17 April 2014

A family heirloom - a hand embroidered doily

I was given this embroidered doily after the death of my great aunt - it had been embroidered by her mother, my great grandmother, Ellen Paterson Wilkey née Macindoe (1876-20 Apr 1967). I treasure it because of my own love of embroidery, and have it framed and hanging on the wall in my bedroom. One day, when I meet her in heaven, my great grandmother may well ask me why I stuck it on the wall in a frame instead of using it!

The other day I was looking through some books on Antique Pattern Library, and was stunned when I came across the pattern! There is only one small difference that I can find in the way my great grandmother stitched it compared to the pattern and I'm quite convinced it is the pattern she followed. The pattern is from a DMC pattern book, Drawn Thread Work, edited by Thérésa de Dillmont, and was published in about 1895. This definitely fits within the time that my great grandmother might have been stitching.

Why do I think this is significant? I'd been told of my great grandmother's sewing skills, but finding the published pattern shows me that ordinary women stitched these designs - it wasn't mass produced in a factory somewhere. She was definitely talented - it's not an easy pattern!

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