A Lesson in Laces

Since our inception in 1931, Supreme Novelty Fabrics has been buying and selling lace.  Because of this, we have acquired the largest selection of vintage and contemporary lace outside of a museum. These laces come from all over Europe and Asia in a variety styles and colors.  Did you ever wonder, how lace originated and what types of laces there are?  We looked at a few types of commonly known laces and provided some interesting information on them.

ImageLace-making is an ancient craft dating back to the 15th century.  It was first popularized in Italy and France by royalty.  Lace is characterized as an openwork fabric, patterned with open holes made either by hand or machine.  Holes are created via removal of threads or cloth from a previously woven fabric.  Usually, the spaces are created as part of the lace fabric.  Lace is created when a thread is looped, twisted, or braided to other threads independently from a backing fabric.  Expensive laces were made from silk, gold, and even silver threads.

Traditionally lace was used as tablecloths and doilies.  Later, lace was incorporated into clothing, including military uniforms.  Laces’ use is very popular in wedding dresses as well.

Chantilly Lace:

Chantilly lace, named after the city of Chantilly, France, has been in production since the 17th century.  It is a handmade bobbin lace, known for its outlined patterns and abundant detail. Bobbin lace is made with the use of bobbins to pull the threads tight and facilitate handline while threads are twisted and crossed to form a woven material.  Chantilly lace uses a half-and-whole stitch as a fill to achieve the effect of light and shadow in the floral pattern.  Strips were produced and then joined with a stitch that left no visible seam.

ImageThe best Chantilly laces were made of silk and were generally black which were usually used in mourning attire.  White Chantilly lace was also made both in linen and silk but not as popular as the black color.


Venetian Lace:

Venetian Lace is a needlepoint lace originating in the 16th century.  Venetian lace started off with more acute-angled points and eventually evolved into more geometrical designs and then on to more curvilinear patterns.  Patterns were then raised by outlining the design with a cordonnet, a heavier thread, bundle of threads, or horsehair, worked over with buttonholing, so that the curls, scrolls, and conventionalized leaves stood out like relief carving.

Image         Image

Alencon Lace:

Alencon is a needle type lace and is also known as “Queen of Lace.” It received this name because it was Imageat the time, the most elaborate needle-point lace which had every been produced in France. This type of Lace comes from Alencon, France.  From the time of its’ origin (16th century), King Louis XIV decided to expand production of this lace to decrease the dependency of foreign imports which included expensive fabrics and laces.  Alencon lace distinguished itself as a very fine lace and also very labor intensive.  It was derived from Venetian lace but was more refined.  Alencon lace was raised and had continuous outlines to the ornament.  Alencon lace used thick thread to give a stronger definition to some forms.  In return it was one of the most highly priced laces around.


We carry lace yardage, lace trims, and lace appliques in all of the styles listed above and more.   Come check out the unique and beautiful selection Supreme Novelty has to offer!


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