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The Best Known Varieties Of Laces

( Originally Published 1924 )



As we have shown, the names of laces have had various sources. While many of them are called by the name of the locality in which they were originally produced, as Chantilly, Honiton, Brussels, Armenian, the implements used in the manufacture have also given general names to laces:

Alençon—This, a needle-point, called the "Queen of Lace," was a pioneer in net lace. The pattern is close and firm on a fine net ground and is outlined by a cordonnet usually of horsehair overlaid with buttonhole stitch. The magnificent dress which Napoleon III bought for Empress Eugénie for forty thousand dollars was made of this lace. The Empress gave it to Pope Leo XIII who wore it as a rochet. Historians tell us that it required forty women seven years to make it. Attractive machine-made Alençon is used for trimmings of dresses, neck and sleeve decoration, and for cascades reaching to the bottom of the dress.

All-over—Lace of any kind in which the design is repeated at regular intervals. It is usually eighteen inches wide and is finished the same on both edges. It is used for yokes and flouncings or for complete costumes.

Antique—This is a coarse, open, bobbin lace, In France the modern survival is called Filet.

Antwerp—A pillow lace which looks like Mechlin, made in Antwerp in the seventeenth century.

Appliqué—Application lace. The motif is separately made of flowers or sprigs with either needle or bobbins and is then applied to the background of net which may be hand bobbin or machine-made. This lace is sometimes confused with tambour, which is made by working a design in chain stitch on a machine-made net, or with run-work which is made by running a thread back and forth on the net to form a design. The machine-made appliqué lace is one of the most perfected imitation laces.

Argentan—This lace resembles Alençon and with it was known as Point de France. It has a firmer and larger needle-point net than the Alençon, is hexagonal in shape, and while the pattern is bolder, it is flatter because it does not have the fine cordonnet of the Alençon.

A type of lace.

Argentella point—Early Italian needle-point net lace. This resembles the Point de Paris laces and is very delicate, without raised work. The conspicuous designs are small circles, ovals, and sprays. This is often called Burano point.

Baby—Any simple narrow lace, such as Val, filet, torchon, Irish. This is used for dainty dresses and layettes.

Battenberg—This lace is made by attaching a braid to a parchment pattern and then uniting it with lace stitches. The finer, hand-made pieces have been used for baby's caps, collars, and cuffs.

Bayeux—Two varieties of lace are known by this name; the one a pillow lace made at Bayeux, in Normandy, particularly the variety made in imitaton of Rose Point; the other is a black silk lace, popular because it is made in unusually large pieces.

Binche—A bobbin lace resembling Valenciennes. It is used to trim dainty underclothing.

Bissete—A coarse French bobbin lace

Blonde—This lace was named because it was first made of unbleached silk which was blond or fair, not white, in color. The lace was originally a bobbin lace with a background of fine net, the design or toilé worked with a broad flat strand which produced a glistening effect well suited to Spanish mantillas. It is now made in a variety of colors by machinery in Lyons in both silk and cotton. The pattern of the machine-made lace is often outlined with a darning of loosely woven silk thread.

Bobbinet—The net made by the bobbin as distinguished from that made by the needle. The bobbinet as made by the machine usually has hexagonal holes, is without designs, and is used for dresses and dress foundations and to combine laces in frocks.

Bohemian—While a number of different laces are made in Bohemia, this refers to a bobbin lace or an imitation which has a tape-like character emulating the old Italian bobbin lace.

Bruges—A tape lace. The fine lace tape is woven together with fine thread. The fine type of this lace has come to be known as Duchesse, the coarse type retains its original name,

Brussels point—This lace is like Alençon in that the motifs are made separately and are then assembled and applied to a net ground. Originally the ground was worked around the flowers with a bobbin.

Burano—(See Argentella point).

Carrickmacross lace is of two kinds, appliqué and guipure. The appliqué is fashioned by placing thin material on a machine-made net, outlining a design on it, then cutting out the material so as to leave a clearly defined pattern. Centers of flowers and open spaces are sometimes filled with connected hand-made dots.

The guipure resembles embroidery. It is made with fine mull or lawn on which the design is traced. After the design is outlined and cut out, the centers which are cut away, are buttonholed and filled with open stitches, and crocheted brides and loops connect the buttonholed edges of the design. This lace is not durable.

Chantilly—This is a bobbin lace with a fine net ground, designs of open work. A thick thread outlines the design.

Cluny—The modern Cluny lace has little resemblance to the ancient guipure of that name. The design of Cluny today resembles paddles or wheels introduced into a torchon, which is a protoype of Cluny. Linen and cotton thread is used in making the machine-made Cluny which imitates so cleverly the hand-made that it is sometimes difficult for experts to tell the difference.

