Contents in This Month's Issue
• A Letter to Our Friends
• Current Exhibit:The Bird in the Textile Arts
• Featured Exhibits in our Museum Shop: The Crochet Art of Cathy Adair-Clark
• Ongoing Exhibits: Worn to Dance—1920s Fashion & Beading
• Recently Sold in Our Etsy Shop: 1960s Maison Mendessolle Pillbox Hat
• Historical Textile Trivia: The Karl Mayer Multi-Bar Jacquard Lace Raschel Machine
• New Products & Publications: Scalloped Scissors & a Few Fine Fabrics for You
• Customer of the Month: Archaeologist and Needlepoint Queen, Diana Pickworth
• Classes at Lacis: Ribbonwork, Tatting & Bobbin Lace, and Tambour Embroidery
• Textile Arts Calendar: Upcoming Workshops, Lectures, and Interviews Online
Join our museum | Sign up for our newsletter | Contact us
The past few weeks have been so busy for us! We've been looking forward to catching up with you.
First of all, the Silk Mill's writer and intrepid fabric explorer, Diane Helentjaris, wrote an excellent article about lace (and she mentions The Lacis Museum of Lace & Textiles when touching on the issue of finding—or creating—handmade lace today.)
We highly recommend you read The Silk Mill. It's most illuminating! In fact, if you love textiles as much as we do, just subscribe to the newsletter, like we did. Diane covers every textile topic from miniature quilts to tie-dye—always eloquently, in wondrous depth, and with illustrations, too.
Second of all, our classes resume next month; our new exhibit, The Bird in the Textile Arts, is now officially open; and so many of our friends and supporters have been visiting with donations for us, or with the most astonishing new textile works underway, or recently completed! We love to see it.
Keep reading for a glimpse into our world.
The inimitable, witty Daniel M. Wasik, self-proclaimed idealist and graduate of the prestigious Central Saint Martins University in London (whose alumni include the likes of Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney) started knitted this jaw-dropping coat from a spool of rope he found at Lacis (see image right for a similar rope—with a quarter for scale).
For the record, the finished product ultimately weighed in at 75 lbs—and he knit it using his arms and hands. What a workout!
We think Daniel's work is, across the board, absolutely brilliant, and we are just chuffed that he discovered the material for this garment right here in our shop. It was a unique donation from a generous Lacis supporter, and it's gorgeous stuff—so thick and so fluffy!—but to be honest, we weren't sure if we would easily find a home for it. Thankfully, like so many of our Lacis friends, Daniel has an eye for recognizing ordinary textiles with extraordinary potential! If you're intrigued, you should follow him on Instagram, because everything he makes is stunningly beautiful and original.
This astonishing antique crochet sampler book was brought in by Lacis visitor Judy Dreiling.
We have several others like it in the Lacis Museum permanent collection: it hearkens back to a time before pictures were included in crochet manuals, when the user had to create their own pieces to illustrate an accompanying textual guide.
It was gifted to Judy by her friends Janice and Ian MacMillan. Janice found it cleaning out her grandmother's apartment, and it may have belonged to, or even been originally made by, that grandmother, or her great-aunt—but that remains a mystery.
Judy herself is a lifelong crocheter (the MacMillans, on the other hand, are not), and it's clear how deeply she appreciates the work and ingenuity that went into this sampler. Not only is she trying to preserve the book, she's been analyzing these snippets of individual patterns, trying to figure out how exactly they were crocheted. If only she had the manual that the original user was following...
Judy kindly allowed us to admire her treasure at length—and photograph it. There are 20 pages total, each one (including the front and back covers) almost completely encased in unique pieces of crocheted cotton. There are pieces of Irish crochet, Greek key designs, scalloped borders, insertions, filet lace motifs, pinwheels and spirals... specimens of every type.
What a marvelous book! Good luck, Judy—and thanks again for sharing.
Some of our Lacis visitors have been busy making bodices and corsets, and we thought it would be fun to show you two different customers' projects, obviously at varying stages of completion.
The floral bodice on the left, with peach and wine flowers on the tea green background, is a costuming project of AP's, who is adventurously making it out of the most interesting brocade, almost like upholstery fabric. We're excited to see the design choices she makes as she finishes it up!
And on the right is Blair Van Tassel's, freshly finished, which she, too, resourcefully constructed from scraps; in her case, the fabric that remained from a cheerful yellow floral print dress she sewed (and sometimes wears to Lacis—it gives off the prettiest, most French provincal vibes!)
