The background of lace
The term lace extends its meaning to any openwork fabric that is created by twisting, looping or knotting threads either with the help of a machine or by hand. Lace can be made from any fiber and most handmade laces today are made from cotton, silk or linen. Machine-made lace is mostly made from polyester or cotton or a combination of both these fibers. Lace is essentially a textile that includes both opaque parts and open mesh. The fabric is delicate, airy and allows light to filter though.
The first use of lace for curtains is unknown but it’s only possible that the wealthy could have afforded handmade lace curtains for their windows. It’s possible that they were first used during the mid-nineteenth century when machine-made laces were more affordable. Today, lace curtains are only manufactured on large lace-making machines that produce thousands of yards annually. Unlike the era when lace was costly, these mass-produced lace curtains are priced very reasonably and lace made from fibers like polyester necessitate very little care and are available in a range of colors.
Lace was a highly priced fabric and coveted for its intricate patterns and delicate beauty. Fortunes were spent on acquiring exquisite lace clothing during the Middle Ages. The demand for handmade lace was largely destroyed by the advent of lace-making machines. By the early nineteenth century, the British were successful in manufacturing machine-made lace and as it become more common, those who made lace by hand could not compete and the craft gradually decreased in popularity.
By 1870, the Americans and Europeans were being supplied with inexpensive lace, including lace curtains. By the 1900s, lace curtains peaked in popularity but then later gradually fell from favor. Today lace curtains are back in demand and still priced for their flimsy beauty.
The manufacturing process
The design for lace curtains still remains the same where it generally begins with a sketch on paper. The sketched design is then scanned onto a computer and each scanned design is sized and selected for production on a particular piece of lace-making equipment. This is because each machine is different in width and the number of needles it uses.
Afterwards, the pattern is drafted and programmed onto a computer disk. Designers then draft the pattern by using a graphing system on the computer. This controls each and every machine stitch that will be used in the pattern. The finished pattern is then saved by special software to another disk. Finally the disk is inserted into computerized lace-making machines which are driven by these disks.
Dyeing and Drying
Large rolls of lace curtains are then ready for the dyeing process. Some manufacturers prefer not to dye the curtains at the plant itself and will usually send it out for chemical dyeing. Lace curtains that need to be white are dyed white and those that are to be colored are placed in dye vats. After dyeing, the rolls of lace curtains are held under clips, dried and heat set.
The dried curtains are then cut from the roll using either hand scissors, automatic cutting tools or a hot pen. That lace curtains that are cut are then hemmed at the top and the bottom by industrial sewing machines. The finished lace curtains are then folded by hand or by machine and then sent for packaging.
Each roll of lace curtain has a ticket attached that is basically a report of its production process. Any flaws in the production are specified in the ticket. Additionally, computerized looks can also be used to detect defects in the stitches. Dyed lace curtains are inspected for any color defects and those that have problems are sent back for re-dyeing. The finished lace curtains are also checked to ensure proper size and shape and will be altered if necessary.
Cliftex Sri Lanka, being the largest weaving firm as well as a quality standard certified company in Sri Lanka, is one of the principal knitted fabric and cotton fabric supplier in the island. Utmost care is taken to manufacture the best quality fabric and this stance on quality has made Cliftex a leading name in the textile industry in Sri Lanka.