Heighton WI




Last night we presented our Regency Talk and Costume Display for Heighton WI – Heighton is a very pretty village quite close to Newton Aycliffe.It was for a special WI event called a friendship evening and we were happy to present the entertainment.

The ladies enjoyed special cake and gateaux baked specially for the event  – enjoyed with prosecco wine. We were of course asked to join them however an alcoholic beverage is possibly not the best idea prior to presenting a costume talk!

I presented my Regency Talk which included costumes inspired by  Jane Austen and Empress Josephine among others.


After the talk I was pleased to offer a question and answer session.

One of the very interesting questions included –

What types of lace were used in the regency period? 

One of the most popular was Van Dyke lace also called Saw Tooth lace. This type of lace trim were called after Sir Anthony Van Dyck, he was a Flemish painter from the 17th Century and also famously painted portraits of the British Royal family at that period.


A lot of his work shows the elaborate  V-shaped lace collars and scalloped edges worn by both ladies and gentlemen in his portraits.  Famously the pointed Vandyke beard was named after him. The most famous example of this is his portrait of Charles I , it shows three views of the King. If you look at the portrait you can see both the fashionable pointed beard and the pointed lace collar.

Vandyke points are labour intensive as they had deeply indented trims and decorations, whether they were made of lace or cloth. They were sewn by hand during the regency period – one can only imagine the work that went into them!

As well as being popular for collars, they could also be used to decorate and embellish lace caps, edge skirts  as well as necklines. They could also be used on the sleeves of dresses and be part of delicate muslin borders.

The edges you see in children’s dresses are sewn by hand – very time consuming – however the results are amazing.


This type of lace is still made for modern edgings,  all of the edges were once hand-tatted; they are now created machine made, but the lace looks no less beautiful. I used Van Dyke lace on my white gown which is worn with a red cotton velvet spencer and bonnet.

This type of lace was popular during the 17th Century right up to the regency period.

We had a super evening and would like to thank Carol, Judith and Keith for their help in making the evening such a success we certainly enjoyed presenting it!

We will be returning to Heighton WI to present my new talk “Marie Antoinette and what she wore to the Revolution” – we are certainly looking forward to it!



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