A history of lace making
There are many ways of making lace. The two main ways are bobbin lace or pillow lace and needlelace.
By 1600 bobbin lace making existed in England, as well as in other parts of Europe. Whereas hollie point, an English needlelace was found to be used in baby clothes and christening sets during the 18th and 19th century. This type of lace is completely flat and is usually made at home as it is mainly an amateur craft.
It appears that early laces were made mainly for the domestic market and the main lacemaking centres were in Buckinghamshire, East Midlands, Bedfordshire and the Honiton area of Devon. Scotland and Ireland have been referred to as making lace from the 17th century. In Glasgow there is evidence that girls were sent to a French lacemaker who lived in Renfrew, to learn lacemaking.
Fashion has always played a big part in the production of lace from the 16th century to present day. Queen Victoria gave her patronage to Honiton lace when she commissioned lace to be made for her wedding in 1840. This consisted of a skirt flounce, a veil and matching dress trimmings.
Due to the Industrial Revolution lacemaking was greatly affected and at the end of the 18th century the first machine lace was made. By 1870 most types of handmade lace were able to be copied by machine. Therefore by 1900 the majority of lace made by hand had disappeared.
Nevertheless, today there is still lacemaking in the UK as a craft and individuals do continue making and teaching this skilled, beautiful and delicate art.
Tools of the lace making trade
Here is a list of the main tools used in handmade lace making, including their use:
Bobbins: These small spools of thread are used to create the decorative pattern in bobbin lace making.
Needles: Needles are used in needle lace making to create a series of loops and knots to form the decorative pattern.
Shuttles: Shuttles are used to hold the thread in bobbin lace making and are used to create the decorative pattern by weaving the bobbins in and out.
Pillow: A pillow is used to support the work in progress in bobbin lace making.
Lace pricking: A lace pricking is a paper or card pattern that is used to guide the placement of the bobbins in bobbin lace making.
Scissors: Scissors are used to trim the excess thread in both bobbin and needle lace making.
Pins: Pins are used to hold the work in place and to create tension in both bobbin and needle lace making.
This is a general list of the main tools used in handmade lace making. The specific tools and materials required can vary depending on the type of lace being made.
Materials used in lace making
n lace making, various types of threads and yarns are used to create intricate and delicate designs. Some of the most commonly used materials include:
Cotton: Cotton is a popular choice for its durability and versatility. It is often used for finer and more intricate lace designs, as it is strong enough to hold its shape, but also soft and flexible to work with.
Linen: Linen is a natural fiber that is known for its strength and durability. It is often used in traditional lace making and is prized for its crisp, clean appearance.
Silk: Silk is a luxurious fiber that is prized for its shine and luster. It is often used in finer, more intricate lace designs, as it is soft and flexible, making it easy to work with.
Synthetic Fibers: Synthetic fibers, such as nylon and polyester, are also used in lace making. They are durable, easy to care for, and often come in a variety of colours.
In conclusion, each type of thread or yarn used in lace making has its own unique properties and appearance. Lace makers often choose their materials based on the desired effect and the type of lace design they are creating.
Techniques of lace making
1. Bobbin Lace Making: Bobbin lace making is a technique where threads are wound on bobbins and then manipulated to create a lace pattern. The bobbins hold the threads that are woven together to form the design. The bobbins are held in a pillow, and the threads are crossed over each other to create the lace pattern. This technique is used to create intricate and delicate designs. Examples of bobbin lace include Brussels lace and Bedfordshire lace.
2. Needle Lace Making: Needle lace making is a technique where a needle is used to stitch threads together to create a lace pattern. The threads are first tacked down to a cloth, and then the needle is used to stitch the threads together to form the design. This technique is often used to create more complex and intricate designs than those created with bobbin lace. Examples of needle lace include Venetian needle lace and Richelieu lace.
3. Crochet Lace Making: Crochet lace making is a technique where a crochet hook is used to interlock loops of thread to create a lace pattern. This technique allows for the creation of delicate, openwork designs that are lightweight and airy. Examples of crochet lace include Irish crochet and filet crochet.
4. Tatting Lace Making: Tatting lace making is a technique where a shuttle is used to create loops and knots with thread to create a lace pattern. The shuttle holds the thread, which is then wound around the fingers to form loops. The loops are then knotted together to create the design. This technique is used to create delicate, lacy designs that can be used to trim clothing or create doilies. Examples of tatting lace include Victorian tatting lace and Edwardian tatting lace.
5. Knotted Lace Making: Knotted lace making is a technique where knots are made with threads to create a lace pattern, such as Macramé. This technique is often used to create decorative items such as plant hangers or wall hangings. The threads are knotted together to form the design, and the knots can be arranged in a variety of patterns to create different effects.
