Alencon lace has a fine net ground and an enhanced outer border. Today,
a majority of such type of lace is machine made. It is generally used as
trimming for wedding gowns.
Chantilly lace is a type of bobbin lace. It was originally produced in
the town of Chantilly, France. It was well accepted during the 17th
century. It is designed by a fine net ground and delicate flowers, scrolls
and branches. The design is commonly outlined with heavy silk thread. This
lace is generally used in wedding gowns.
Battenberg lace, also popularized as Renaissance lace, is made by using
loops of woven tape held together by yarn brides to form patterns. Making
Battenburg lace was a recognized hobby in the United States in the early
1900's. It is now made by machine and is commonly used for tablecloths and
in bridal gowns.
Venetian Lace, created in Venice, Italy, is a weighty lace with floral,
sprays, foliage or geometrical designs. In the 17th century this lace was
accepted as more valuable and had greater regard than jewels. Women of
this era put it on the sides of their skirts and the range of layers of
their lace petticoats would be seen. This lace garlanded kings as they
were crowned and the garments of the wealthy were heavily covered with it.
This lace is still utilized today, particularly for wedding gowns.
Machine made lace In the early 1800's Lace machines were developed to
make lace. John Leavers created a machine in 1813 that made designs and
backgrounds at the same time. The Leavers machine set up the production of
intricate lace patterns similar to those made by hand. Lace produced on
the Leaver's machine is called Leavers Lace.
Raschel lace is made on a Raschel warp knitting machine. This type of
machine can make laces similar to those made on the Leavers machine, but
at higher speeds and at less expense. At present a majority of the
manufactured lace in the market is made on Raschel knitting machines.
Laces that are multifaceted, light and delicate are produced cheaply and
faster on these machines.
Princess Lace This type of lace is used mainly for wedding veils and
other ceremonial occasions. The net is made by machine and the flowers are
made with a needle by hand.
Nowadays, wedding gowns pay more attention to details. Simple designs
were preferred in the past. But the concentration is now shifting to
adding a small amount of detail. This detail typically covers some type of
lace appliqué. Currently, the historical gowns are also in demand as they
are the latest trend. The 18th century gowns are well-known today. These
gowns have more lace than some of the gowns from other historical
Using bobbins and needles are the two basic techniques that are being
used since the 17th century for making fashionable lace. However, one can
also use a crochet hook, knitting needles or a tatting shuttle to make
lace. Moreover, machine-made nets can also be embroidered to give unique
patterned laces. Holes are formed in the lace when lace is being made and
are not cut out later.
Bobbin lace is made from multiple threads, each wound on separate
bobbins. The design (pricking) of pin-holes is marked on a stiff card
which is tied to a firm pillow packed with straw (nowadays a piece of
polystyrene is often used). Though more threads can be added (or removed)
as the design progresses, few threads are fixed at the beginning of the
pattern. Basically, all the stitches involve two pairs of bobbins, i.e.
four threads. Once the stitches are made, they are held in such a position
that the pins are pushed through the pin-holes, in the pricking, into the
pillow. The pattern motifs, which can be outlined with a gimp (a thicker
thread), are usually worked in cloth stitch (forming areas resembling
woven cloth) or half stitch (giving a more open effect), but more
elaborate filling stitches are also used. There are two ways in which such
bobbin laces are made. One is a continuous process of making straight
laces, where the motifs and ground of meshes or bars are made in one
continuous process. Second is a process of making part laces, where the
motifs are made separately and then joined with bars or a mesh ground.
Once the lace is finished it is released from the pattern by removing the
Based on their place of origin, the different styles of lace are named
and the traditional English bobbin laces described below are no exception.
Named after the town in Devon, which was the center of a lace-making
area, Honiton lace is a part lace traditionally made with very fine
thread. A major advantage of part lace at the time when hand-made lace was
produced commercially was that the various motifs could be made by
different lace makers. This meant that large items like shawls and smaller
items like collars, all could be finished faster. In contrast, the lace
makers today, prefer working on their own and making separate motifs which
are complete in themselves.
Bedfordshire Lace was made not only in Bedfordshire, but also in other
counties of East Midlands' lace making areas like Buckinghamshire and
Northamptonshire. Created around the middle of the 19th century and
inspired by the 17th century laces, this lace later developed features of
its own. Some of the delicate ones, especially those designed by Thomas
Lester, were also borrowed from Honiton lace. Technically, it is a
straight lace and the pattern motifs are usually joined with bars of
Bucks Point Lace
Bucks Point Lace, one of the East Midlands laces, was made all over the
area and not just in Buckinghamshire. Created in the 18th century, it is
an English version of a type of mesh-grounded lace. Traditionally made
with fine thread (not as fine as that used for Honiton lace), it is a
straight lace in which pattern motifs are often outlined with a thicker
Torchon Lace is an exception to the rule about names. Surprisingly, the
French word Torchon means a duster! It was not regarded as a very
fashionable lace in the 18th and 19th centuries; hence was given a rather
pejorative name. In Britain, Torchon is often the first bobbin lace
learnt, but there is nothing second-rate about it today. It is a straight
lace with a type of mesh ground different from that found in Bucks
Needle laces have the same basic techniques for all types of laces. The
design is drawn on a parchment (nowadays architect's linen) and this is
fastened to a backing fabric. Foundation threads are then couched down
along the lines of the design with threads which pass through the pattern
and underlying fabric. The design motifs are then filled with rows of
buttonhole stitches, each end of the row being linked to the foundation
thread. The motifs are then joined with short bars or a mesh ground of
buttonhole stitches. The motifs can be also embellished by attaching extra
threads to the outlines of the motifs. This raised outline (cordonnet) can
be decorated with picots (decorative loops) as well. Once the lace is
finished it is released from the pattern by cutting the threads which
couched down the foundation threads.
As in the case of bobbin lace, needle laces are often named after the
place where they were first made, like Venetian Gros Point and Alençon are
perhaps the best known. Each type of lace has its distinctive features.
Today's needle lace often adopts techniques from different styles and
tries to create something distinct.