Vintage Crochet Lace and New Crochet Designs

chemise trimming needlework weldon's

Chemise trimming, as seen in Weldon’s Practical Needlework Series Fourteen.

We asked Toni Rexroat, online editor of Crochet Me, about her take on vintage crochet lace patterns. Here’s Toni!

When do you think they first discovered crochet’s incredible gift for creating delicate lace? Crochet’s history is surrounded in mystery. It’s not known exactly when or where crochet was first worked or what the first stitches were, but I like to think that the crochet hook’s ability to craft intricate lace was an early discovery.

Vintage written crochet patterns provide a fascinating way to peak into crochet lace’s earlier incarnations. I own several reproductions of Weldon’s magazines from the late 1800s. These patterns are incredible! They don’t have stitch diagrams and the illustrations are just detailed enough to fascinate. I’ve worked a few Weldon’s crochet creations, and they always leave me impressed with the crocheters who worked them. While not as detailed as our current patterns, they are an incredible adventure to crochet, and the designs are both intricate and classic. And while they were first published in the 19th century, many are still very relevant.

insertion and edging for a quilt weldon's needlework

The Insertion and Edging for a Quilt, as seen in Weldon’s Practical Needlework Series Thirteen.

Wide lace inserts and edgings are very popular right now, and I think the Insertion and Edging for a Quilt from Weldon’s Practical Needlework Series Thirteen (right) would look stunning worked in thread and sewn around the hem of a sweater or shirt. The Chemise Trimming (above) from Weldon’s Practical Needlework Series Fourteen is a stunning work of art though I don’t know many people who still wear a chemise–but adapted to a regular shirt I would wear it, and the Wide Passementerie Dress Trimming from the same issue would make a beautiful embellishment on anything from a simple T-shirt to an ornate gown.

Crochet is still a popular technique for creating lace–and in my opinion, it’s the best way to create lace. Modern designers have used thread crochet lace to create the incredible Pop-Hop Sleeves (below) from Interweave Crochet Summer 2013. This project for adventurous crocheters, transforms a simple tee into a unique piece of art using a freeform crochet approach. In fact, this design reminds me a lot of the vintage patterns I have worked from Weldon’s.

pop hop sleeves interweave crochet

Pop Hop Sleeves, as seen in Interweave Crochet’s Summer 2013 issue.

The all-over lace of the Roslind Skirt and Shrug is the perfect blend of modern designs and classic lace. The lacy skirt utilizes bullion stitches and Solomon’s knots and has a simply incredible edging along the hem.

Discover the incredible vintage patterns from Weldon’s Practical Crochet, now available as new PieceWork eBooks. Then explore the newest crochet patterns and techniques with Interweave Crochet. Get your Interweave Crochet subscription today!

Best wishes,


P.S. Share your tips for crocheting and designing with vintage crochet lace in the comments.