September is New York Textile Month!

Did you know? September is New York Textile Month! One of the reasons I launched Entrechat Dance was to indulge my love of fine laces, including my very favorite, American-made leavers laces.

White Lise Leavers Lace Pointe Shoe Bag
White Lise Leavers Lace Pointe Shoe Bag

Leavers laces are made on Leavers machines, which are a remnant of the industrial revolution. Leavers laces are widely recognized as the finest-quality, most luxurious machine-made laces available. New Leavers machines haven't been manufactured in a century, so the few remaining mills that produce these gorgeous laces are very special and rare. Every machine has been maintained, repaired, and kept running by dedicated, highly-skilled textile workers, who make incredibly beautiful and intricate lace fabrics and trims. Because these machines are products of Victorian technology, the designs are programmed in using a series of punch cards—jacquard looms and lace machines were some of the very first computers!

Klauber Lace Leavers Machine (Photograph courtesy of Klauber Brothers)
Klauber Lace Leavers Machine (Photograph courtesy of Klauber Brothers)

The way that leavers laces are created is unique—unlike knit or woven textiles, in Leavers Laces, hundreds of individual bobbins interlace whisper fine yarns to create gorgeous patterns, mimicking the technique used to make handmade bobbin laces, but on an industrial scale.

Klauber Leavers Lace
Klauber Leavers Lace

There are a just few Leavers lace mills remaining in France's lace capital, Calais, and there is one remaining leavers lace mill stateside, right nearby in Rhode Island! All of the leavers laces used in Entrechat Dance's designs come from this small, family-run New England textile mill. It's my small, small way of helping to draw attention to this incredible art.

-Larissa