Saturday, August 6, 2011

Handmade Lace: A Lasting Tradition

I have often passed by gowns or skirts made of lace and never gave them a second look. Though most lace isn't handmade in Venice, it still takes time to create such intricate patchwork. I recently took a tour through Italy and stopped in Venice to see a wonderful lace making demonstration. When we walked into the store, the room was filled with lace pieces of all sizes - sheets, table cloths, gowns, doilies, guarders, circular pieces and more. The woman who gave the demonstration was adorable. She was so passionate about embroidery and the art of lace.

The most fascinating thing was the embroidery process itself. The women draw their pattern on wax paper then sew it onto a piece of cardboard. "Every stitch must be PERFECT!" the speaker kept saying, because if it wasn't perfect, you would have to start all over. After finishing, they cut the wax paper away from the cardboard, stitch by stitch. The process gets more tedious, but I won't bore you with the non-fashion related details.

In the end it truly opened my eyes to the talent and patience it takes to sew intricate lace by hand. I'm an extremely impatient person and probably wouldn't get through the smallest of doilies. Even the smallest pieces took at least three hours by hand. Sadly the gown we saw wasn't on sale (even if it had been it would've been at least 200 euros) but god was it beautiful. The fact that the artistry of handmade embroidery still exists shows that some fashion traditions never die. I hope this tradition continues to be passed down from generation to generation. Could you imagine wearing a handmade wedding gown from Venice? Even better - a gown sewn by your mother or or grandmother. It makes me wish I had Italian roots, that's for sure!



Post a Comment