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The Folger Spotlight

It's the Little Things: Lace Details in Sense & Sensibility

In this post, designer Mariah Hale explains where she found the lace for the beautiful costumes in Sense & Sensibility. Some of the details on the dresses are so small they are almost invisible from the audience, so we’re giving you a close-up look! Check out Mariah’s post about neckties for a detailed look at the men’s costumes, and read on to find out how vintage lace made its way on stage!

From Mariah: 

Like help, good lace is hard to find these days. I recently received two large boxes of vintage textiles from my Aunt who was clearing an estate and it was like Christmas going through the goodies within. In addition to a huge collection of ladies gloves, an ancient “travel” iron, and dozens of vintage table linens, there also were piles and piles of handkerchiefs.

Tanta, my Aunt’s husband’s Aunt, obviously practiced tatting in her youth on the edges of many of these delightful hankies. Now, I’m a great user and collector of hankies. They are always affordable at an antique store and I find them irresistible: I already had piles and piles! But the tatted laced-edged hankies were new to me and it seemed a shame to simply use them as handkerchiefs.

Couple my inability to find beautiful lace for my clothes in Sense & Sensibility with a priceless collection of vintage handmade lace and voila! I have managed to transfer these delightful, delicate-but-sturdy, hand-tatted lace edges to almost all of the ladies’ costumes one way or another. In two cases, I’ve cut up vintage purchased table linens to trim the ladies’ chemises. I’m proud of myself for up-cycling and re-using something otherwise relegated to an attic and I’m thrilled with the quality and character that it brings to the clothes.

Don’t miss the chance to see Mariah’s beautiful costumes in person! Sense & Sensibility is now on stage at the Folger Theatre. For tickets and more information, visit us online or call the Folger Box Office at 202.544.7077.