Crackle, or Crackly, or French Craquele, is a modern machine-made net or mesh to lace which, because of its zig-zag effect, resembles the lines or crackle in old pottery.

Crochet—A hooked needle is used in fashioning hand-made crochet. The crochet stitch usually imitates needle-point laces in their designs, such as Venetian and Honiton.

Darned lace—A general name for lace upon a net ground, upon which the pattern is applied in needlework back and forth. The stitches may be counted or they may be irregular. If the latter, it is called spider work or Antique, the modern term.

Duchesse—A bobbin lace. The patterns, which may be leaves or sprays or flowers, have a tape-like character, but they are bobbin, hand-wrought, and of very fine thread. The details of the toilé or de-sign are joined by brides and bars.

Egyptian—Beads, porcelain deities, and other ornaments are strung among the meshes of the net of Egyptian laces.

Embroidery—Fine nets are often embroidered with a design worked out in heavy satin and other stitches. This is used principally in bands which may be obtained in varying widths.

English point—Any English-made lace that is needle-point; but this name often refers to Point d'Angleterre which is a combined bobbin and needle-point with no rule as to the proportions of the needle-point design and the joining bobbin-made nets. Sometimes brides and bars assist in the joining. Raised effects on leaves and other parts of the design are produced by twisting and plaiting the bobbins.

Entre-doux—An insertion, a lace with a balanced pattern and like edges which can be sewed to fabric or lace.

Filet—Net woven in squares which are fine or coarse, is embroidered with a thread unbroken in making the design. A foundation of net, or filet with a pattern darned into it. The net for the Italian lace and the French filet was made very much as fish nets are now made and filled in with the darning stitch. As in Burrato lace, the twisted network was made by passing the foundation threads forward and backward in a frame.

Flemish—Flemish laces include such bobbin laces as Mechlin, Valenciennes, Brussels, Duchesse, Blonde lace, Binche.

Florentine—A form of torchon.

Footing—A plain net band which is used for frills on handkerchiefs, or other decorations. It is to be had in a number of colors.

Honiton—A bobbin lace, in the present application of the name similar to Duchesse. It is coarser, and shows mosaic and other effects which are characterized by wheels and set figures. Appliqué and guipure are the two classes of this lace. The appliqué is made by working the pattern parts on the lace pillow and securing them on a net. The guipure, which commonly passes as Honiton, consists of designs united by brides. Honiton braid is a narrow, machine-made fabric; the variety in most general use is composed of a series of oval-shaped figures united by narrow bars. It comes in different widths in linen, cotton, and silk, and is used in the manufacture of lace handkerchiefs and lace.

Irish—A term denoting a variety of laces made in Ireland, of which the two most individual and best-known kinds are the net embroideries of Limerick and the appliqué and cut cambric work of Carrickmacross. Other varieties, imitations of foreign laces, are Irish point, resembling Brussels lace; black and white Maltese; silver, black, white, and colored blondes. Irish crochet is an imitation of the needle-point laces of Spain and Venice. Baby Irish is finer and flatter. Crochet Irish lace is made extensively in the Phillipines and in China.

Lille—A bobbin lace made on simple net. It resembles Mechlin, Brussels, and Valenciennes, but can be distinguished by its hexagonal or square mesh which is formed by twisting two threads around each other.

Limerick—Embroidery on net.

Macramé—A knotted lace, usually in geometric design.

Margot-Margherita—A net . ground embroidered. It is similar to Limerick.

Maltese—Bobbin lace made in Malta, usually of silk in black or white. The design is usually a conventionalized Maltese cross and seed-like dots called "mosca" united with a pearled bar ground. There is a cotton machine variety.

Mechlin—This is the most supple of all linen laces and connoisseurs rank it very high. It is sometimes called Maline. It is a bobbin lace of filmy flowers (the favorite being the rose and the carnation) and ornaments outlined with a narrow flat band or cord, on a fine net hexagonal or round mesh resembling Brussels pillow lace. The mesh is the daintiest made and is sometimes ornamented with dots.

Medicis—This lace resembles torchon and Cluny. The elliptical Cluny patterns are not present.

Metallic laces—Gold, silver, and steel are made both by hand and by machine. The hand is always a guipure; the machine a net foundation with motifs.

Net laces — Needle-point — Argentan, Alençon, Argentella, Brussels; Bobbin—Lille, Mechlin, Valenciennes. Laces with a réseau.

Nottingham—This term includes all the machine-made laces at Nottingham, England.

