Monday, June 14, 2010

African Laces

In this series we will be discussing the truth about African Swiss Voile Lace
African laces is nothing like the laces worn in the west. The African lace as worn by Africans around the world demonstrates the African heritage in its rich diversity and very upscale styles in ethnic clothing. Unlike in Western Europe and USA, haute couture is not just for a minority of rich folks. Having custom made clothing based on your body measurements for special ceremonies, weddings and parties is very common in Africa and African communities around the world.
African ethnic clothing are carefully hand made by a myriad of designers who design to the taste of each individual, and the rich fabrics of lace are sourced from all over the world.
The key in ethnic apparel is the fabric sourcing: the fabric must be exclusive and top quality. For embroideries and laces.
Swiss voile lace or African laces are made of one base fabric (Named ground base) and stitched yarns that makes up the design.
The ground base is usually 100% cotton or sometimes polyester. The lace fabric itself is much more than basic cotton: it’s light, nervous and made from the thinnest cotton yarn in the world by using the very best cotton fibers.
With a special finishing, this very good cotton fabric doesn’t shrink after washes and keeps its colors. It’s the utmost of cotton fabrics. In non ethnical clothing you usually find equivalent fabrics in very top end collections of famous brands: Dior, Pierre Cardin, Nina Ricci…
Low grade cotton is worth than any other fabrics : it schrinks, loose its shape and colors.
How to know if you purchase a real or a fake Swiss voile lace.When you take it in your fingers, the fabric must be very nervous and make noise when you rub it.Once you get the trick, you can figure out with eyes closed a real swiss voile from a fake one. But even in Austria or Switzerland, don’t trust with blind eyes, some low key manufacturers are selling imported voile for the price of Swiss voile. Develop a good relationship with a retailer like Tenuci and Tenuci and its team will tell you the difference when it comes to different grades of voile lace. Just be ready to pay the price for the finest cotton African Swiss voile laces
Swiss Voile Lace : get to learn about the yarns.
When it comes to African laces, yarns use to stitch the design are very important. Unfortunatly, it doesn’t show on the label what kind of yarn is used on the fabric. There are different types of yarns that make all the difference in price and quality.
The very first quality for a yarn is not to loose the colors after the first wash. If second grade yarns are used by the lace manufacturer, colors will fade after just a couple of washes. Even worth, during the first wash colors will migrate onto the base fabric! Having a first grade yarn is the guarantee that the fabric will remain new and unspoiled after many washes.
The best yarns are the ones found in the high end lingerie industry: they are made to resist up to 40 machine washes in some cases. Wash after wash, the colors will remain bright and full. Most of the lace manufacturer do not use lingerie yarns, simply because they are expensive, and african lace users don’t see the difference when they buy the lace. They see it after…wash.!
There are two types of yars : polyester and viscose ( cotton ). The cotton yarn is the best as it looks much better. It is also more expensive. To know if your lace has a coton or polyester yarn, it’s simple : just cut a yarn where it can’t be seen on the fabric, and light it up with a lighter.
If after burning you see a little black ball, it’s polyester. If nothing is left, then it’s rayon and the very best one. Polyester is nothing else than plastic, and plastic don’t burn fully.
The yarn’s size is important as well. A thinner than makes the design look better, it means as well double stitches and more value for the African lace. However, it’s generally better to compromise as having a thinner yarn might also leads to broken yarns.You can see what is the yarn size you get on the laces : a big yarn don’t cover as good as a small one. It’s basically why cheaper laces have motifs not fully covered and also have gaps in the motifs. African laces also come in so many other varieties of designs and textures like handcut lace, handcut voile lace, Organza lace, net lace, etc

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