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"The Dress Diary" of Mrs Anne Sykes

August 28, 2023 6:51 PM | Mary Mangan (Administrator)

I had heard a lot about this Dress Diary book because I follow Kate Strasdin on social media. But I didn't expect it to be hugely relevant to lace. Well, I should have known better.

First, her diary starts with Honiton lace on her wedding dress (scroll down on that first link to the last image). There's a whole chapter on lace making, partly because Kate is a lacemaker and this diary came to her via her local lace group! It's a lovely tribute to lace culture.

Then there are more lace samples, and just today I scanned the QR code in the book to get to this page with additional fabric samples, and there I also found black lace!

16 stunning Victorian textiles from The Dress Diary of Mrs Anne Sykes

In a separate interesting twist, on that page is a swatch of a Mrs Balestier. Mrs Balestier = Maria Revere, daughter of Paul Revere. She was friends with Anne in Singapore, it turns out. 

That said, it's mostly not about lace, but it reminds you of the importance of textiles and the economics around that. And I like it as a reminder that history is not sepia-toned. Some of those fabrics are just wild! 


  • September 05, 2023 10:18 AM | Jill Hawkins
    This was a fascinating read! Thank you! Do you know if the black lace is connected with Ipswich? I noticed that the samples all feature kat stitch ground.

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    • September 15, 2023 11:35 AM | Mary Mangan (Administrator)
      Oh, no, there was no indication about the sources of the lace. And I thought that was an interesting omission from Strasdin, who is apparently a lace community member. But, it is hard.
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