The History of Lace Fabric and How It Is Made
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  • Sewing Fabrics
  • Posted November 05, 2015
The History of Lace Fabric and How It Is Made

History of Lace Fabric and How It's Made

History of Lace Fabric and How It's Made

Lace has long been a treasured decorative element for fashion, especially bridal fashion. Cherished for its delicate workmanship and airy patterns, lace has been worn as an adornment since the 15th Century. This is a look at the history of lace, its origins, different forms, and its use in wedding fashions.

A color black cloth made of lace fabric.(Picture from

There is some dispute over whether Italy or Flanders can lay claim to the invention of needle lace in the 15th Century. It is certain that bobbin lace was first developed in Italy and Flanders (a region on the border of Belgium and France) at around the same time, though it is not known if one region was the first to develop the technique. Before the late 15th Century, there was no true lace being created (although there is some speculation that it may have been made by the ancient Romans). Decorative trims were created by a system of drawn work, in which threads are removed from a woven cloth to create open patterns, which are then reinforced with embroidery. When the techniques for bobbin and needle lace were created, it was a departure: rather than remove sections from a solid cloth, the open designs were created in thread over a pattern, and there was no backing fabric

Needle Lace And Bobbin Lace

A sample of a needle lace.(Picture from

The term needle lace generally refers to a fabric with an open design which has been created using a needle and thread over a pattern. The pattern is drawn on a heavy backing, which will be removed at the end, leaving only the open lace. Bobbin lace is created by twisting a series of bobbins with thread over a network of pins on a pillow. Once it is finished, the pins are removed, and the beautiful lace is released from the pillow. Both of these are hand techniques; it was not until the 19th Century that machines became widely used to make lace.

Taking Care of Lace-Made Clothes

Lace is a netlike ornamental fabric made by hand or machine of cotton, linen or synthetic fibers. It is delicate and beautiful and will last for many years if treated with care.All lace should be hand washed using cool water and a mild detergent. If the item is a garment, button and zip completely to avoid snags that can tear the lace netting. Avoid vigorous scrubbing which will distort the fibers. Rinse well and do not wring to remove water, gently squeeze.

Washing clothes made of lace fabric.(Picture from

If you have an heirloom lace tablecloth that needs cleaning, you can make it more stable by basting it with white cotton thread to an old white cotton sheet. Wash the stabilized cloth by hand, rinse well and air dry. Remove the sheet by pulling the basting thread and store your clean, lace cloth.

Lace should be air dried or dried flat, never in the dryer. Delicate pieces may need to be reshaped during drying. If ironing is needed, place a thick white towel over the ironing board and use a press cloth between the iron and the lace. This will prevent crushing the details of the lace and prevent snags that can rip or tear.


Alvin is a fashion and lifestyle writer who has recently earned interest in sewing his own clothes. Writing for Sewing Ideas gives him another avenue to express his experiences and learning in his sewing journey.

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