Lace Tape : its History and Peggy’s Daygowns

Lace tape is a fabulous new~old product. Its history is as lengthy and varied as is its uses. While not as widely used and recognized as it should be, lace tape is growing in popularity nonetheless.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this produce, it is a 100% cotton, loosely woven “tape,” approximately 3/8″ wide. Previously available from Wendy Schoen, now the only source that I am aware of is Farmhouse Fabrics. Lace tape has a pull thread on either side just like heirloom lace insertion.

Because lace tape lacks the transparency of lace, it is unnecessary to cut away the foundation fabric beneath the lace tape. Consequently, the integrity of the fabric is not compromised and the garment is sturdier.

Its uses run the gamut from a substitute for lace insertion to shadow applique’ when applied to the underside of sheer fabric to tuck filler for shadowed shark’s teeth and more.

PEGGY’S DAYGOWNS: Evidence of this growing awareness of its charms can be seen in Peggy Dilbone’s precious daygown projects for Martha Pullen’s Sewing for Baby school. Viking educator Peggy always comes up with to-die-for projects and these daygowns are as sweet as anything she has designed.

The pink daygown features shaped lace tape bows and machine embroidery. Gentle gathers offer enough fullness for comfort but not so much as to make the lace tape bows disappear in the fabric folds. What mother would not love this for her baby girl? It would be as much fun to make this puff sleeved pink confection as it would be to dress a little darling in it.

The zig zag lace tape design on the tailored blue daygown makes a no-nonsense statement. In place of gathers, simple pleats offer the same fullness, allowing the geometric lace tape pattern to present complete. Even the most wary father would happily put on his soon-to-be rough and tumble son.The straight, piped sleeves identify this as a boy daygown as certainly as does the blue color.

Connie Palmer blue lace tape on a christening gown for one of Martha Pullen’s School of Art Fashion in Huntsville, AL.

Connie christening gown

LACE TAPE HISTORY: In 1986 at a clearance warehouse, I happened upon 30 yd. spools this product labelled knitting ribbon. Impressed with the fine quality, I purchased enough of the lovely stuff to knit a peach, aqua and ivory striped shell for my 9 year old Rebecca. Frugal young mother that I tried to be, I was pleased to have made a major savings over the $90 original price of for this quantity of what I later named lace tape.

As the stitches grew into rows of stockinette, my imagination kept taking this “knitting ribbon”down my favorite daydream path, my well-traveled Heirloom Sewing Lane. Before the front of the shell was finished, I had returned to the warehouse and purchased the entire lot.Then I unravelled the knitting stitches that had kept my fingers busy while my mind pondered possible heirloom applications. I pressed it and wrapped it onto lace cards.

Shortly thereafter, I was teaching at Martha Pullen’s school in Huntsville. At the market, I sold lace tape (not the unravelled sweater tape) like hot dogs at a baseball game.

Of course, my salvage house supply was quickly sold out and I had to find a source.This long and complicated story involved a middle of the night consultation with my husband who was in Israel on business, another conversation with a man in Japan who spoke slightly more English than I spoke Japanese (NONE!), ultimately, a new supply of lace tape. The sale of this versatile stuff continued for many years.

At another teaching venue, I ran into a former student who had purchased a large amount of lace tape from me at Martha’s. Mary’s business was textile restorations for museums. She told me an amazing tale of how she had hand delivered a refurbished piece to a museum in upstate New York and was showered with praise from the curator.

He (or she, I don’t recall) bemoaned the fact that he/she would love to have a particularly significant wedding gown restored but the materials were no longer available.The gown was brought out and shown to Mary who was astounded to see that the “unavailable” material was none other than white lace tape! Mary was commissioned to do the restoration and later delivered it to the delighted curator.

So lace tape, as I named it, is not a new product, but an old product with a new use.

Many years later, my business drive to include lace tape in every one of my class projects and every magazine article killed my enthusiasm for the product. So I sold the business to Wendy Schoen. After a break, I once again find myself using lace tape in many class projects, magazine articles and garments for my grandchildren.

Lace tape has been featured on garments that graced the front cover of Sew Beautiful and numerous articles in that magazine as well as Creative Needle, Anne’s Glory Box, and likely others which I have not come across. After all, it’s no longer my baby.But I love it. You would too, so give it a try.

NOTE: To view other projects using lace tape, click on the lace tape category in the list at the top of the page.

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