Bobbin Lace Definition: Definitions for the Clothing & fabric Industry

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Bobbin lace is a delicate lace that uses wound spools of thread (the bobbins) to weave together the shapes in the lace. The lace is held in place with very fine lace pins while being worked and is made on a lace pillow (a cloth form traditionally stuffed with straw or sawdust).

Pairs of bobbins are twisted or braided to form meshes (also called "ground") or woven to form solid shapes, depending on the type of lace made.

Many styles of lace were made in the heyday of lacemaking (that stretched possibly between the 1500s-1700s) before machine-made lace became available.

The advent of machine lace at first pushed lace-makers into more complicated designs (ones that the machines couldn't handle) and then eventually pushed them out of business almost entirely. The resurgence of lace-making is a recent phenomenon and is mostly confined to a hobby status.

Some well-known types of bobbin lace are:

  • Honiton - A very fine English lace with many flowers
  • Torchon - Well-known for its variety of beautiful grounds
  • Cluny - Flowers, braids and picots make this light and "lacy"
  • Bedfordshire lace (Beds) - this has flowing lines and picots (to foil the machines)
  • Buckinghamshire lace (Bucks) - also very "lacy" with characteristic hexagon ground and often with a gimp thread (a heavier thread worked through for emphasis)
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