Guipure is a type of bobbin lace which is hand made by twisting and braiding lengths of thread. These threads are wound on bobbins in order to more easily manage them. Bobbin lace is usually woven on a lace pillow which has pins set in it in the appropriate pattern. By carefully weaving the threads around the pins, the beautiful lacework is gradually created.
The main characteristic of Guipure lace is the way in which the main motifs of the pattern are connected with bars or plaits rather than net or mesh. Needlework lace, which is constructed mainly using a needle, thread and scissors, tends to feature mesh or net, and as a result, the lace can appear very dense. In comparison, Guipure lace is more delicate and allows the main motifs of the lace to really stand out, making for an incredibly intricate and pretty design.
Origins of Guipure Lace
Guipure is a French word meaning tape and refers to the way in which the lace tends to have a thicker thread outlining the pattern. Again, this helps the pattern to stand out and draws the eye to the beautiful intricacies of the lace.
In Europe, Guipure lace is incredibly popular, with significant variations of it occurring in Italy and Malta in the 16th century. It later inspired a specific style in England in the 19th century, called Bedfordshire lace. Guipure remains popular today all over the world and is regularly used in African style clothing.
How to Wear The Lace
Guipure lace can add a soft, elegant touch to your outfit, and can look particularly dramatic when used to contrast against a heavier material. It looks beautiful, layered over an unpatterned, brightly coloured material, and due to being light weight it will not cause a piece of clothing to become too heavy or warm when layered in this way.
Full Guipure lace outfits tend to be reserved for special occasions; think of long, elegant dresses which hug the figure and look gorgeously feminine and luxurious. However, adding a small amount of lace to the bodice of a dress, or the hem of a skirt, can add a light and subtle touch of luxury to any outfit.