Something about me...

HEATHER TOOMER MA,(Cantab); Dip. Ed

I am a freelance lecturer, author and consultant on antique lace and whitework embroideries, being particularly concerned with their identification, their use in costume and the history of their craft industries.

My interest in lace and whitework started over 35 years ago when I bought my first pieces of lace and tried to identity them through books and museum visits. Since then I have collected continuously and built up a very substantial and wide-ranging collection including lace, whitework and small costume items such as decorative babies’ robes and accessories.

Being a trained teacher, I started lecturing on their history and identification at an early stage, fitting this in with my other careers, initially in teaching but later in patent work. In the 1980s I worked with Exeter Museums to set up their new lace displays in Rougemont house (since closed) and the travelling exhibition ‘Lifting the Veil: a closer look at antique lace’ which was drawn from my own collection and toured the country for two years. It was then that I wrote my first lace book for Batsford, a revised edition being published by Schiffer in 2001 under the title ‘Antique Lace: identifying types and techniques’.

More recently I have given up patent work to work full time with textiles. Having become particularly interested in whitework I have spent several years researching the subject to produce my most recent works, “Baby wore white: robes for special occasions, 1800-1910” (2005); "Embroidered with white: the 18th century fashion for Dresden lace and other whiteworked accessories" (2008) and its sequel "White-embroidered costume accessories: the 1790s to 1840s"(2013).

I particularly enjoy sharing my collection and my enthusiasm with students in workshops.

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Isabella Harding | Reply 23.03.2014 21.16

I have a whitework christening gown which has been dated around 1840. It is yellowed and stained and I wondered if you had any advice or would be able to help?

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Latest comments

23.06 | 11:50

Thanks for message, yes I will have European Laces .... will pay by Paypal if possible .... thanks.

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18.06 | 17:50

Dear Ann,
Glad you like my books. European Laces is now £5.50 including post I'm afraid - postage has gone up since I last updated. If that's OK please email me

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17.06 | 17:07

Hello Heather,
Would like your book 'European Lace' please let me know the price + post.
I am UK and bought from you several times before and love them all.
Ann

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06.12 | 17:15

I have sent, Thanks

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