Lace Types

Nowadays almost all the lace is made on machines. This has made lace an affordable fabric from the expensive fabric it used to be. There are many different varieties of lace available today. Needle lace and the bobbin lace are the main categories that lace falls into according to how they are made. Needle lace is made with one thread looped over itself in variations of the buttonhole stitch.

Here are some types of lace fabric.

Allover or Embroidered Net

This is a lace fabric with delicate embroidery done on a mesh background. The floral designs are all over the fabric as the name itself suggests.

Chantilly Lace

 This beautiful and delicate lace has fine floral designs which are outlined with silk threads done on a net background. The colour of the silk thread used was mostly Black originally but nowadays other colours are used. The net or mesh on which the work is done is extremely delicate making the designs stand out. The embroidery work is not done separately; it is worked as the lace is made. The scalloped edges of this fabric make the edges look beautiful – you can recognize this lace by its rather frayed edges on the scallops. A Chantilly lace trim which has both the edges scalloped is known as Galloon Lace.

Alencon or French embroidered lace

This is a beautiful lace fabric which has a net background and raised motifs with beads and cords embellishing it. Motifs in this lace will be outlined with the heavier silk cord called cordonnet that create a raised outer edge on a sheer net background  giving it a dimension which is beautiful.  Basically, it is Chantilly lace with a raised design. You will find authentic French Alencon laces as well as copied ones made in a factory and may be confused as to which is authentic. One way to distinguish them is to look for a fine fringe of threads at the edge of the scallops. The authentic French embroidered Alencon lace is 36 inches wide and the copies are 60 inches wide. True Alencon laces are made in France and look divine. It is immensely popular as a bridal fabric for making wedding gowns and veils.  It can be expensive but well worth the cost. 

Venise Lace (Venetian Lace)

This is a very fine lace with a heavy raised design, usually floral or geometric design all over it. The lace work is not done on a mesh / net fabric like the other lace fabrics. The embroidery or buttonhole stitches are stitched on a cloth that disintegrates in the finishing process leaving the motifs to stand alone, Silky thread connects the motifs in this lace. This lace fabric is also available as lace appliqué, lace trims or as wide fabric. This lace is also known by the name Guipure lace (with the meaning “lace without any ground mesh”). The original handmade Venetian lace is expensive and much appreciated but machine made Venetian lace has made it affordable for ordinary people like me to use it to make gorgeous clothes. You can piece this lace together and make gorgeous clothes

Lace Appliqué

These are single motifs you can buy separately other than as a whole fabric which are then appliquéd on to any other type of fabric.

 Edging Lace

This is a lace trim with one straight edge and one scalloped edge. Usually this trim comes with a thread along the straight edge for gathering. French beading lace comes with small openings through which you can also thread ribbons. Flounce is an edging lace trim which is very wide.

Insertion lace

This is a beautiful lace usually stitched between two fabrics. Two edges of this lace are the same, so they can be layered on top of fabrics. This is a Lace trim with two straight edges. You can stitch the lace trim in between fabric panels by stitching along the two sides. Yet another way is to use decorative stitches to attach the lace to fabric.  You can also sew these trims together to make a wider piece of lace – Keep them along each other and join the edges by sewing a zig zag stitch catching both the edges. Swiss embroidered insertion lace refers to lace trims which are basically trims made of batiste embellished with machine embroidery

Swiss Entredeux

This is a cotton batiste strip which looks like a ladder with holes spaced evenly. Usually this is placed between the lace and the fabric. This strip usually will have plain wide cotton batiste seams on either sides of the embroidered ladder and this is trimmed after it is stitched on to the fabric. It is sewn by trimming the seam on the side and butting it next to the lace and joining them together with a zig zag stitch

Crocheted Lace 

Irish crocheted lace is the most famous crocheted lace. This is one of the few laces made today by hand. This was earlier made as an imitation to mimic the more expensive Venetian lace but found popularity of its own. The resultant lace is intricate elegant and beautiful. 

Tatting lace 

Also called shuttle lace this is a special delicate handmade lace made with knotted lace making technique with a special cotton thread. This is formed with knots of warp and weft threads with a tool called shuttle. Very intricate and beautiful designs are created with fine yarn and the shuttle, with the looping and knotting process of tatting. Tatting lace trims are used as edging for handkerchiefs, collars, pillows etc

Tassel Lace trim

This is a lace made in cotton or nylon with tassels all along the edge. This is a type of fringe lace. Tassels are fringes knotted at one end. 

Ribbon Pass Lace

This is a lace which has holes at regular intervals for ribbon to be inserted. This is used in heirloom embroidery. Both the edges of this lace are usually the same.

Cotton Beading lace

A type of lace with beading done on one edge. If inserted between two fabrics it looks as if beads have been embroidered on.

Metallic beaded lace

A metallic lace with embroidery done on it

Elastic Lace

These are stretch lace and are used widely as embellishments for garments. They are also popularly used for making fabric headbands and lingerie

Smocked lace

As the name suggest, this trim has rows of smocking on it. 

Gathered Lace

This lace gives the look of gathered fabric because one edge of this lace trim is gathered

Ric Rac Lace

This is a lace in a zig zag pattern usually made in cotton, silk and metallic and used as accents, edging, and insertion in a seam. This is stitched between pieces of fabrics showing one side of the lace to the outside.

Broderie Anglaise

This is not strictly lace but looks very much like it, with eyelets and cutworks making it look very much lace like. You can call it an embroidered lace made in cotton.

Usually done on white cotton or linen fabric this is essentially a white work embroidery technique which originated in England. It usually has a cut work edge. This lace is usually found in light or white colours. Silken Terene and cotton threads are used for embroidery in these laces.

Nylon Lace

This is a synthetic lace. This is nowadays commonly used because it is more affordable than those made from naturally woven fibers. They come with a straight sewing edge and a lace edge, which is mostly scalloped and or embroidered. You also get imitation lace. Chemical lace is an artificial lace made by embroidering cotton or polyester on a fine silk ground. The silk is then burned away in lye which leaves the embroidery as freestanding lace.

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