Thursday, March 17, 2011

Luck of the Irish

Happy St. Patrick's Day from Shelburne Museum! In honor of the holiday, we thought we would share with you some of the "Irish" objects in our collection.

Although none of the following items were actually produced in Ireland, they all share a common thread --the are ornamented with Irish crochet.

Women's Boudoir Cap, Circa 1900
Lawn and silk cap with floral springs and pink ribbon.

Irish crochet first appeared in the 1840s, during the famine years in Ireland. This unique type of intricate lace was perfected in an effort to turn pastime creations into commercial products.

During the 1930s, mass-produced Irish crochet appeared on the market from China and was used to trim dresses and undergarments.

Here are just a few of the Irish crocheted garments in our collection!

Cream Lace Jacket, 1915.
Hand made knee-length jacket with floral leaf design.


Pat Earnshaw, A Dictionary of Lace (Aylesbury, UK: Shire Publications, LTD, 1982)

Clara M. Blum, Old World Lace: Or, A Guide for the Lace Lover (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1920)

Corset Cover, 1913-1920.

Hand sewn corset cover embellished with Irish crochet.


  1. beautiful work - from a bygone era, people don't take the time away from the tv and computer to do work like this anymore

  2. Thank you for posting these, it's so nice to be able to blow up the photos. The corset cover is amazing! The shape, the lace, and the pin tucking details are so beautiful. May I ask, is it silk?

    I don't know how ladies survived summers in full dress. Drawers, chemise, corset, corset cover, petticoat, bustle, skirt, underskirt, and bodice? I can't imagine how hot it must have been. Not to mention the reduced lung capacity due to the corseting. No wonder they needed fainting couches.

  3. Hi Monica,
    Love the collection and the superb commentary!!
    We miss you
    Best wishes
    Doc. O