Sources claim that the art of making lace fabrics was probably first made in Greece, but its production received great impetus and popularity in Renaissance Italy, especially in the city of Venice.
Lace is a handmade luxury fabric that was woven exclusively by hand until the invention of textile machines in the late 18th century. It is an ‘openwork’ textile that is produced using a pin (or needle), bobbin or needle by the traditional process of knitting, sewing, crocheting, or knotting (also referred to as tatting).
There are a number of varieties of lace fabrics with all of them found abundantly at fabric stores on-line, and they are mainly classified by the process of their production. The main types of elegant lace fabrics include:
Needle Lace Works – Needle lace fabrics are basically produced using a needle and thread, and is known to be the most flexible way of making lace fabrics. The art of lace-making using the pin/needle method can be made more rapidly than the best of bobbin laces, but the more intricate ones are very time-consuming.
Many collectors of fine luxury lace works claim that needle work lace is the height of lace-making, with the finest of antique needle laces being made from very fine threads that can not be found anywhere today.
Knotting (Tatting) Lace Works – Tatting is a traditional hand crafting method that was used to produce durable lace fabrics and was/is constructed by a series of loops and knots and was and still is used to make luxury lace fabrics, décor textiles, lace edgings, collars and doilies.
This system of lace production dates to the early 19th century and the term is derived from French word frivolité, which refers to the creative and decorative aspects of luxury fabrics produced using this technique.
Bobbin Lace – Bobbin lace fabrics are produced with bobbins and a pillow. The bobbins are turned from plastic, wood, or traditionally bone. It holds the threads which are woven together and held in place with pins stuck to form a chosen pattern on the pillow. The pillow is filled with straw, sawdust or Styrofoam.
Bobbin lace is also referred to as bone lace, and a popular and bespoke type is Chantilly lace. Other types include cut-work lace, crocheted lace, tape lace, knitted lace, guipure and machine manufactured lace.
Vintage Lace – The Principal Types
According to historical sources, up until the 16th century open work embroidery art was the favourite decoration which seemed to evolve into lace making. And during the Renaissance period, the first book of embroidery patterns and lace-work appeared on the market. It was during the reign of Richard III of England that the term “lace” was first used in the descriptions of the royal wardrobe.
The best known vintage lace fabrics were those produced in Milan, Venice and Genoa. The Italians till this day still claim they invented needle made lace, but the traditional Venetian point is now a product of a past era. Some traditional types of lace textiles include the following:
Filet lace – a type of lace embroidered on a net fabric.
Reticella lace – a type of lace fabric made with the “drawn & cut” textile construction process.
Valenciennes, Duchess, Cluny and Chantilly lace – these are made with bobbin made patterns where the textile and its ornamentation is identical.
Irish lace – this type of lace is principally the crocheted genre. There are a few variations like Limerick that is a lace embroidered on net, and Carrickmacross which is cut lace.
Nottingham lace – this is a broad term used for la e that was machine produced, especially the inexpensive lace fabrics used for curtains sewn in one piece.
Brussels lace – this type covers a wide variety of lace fabrics.
Modern Lace Fabrics On-line
Modern lace fabrics came about as a result of American inventiveness, and are based on a simple construction process. It is quite easy to learn, so much so that many woman of average skill can make it with little difficulty.
Modern genres are really magnificent and exquisitely made as these elegant lace textiles has been developed to a high degree of perfection by its pioneer, Mrs. Grace B. McCormick. Specimens of modern laces range from dainty needle point lace to very elaborate types known as the Royal Battenburg. Today, the majority of fine lace material comes from England and France.
The beauty of lace is beyond question, their durability so desired, and their beautiful textures can vary from extreme and exquisite delicacy to an extravagant opposite, but all are produced with various braid arrangements in different patterns, with all connected by a large number and kinds of stitches with many different stitches often appearing in one variety or other of lace fabrics.
Lace fabrics are not only elegant and beautiful as overlay, but they also provide many diverse options for home décor trims, sleeve edging, apparel hems, and gown and evening clothing bodices.