This bobbin lace border is made of quite coarse cream-coloured thread and was probably used to trim domestic linen, rather than clothing in the early 1600s. Possibly Italian it is made of a blend of cotton and linen (verified by SEM analysis). Although it shows more sophisticated design and workmanship than the simple seaming laces of the previous century, the border uses the same continuous bobbin lace technique in which pattern and ground are worked together with the one set of threads, so that the wider the lace the more threads are used. It is generally acknowledged that the earliest bobbin laces were worked by this method.
Both bobbin and needle lace for fashion rather than domestic use became powerful status symbols from the mid 1500s as wealthy men and women strived to draw attention to their fine linen undershirts and chemises with increasingly elaborate lace trimmings. The demand for lace to trim domestic textiles also increased in this period.
See Classification System page 10 (http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/pdf/research/classification.pdf )
and Glossary page 6. (http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/pdf/research/glossary.pdf)
Rosemary Shepherd - March 2010