Lace Manufacture

Lace fabric is a fine, open work fabric. It can be made from various fibres such as cotton, linen, silk, wool or synthetic fibres. Lace fabric is usually produced by applying these fibres to a net or mesh ground in patterns; these are usually floral or geometric. Originally, all lace was handmade and this made it really expensively, however with the introduction of machine production there has been a steady decline in the price of lace. There are many kinds of lace such as Chantilly Lace, Filet Lace, Bobbin Lace, Needle Lace and All over Lace. Today lace is used as a trimming, on garments such as lingerie, and extensively in Bridal wear, sometimes being used for whole garments.

Lace fabric can be made by either removing thread or fabric from a previously woven piece of fabric, but more often it is made purposefully with the open spaces in between. This is done by looping or entwining the tread or threads together. The definition of true lace is an open weave fabric that is not attached to a backing piece of fabric in any way. This true lace did not appear in Europe until the 15th or 16th Century and was all made by hand. The patterns in lace are usually floral motifs or looping patterns. Lace can also be embellished with beads.

Lace reached the height of its popularity in the 18th Century when it was used to replace embroidery as decoration on garments. Machine made lace first appeared in around 1760 and was developed until 1813 when the bobbinet machine was perfected.

Properties of Lace

  • Delicate
  • Lasts well
  • Must be cared for properly
  • Available in many colours, although white is the most common
  • Open weave
  • Can snag easily
  • Available in many patterns
  • Unique pieces if handmade
  • Expensive to produce
  • Various properties can be achieved depending on the fibres used to make the lace

End Uses of Lace

  • Bridalwear
  • Collars
  • Cuffs
  • Decorations
  • Veils
  • Shawls
  • Trims

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Written by Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell, extremely competent and reliable, she is currently in her third year at the University of Lincoln UK, studying Fashion. Kelly is responsible for the Fabrics, Fibers and Leathers sections of our Dictionary

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