L A C E
Broderie Anglaisea fine open fabric, typically one of cotton or silk, made by looping, twisting, or knitting thread in patterns and used especially for trimming garments.
Whether it serves as the main feature of a design or as a decorative embellishment, lace is an exquisite and striking addition to any wedding dress. Lace as we know it today began to emerge in Europe in the early sixteenth century, primarily produced out of Italy, France, and Flanders. Most laces were named after the region where they originated, and the laces of today are tied to their history through this tradition. Early lacemaking involved the talent of multiple people, each square inch requiring distinct skills and hours of precise craftsmanship to hand-construct the intricately webbed, swirling patterns. There were two main lacemaking techniques: bobbin lace and needle lace.
Bobbin lace was crafted by twisting and weaving lengths of multiple threads wound on bobbins. As the weaving progresses it was pinned, following the shape of a pattern, onto a pillow. Creating needle lace involved many steps, beginning with drawing out and pricking the design onto a backing, then stitching the outline of the design and the background netting, and finally filling the pattern with hundreds of small stitches until the pattern is filled. The creation of handmade needlepoint lace was much more time consuming, with each section of the fabric potentially taking months to complete.
Lace quickly became a highly coveted fashion element, sought after for its luxury and sophistication. The airy, textured fabric was used to ornament the most extravagant of garments, and could be found gracefully draped over women’s shoulders, covering gowns, trimming cuffs and collars, and decorating hats and gloves.
In the year 1840, the use of lace for wedding dresses and other bridal accessories became popularized by Queen Victoria. She wanted every aspect of her dress to have meaning, and chose to showcase lace in her wedding gown as a symbol of her support for the lace industry. The lavish lace adorning her gown was so beloved became so famously beloved that it would influence wedding dress fashion for centuries to come.
Lace is still a treasured detail in the design of today’s wedding dresses, and the invention of specialized lacemaking machines has allowed the fabric to be made in countless styles. There is a variation of lace to exquisitely fit the vision of any bride, below are a few of the many laces cherished here at Terese Rose Designs:
Chantilly: The Duchesse de Longueville established the manufacture of lace at the Chateau de Chantilly in the 17th century. When the French Revolution began, the lace makers of Chantilly were seen as pawns of the royals, and were sentenced to death, ceasing the lace’s production for years. In the early 19th century Napoleon I prompted the revival of Chantilly lace, and it has been one of the most popular laces in fashion ever since.
Chantilly is a handmade bobbin lace, crafted with fine silk strands carefully arranged over a lightweight réseau. This airy and soft style of lace is recognized for its elaborately detailed floral patterns, usually featuring irises, roses, tulips, poppies, or birdweeds, and often ornamented with swirling scroll designs. Chantilly is artistically stitched with shadowing techniques and defined outlines, accentuating the botanical motifs and providing contrast against the sheer mesh backing.
Alençon: The manufacture of handmade Alençon lace began in 1665 in France. Alençon is unique because of the high level of craftsmanship it requires— it takes up to 10 years for lacemakers to master the technique, which can only be learned through a practical apprenticeship. In 1976, a workshop was created in Alençon to preserve the traditions of Alençon lace needlepoint, and a small group there keeps this specialized skill alive. Alençon lace boasts embroidered floral patterns so extravagant that each square centimeter takes up to 7 hours to complete. Its designs are filled with meticulously placed and layered stitching, and outlined with a silky raised cord, resulting in bold and ornate flowers with striking depth and dimension.
Guipure: Also known as Cluny lace, is a form of bobbin lace. The pattern is created by connecting various motifs with bars or plaits rather than net or mesh such as Chantilly or Alençon lace. Guipure, a French word, appeared in Italy at the end of the 16th century and was created using the finest cellulose or silk threads. Other terms referring to Guipure lace are Venice or Maltise lace depending on the place of origin. By creating a continuous motif, a denser, more raised pattern is much more visible the other two qualities, and often contains a floral or geometric design, much like crochet. The motif is made by a series of closely packed embroidery stitches onto a fine fabric that disintegrates in the finishing process. Brides are often attracted to the sheen created by the yarns and the bold motifs used in Guipure lace.
Which lace is your favorite? Once you've decided on the perfect lace for your wedding dress, all that's left to decide is what to pair it with- Silk Chiffon or Crepe Back Satin... We'll save that for another day.