6. Cutwork Lace Making: Cutwork lace making is a technique where fabric is cut away and threads are woven into the remaining fabric to create a lace pattern. The fabric is cut in a pattern, and the threads are woven into the remaining fabric to create a lacy effect. This technique is often used to create decorative items such as tablecloths or napkins.
7. Torchon Lace Making: Torchon lace making is a technique where threads are wound on bobbins and then stitched to a cloth to create a lace pattern. The bobbins are held in a pillow, and the threads are woven together to form the design. This technique is used to create simple, yet elegant designs that can be used to trim clothing or create household items.
8. Honiton Lace Making: Honiton lace making is a technique where a needle is used to stitch threads together on a pillow to create a lace pattern. This technique is similar to needle lace making, but the threads are stitched to a pillow instead of a cloth. This allows for the creation of intricate and detailed designs, and the lace can be made quickly and efficiently. Examples of Honiton lace include Devonshire lace and Devon lace.
Tips and tricks of lace making
1. Display your products prominently - Make sure your products are easy to see and well lit. Consider using a tablecloth, display stands, or shelves to showcase your items.
2. Price your products appropriately - Determine the cost of materials and labor, and add a fair profit margin. Make sure your prices are consistent with other handmade products at the fair.
3. Offer samples or demonstrations - Consider offering a sample of your product or demonstrating the process of making your lace. This can help to attract customers and create interest in your products.
4. Be approachable and friendly - Greet customers with a smile and be willing to answer questions about your products. Be knowledgeable about the materials and techniques you use, and be open to feedback.
5. Offer a variety of products - Offer a range of products, including different sizes, colours, and styles. This can help to appeal to a wider range of customers and increase the likelihood of sales.
6. Create an attractive and cohesive display - Use coordinating colours and themes in your display to create a visually appealing area that draws customers in.
7. Market your products ahead of time - Promote your participation in the craft fair through the UKCraftFairs site, social media, your website, or other marketing materials. Reach out to your network and let them know where and when they can find your products.
8. Accept different forms of payment - Consider accepting cash, credit cards, and other forms of payment, such as PayPal or Venmo, to make it easy for customers to purchase your products.
9. Follow up with customers - Collect customers contact information and follow up with them after the fair to let them know about future events or sales. This can help to build relationships and increase the likelihood of repeat sales.
Ideas and inspiration for lace making
1. Doilies - Doilies are decorative mats that are often made from delicate lace or crochet. They are typically round or oval in shape and used to protect surfaces from scratches or spills. Doilies can be used to enhance the appearance of a table by adding a touch of elegance, and can be used to hold drinks, vases, or candle holders.
2. Table runners - Table runners are long, narrow strips of fabric or lace that are placed on top of a tablecloth to protect the surface and add decoration. They can be made from a variety of materials, including cotton, silk, or lace, and come in a range of colours and patterns. They are often used for special occasions, such as weddings or dinner parties, and can be coordinated with other table decor.
3. Lace collar - A lace collar is a decorative piece of lace that is attached to the neckline of a garment, such as a blouse or dress. It can be attached using a variety of methods, including sewing, gluing, or using snaps or hooks. Lace collars add a touch of femininity and elegance to an outfit, and come in a range of styles, from delicate and understated to bold and dramatic.
4. Lace trim - Lace trim is a narrow band of lace that is used to decorate the edge of a garment or fabric. It can be used to add a touch of femininity and elegance to clothing, bedding, or home decor. Lace trim can be sewn or attached using a variety of methods, including glue, snaps, or hooks.
5. Lace headband - A lace headband is a delicate band of lace that is worn around the head as a hair accessory. It can be used to hold hair back and add a touch of elegance to an outfit. Lace headbands come in a range of styles and colours, from delicate and understated to bold and dramatic.
6. Lace scarves - A lace scarf is a delicate piece of lace that is worn around the neck for warmth or fashion. Lace scarves can be made from a variety of materials, including cotton, silk, or wool, and come in a range of styles, from delicate and understated to bold and dramatic. They can be coordinated with other clothing or accessories to create a complete look.
7. Lace hankies - A lace hankie is a small square of lace that is used as a handkerchief. They can be used to wipe tears or blow the nose, and can add a touch of elegance to a pocket or purse. Lace hankies come in a range of styles and colours, from delicate and understated to bold and dramatic.
8. Lace curtains - Lace curtains are delicate pieces of lace that are used as window coverings. They provide privacy and can also add a touch of elegance and femininity to a room. Lace curtains come in a range of styles, from delicate and understated to bold and dramatic, and can be coordinated with other decor in a room.