There are many
types of whitework, but 3 main methods are usual, including openwork,
cutwork and classic whitework.
and pulls threads. Norwegian hardanger comes in this category.
involves cutting out fabric shapes from the background and then
neatening the edges in a decorative manner. Broderie Anglaise and
Italian Reticella are both cutwork methods of whitework.
whitework uses white embroidery stitching of various depths to create
soft and darker shadows. This is often down on exceptionally fine
cottons such as fine linen, batiste, muslin, organdie or on nets.
Typical classic whitework includes Irish Carrickmacross, Scottish
Ayrshire which uses pulled threads with embroidery, Dresden and Chikan a
floral variety of patterning from India (Lucknow).
An Edwardian era linen jacket and blouse heavily embellished with
cutwork and white embroidery makes this an outstanding set. The
jacket is a tailored style with turned back cuffs and embroidered
scalloped edges around all the edges. The embroidered decoration is
found on the collar, cuffs, either side of the front opening, along
the hemline as well as on the upper back and shoulders of each
individuals will recognise a piece of tape lace and this is the easiest
lace for amateurs to make as a hobby. Through the
centuries tape lace has had several names including, mezzo punto,
Renaissance lace and more recently the coarser Brussels tape known as
Battenburg. Luxeuil is also famous for tape lace.
This is a
comparatively quick method of producing lace fabrics using pre made tape
lengths mostly now made by machine. The lengths of narrow tape are
joined together with connecting hand stitches, worked in an open manner.
Machine made tapes have more folded kinks in them because they don't
easily navigate corners. Some tapes have a thread running down one
side which can pulled to help it curve more. Bobbin made tapes
being hand made are usually designed to curve corners more naturally.
Washing the item usually reveals differences as machine made laces don't
lie so flat after laundering.
One step away
from this type of lace fabric is faggotting which uses rouleau tubes of
fabric then joins these together with stitches. This creates a
lacey effect which can be heavy or fine dependant on the fabric used to
make the tubes. In all cases the tapes or rouleaux are tacked to
sturdy paper in a pattern formation and the stitches worked between the
Filet lace is
a knotted mesh like net and on this mesh patterns are darned to create
lace like effects. At first the mesh ground was made by hand, but
by the Victorian era the ground was mostly machine made and hobbyists
filled in the ground net with the more enjoyable task of decorative
stitching. Italian Burato (quite different from Venetian Burano
needlepoint) is a square mesh filet filled with filet lace which can
a chain technique made by catching loops on each other with a crochet
hook. Each loop is pulled through another so the whole becomes a
chain. The chain is worked into with even more loops one at a time
and a fabric forms as chains build up. Pieces can be worked in one
continuous thread interlocking on itself and forming a fabric made of
chains. The looping arrangements can be doubled and trebled and
this creates areas which are more solid or more loopy and lace like in
effect or raised to create rich areas of texture. The yarn thread used is important in achieving
a particular end result. Crochet is a simple, fast, easy and
most famous crochet technique is Irish Crochet
This Victorian child's bonnet is encased in hand made Irish crochet
lace. The Irish crochet is extremely detailed and a riot of
flowers and vines. Overall, this is a wonderful piece that
would be appropriate for a larger doll or display purposes.
is a lace like fabric formed from chain stitches made with the use of a
hooked crochet needle. Its design began in the 1840s and was
an attempt to imitate Venetian laces and ultimately the rose style
Venetian laces which had a raised guipure form. Irish crochet was
hugely successful as a lace type and spread way beyond Ireland and
County Cork and was copied widely throughout Europe. These skills
were often taken to America too and patterns were reproduced in
magazines like Petersons. It has been used for all types of goods
from baby's bonnets to dresses, coats and bedspreads.
The beauty of
the Irish Crochet technique is that ornate complex individual motifs can be made and
joined into larger units, and then those units joined into whole garments
making items totally composed of what appears to be seamlessly one
marvellous piece of Irish
Right - Irish crochet lace gown, c.1905. The best of the art of
raised crochet. This gown has large three-dimensional motifs; a
variety of motifs and a pleasing arrangement falling into a slight
The quality of this beautiful dress is
Macramé is an
ancient knotting technique which reached Europe in the 8th
century when the Moors brought it from the near east. From
Europe sailors took the craft all over the world. In the 19th
century it gained in popularity and has moved in and out of fashion ever
since. It can be used to create fringes, braids and tassels,
bags, belts, chair backs and hammocks.
Many of these
lace techniques are being kept alive by small groups of enthusiasts or
lone individuals with a passion for lace. The internet has
also provided individuals with an opportunity to trade in vintage lace
pieces which the experienced eye can often use as a pattern to
re-establish the older pattern form.
But lace is
delicate and special and those pieces that have survived have been kept
because they were special and glorious and valued. So if you plan
to wear your vintage lace remember to treat it with care, storing it
well and carefully.
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