We’ll go over both the hand-made and industrial production processes for lace in this article.
The wedding season has officially begun in June. The Royal Wedding was a little over a year ago, which is incredible to think about. Even so, we can still clearly recall the cut, train, and most exquisitely detailed lace of Kate Middleton’s enduring wedding dress.
Lace is a delicate fabric that is woven from yarn or thread, and it stands out for its distinctive openwork patterns. Or, to put it another way, because of the intricate, ornamental designs that incorporate gaps or openings.
So how are lacemaking techniques, both modern and ancient, made? Check out the thread to find out more.
How is Lace Fabric Made?
Tens or even hundreds of spools of thread are combined to create one piece of lace. A piece of lace is made using a variety of thread types. For our purposes, the two important ones are:
- the warp threads: these run up and down the fabric; and
- the weft threads: these run from one side of the fabric to the other
The weft is passed over or under the warp while the warp is held taut to create a weave that is at right angles to one another. Every pattern dictates how this should be done, so it is done in a specific order.
There are three main forms of handmade lace:
- Needle lace is one of the more widely recognized forms of lace making. Using this method, the thicker outlines of the motif motifs are first embroidered. After establishing the framework, the outlines are filled in with a variety of stitches, depending on the design.
- Bobbin lace also known as pillow lace, is another major group. The required threads are wound onto bobbins. A pillow is shaped with pins to form the pattern for the lace, which is then created by weaving threads through the pins. Since there are typically many bobbins to keep track of, it becomes challenging, but the outcome is elegant and delicate.
- Chemical lace is made by embroidering a pattern on a type of fabric that is not resistant to caustic chemicals. The lace is subsequently submerged in chemicals until the base fabric disintegrates, revealing only the lace pattern. Chemical lace is simpler to stitch, but it is not as high-quality as bobbin or needle lace.
How Lace is Manufactured?
Currently, the majority of lace is produced in factories using machines that handle every step of the process, from weaving it to dyeing, drying, and folding it.
Weaving the Threads
In a modern factory, lace is typically produced using hundreds of threads. A portion of these threads is initially fed simultaneously into a separator. This acts like a comb to keep the threads separate and in order, as suggested by its name.
Onto a sizable spool, these are then wound. This is referred to as the ground spool and matches the warp thread.
The weft threads are kept on large spools, while the mesh threads are kept on small spools. The loom receives both the warp and the weft threads, which are then fed into it to be interwoven in a predetermined pattern. The loom is made up of two components:
- A pair of hooks and needles are used to weave the fabric; each hook is connected to a spool of mesh thread.
- a set of swappable cards that have each been punched with a tiny hole; each of the holes on the cards matches a hook and serves as the card’s instructions.
As gatekeepers, the cards act. If a thread is required at a specific time, the card will be holed, instructing the hook to lift it into action. If not, the hook will not move. The Jacquard apparatus of the 19th century served as the foundation for this system.
These are referred to as jacquard cards. Until the lace is the desired size, a pattern can be repeatedly weaved using the rotating cards on a loop.
Cutting Loose Ends
Blades are used to cut any loose threads as they pass over the front of the lace. Workers search for any leftovers that they can take out by hand. They also look for any flaws. These will be repaired before the dyeing process.
A dyeing machine is used to apply the dye. The lace is then stretched across moving bars to rinse it and wring out the moisture.
The lace enters the machine for finishing while it is still a little damp. The lace is straightened out and any kinks are removed here by rollers. After that, the fabric is given a chemical treatment to help it retain its shape and feel softer. It finally goes into the dryer.
A second roller rolls the lace after folding it. Once packaged, it is prepared for transport. The history of lace-making comes to an end with that.
History of Lace Fabric
The history of lace is up for debate. Prior to the Renaissance, fabrics resembling lace were widely used throughout the Middle East, and ornamented openwork fabrics were frequently used in ancient Egyptian burial garb.
However, since genuine lace began to appear in both Flemish and Italian paintings starting in the 15th century, lace experts believe that one of these two countries is where this fabric has its roots.
It’s possible that various varieties of lace had different places of origin. For instance, needle lace probably originated in Italy, while bobbin lace appears to be a fabric with a Flemish heritage. Lace had spread throughout Europe by the middle of the 16th century and was now a common and prominent design element in Renaissance paintings.
France also became a significant lace producer during the period of 1600–1800, joining Italy and Flanders as the primary lace producers. During this time, Germany, England, and Spain all produced lace, but none of these countries exported a sizable amount of lace fabric.
The Industrial Revolution brought about many previously unimaginable advancements in textile manufacturing at the beginning of the 19th century, including machines that automated the lace-making process.
As a result, lace fabric dropped significantly in price, and by 1840, women’s fashion was once more heavily reliant on lace. Lace had by this time been abandoned for men’s clothing, but it has since remained essential, if relatively unimportant, element of women’s fashion.
Till the early 20th century, handmade lace remained relatively popular despite the undeniable simplicity and effectiveness of machine-made lace. By the middle of the 20th century, lace-making had spread to many different countries, expanding the scope of what had previously been a purely European textile tradition.
Final Thoughts: How is Lace Fabric Made?
Lace was historically made with silk or linen threads, though some textile craftspeople also used gold or silver thread to create this fabric.
However, cotton has recently taken the lead as the fabric of choice for making lace, though some producers also use synthetic materials like polyester or rayon.
How is Lace Cloth Made?
A pattern is embroidered onto a fabric type that isn’t resistant to caustic chemicals by textile manufacturers to create chemical lace. After that, chemicals are used to soak the lace until the base fabric disintegrates, leaving only the lace pattern intact.
Is Lace Still Made by Hand?
There are a few parts of the world where hand-made lace is still produced for sale, but increasingly through the twentieth-century lacemaking became a craft undertaken for pleasure.
Is Lace Knit Or Woven?
Lace knitting is a style of knitting characterized by stable “holes” in the fabric arranged with consideration of aesthetic value. Because of its complexity and the difficulty of creating holes in woven fabrics, lace is sometimes regarded as the knitting medium’s pinnacle.