Mixed lace bertha, machine and handmade, silk tape, silk stitching, [Australia], early 1900's (OF). Specimen of needle point silk lace bertha (SB).
Design: Scalloped headside border formed by linked floral motifs worked with several different filling stitches, larger 8-petalled flowers between each scallop and group of 3 flowers fills each scallop, large leaf sprigs fill the body of the bertha to the tape engrelure.
Technique: Tape lace technique with needle worked bars and filling stitches between the main design elements. The main design elements are outlined with a machine made tape. Most of the spaces within the design elements are filled with buttonholed needle lace filling stitches; the spaces between the design
elements are mostly filled with needlewoven bars, flowers or circles. Many of
the flowers have extra machine tape petals in relief around a heavily
buttonholed centre ring.
The three-dimensional flowers are an unusual feature.
Mixed lace of this kind, often called "point lace", was an extremely popular pastime for women from the mid-1800s until at least the 1920s. Women's magazines carried patterns and instructions and haberdasheries sold the patterns (which were printed ready for working on glazed holland fabric) together with a selection of machine made tapes for the design outlines, and appropriate threads with which to create the filling stitches and joining bars.
Some artisitically inclined women also drew their own designs. Generally speaking the quality of this kind of lace was very variable, but remained popular for a long time because it was a simpler lacemaking technique than many others.