There are many different types of lace, and although many look similar, there are distinct differences in how laces are made and what they are most suitable for. Lace has a quality and air about it that speaks of soft gentleness and delicate luxury. Originally lace was a handicraft that made its way into the wardrobes and on the tables of only the wealthy gentry. The arrival of machinery to make beautiful lace has changed that mindset, and lace is now readily available for all sewers.
Types of Lace Tutorial
What is Lace?
Lace is basically a light to heavyweight fabric known for its delicate and web-like features as well as its tricate and openwork patterns.
Lace comes in different shades, patterns, and widths. It is a beautiful accessory and trim for delicate designs and a fashionable fabric that can be used for an entire outfit.
The origin of lace remains unconfirmed. Openwork fabrics were found present in Ancient Egyptian burial garbs, and before the Renaissance, a similar fabric to lace was popular over the Middle East.
In the 15th century, however, a series of Italian and Flemish paintings were found featuring genuine lace, which then led scholars to assume that its origin might have been from either of these two countries.
Lace is a highly popular textile in Europe ever since the 18th century, with Belgium, Italy, and France being the top manufacturers of handmade lace.
Originally lace was made by hand, and needle lace and bobbin lace were the main forms of lace making. Now the most common forms of lace are net-based, where delicate stitching and designs are machined onto the net by machines.
What is Lace Made From?
Traditionally, lace was made using linen threads, silk, and even silver and gold thread. However, it is now popularly made with cotton and synthetic fibers such as polyester. In addition, natural materials like silk, wool, and viscose can also be used to create lace.
28 Types of Lace
From the basic all-over embroidered net lace to the delicate Chantilly lace, there are many types and designs of lace to choose from.
Here is a list of twenty-eight different types of lace.
1. Chantilly Lace
Chantilly lace has a delicate design of flowers sewn or outlined with silk (or faux silk) on a netting background. Originally Chantilly lace was black with delicate scalloped edges. Modern Chantilly lace comes in a variety of different colors.
.Its name was derived from Chantilly, a city in France. It’s a worldwide classic when it comes to making bridal garments, gowns, and overlays. The Chantilly lace has scalloped ends and can either be sheer or semi-sheer, depending on the designer’s preference.
2. Alencon Lace or French Embroidered Lace
This is a lace fabric made on netting with raised motifs outlined with beads and cord. The motifs are outlined with silk cord, giving the lace more definition. Authentic French Alencon is always 36” (92cm) in width while the imitation varieties are 60” (152cm) wide.
3. All-Over (Embroidered Net Lace)
This type of lace fabric is made of fine machine embroidery, sewn onto a net background.
4. Venise Lace or Venetian lace
Venetian lace is a fine lace that is not worked on netting. The embroidery is stitched onto a cloth that disintegrates in the final processing causing the floral or geometric motifs to stand out. Silky strands of thread connect the lace. It is also known as Guipure lace, meaning ‘lace without any mesh.’
Handmade Venetian lace is very expensive, but the machine-made variety is more reasonable.
5. Edging Lace
Edging lace is a trim where one side is straight and the other scalloped. Often the straight side has a thread in it that can be pulled up to create gathers. French edging lace falls into this category and has openings to thread ribbons along it. Flounce is another form of edging lace and is very wide.
6. Gathered lace
Gathered lace has the top edge of this lace trim already gathered. Gathered lace is easy to stitch to the edge of a garment to give a frilled effect, as the gathers are already part of the lace.
7. Insertion Lace
Insertion lace has two straight edges and can be sewn between two pieces of fabric. Decorative stitches can be used to attach the insertion lace for different effects. Sometimes two pieces of insertion lace can be joined together to make the piece of lace wider.
8. Crochet Lace
Irish crocheted lace is the most well-known. It is one of the few hand-made lace types still made today. Crotchet lace is a little heavier than many laces and has a natural organic look to it.
Machine-made crocheted lace is also very common and is typically made from cotton fibers making it easy to dye in brilliant colors to match any garment.
9. Tatting Lace or Shuttle Lace
Tatting is a form of knotted lace made with special cotton. The cotton is knotted to form a warp and weft of knots using a shuttle. Tatting lace is delicate and fine and used for edging hankies, pillow slips, and collars.
10. Tassel Lace Trim
This lace with tassels on the edge makes an interesting trim for cushions and clothing.
11. Ribbon Pass Lace
A type of lace that is used to pass a ribbon through. It is made with both edges being the same and holes evenly spaced along the lace for threading the ribbon.
12. Swiss Entredeux
This lace is made of cotton Batiste, which is soft fine cotton. Swiss entredeux is a strip of fabric that looks a bit like a ladder with holes evenly spaced along the strip of fabric. The lace strip is sewn between lace and fabric, and a ribbon can be woven through the holes.
13. Beaded Lace Trim
This lace trim has beads on the edge. The lace is inserted between two pieces of fabric, and the effect is the beads look as if they are embroidered onto the fabric. The weight can vary depending on its added elements like beads and sequins.
14. Lace Appliqué
Lace motifs that can be appliquéd to garments are very beautiful. They have the advantage of being single items and are a cost-effective way to decorate garments. They can be made from nylon or cotton.
