The Société Choletaise de Fabrication, a French company that has been awarded Living Heritage Company status, has made the lace one of its specialities. Indeed, it is reviving the production of top-of-the-range laces. This involves producing a cord on a wooden loom, waxing or varnishing it (depending on the desired finish) then adding the cord tips, which can be either acetate or metallic. Acetate tips are available in a number of colours, as well as transparent. There is nothing more chic than for a black lace to have a matt black tip. Amongst their latest innovations, mention should be made of the leather-effect lace. This is made from fine cotton woven on a wooden loom then varnished, giving a cord or lace with a leather-like appearance. To meet its customers’ requirements, SCF offers a palette of specific colours, based on a fabric, leather or a Pantone code.
A bit of background?
What are top-of-the-range laces?
Top-of-the-range laces date from the 19th Century. They are laces woven from a number of threads assembled in various groups according to the desired grain and diameter. These threads are wound onto spools then fitted onto weaving machines. For top-of-the-range laces these are 1900 wooden looms.
The wooden looms make it possible to obtain a fine grain and to use premium materials with a high yarn number (the measure used to determine the fineness of a thread) such as viscose, silk, cotton and shiny polyester. These fine threads woven on a wooden loom do not break, because the looms turn slowly.
Top-of-the-range laces can resemble leather. This leather finish is created by varnishing the cord. A mixture is prepared (using potato starch, in particular), the cord is dipped in it then a skein of it is attached to one of our varnishing machines; these are ancient machines that make 900 revolutions per minute. Only cotton can be varnished.
Laces for ceremonies and evening wear were often made from silk, then from 1900 onwards in viscose (a thread made from wood cellulose) often in very bright colours. However we do not know if purple was reserved for bishops…
The final step is to add the tip to the cord, at the required length. This tip can also come in a range of shapes and sizes and be made from various materials.
Laces increased in importance in the 19th Century thanks to the metallic aglet that was placed on either end of the lace in order to make it easier to thread through the eye holes. The richer members of society used precious metals such as silver and gold. Industrial production of this accessory and its widespread use came about with the invention of cellulose acetate tips in the 1970s.