Blair found the perfect pale blue vintage bias tape binding here at Lacis—two different shades, but they so perfectly match the floral print of her fabric that it looks quite intentional—and she got her stays here, and even used our grommeting machine in the shop to install her lacing eyelets. We loved seeing the project take form, and so rapidly, too! Most impressive, Blair!
Textile artist Judy Mathieson—a prolific and masterful quilter—also generously donated some stunning antique textiles to our museum, including these garments: a 1897 bodice and Romantic era-style dress.
Local vintage clothing dealer Rachel Stewart donated this beautiful chain mail Edwardian purse of German silver. As a perfectly preserved and impressive exemplar of its type, it will reside in the Lacis permanent collection.
We thank Daniel, AP, Blair, Judy Dreiling and Judy Mathieson, Rachel—all the donors who have entrusted us with their bequests—as well as the Lacis makers and crafters who have shared their inspiring artistic undertakings with us. We appreciate your generosity, your courage and enthusiasm, and your apparently inexhaustible fund of ingenuity and inventiveness.
It's your consideration for this community, and your neverending output of art, that increases the objects of beauty in circulation and enjoyed here. Whenever visitors compliment this special place, we are compelled to remind them that it is equally our circle of gracious benefactors and creative visitors who make it so.
Kind regards, and many thanks—
Your friends at Lacis
Silk embroidered appliqué on paper.
Innumerable French knots, as well as intricately planned couching techniques,
are skillfully employed to depict a bird and its environs.
China, late 19th c. 
The bird in literature and on canvas has long held its place through all civilizations and all times.
The bird captured in thread and textiles is more obscure and less defined. Depicted by a single thread, a bountiful palette of threads, a thread following a hook or threads flowing in harmony through the bobbins of lace, the bird is captured by the hands of the creator.
This amazing presentation captures this spirit from Pre-Columbian Peru to the earliest of laces to a world of unbound wealth of thread, color and needle.
This generous donation of decorative textile artworks from Cathy Adair-Clark is a tour de force of talent and devotion to the world of needlework, specifically her world of knitting and Shetland yarns: "I fell in love with Shetland sheep and their fleeces, and that has ruled my life since 2007."
The magnificent Shetland lace sampler she constructed in 2012 is 8 feet by 6½ feet, comprising 67 different fleeces of yarn, all hand-spun by Cathy herself. We also have her personally compiled tome of sketches available for your perusal, with each motif and its pattern, along with sources and progress reports, all passionately and fastidiously documented.
Now open for tours by appointment!
• Masks are required for unvaccinated individuals
• Tours are $3.00 per person and must be reserved in advance—calling us at (510) 843-7290 is best
• Tours can be scheduled for Monday, Tuesday or Saturday at 1:00PM & 3:00PM
• Tours have a (2) person minimum & (10) person maximum
• For Museum Members and their guests (4 max), tours are free!
• Please note that the second floor gallery at this time is only accessible via stairs
Almost 100 years ago, with the dawn of the Jazz Age, life changed dramatically for women in America. Suddenly the 1920s woman could vote, drive, spend her own money, smoke and drink in public, cut off her long hair, expose her calves, forgo her corset and—perhaps most iconic of all—she could dance.
The most iconic pastime of the 1920s was dancing in nightclubs and speakeasies. Here women and men could freely socialize to the rhythm of Hot Jazz.
That rhythm is most clearly made visual in the image of the flapper, with her (relatively) short dress, which sparkled in the dim lights, given heft, form and movement by the innumerable beads sewed to its simple shift-shaped form.
These dresses, like the Jazz Age itself, were never destined to last. With the weight of the beads continually testing their union with the fragile silk, their eventual collapse was inevitable, as evidenced by the beads abandoned on the dance floor when the party was over.
This is why, though the dresses remained the quintessential symbol of the times, so few of them remain today. By attentive restoration, we have been able to present examples of these dresses as they appeared when they first shone, as well as fascinating examples of dresses in different stages of construction process.
From the collection of LMLT; conceived of and curated by the LMLT staff
Running from November 16, 2019—Extended end date TBD
Claire Marie Stancek got married on the East Coast in one of our gorgeous antique pieces! Doesn't she look sublime?
This Edwardian era piece exudes extreme beauty and a historied ambience—the perfect gown for a unique contemporary wedding. We wish many happy returns to the newlyweds!
