Saturday, October 27, 2012

Looking at lacings

I've been thinking about lacings quite a bit lately.  My first attempt at ladder lacing a bodice was my IRCC II gold dress and I looked around a bunch at dress diaries to see what other costumers did.  I adapted several ideas and ended up doing a lacing strip made from grommet tape.  It sits beautifully and the edges of the bodice are nice and crisp with no pulling since the lacing is fully supported by bones underneath and all the stress on the tape which is additionally stitched to the lining and interlinings.

It just seems a great deal of engineering to go to and to be counter-intuitive.  It also didn't seem particularly likely to be an historical solution.

Portraits don't show much, however, and the extant Italian gowns are not of this style.  And then I found this gorgeous close-up picture of the lacing on Fede Galizia's Judith.   It was taken at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota Florida by Cindy Lyon (sea95lion)/ Signora Ciana Leonardi di Firenze.  You can find it and several other amazing detail shots of this painting in her Flikr stream .  She was gracious enough to let me link to it (see the caption of the picture for the link.)  Take a look at that, huh?  Eyelets sitting behind heavy embroidery.  Distortion on the edge as they pull, and a slight intertwining of that looks to be a doubled lace.  How COOL is that?

Ian's shoelace site has a diagram of ladder lacing for shoelaces that creates crossed/intertwined center cords very like what I think I'm seeing here.  It puts the thick ridge on the outside, but it can be reversed and put on the inside.  There's also a simple bar lacing that gives the same look without the interlace.  I figured I'd put eyelets in my new brown dress and try both.  What I'm hoping will happen is the extra side ridges for the ladder lace will create a more stable and secure lacing with less pulling, but I'll have to experiment to see.

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