French Cotton Lace and Swiss Cotton Embroidery Lengths.


This is the first of our series on different aspects of Heirloom Sewing. This time we talk about the looms that are used to manufacture The French Cotton Laces and Swiss Cotton Embroideries we sell.

How Long are the Looms?


The easy answer is that typically Swiss Embroidery looms are 10 yards (9.2 metres) long, give or take an

inch (2.54 cms), but there are newer machines that are 15 yards (13.8 metres) in length.


The easy answer is that French Lace machines are 12 yards (11.0 metres) long, but there are some machines where

lace lengths are 15-18 yards (13.7 - 16.5 metres) in length when they are loomed vertically rather than horizontally.


Swiss Cotton Embroideries.


In actuality, the Schiffili embroidery machine is 9.2 metres, which equates to about 10 yards in length. Swiss embroidery looms stitch horizontally.

 As the machine stitches, the now embroidered fabric - in Bear Threads case it is Bearissima Batiste - is rolled over. Then these insertions or edgings are cut apart, inspected, and carded to Bear Threads specifications.

It is obviously easier to cut apart insertions, whereas the edgings, with many scallops, are much more difficult to cut cleanly.

The Swiss embroidery industry is strictly controlled by the Government. There is a tariff per stitch count.

That means that every time the needle enters the fabric there is a Governmental charge. 

Flaws are also governed by the country and they allow 1 in 10 flaws - that is 1 flaw in 10 yards (9.2 metres).


French Cotton Laces.


Levers lace machines are made of cast iron and can shake the ground of the building housing them when in use!

Lace lengths are normally 12 yards (11.0 metres) in length as this is the length of the loom.

The lace is usually loomed - woven - horizontally. Notice that by the terminology used the lace is Woven, where the Swiss embroideries are Embroidered on prewoven fabric.

Since the lace is much more fragile, especially the Malines, there are often times that a manufacturer chooses to cut out a flaw, leaving a lace length of less than 12 yards (11.0 metres), sometimes as little as 5 or 6 yards (4.5 or 5.5 metres).

There is no standard in France for how many flaws are allowed. You get what you get, although flaws are not common.

The simple moral of the story is to always buy more than you think is the exact amount you need.

We will continue our series on Heirloom next month.

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