Lace, ornamental fabric consisting of a decorative openwork of threads that have been twisted, looped, and
interwined to form patterns. As so
defined, lace is distinguished from
open-textured woven fabrics such as
gauze; from knotted openwork such as
net and macrame; from tatting, a lacy knotted fabric made with a
small shuttle; and from crocheted
and knitted openwork, in which the
fabric is formed by looping a single
thread into a textile by means of a
hook (crochet) or long needles (knitting).Only two techniques can make lace - embroidered and woven. The third represents other technical kind - knitting, only in some moments roughly simulating weaving. The embroidered Russian lace was not executed in Russia. More closely associated with laces are certain kinds of embroidery, such as filet,
buratto, and tambour work, which are forms of embroidery; and especially
drawnwork and cutwork. History of lace demonstrates that in drawnwork,
threads are removed from the cloth,
and in cutwork, sections are cut from the fabric; in both cases, the
remaining threads are embroidered and the empty spaces filled in with
When did European lace appear? True
lace dates only from the Renaissance, needle lace probably originating in Italy and bobbin lace
probably in Flandres. Both kinds were being made in the mid-16th century. Lace became a luxury item in great demand,its clearly defined,
symmetrical patterns well suited to
Renaissance taste. The history of lace shows that economics also played a part: pins (needed for bobbin lace) were no longer prohibitively expensive, and better
soaps made it easier to launder expensive, delicate white fabrics.
Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries lace ruffs, collars, and
shoe decorations; women's lace scarves (known in Spanish as mantillas), aprons and capes; and
men's lace-trimmed linen boothose,
worn over stockings, were fashionable accessories in the dress of Churchmen and men and women of the nobility. Varieties known in places of their creation are connected with the development of bobbin laces: the Brussels lace and Valenciennes.
Russian skilled workers' creative efforts were very original, and came down into the history of lace under the name "Russian lace".The lace came to Russia from the Western Europe in the XVIIth century. Since that time Russians developed the best traditions of skilled workers of the European countries, and lace became original national art.
The history of lace shows, that in the XVIIIth century Russia the was display of Russian lace features, characteristic of its manufacture places such as Galich, Rostov Great, Torzhok, Ryazan, Balakhna, Orel and Yelets and others. The lace representing an openwork ornament, created by a various interlacing of strings and existing independently, without any fabrics base, has appeared on a boundary of the XVth and XVIth centuries. Until this time in the countries of Western Europe, various kinds of the openwork have
appeared. Lace-trimmed church and household linens came into use. Pattern books were widely circulated, the earliest for nobility and royalty, later ones
including practical instructions for a wider public.
Closest predecessor of lace should be considered to be the openwork embroidery executed in techniques (technical equipment) of a line on a rarefied cloth. A thread of a basis and a duck were pulled out so that through the square spaces separated from each other by not pulled out basic strings, overstitched by a loopy seam.Within the limits of the formed grid the openwork pattern, usually geometrical, executed by a needle, a loopy seam was placed. This kind of openwork embroidery has received the name a seam on slim (point coupe), the geometrical ornament as circles, stars and sockets are known in many countries. Openwork squares of similar embroidery usually alternated with quadrangles of a cloth or settled down beside, forming long through strips.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, the
principal centers of lace-making were Italy (notably Venice and Milan), France and Flanders. The history of lace shows, that social
and economic changes in the 19th
century lessened the general enthusiasm for lace, and it disappeared from men's clothing. About midcentury it came into fashion again in women's clothing.
By this time, machine-made bobbin
mesh had almost replaced European
handmade lace mesh. After about 1900
to 1910, machine-made lace became
more widespread. Large quantities of
lace were made in China for exports.
The success of machine manufacture,
tigether with the social canges
brought about by World War 1, dealt
a deathblow to th craft of Russian
lace. Lace-making by hand survives somewhat feebly in some of the old
lace centres, and it is occasionally
practised as an amateur craft.