Etsy customer and vintage collector Kristina Fricker, who snagged one of our many incredible cold rayon 1950s deadstock full slips,
heard about our shop from Denver-based writer, seamstress, and historic clothing enthusiast Bianca Esposito.
Bianca goes by The Closet Historian on her YouTube channel, and she made a video recently exploring her 1941 Montgomery Ward catalog. When she reaches the end of the catalog (the gorgeous and fascinating lingerie portion!), Bianca makes a mention of our slips. Watch the video and follow The Closet Historian for some high-quality costuming content. Thanks for the shoutout, Bianca!
If you're attracted to these luxurious, never-been-used vintage undergarments, quanitities are limited, obviously, but we still have some peachy and ivory beauties left in stock, including those rare L and XL sizes. Get them while you still can!
Etsy customer Heather David shared this moving story with us when she purchased this 1960s black satin pillbox hat as a surprise gift for her mother:
My mother was born in Scotland in 1942. The family was very poor. When she was 11, they came to San Francisco. It was a one way "make it or break it" ticket. They took everything they could pack into individual suitcases and just left. It's an interesting story, with many wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) chapters, but it basically boils down to the American Dream.
When my mother was a wee lass in Scotland, she used to pick potatoes in the fields for extra money. The great reward for a hard day's work was you could eat a free hot potato fresh out of the fire. Doesn't sound so great to me but my mom tells the story as if it's a fond memory. Maybe it's more of a reminder as to how far we've come.
One of my mom's dreams was to go to college... and she put herself through a bachelor's degree program by working in retail sales. While attending San Francisco State in the 1960s, she worked at a fancy boutique in Stonestown Shopping Center called Maison Mendessolle. My mom remembers her experience there fondly, perhaps even better than the plain hot potatoes in the fields of Scotland.
The Maison Mendessolle store manager at the time—Mrs. Hanson—used to have the shop girls model the clothes during their work shifts. One can only imagine all the great fashions. I don't think that my mom could even afford anything in the store.
Anyway, I have been looking for something for my mom from Maison Mendessolle for a while... which led me to your store. I am hoping that she will love the hat! It's a surprise!
The American Dream, indeed! Thank you very much for sharing your story with us, Heather. It's an honor when we can unite people with pieces that shine light on their heritage, tangibly connecting them with the stories they grew up with. We just know your mother is going to be thrilled with that hat—the label alone should give her some nostalgia!
"My mom's wedding dress was from the City of Paris. It was a sample, off the sale rack... but City of Paris!"
Not all of the events in lace history happened hundreds of years ago! Some of them have occurred only relatively recently.
Take, for example, the story of Raschel lace—it looks a bit like a nylon Chantilly lace, for reference. Its invention was linked to the post-war boom in petrochemical synthetic materials. From Pat Earnshaw's 1995 handbook How to Recognize Machine Laces, we learn:
For newer machines the option of increasing the speed of production remained open. The Warp Frame, modified and known as the Raschel from 1859, took on a new lease of life in the 1950s, under the initiative of Karl Mayer of Obertshausen, Germany.
Jacquardtonic lace is made on a complicated machine with a complicated name:
the "Karl Mayer multi-bar Jacquard lace Raschel machine." It's still in use to this day!
Up to that time it had, like other machines, depended on the use of either natural or man-made fibres, such as cotton or rayon but, coinciding with the machine's revivification came the first appearance on the market of the new synthetic yarns, notably nylon. Taking full advantage of their tensile strength and resistance to abrasion and, over the following decades, of the evolving electronic control of design and manufacture, Raschels attained the amazing speed of 1,500 cm of lace per hour, compared with the Pusher's 32 cm.
For those of us with only a vague notion of the metric system, that's basically 50 feet compared with one foot. It would seem the advancements of the Atomic Age handily beat those of the Industrial Revolution, don't they?
Don't forget, Lacis Museum Members receive 20% off of books purchased in our Museum shop!
The Fall 2021 issue of Piecework has arrived in our shop! Don't forget to thumb through it on your next visit: you might find your next project in its pages.
And if you're curious about making the sweet item on the cover, it's an 1863 "Embroidered Ticking Notecase"—you'll find it located towards the very end of the magazine.
Also, these new 9.5" pinking shears (GH44) cut a gorgeous and precise 5mm scalloped edge! They're just $24.00, and perfect for our costumers who want to re-create 18th century and Victorian trim.
