For other uses, see Lace (disambiguation).
Valuable old lace, cut and framed for sale in Bruges, Belgium

Lace is a delicate fabric made of yarn or thread in an open weblike pattern,[1] made by machine or by hand.

Originally linen, silk, gold, or silver threads were used. Now lace is often made with cotton thread, although linen and silk threads are still available. Manufactured lace may be made of synthetic fiber. A few modern artists make lace with a fine copper or silver wire instead of thread.


The word lace is from Middle English, from Old French las, noose, strin, from Vulgar Latin *laceum, from Latin laqueus, noose; probably akin to lacere, to entice or ensnare.[1]


There are many types of lace, classified by how they are made. These include:


Early lace on a fragment of The Virgin and Child by Hans Memling.[2]

The origin of lace is disputed by historians. An Italian claim is a will of 1493 by the Milanese Sforza family.[3] A Flemish claim is lace on the alb of a worshiping priest in a painting about 1485 by Hans Memling.[4] But since lace evolved from other techniques, it is impossible to say that it originated in any one place.[5]

The late 16th century marked the rapid development of lace, both needle lace and bobbin lace became dominant in both fashion as well as home décor. For enhancing the beauty of collars and cuffs, needle lace was embroidered with loops and picots.[6]

Lace was used by clergy of the early Catholic Church as part of vestments in religious ceremonies but did not come into widespread use until the 16th century in the northwestern part of the European continent.[7] The popularity of lace increased rapidly and the cottage industry of lace making spread throughout Europe. In North America in the 19th century, missionaries spread the knowledge of lace making to the Native American tribes.[8] St. John Francis Regis helped many country girls stay away from the cities by establishing them in the lace making and embroidery trade, which is why he became the Patron Saint of lace making.

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.[9]

For the industrial revolution, see Lace machine.

To date inspiring journals, guilds and foundations show that old techniques with a new twist can challenge young people to create works that can definitely classify as art.[10]

Patrons and lace makers



See also


  1. 1 2 "Lace". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
  2. Site officiel du musée du Louvre
  3. Verhaegen, Pierre (1912). La Dentelle Belge. Brussel: L. Lebègue. p. 10.
  4. van Steyvoort, Collette (1983). Inleiding to kantcreatie (Introduction to creating lace) (translation by Magda Grisar ed.). Paris: Dessain et Tolra. p. 11. ISBN 224927665X.
  5. "The Origins of Lace". Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  6. "History of Lace | Lace Trends | Lace Spreads". Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 2012-09-11.
  8. archived
  9. Pepys, Samuel. "Monday 10 May 1669". The Diary of Samuel Pepys. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  10. Dings, Marcella. "Schatgraven - Uitdaging (Treasure Hunt - Challenge)". Kantbrief (2014-4): 34.
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