A New Victorian Collar

I’ve finally decided that I should probably post my crochet and knitted projects here if they relate to my historical costuming.  Makes sense, right?

So, my friend Bridget asked me to make up a crochet collar from a pattern in an 1863 issue of Godey’s.  Thankfully, it was a fairly simple pattern, but I’ve learned my lesson from past experience and decided to mock up a small section of the pattern.

Long story short, the pattern was WAY off.  I have some theories as to why, which I’ll get to, but first, a picture of the finished collar after I made the necessary changes.

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I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, and proud of myself that the finished collar fits the exact dimensions that Bridget requested–no always an easy thing for me to accomplish.

So, as to the pattern issues.  Vintage crochet patterns present a certain set of problems.  Of course, even modern patterns can be complicated if you are not careful.  If you are familiar at all with crochet, you’ll know that the terms we use here in the US are not the same as those used in Great Britain (and other European patterns that get translated).  Those same differences existed in Victorian times, so you have to do your homework and make sure you know where the pattern came from.

Only problem was that the publishers used to “borrow” patterns from other publications without bothering to “translate” the terms or even tell you where the pattern originally came from.  Therefore, my assumption that the pattern should use American terminology since it came from an American publication, could very well be an incorrect assumption.

Then today, since Bridget is the internet research queen, she came across another person who has used this pattern using the British terminology.  She followed the pattern exactly and it turned out the perfect size.  Amazing!

So, I guess I need to start doing mock ups in two different versions to see which I like better.  Part of me likes how lacy mine turned out, but you definitely lose something with how many repeats and rows I had to remove in order to keep mine a manageable size.  Since I don’t really have anything to do right now except sit on the couch and wait to go into labor, I guess I’ll give another version a try with the shorter stitches and see what we come up with.

3 comments

  1. That looks beautiful! And very interesting on the publication differences. I do know that basic guidance for 1860s is that homemade lace, whether crocheted, knitted, or tatted, is supposed to imitate expensive lace; so it’s done with tiny thread and hooks or needles. Intimidating! But it does make sense.

  2. Yay, you’re back! That collar is gorgeous, bummer about the translation issue. Can’t wait to see V2!

  3. Thanks ladies! I’ve gotten a little distracted from both costuming and blogging the past couple of years and, while I’ll most likely have even less time now, I think it will be even more important for me to have this outlet.

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