• 220 g/sm English Domette "Lancashire" (AF14)—soft, thick, and plush: ideal for milliners' mulling.
• 70 g/sm White cotton batiste (AF15)—perfect for emulating the delicate, breezy lawn dresses of the Edwardian era like the one shown here, or the generously flowing, empire waist dresses of the Regency Era.
We have been utterly delighted to see Diana's beautiful needlepointed dining-chair seat cover project coming to fruiton over the past year! She's using DMC "Colbert" wool tapestry yarn on an 18-count cotton Aida cloth canvas.
It's been a joy aiding Diana in finding the perfect color choices and, when necessary, special ordering skeins in greater quantities for her—especially when we can see the gorgeous outcome!
One of our all-time favorite customers, Diana Pickworth, has been working on a very notable project since even before the pandemic—which happily ensured that she'd have plenty to keep her occupied during last year's shelter-in-place order.
Her mission involved recreating the exact color palette and floral motifs sampled from an embroidered antique well over a hundred years old. She has as methodical and comprehensive an approach as you would expect from someone of her profession: she would come in to Lacis with her little red notebook, expressly designated for the project, full of lists of color numbers, nearly and meticulously pencilled in. We should all strive to be so organized in our creative endeavors!
It's been such a pleasure for us to see the results of all Diana's planning and labor. Keep up the great work, Diana! We can't wait to see photos of the final seat covers, once finally installed and in situ on their regal chairs. No doubt they'll prove a truly stunning decorative accomplishment—and an heirloom for the ages!
We're very excited to be able to offer in-person classes once more. The re-scheduled classes listed below are available to those who were originally registered for them before they were cancelled due to pandemic restrictions, but please feel free to email us and let us know what classes you'd be interested in taking in the future, and we'll contact you when registration opens up!
Want to take a class? You can drop off your completed registration form in person during business hours, email it to us, or simply give us a call to enroll!
Pleated Pansy: A Ribbon Flower Class
with Patrice Krems
Saturday, August 14, 2021 — 12:30 to 5:00 PM
$55 + $20 kit fee (payable to instructor)
In this class, you'll learn how to make both a pleated pansy and the traditional hand-gathered, vintage-style pansy. Made out of French wired ombré ribbon in delicate pastels or vibrant jewel tones, a cheerful pansy works well as a brooch or millinery appliqué, and a bouquet of them looks stunning in a crazy quilt setting, decorative floral headbands, etc.
Beginning Tatting • SOLD OUT
with Kevin Baum
Saturday, August 21, 2021 — 12:30 to 4:00 PM
This class concentrates on the double stitch, which all shuttle tatting is based on. Once this first step has been mastered, we will learn to make rings and picots, and then how to connect rings through picots. The goal of these classes is to create, with practice, a simple edging of connected rings and picots.
Miss your chance to take this class? Don't despair—we're offering it again in October!
Beginning Bobbin Lace: A 5-Hour Workshop for Beginners
with Eva Gergely
Saturday, August 28, 2021 — 10:00 to 4:00 PM
$65 + $64 Bobbin Lace Kit (students get 20% off kit)
Bobbin lace is the classic lace of Western civilization, captivating virtually every culture since 1500 when it became a very necessary and expensive part of fashionable clothing.
Bobbin lacemaking is a multi-thread technique based on two basic motions working in a plaiting fashion using no more than four threads at a time. The threads, worked in the hands, require minimal eye acuteness, making it accessible to students of all ages.
This class will cover preparation of materials, the basic motions and the basic stitches and grounds based on these motions.
Eva Gergely now brings this technique to the 21st century, where she combines traditional motifs, symbols and techniques of Hungarian folk culture with modern elements. Visiting from Hungary, Eva is an artist, singer, designer and lace maker whose work has been shown at prestigious exhibitions.
Delightful Daffodils: A Ribbon Flower Class
with Patrice Krems
Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 — 12:30 to 5:00 PM
$55 + $20 kit fee (payable to instructor)
Learn how to construct delightful pleated daffodils out of French wired ribbon! Using these techniques, you can transform flat ribbons into an elaborate three dimensional ruffled confection.
Among the techniques you will learn will be ruching for the calyx, a 6-petal "U" gathered flower for the base, and how to gather and form the pleated ribbon into a cup. If time permits, Patrice will also demonstrate how to make a beaded tassel that cascades from the end of the calyx.
