Macrame is an age-old craft based on tying knots using fiber cords. This craft has been around for hundreds of years, and can be traced back to the thirteenth century. The art was believed to have originated with the Arab weavers who travel through the desert and trade the products of their craftsmanship with town dwellers.

In time, the craftsmanship of macrame spread throughout Europe, attracting the fascination of everyone across the social classes. In fact, manly sailors have been known to macrame to pass away the time while spending long months at sea. When at port, the sailors bartered their finished crafts so they could buy essential supplies before going back to their ships. And so, the art of macrame continued to flourish.

Macrame’s popularity peaked during the Victorian era. Macrame lace was all the rage, and could be found on curtains, women’s sleeves, dress hems, pillowcases and anywhere else that could use a little lacy embellishment.

Over the centuries, the popularity of Macrame gradually diminished. Some of the more elaborate knotting techniques were soon forgotten, leaving behind no record of their patterns and designs. The art of knot tying, however, keeps coming back to life, the passion for knotting burning continuously under the surface.

The passion for macrame heated up in the seventies. During that decade, macrame pieces were always seen everywhere. There was never a home without a macrame plant hanger or macrame owl hanging gracing its walls. During this revival period, the craft focused more on textiles and furnishings, such as macrame hammocks, chairs and decorative macrame accessories used at home. By the time the rockin’ and rollin’ eighties came, macrame had faded from people’s memories.

This disappearance did not last long, however. With the nineties came the grunge scene, and once again, the age-old craft experienced a revival of sorts, although this time in the form of hemp jewelry. Macrame bracelets and necklaces could be found at craft fairs and shops. The natural earthy look of hemp was the perfect complement to the knotted art form.

Now, this ancient art form is again being resurrected, but with a bigger audience in mind. The world of Haute Couture has begun experimenting with it. Last year, it was subtly added to clothing lines from famous houses. This year we have seen macrame accessories in the Spring and Summer 2010 collections. Who would have guessed that several gorgeous macrame dresses would be seen in the Spring 2010 collection of Dianne Von Furstenberg, a well known fashion designer?

The world of Haute Couture often leads the cavalry in reviving crafts and techniques of yesteryear. The potential of macrame as a sophisticated art form in fashion is undeniable. Macrame artists are slowly being recognized as artisans of the highest order. So whip out your macrame cord and start knotting!

Melissa Cordstone is a passionate macrame lover for more than 20 years. She loves to write about macrame knots, macrame patterns, and macrame cords to use in making macrame jewelry and macrame plant hangers. She owns a blog at and works hard to build a strongly knotted community of macrame lovers from around the world.

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Categories: Fashion