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Monday, 7 December 2015

Lace

Lace is a delicate patterned fabric made by knitting, crocheting and weaving.  Lace is very lightweight and open, and the patterns usually have many holes and frills.


In 1533 Catherine de' Medici came to France from Italy to marry the future King Henry II. She introduced the art of lacemaking at the French court. While Venice remained the source for the heavier needle lace, the French royal court became the center of new designs.

The French workers made lighter types of new grace and delicacy. These were worn as cravats and ruffles by men and were used for fans, handkerchief borders, and gowns for women

During the reign of Elizabeth I close relations between the English Queen's court and that of France encouraged the use of lace in England. Elizabeth's high ruff of lace, of which she was very fond, is familiar to everyone who has seen her portraits.

In seventeenth and eighteenth century Europe, costly lace was all the rage. Intricate needle- and bobbin-made laces were used to trim bed linen and clothing, including undergarments. The more lace you possessed, the more fashionable you were.

The English diarist Samuel Pepys often wrote about the lace used for his, his wife's, and his acquaintances' clothing, and on May 10, 1669, noted that he intended to remove the gold lace from the sleeves of his coat "as it is fit [he] should", possibly in order to avoid charges of ostentatious living.



As the seventeenth century progressed, the appetite for lace was out of control. Laces became more covetable if they came for other countries. Because of the high customs duties and trade restrictions imposed, there was much smuggling of the most desirable Belgian and Venetian laces into France, Spain, and England.

When French officers came to the American Colonies to help fight the Revolution, they brought with them the fashion of wearing lace. Nearly all that was used in the colonies was imported.

Source Compton's Encyclopedia

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