Origins of Lace
We don't know an exact time period when lace came into use. But it's thought that in the early 1500's the development of lace or "knots" began in Italy and the technology was brought to Switzerland where the production was refined closer to what we are accustomed to today.
Embroidery gradually shared processes with lace manufacturing by adding the styles of making loops, stitching between cut out areas of fabric and decorative stitching joining adjacent fabric seams together. These techniques allowed "Punto in Aria" textiles to grow in dimension and complexity as well as providing the flexibility for artisans to copy textile designs from other needlework disciplines.
Lace, in its new refined form, is generally spread throughout England, France, Spain and other parts of Europe. These new fashionable textiles were generally spread with the movement of the upper classes to new lands as well as the displacement of artisans from their homes by force in various political upheavals.
In the early 17th century, the British industrial revolution was changing the shape of the work force created goods. Textiles were no exception to this shift, and lace saw a rapid development of decorative laces based on a machine made fabric net. With advancements in each machine that produced these nets by the middle of the century most of the popular hand made designs were recreated by steel and power. The exception to this were some of the more complex designs such as Cluny lace. This shift to mechanical production made laces more affordable and accessible to a wider variety of the population. By the first decade of the 20th century hand made laces were all but extinct.
The industrial revolution made lace more accessible and eventually the technology crossed the Atlantic to the new world, but in today's economy domestic production of lace is minimal. There are a few facilities left, but most high volume production is done in Asia. With the lowering costs of manufacture, laces are more accessible than ever before.
Most of the trims that VintageTrims.com stock came from the now extinct manufacturers in the United States. These rare textiles are valued by restoration artists and historic fashion designers. We have curated a wide variety of beautiful laces and preserved them in our warehouse to meet the needs of your next project.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Foundation.