Tambour Embroidery • SOLD OUT
with Zoya Parkansky
Saturday, Sept. 18 & Oct. 2, 2021 — 10:00 to 5:00 PM
Learn the hook embroidery techniques employed by haute couture ateliers! Particularly well-suited for beadwork and sequin-work, and once mastered, rapid to execute while encouraging freedom of design.
Did you miss your chance to take this class? Don't despair, we'll offer it again! Call (510) 843-7290 or email email@example.com to join the waitlist!
3-Petal Flower with Vintage Ruffle Edge
with Patrice Krems
Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 — 12:30 to 5:00 PM
$55 + $20 kit fee (payable to instructor)
Learn how to make this exquisite vintage 1920s-inspired, hand-gathered ruffled edge three-petal flower with leaves and a bud using thread for the stamens. This dramatic floral adornment is perfect for milliners or anyone looking to elevate their accessory game to the next level.
Registration now open!
Beginning Tatting (and Beyond)
with Kevin Baum
Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021 — 12:30 to 4:00 PM
In this class you'll learn the double stitch, which all shuttle tatting is based on. After that comes rings and picots, and then connecting them. This is a multi-level class, so if you need a refresher or would like to further your tatting skills, this is the class for you!
Kevin Baum is an accomplished tatter and teacher with many years of experience. He's taught classes at both Lacis and the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design.
with Patrice Krems
Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021 — 12:30 to 6:00 PM
$55.00 + $20 kit fee (payable to instructor)
This versatile ornament is often seen on the clothes of the 1910s and 20s—learn to fashion wired ribbon into stunning cabochon roses and add an instant splash of vintage panache to an ensemble!
Are you promoting an educational textile event,
and you'd like to see it posted in a future Lacis Newsletter?
Contact us, and let's see if we're a good fit!
August 5: GBACG After Dark: Mobile Mucha by Moonlight, a virtual gathering with fun breakout rooms: one for "tea & sewing" room and a "cocktail lounge" for more convivial fun.
August 15: Alice Beasley: Having Her Say
Join us for the premiere episode of the TAC's Artist Series, featuring artist Alice Beasley. For thirty years, the Oakland-based, self-taught quilter Beasley has spoken out on issues and events that are meaningful to her through her figurative appliqué quilts.
The first episode captures Beasley at work, her process and inspirations. It also tells the story of how she came to quilting and fabric portraiture, and the themes in her work. Following the viewing of the film, there will be a conversation between Beasley and fellow fiber artist Mirka Knaster.
August 21: Join us in this underground warehouse jazz joint and experience the Harlem Renaissance first hand!
Commemorating the Honorable Marcus Garvey's birthday (August 17th), this immersive event is meant to take you back in time to the '20s and '30s, to experience the music and relive the best of the Harlem Renaissance—a time of cultural expansion in the black community.
August 31—September 5: World Fair Workshops celebrating cloth, culture and creativity
Photo by Devin Begley
April 16, 2022—September 5, 2022: Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy
Get ready, Bay Area! Next year, a major exhibition will arrive in SF celebrating the legendary fashion designer Guo Pei, the brilliant woman frequently hailed as China's first couturier. Her showstopping yellow gown that Rihanna wore to the Met Gala will be forever emblazoned in our memories.
This expansive, exuberant show is in the works at our favorite Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, and set to be unveiled next spring. So read all about it in Vogue—and start planning what you're going to wear to the opening.
The Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. We are a unique legacy museum located in Berkeley, California. We host a wide range of hands-on workshops, several galleries of rotating exhibits, and our Museum Shop carries an extensive supply of vintage goods, craft- and costume-related books, and needlework supplies.
Our purpose is to:
• Preserve lace and textiles of all cultures from all periods
• Provide a resource center for research and documentation of these objects
• Educate and disseminate knowledge of lace and textiles
For just $25.00, you can become an official, card-carrying Lacis Museum Member for a year—and enjoy exclusive benefits! Get your membership via our Etsy shop, or alternatively, contact us in a number of other ways to join this vitally important circle of Lacis friends. We thank you for your support!
• 10% discount at our Etsy shop for purchases over $50
• 20% off books purchased at the Lacis Museum shop
• Free museum admission for you and up to (4) guests
• Special invitation to show openings
• Class discounts
The Lacis Museum of Lace & Textiles
2982 Adeline St.
Berkeley, CA 94703