I was curious about what research has been done regarding spangles on early lace.

I was reading a copy of Extracts from the Accounts of the Revels at Court in the Reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James I. The book details what was paid to who for products or services provided for  the revels that were held for royalty.  The accounts also include notes back to the mid-1500s, when Elizabeth was still a princess.  

Lace is frequently mentioned, and along with the lace are charges for spangles, or laces made with spangles.  I had no idea what this might mean, until I was loaned a copy of 2 books from the V&A museum examining some of their extant sixteen and seventeenth century women's clothes.  Sure enough, a few of the garments with lace still partially intact showed the use of spangles - flat oval or teardrop shaped silver or or other metal with a hole punched near one edge that was worked into the lace, usually at the edge on a picot.

I just scanned through Shepherd's An Early Lace Workbook but found no mention of spangles (unless I overlooked something). Dye mentions spangles in Elizabethan Lace, stating it was frequently used on Elizabethan lace.  Earnshaw's Dictionary of Lace only talks about the spangles on bobbins. I can't call to mind at the moment any portraits with spangles, although I've seen ones with beads and/or teardrop pearls.  Is there some scholarship I'm missing regarding spangles, perhaps in Arnold?  (I only have her 4th book.)  Or maybe Dye's newest 3 books?

Thank you

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I just couldn't imagine having to add all those spangles at the start of a project and not damage them while you work however it certainly looks to me like that was how the Layton Jacket lace was worked. Sewing them in would definitely be more appealing but then they wouldn't swing loosely I suppose which would stop them from sparkling so much.  

I would think that spangles were added primarily to metallic laces however I do think that metallics could have been brass as well, like embroideries. I could also imagine spangles being added to polychromatic laces but maybe not white lace. 

I'll be keeping an eye out for suitable spangles from here on in too, I'm not sure I could be bothered making my own like Leslie though.

I'm off to find that portrait of Mary Denton now :o) thanks.
Nancy M. Terselic said:


Depending on where you are adding the spangles, you would either thread them on the bobbins before you begin or add them as you would add beads through sewings.  For edgings, they'd have to be pre-threaded on the bobbins.

I haven't tried playing with spangles yet, but it is definitely on my to-do list.  Step one is to find spangles I'd be happy putting in my lace, step 2 would be finding a picture of some extant lace to copy, although the Sixteen and Seventeenth Century Women's Clothing books from the V&A include not only fabulous close-up photos of the lace, but conjectured prickings!!

I'm beginning to wonder, based on the examples still around, if spangles were primarily added to gold and silver thread lace.  It wouldn't make too much sense to spangle plain linen, I suppose, and the spangles could potentially cut their way out of the lace depending on how much wear the lace was subjected to. 

From what I learned from Gil Dye at convention, the spangles are pre-strung see page 14 in Gold and Silver edgings.

Have been searching for metal (not plastic) sequins. Did find supplier in NY but no teardrop shaped. If anyone finds such, please post.

Yes, I, too, would love some teardrop spangles!! Sue is right, - the spangles or any beads, are threaded onto the thread before making the lace. It was not as hard to use the bobbins with them already threaded on, as I thought it would be.

Mind you - I only had 8 or 9 sequins threaded on, as I was only working small samples each day in class! -- and it was a fabulous class, too. Well worth the travel and every penny spent.(Including buying her 3 new books on the Metallic and other early laces!!!!


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