Lace is a delicate, classic, elegant fabric, and is widely used for creating romantic tops, party gowns and skirts, decorations, bridal veils, bridal gowns and more. Lace is made of yarn or thread in an open weblike pattern. Originally linen, silk, gold, or silver threads were used, now lace is often made with cotton thread.
Lace has always been a popular element in fashion since the day it was invented. What is charming about lace is that, sometimes it can be a luxury, sometimes it can simply be a normal daily use. After the introduction below, you will not regard lace as simple as just holes in material any more, and hopefully, it can help you have a better understanding in how to choose the best lace type and style, and how to take care of the lace products you own.
The History of Lace
When did lace originate? Although no definite date can be given for the ‘invention’ of lace, it is most likely that what we now regard as lace arose in the early sixteenth century from Venice.
Fashion has always driven lace production. Towards the end of the sixteenth century ruffs and standing collars demanded bold geometric needlelace. Through the early years of the 1600s these were gradually replaced by softer collars requiring many yards of relatively narrow linen bobbin lace. At the same time there was increasing demand for gold and silver lace to edge gloves, shoe roses, jackets and sashes, and also to provide surface decoration for other garments. By the middle of the seventeenth century linen lace was again worn flat, and both needle and bobbin lace makers had refined their skills to produce some extremely intricate work, with the raised needle lace known as Gros Point and the flowing forms of Milanese bobbin lace being among the greatest achievements of the period.
Through the eighteenth century lace became increasingly delicate, often worked in extremely fine linen thread with increasing use of mesh grounds. French needle laces – Argentan and Alençon – and Flemish bobbin laces – Binche, Valenciennes, Mechlin – began to dominate the market, with items such as cravat ends and lappets used to display the wealth and demonstrate the good taste of the wearer.
The Type of Lace
Needle lace is made using a needle and thread, often within insertions cut out of woven fabric. The needle works over a supporting thread to make stitches for bulkier and knotted appearance. This is the most flexible of the lace making art. Needles and bobbins were used to make fashionable laces during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and they are still the two main techniques of handmade lace in use today.
As the name suggests, bobbin lace is made with bobbins and a pillow. The pattern is pinned to the pillow, and the bobbins are held in the hands and passed over and under one another in intricate patterns dictated by the paper pattern. Antique bobbin lace was made for embellishing and decorating purposes. Nowadays, lace makers do sometimes use the old designs to make reproductions.
Tatted lace is made with an oval shuttle with one pointy end. Normally, when making the lace, the lace makers will have thread wrapped around one hand as they work,and have the shuttle move over and under these wrapped threads to make the knots. Tatting is a type of lace often characterized as Victorian, although it predates Queen Victoria’s reign.
Crochet lace has many types including Irish crochet, (which is a particular style of crochet invented during the 19th century), pineapple crochet, and filet crochet. Crochet lace is usually made with a steel hook, and sometimes with plastic and wooden hook for large scale work. Crochet is a very useful technique for making objects for home.
The guipure lace is stitched with embroidery threads that form a continuous motif. The stitching ground is made of water-soluble or non-heat-resistant material. After the stitching is done, the ground is removed in high temperature water. This type of lace is soft, smooth and luxurious.
Styles of Lace Dresses
Of course, lace isn’t just restricted to dresses; all good fashion has it’s accessories. From purses to shoes, earrings to bracelets, lace can be an excellent material to create that special accessory for your outfits!
How to Care for Lace Clothes
All lace should be hand washed using cool water and a mild detergent. Button and zip completely to avoid snagging that can tear the lace netting. Rinse gently by hand, or wrap it in a dry towel to suck the water out. You should always dry your lace items in the air and on a flat board, remember never put them in the dryer. If you need to iron them, placing a thick white towel will be a good idea. In this way, any crushing or ripping can be prevented.
source: LUNSS COUTURE