15. Elastic Lace
Elastic lace is a stretch lace that is ideal for lingerie. It is very soft and should not be scratchy. Elastic lace comes in varying widths and can be used as a trim for legs or waists or for cutting an entire pair of underwear.
16. Nylon Lace Types
Nylon lace is synthetic and in common use due to its affordability. Nylon lace may have a straight edge or scalloped edge and has a very fine and delicate look.
17. Cotton Lace
Cotton lace is softer than nylon or synthetic lace, making it ideal where you want the fabric to hug the body.
18. Smocked Lace
This type of lace looks very creative, with rows of smocking to decorate it. Adding smocked lace is a faster alternative to actual smocking since the work is already done for you.
19. Ric Rac Lace
Ric Rac lace has a zigzag pattern and is used to accent edges or can be inserted into a seam. It is made of cotton, silk, or metallic fabrics and is a cheap and cheerful decorative option. Ric rac is sometimes referred to as lace and sometimes as a ribbon. Either way, it is a pretty, decorative trim.
Read: How to Sew Ric Rac (with video)
20. Broderie Anglaise
Broderie Anglaise is often sold with laces, but interestingly, it is not strictly considered to be lace. It is made with eyelets, embroidery, and cut-outs in a fine strip or piece of cotton. Broderie Anglaise is technically a form of embroidered fabric and is typically found in white or lighter colors.
21. Imitation lace (Chemical Types of Lace)
Also known as chemical lace or Schiffli lace, it is basically a man-made synthetic form of embroidered net. The lace motif is embroidered onto a special fiber which later disintegrates, leaving the design exposed.
Some modern factories disintegrate the background with hot water instead of chemicals. Imitation lace can be identified by the slightly fuzzy or fluffy look of the edges of the lace.
22. Lyon Lace
This type of lace is made out of pure cotton and is heavier compared to the Chantilly, Guipure, and Corded lace. This is known for its delicate and complex patterns with cord outlines and woven on lightweight tulle. The Lyon lace is perfect for bridal gowns.
23. Corded Lace
This is a volumetric type of lace because of its soutache outlines. It is less heavy than Lyon lace and is great for accentuating any type of garment or overlay.
24. Guipure Lace
This is also a heavy type of lace that is known for its raised design. Its elements are connected together with braids, unlike the Chantilly lace, which uses a net background. The Guipure lace is preferably for casual and formal dresses, tops, jackets, and the like.
25. Embroidered Lace
Often used in evening gowns and formalwear, embroidered lace is heavier than Lyon lace and is characterized by festive elements like crystals, beads, sequins, ribbons, and satin stitch embroidery.
26. Bobbin Lace
Also referred to as the ‘pillow’ lace, this one is created out of threads around bobbins.
27. Stretch Lace
Another versatile type of lace is the stretch lace which has the addition of elastic fibers, such as Lycra or Spandex, for it to become stretchable and durable. This is widely used to adorn lingerie, multilayered costumes, and sleeves.
28. African Lace
The African Lace is manufactured by Austrian or Swiss fabric companies to target the West African market. This is not conventionally a ‘lace’ but rather an industrial embroidery either on cotton, linen, or sateen. To further match the traditional garments of Africa, bold and vibrant colors area used to attract customers.
The African lace looks similar to Guipure lace, but it simply can’t be considered lace conventionally. Instead, this is popularly called the Nigerian lace because Nigeria became one of the biggest export markets for Swiss companies. Still, in reality, the other official names for this are Austrian or Swiss Lace.
What is Lace Properties and Qualities
Lace can either be machine-made or handmade, and its weight will vary depending on which types of lace it is. It is breathable, versatile, soft, and often in need of an outline. These are soft if they are created using silk, wool, or cotton and at the same time, extremely durable with synthetic fibers.
It is also possible to add metallic threads for more brilliance. A lace’s typical patterns are botanical and floral. However, there are also a lot of laces with ornamental and geometrical patterns found almost everywhere.
You may also be curious about what is lace made for or what can you do with lace. Luckily, with lace, you can also create a lot of elegant pieces like the following:
- Lace Trims
- Lace Shawls and collars
- Bridal garments
- Drapes and curtains
e iron away. Avoid stretched lace; instead, dry heavy lace on a flat surface.
What is Lace - Pros and Cons
Like any other type of fabric, lace also has its fair share of pros and cons. Starting with the good side, lace’s advantages include its beauty, versatility, breathability, and festive elements. Lace is stunning on every type of garment, as it gives off an elegant and sophisticated vibe.
It is versatile in the sense that it can be decorated and used in almost all types of clothing and improve their overall aesthetic. Moreover, lace is breathable and soft on the skin.
For the disadvantages, lace can be extremely fragile without synthetic threads. It can also be pricey, especially for handmade lace, because some materials that were used can be expensive and high-maintenance, given that its materials need delicate care, otherwise, it will become damaged in no time.
Another downside is that lace is transparent, which makes it a necessity to combine it with other materials for added opacity if you are not fond of too much skin exposure. Regardless, this does not deter the value of lace fabrics.
Types of Lace - In Conclusion
There are other types of lace, but these are the top twenty-one varieties you will come across, with the most common or well-known being the Chantilly and the Venetian laces.
Lace will always enhance creations and add an air of luxury to your designs. From famous wedding veils for royalty to comfortable lingerie, lace is a valuable addition to garments.