Here’s a new section I’d like to do for MH! Every last Wednesday of the month, let’s learn more about something interesting in the world of Lolita!
To kick off the first “Let’s find out more”, let’s look at the beautiful world of… LACE!
INTRODUCTION TO LACE
Lace, lace, lace! This is an aspect of lolita that every lolita is intimately familiar with. From the gorgeous, custom-made lace of Angelic Pretty and Moitie to the more generic eyelet lace used in offbrand dresses, lace is sure to be found on most, if not all, lolita dresses!
Lace making dates back to ancient times and is a craft that produces “fabrics” with patterned holes. Lace can be machine or handmade.
Traditionally, lace was made of linen, silk, gold and silver threads, but cotton thread has gained popularity for modern lace makers who still make lace by hand. Machine made or manufactured lace is usually made of the more durable synthetic fibre.
TYPES OF LACE
The easiest way to break down lace types is by the method used to produce them. The most common lace types are-
needle lace: As you can guess, this lace is made with needle and thread, and is considered the most time-consuming (but most authentic) way of making lace.
bobbin lace: Made with a bobbin and a pillow. This video demonstration showcases how it’s done.
crocheted lace: Through the use of crochet methods such as pineapple crochet, filet crochet and Irish crochet, elaborate patterns are created.
machine lace: Lace that is created by machines that replicate the hand methods.
SOME NAMED LACES
Raschel – Machine made lace. The lace is named after the machine it was made, which in turn is named after its inventor.
Left: Raschel Lace on Metamorphose Temps de Fille’s Old Emblem JSK. Raschel lace is a favourite of Meta. However, Raschel lace unfortunately has a bad reputation for being cheap and tacky-looking, as it’s most often found in copious amounts on offbrand “ita” clothing.
Chantilly – A bobbin lace. Chantilly lace is known for its fine ground, outlined pattern and abundant detail. Another notable thing about Chantilly lace is the use of a half-and-whole stitch as a fill to achieve the effect of light and shadow in the pattern, which was generally of flowers.
Cluny – A bobbin lace. The lace has certain distinct characteristics. The netting is made of plaited bars, and the designs are mostly geometric.
Torchon – A bobbin lace. Torchon lace is notable for being relatively coarse and strong. It usually comes in simple geometric patterns and straight lines.
Left: An example of torchon lace from Baby, the Stars Shine Bright’s Torchon Lace Bloomers. Baby is fond of using torchon on blouses and bloomers.
Valenciennes – A bobbin lace. Valenciennes lace differentiates itself from other types of lace because the openness of the netting, the closeness and evenness of the pattern, and that it lacks the “outline” that defines the pattern.
Tulle Lace – Embroidered patterns on tulle material. Very popular with brands such as Angelic Pretty.
Left: Angelic Pretty Jewelry Jelly lace. Custom lace is a huge draw of Angelic Pretty, their lace often has the letters ‘AP’ embroidered into the lace, together with a themed motif.
Venise Lace – Heavily embroidered patterns on a thin backing material which is washed away after the embroidery.
Eyelet Lace – Distinguished by the large holes, or eyelets, integrated into the pattern at regular intervals.
Left: Eyelet lace with heart shaped patterns. Baby, the Stars Shine Bright uses a lot of elaborate eyelet lace on their blouses especially. This lace is from Baby’s Ribbon and Heart Bloomers.
Chemical Lace – Chemical is made by embroidering a pattern on a fabric that will disintegrate in a chemical bath after the pattern is done. This technique is over 100 years old and commonly found in what today is called “wedding lace”.
Left: Chemical lace is a big favourite of Baby the Stars Shine Bright and is often found edging their printed series. This is from Mary’s Sweet Sheep.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Here are some things to look out for when you’re buying non-brand items and you’re not sure about the lace that comes with it.
Softness – everyone wants soft things against their skin, and lace will definitely be one of these particular things. Touch the lace with your bare skin to see if the lace is scratchy.
Good material – make sure that your lace is made of quality material. Synthetic fibers are ok sometimes but cotton is the best choice.
Thickness – cheap lace can feel and look very thin and papery. For a more quality feel, find lace that looks thicker and embroidered.
Netting – look out for the clarity of the netting and see if it’s fraying or if it has a cheap and tacky feeling.