Lace is a sheer and delicate fabric. It features an openwork pattern and is usually made of natural materials: silk, cotton, wool, viscose. Depending on a type, lace ranges from lightweight to heavy.
Among the most popular designs are floral, botanical and geometric. When sewing clothes, lace can be used as the main material or for decorating hems. Here is an overview of lace types, uses, pros and cons of this fabric, leading manufacturers and latest fashion trends.
What Are the Types of Lace?
Nowadays, lace fabric is widely used not only in bridal fashion, but also for finishing casual clothes, sewing evening or festive outfits, and even for lingerie.
Here are the main types of lace, which are extremely popular today:
- Chantilly lace is a type of lightweight lace (30-180 g/m 2) on a net background, usually with a floral pattern, outlined with silk threads. The name of lace came from French city Chantilly. This type of lace is a timeless classic. Sheer or semi-sheer, with scalloped edges, it is perfect for bridal fashion, airy evening gowns or overlays.
- Guipure lace is a heavy type of lace (70-400 g/m 2, wool guipure lace can weigh up to 800 g/m 2), which features a raised design. It does not have a net background like Chantilly lace, elements of guipure lace are connected with braids. It’s a great choice for casual and evening dresses, blouses, skirts, jackets and outwear.
- Lyon lace is a type of lace made of pure cotton with the weight of 90-150 g/m 2. This lace has a complex pattern, woven on a lightweight tulle and outlined with a cord thread. It is produced on the original looms, which remained from the 19th century. Perfect for a wedding dress.
- Corded lace is a type of lace outlined with a soutache cord, which creates a volumetric effect. The weight is 45-185 g/m 2. Choose it for a wedding or evening dress, for decorating of any attire or as overlay material.
- Embroidered lace is perfect for evening wear. The weight is 100-550 g/m 2. Lots of beads, sequins, crystals, ribbons, satin stitch embroidery and more create a festive look. It is extremely popular for fashioning haute couture gowns. Ideal for evening wear, bridal gowns.
- Lace applique is a piece of openwork material. The weight depends on a décor, with beads and bugles lace appliques can have the same weight as embroidered lace.
Lace fabric collection at Tissura
Another classification refers to handmade laces and their production method. There is needle lace, bobbin lace, crochet and tatting.
- Needle lace. This type of lace is created with a needle and thread based on the pattern, usually applied on a parchment paper.
- Bobbin lace is made with threads, wrapped around bobbins. It is also known as pillow lace.
- Crochet from French means ‘small hook’, as the production process involves using a crochet hook when the lace is handmade. It also can be manufactured on a loom as strips of lace material, which will be sewn together.
- Tatting lace is a type of handcrafted lace, made of a series of knots and loops with a tatting shuttle.
Stretch Lace Fabric
Stretch lace fabric usually contains elastic fibers – spandex or lycra (elastane). Due to these fibers, lace has a great stretch factor and becomes durable. Lace with elastic fibers is absolutely versatile. Use it for sleeves, adorn your lingerie, decollete or use for multilayered outfits, coats, skirts, dresses and more.
African lace is a type of industrial embroidery on cotton, sateen, linen made by Swiss or Austrian manufacturers for the Western Africa market. European manufacturers decided to choose vibrant colors, typical for traditional clothing in the region. This embroidery looks very similar to guipure but it is not lace in the conventional sense. The name Nigerian lace, which is often used, is explained by the fact that Nigeria was one of the major export markets for Swiss companies. The other names of this embroidery are Austrian lace or Swiss lace.
Pros and Cons of Lace
Laces are works of textile art. They bring beauty and pleasure to everyday life. Nevertheless, lace has both pros and cons. Here are the main of them:
- Beautiful. It looks stunning and feminine, perfect for a romantic look.
- Versatile. The material is an ideal choice for evening and casual clothes, finishing and more.
- Airy. It is breathable and has a pleasant texture.
- Festive. Casual clothes decorated with lace look stunning.
- Fragile. It can be easily damaged.
- Price. It is not a secret that laces made of natural materials by leading European manufacturers are expensive.
- Transparency. It’s possible to use lace for separate elements or in combination with other materials. One may also insert a lining for more opacity.
- Labor-consuming care. Dry-cleaning will be the best option, but a hand wash is also possible. Dry any garment with lace horizontally.
Properties and qualities
Lace is an openwork fabric handmade or machine-made. Depending on a type, its weight is from lightweight to heavy. It is breathable, sheer and may require a lining. The lace is soft to the touch, especially if made with silk, cotton or wool. With synthetic fibers it is more durable. Metallic threads add shimmering. The typical patterns are floral and botanical, but the design can often be geometric, ornamental, with stripes and waves, checks and paisley. The lace fabric is perfect for evening, bridal and casual wear, home textiles, lingerie, finishing.
How to Care for Lace Fabric?
Lace fabric requires delicate care. Dry-cleaning is preferable. First of all, check the care label before washing. If hand wash is allowed, choose a gentle cleaning agent, use cold water, and dry on a towel after washing. If the lace is machine washable, select the delicate mode, use a wash bag and mild detergent. In case of improper care, for example, if a temperature of the water is higher than recommended, shrinkage is possible. Note, embroidered lace is not washable.
If possible, try to avoid ironing. It is especially important in case the lace contains synthetic fibers, because they can melt. If you decided to use iron, note the lace should be treated very carefully. Put the lace on a towel and place a press cloth or a plain cotton fabric between the iron and lace. Choose the proper temperature. If you want to dry the wet lace with iron, gradually raise the temperature from cool to cool-medium. When the lace is almost dry, put the iron aside. To avoid stretching, dry heavy lace apparel flat.