Leavers Machine Lace Sample Collection

Leavers machine lace sample. C. 1900, France. From The Underpinnings Museum collection

Date:  c. 1900

Origin: France

Fabric: Lace, composition likely a mix of silk and cotton.


A collection of Leavers machine lace samples once held by a French haberdashery boutique. These lace styles would likely have been used in outer clothing as well as lingerie and you can see similar designs in our lingerie collections from this time period.

The collection contains a variety of lace types, including galloon (scalloped on top and bottom edges), flounce (scalloped on one side) and allover (a continuous allover design). It contains both narrow and wide trims, and allover wide lace without finished edges. Each piece of lace is accompanied by a label detailing the style number and price, as well as occasionally the width and colour of the style. Colours have a relatively limited palette, being limited to grège, ocre, noir, ivoire and rose.

The Leavers loom was created in 1813 by John Lever, an adaptation with a Jacquard loom head to the bobbin net machine created by John Heathcote in 1808. The machine allowed for complex lace to be made that imitated handmade bobbin lace in a fraction of the time, making lace much more accessible for use in clothing. By 1841 the machine had been developed to a level that allowed for lace that had a pattern, net and outline to be made.



From the collection of Karolina Laskowska

Museum number: KL-2017-028


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