For the industrial revolution, see Lace machine.
Early lace on a fragment of The Virgin and Child by Hans Memling.The origin of lace is disputed by historians. An Italian claim is a will of 1493 by the Milanese Sforza family.A Flemish claim is lace on the alb of a worshiping priest in a painting about 1485 by Hans Memling.But since lace evolved from other techniques, it is impossible to say that it originated in any one place.The late 16th century marked the rapid development of lace, both needle lace and bobbin lace became dominant in both fashion as well as home décor. For enhancing the beauty of collars and cuffs, needle lace was embroidered with loops and picots.Lace was used by clergy of the early Catholic Church as part of vestments in religious ceremonies but did not come into widespread use until the 16th century in the northwestern part of the European continent.The popularity of lace increased rapidly and the cottage industry of lace making spread throughout Europe.
In 1840, Britain's Queen Victoria was married in lace, influencing the wedding dress style until now.In North America in the 19th century, missionaries spread the knowledge of lace making to the Native American tribes.St. John Francis Regis guided many women out of prostitution by establishing them in the lace making and embroidery trade, which is why he became the Patron Saint of lace making.The English diarist Samuel Pepys often wrote about the lace used for his, his wife's, and his acquaintances' clothing, and on 10 May 1669, noted that he intended to remove the gold lace from the sleeves of his coat "as it is fit [he] should", possibly in order to avoid charges of ostentatious living.Catherine of Aragon while exiled in Ampthill, England was said to have supported the lace makers there by burning all her lace, and commissioning new pieces.This may be the origin of the lace maker's holiday Cattern's day. On this day (25 or 26 November) lace makers were given a day off from work, and Cattern cakes - small dough cakes made with caraway seeds, were used to celebrate.