About Bedfordshire Lace

A change of fashion in the eighteenth century necessitated a rethink in the type of lace used to adorn the newest dress design which had come into vogue.

Soft empire line dresses made of muslin were no longer in fashion and therefore the very delicate Bucks Point Lace also needed to be changed. This lace was so fine it could not been seen on the newer style of dresses and a different lace which could be easily seen from a distance needed to be made to complement the newer style of garments.

Hence Bedfordshire Lace was born and designers took elements for other lace styles; Plaits and trails from Cluny (French Lace), square tallies from (English Honiton) and leaves from (Maltese Lace).

Unlike Bucks Point with its mesh grounds connecting elements, Bedfordshire had no ground and each element was connected by plaits, square tallies and leaf tallies. A nine pin edging was used, but in some of the older designs a picot edging was also used.

Solid woven areas to give shading to the lace with continuous woven trails and flower designs were used to give a contrast between light and dark.

This stunning piece of Bedfordshire Lace was designed and worked by Heather Billington of Victoria.This piece won the prestigious Sue Goodman Trophy for Bedfordshire lace in the (UK) Lace Guild’s 2010 triennial lace competition.

The lace needed to be crisp so as to be seen from a distance because the change of fashion and the use of fuller skirts.

Thomas Lester was instrumental in designing beautiful Floral Bedfordshire Lace patterns and his patterns are still being used today.

Bedfordshire Lace was a product of its time and sadly only stayed in fashion for 50 years before going into obscurity. Bedfordshire Lace is still being made today by hobbyists the world over but no longer made commercially by hand, only by machine.

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