is kept by some workers upon the thumb of the left hand, in readiness to place under a picot, or to draw the cotton through a picoteed loop; but as it often is rather in the way, it is just as well to have a good-sized common pin or a steel crochet needle loose upon the table to pick up when wanted.

Victorian tatting

Illustration of toilet mat, or pattern for an antimacassar from Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 4.

As regards material with which to work, crochet cotton is most generally employed. It should be soft and yet strong, and must be selected in size according to the article it is intended to work Evans’, Strutts’, Coats’, and Ardern’s are all good makes. No. 12 to No. 22 are suitable for edgings, No. 8 to No. 16 for d’oyleys, and No. 2 to No. 14 for antimacassars, and if a still coarser size is required for any purpose the D M C Coton à Tricoter will be found to work smoothly and well. Tatting can also be executed with purse silk and knitting silk, and makes a durable trimming in imitation of passementerie for the ornamentation of dresses and mantles, and steel, gold, and black beads can be introduced with very pleasing effect.

If you missed the introduction to tatting from Weldon’s, read our blog post “An Introduction to Victorian Tatting from Weldon’s.” Stay tuned for more Victorian tatting from Weldon’s in future posts! Until then, find out more about tatting in our video download Shuttle Tatting with master tatter Georgia Seitz.

Featured Image: Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 4 offers up a wealth of information on Victorian tatting.

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