wedding veils irelandFREE hanger and gift box with any veil purchase

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Phone us on  053 948 1961 / 086 168 8003

 

Here at Fitzpatricks Veils of Ireland, we are enthralled with the history of lace. Having been working with lace for over 40 years creating

handmade wedding veils and dresses, we know a thing or two about lace! Although there is no exact date that can be attributed to the ‘invention’ of lace, most historians agree that we associate its beginnings with the early sixteenth century. Early references to ‘lace’ in English texts almost certainly refer to ‘ties’, as this was the primary meaning of the word lace until well into the seventeenth century.

We know that in that the second half of the sixteenth century there was a rapid development in lace work and it’s complexity as an openwork fabric. It was sometimes created with a needle and single thread (needle lace) or with multiple threads (bobbin lace).

 

Bobbin lace actually evolved from braids and trimmings worked in colourful silk and silver threads which were used as surface decoration for both dress and interiors. There were three forms of embroidery that began the origins of needlelace: (1) little loops and picots decorating the collar and cuff edges of shirts and smocks; (2) open-work seaming, linking widths of fabric; and (3) cutwork. Cutwork started as decorative stitching worked within small spaces cut out of linen. These spaces eventually became larger, which left behind only a grid of the original threads. Elaborate geometric patterns, known as Reticella, could be then be worked. Eventually, this technique went through a series of evolutions, and instead of cutting out expensive fabric, foundation threads were couched on to a temporary backing (which was usually parchment) and hence true ‘needlelace’ was born. Because of this, Designs were then able to break away from the geometric forms imposed by working within fabric, and the lace known as Punto in Aria (stitches in the air) was born.

As a technique, Bobbin lace is generally quicker to work than needlelace. Skilled workers were soon able to copy needlelace designs, making the lace-making industry a competitive one. Details of this lace can be seen on hundreds of portraits from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (so maybe take a closer look the next time you visit an art gallery to try and spot some lace!)

 

 Due to the popularity of lace, and how it was derived from so many different techniques, there is no one place that it’s origins can be attributed to. However, we do associate Venice as one of the first places for lace to be produced. Venice was known as an important trading centre. Venice was actually the place that the first known lace pattern books were printed (Le Pompe in the 1550s) and in the early years the city certainly acted as a hub for the spread of lace knowledge. By 1600 high quality lace was being made in many centres across Europe including Flanders, Spain, France and England and women who were practised at other textile crafts seem to have picked up the new skill of lace-making with relative ease.

As most trends are spread, travelling noblemen and marriages between royal families ensured that new fashion ideas were spread across the globe and lace began to be traded (and smuggled) across borders. Lacemakers displaced by political upheavals often arrived as refugees in areas where there was already a lacemaking tradition and were able to enhance this with their own skills and techniques they gained from their homeland. And enterprising manufacturers of fashion for the affluent were constantly seeking innovations to secure and extend their position in the market.

The fashion industry has always driven the production of lace as it has become more and more popular over the centuries. The industrial revolution was one of these times where manufacturers started to really test the limits of the mass production of lace. Although the first lace machine was produced in the late 1700’s, it was not until 1809 that John Heathcoat was able to produce a wide net fabric which did not unravel when cut. This net became the basis for new laces such as Carrickmacross and Tambour (now classified as decorated nets in today’s industry). These fabrics were ideal for the light-weight dresses of the day. Entrepreneurs and inventors began to make constant improvements to the machines, making the designs more and more complex until by 1870 when virtually every type of hand-made lace had its machine-made copy. It became increasingly difficult for traditional lacemakers to earn a living from handmade lace and sadly, most of the handmade lace industry had disappeared by 1900.

 

 

​There are a few parts of the world where hand-made lace is still produced for sale, but increasingly through the twentieth century lacemaking became a craft undertaken for pleasure. There are many lace-making groups in Ireland where you can learn the traditional handmade lace methods.

 

Here at Fitzpatrick Veil’s of Ireland, we are all about using the best quality lace available to us. All of our lace originates from France and Ireland, and our veils are handmade in Wexford especially for each bride. We always provide lace swatches free of charge to you so that you can choose the perfect lace to match your wedding dress. You have the option to choose a veil style from our existing range, or you can avail of our bespoke veil service where we can design and hand make a veil that is perfect for your big day, and tailored to your budget. We believe in making every moment of purchasing your veil special, so we also provide a free hanger and gift box to keep your lace well stored and in great condition for years to come.

 

If you would like to learn more about the lace that we use or would like to get in contact about buying a veil for your wedding veil, please contact Philomena at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and include your phone number.   

 

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Phone 053 948 1961 / 086 168 8003
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