Lace is a lightweight fabric that is often decorated with holes set out in patterns. Lace is often used to add detail to garments in collars and borders and is also used to create entire garments such as lingerie and nightwear. Lace has been produced since early civilisation in different forms. Lace as we know it today has been produced since the close of the fifteenth century.Different Kinds of Lace
Lace is created by twisting, braiding, or looping connecting threads which are independent from a backing fabric. What we consider as lace nowadays is made from cotton thread. Older varieties of lace were much more lavish and used higher quality threads made from silk, linen, silver and even gold.
Although modern lace isn't usually as luxurious as older styles there are still many different kinds of lace, some of which are described below.
- Knitted Lace is a fast to produce, soft form of lace. As it is not as fine as other kinds of lace it is better suited for use in making clothes. Knitted lace is characterized by its arrangement of stable holes in patterns. Some forms of knitted lace are almost entirely comprised of holes and are extremely fine. Examples include Shetland knitting which increased in popularity during the nineteenth century due to Queen Victoria's vocal enthusiasm.
- Bobbin Lace is woven using bobbins and a pillow. The lace being made is pinned in place on the pillow while the bobbin holds the threads in place. As the threads are wound they weave shapes into the lace producing a form of lace, renowned for its soft and delicate qualities. This lace was extremely popular throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries before the effects of the industrial revolution took hold. There were many different varieties including Bedfordshire, Honiton and Torchon.
- Needle Lace is considered by many as the highest standard of lace available. As its name suggests, needle lace is made using a needle and thread. The end result is extremely fine as a needle is used to stitch hundreds of minute stitches. Some of the finest forms of needle lace were made using a unique thread which is no longer available. Some varieties of needle lace are higher quality than the best bobbin lace and can be made in less time. Other even higher quality forms can be made although they take longer to make. Needle lace originates from Armenia where it is thought to have been produced for over two thousand years.
- Machine Lace is a term used to describe any kind of lace created using machinery. Since the arrival of the industrial revolution many handicrafts diminished as machines became more economic to produce goods on a larger scale. Varieties of machine made lace include chemical and warp knit lace.