Plauen—T his term includes all machine-made laces originated by Plauen originally, called Swiss, St. Gall, Edelweiss, and Saxony laces.

Peasant lace—Laces made by peasants. This includes many simple and inexpensive laces, such as Dalmatian, Bisette.

Point d'esprit—At present the term denotes net embroidered at regular intervals with tiny squares, dots, or ovals. This term, in histories of lace, is often synonymous with embroidered tulle.

Point de Gaze lace—A fine, dainty, gauze-like lace similar to Alençon. The cordonnet is not buttonholing but a thread.

Point de Paris—Originally a narrow pillow lace which was quite like Brussels. The term is applied generally to machine-made cotton lace of an inferior quality. The net is hexagonal; upon it is worked flowers and leaves which are outlined with a heavy thread.

Point de Venice—( See Venetian)

Princesse—This is a delicate hand-wrought lace cleverly imitating Duchesse. The parts are made separately and are often applied to a machine-made ground.

Purling—Twisted threads and loops form this primitive and simple edge.

Raised point—Needle-point in which parts of the design are padded.

Shadow lace—A thin soft cobwebby lace of any design and of any character so long as it is shadowy.

Spanish—This lace usually made of imitation silk by a machine imitates the Spanish laces. Floral designs and sprays are distributed on a crackle net background.

Tape—Lace made by manipulating a tape which may be hand- or machine-made.

Tatting—A knotted lace made with an oblong shuttle held between the fingers. Simple edges, insertions, and wheels and cloverleaf designs may be made of very fine or coarse thread. Much tatting is made at Barcelona, Spain.

Teneriffe—Spider-like wheels made on spools two and one-half inches in diameter are woven together.

Thread—Lace made from linen thread as distinguished from silk and cotton lace. Black thread is a misnomer for Chantilly.

Torchon—A plain, coarse bobbin lace made of soft and loosely woven twisted thread. Beggar's lace, peasant's or Bavarian lace are names given to it because it is made by peasants of Europe. The better qualities are made of linen thread. Torchon laces have been called "Eternelles" because of their great strength.

Tulle—A machine net, very soft and fluffy and in dainty brilliant colorings. Maline and illusion are other names.

Valenciennes or val—This is the most expensive of all pillow lace to make on account of the number of bobbins required. It took one worker ten months, working fifteen hours a day, to make a pair of sleeves. Designs are flat, are woven with the ground, and consist of beautiful roses, tulips, and other curving patterns. The mesh may be round or diamond shape. Linen val retains its delicacy and firmness. It comes in insertions and edges of different widths. Machine-made val is generally made of cotton, but in spite of this it is deservedly popular for trimming underclothing and children's and women's frocks.

Venetian—The needle-point lace of Venice is called Venetian or Venise lace. There are three principal varieties of this lace. Gros, or raised point, and Rose point are typified by embroideries over paddings of cotton. Altho rose point might convey the idea of a rose pattern, it does not always signify this. "Rose" has become a technical word and merely means raised. The designs are connected with brides which play an important part. In rose point, the brides, which are abundant, are enriched by picots which in turn are made more ornamental by whirls and rosettes. Flat or Plat Venetian has no raised work and has smaller designs than Gros point. One of the varieties is Coral or Coraline, named because of its resemblance to coral. Bobbin Venise, or grounded point, has a back-grounded point as the name shows. It was inspired by the Point d'Alençon produced in France in imitation of Venetian raised point. The pattern is of lilies or other flowers. The cordonnet of Venetian grounded point is not outlined in buttonhole stitch, but is merely stitched down around the outline of the pattern. Beautiful machine-made Venetian laces are effectively used for trimming dresses of silk.

How to Distinguish Hand-Made Lace

It is as yet impossible for any machine to exactly produce the buttonhole stitch which occurs in finger-made laces in a very great number (Irish and Venise especially) among laces extensively used today.

Padding, in hand-made lace such as Rose point, is covered with a stitch which slants, rather than the straight machine stitch.

Threads in hand-made lace because of their twisting or plaiting can not be readily raveled.

The mesh of hand-made lace is uneven—the test of the mesh in Valenciennes.

Hand-made Cluny, torchon, and similar bobbin laces may be detected in three ways: A magnifying glass shows the machine-made lace has two sizes of thread instead of one. These threads are not straight and taut as those used on the pillow with weighted bobbins. Linen thread is usually used in the hand-made. Scalloped Cluny is hand wrought, as no machine has yet produced the scalloped effects. The paddles of machine-made Cluny are lumpy and not so flat and regular as those in the hand-made.



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