Lace is an ornate and delicate fabric that has been fashionable for hundreds of years. In modern times, lace is used on pillows, curtains, underwear, and wedding dresses. Before you purchase lace, you must decide exactly what it will be used for.
The earliest evidence of lace dates to the 13th century, but the use lace did not become widespread until the 16th century. Originally, only the wealthy could afford it, but modern manufacturing has made lace more readily available.
There are many types of lace, including Alençon, Chantilly, eyelet, Guipure, Schiffli, and Venice (or Venise) lace.
Alençon is the type most often used on bridal dresses. It was developed in France, and has fine needlepoint floral designs on a netted base.
Chantilly lace originated in the mid-1800s as a fine silk floral or scrolled design, and was traditionally black and used for funeral attire.
Eyelet is a more simple style, most often cotton with small patterns of holes, or eyelets. Rather than on a net, eyelet lace is on a solid piece of fabric and is therefore not used as an overlay, but rather a trim.
Guipure tends to be more stiff than other types of lace, and has embroidered patterns held together by connecting threads.
Schiffli lace is machine made, embroidered on a net that later disintegrates or is burnt away, leaving only the embroidery pattern.
Venice lace is another type that is heavy, and the parts are attached by thread bars rather than being embroidered on a net, and its floral designs are often found on lingerie.
Lace is available in many colours and sizes. If you need a trim, the width can range from about a half inch wide, often used for details on a blouse, to 6 inches wide, great for the edge of a skirt or tablecloth. Lace is also available in bolts for larger projects, from 45 inches to 110 inches wide.
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