TEXTILE DIARIES: Who Doesn't Love Eyelet Fabric- A Summer time favorite fabric
One of the things I love about textiles is they tell a story of our past as much as they talk about the future. How they're made, their origins...there's always an interesting back-story. Many fabrics were originally used have come back in fashion again and again. Thinking about summer, fashion and history the textile that comes top of mind is eyelet.
|photo via Wikipedia on eyelet|
WHAT IS EYELET? Eyelet is a lace-like fabric popular to wear and use in the summer months. In order to understand the fabric we must first learn its origins. Eyelet originates from "Broderie Anglaise" which is composed of round or oval holes cut into the fabric (hence, eyelets) and with tiny buttonhole stitches in the shapes. The patterns can be flowers, vines, circles or leaves are illuminated with embroidery stitching on the fabric. The tiny holes are punched out with an embroidery stiletto and then the edges are finished. But, first the embroidery is created around the fabric then the hole cut with scissors. Although it's precious and delicate, it is also quite a durable design and fabrication. The name “eyelet” conjures up summer images- the name refers to the design of the textile rather what it is made of. Most often it's made with cotton or linen fabric and originally only seen in white, it's now popular in navy or black or many other colors too. The trademark designs are these lovely cut holes in almost always cotton or linen fabric and with the intention to keep a breezy feel when wearing. To keep cool in summer, it’s been a favorite in fashion but I am a huge fan of it for home fabric too. A dream of mine is to fabric ate a set of curtains for a beach cottage bedroom in eyelet!
HISTORY- It's can be quite a detailed design which hails from the 16th century in Eastern Europe, and deep roots to Scotland in the 17th century, and even traces back to the fine dressmaking Italian tradesmen during that time. During the 19th century it became the clothing for many of the wealthy in England and particularly their under garments, then it became widely popular during the Victorian era which was an time when detail was of the utmost importance. Due to the layering of garments, tailors were interested in using lighter fabrics, so the breezy nature of eyelet became a useful fabric for undergarments. It is more durable then the "bone lace" that was popular at the time it was introduced, and soon table linens, dresses, undergarments, wedding gowns and children's garments were showing eyelet in both cotton and linen. While it was entirely a handmade process back in these days, today it's created almost entirely by machine. I love it because it's a classic look and feels yet it's quintessentially summer.
When did eyelet become in fashion during this century?