How To Make A Difference Between Various Types Of Lace Fabric

Woman in the white lace dress
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How To Make A Difference Between Various Types Of Lace Fabric

How To Make A Difference Between Various Types Of Lace Fabric

As it was expensive and rare, lace was once reserved only the nobility. Luckily, those times have passed, and now there are a lot of types of affordable, yet still elegant lace fabrics. The main reason why this material wasn’t available to wider masses is because then it was wholly made by hand.

Nowadays, when almost all types of lace are created on machines, its price has dropped significantly. While it is still in the higher price range compared to other fabric, many sewers can afford to treat themselves once in a while and sew a stunning piece from this material.

There are many different varieties of lace available today, but we’ll focus on the most common ones, alongside some other important features of the lace you should know before you start a sewing project.

Pros and Cons of Lace

There’s no need to beat around the bush – like any other fabric, lace has its good sides, but also some downsides. Let’s take a look at the main ones.


  • Stunning – Lace fabrics are beautiful and feminine, perfect for a romantic look.
  • Versatile – While most dominant in the weeding industry, the lace is suitable for every occasion. From day to night, lace can be found on many clothing pieces, not just gowns and dresses.
  • Airy – This fabric has a pleasant texture which makes it comfortable and breathable
  • Festive – Even the most casual clothes can become an eye-turner when decorated with lace


  • Fragile – As it can be easily damaged, it requires special care.
  • Price – While much more affordable than before, quality laces made of natural materials by leading European manufacturers are quite expensive.
  • Transparency – Requires lining.
  • Not suitable for a washing machine – Dry-cleaning and hand wash are the only options to ensure the safety of lace fabrics.

Types Of Lace Fabrics

There are over 20 types of laces and it seems that new terms and categorizations are changing every day. Bridal shops and fabric stores for example use special phrases for describing different lace fabrics. Named after a town in Normandy, Alencon lace has motifs outlined by a heavy white cord and this is one of the most common materials used for wedding gowns.

Weeding dress made from Alecon lace

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Chantilly lace is more delicate-looking fabric, while Cluny lace is much heavier. Point d’esprit or dotted Swiss are sheer woven fabrics with a pattern of allover dots, while the lace fabrics may also be beaded or embroidered for extra sparkle or color.

It gets even more confusing, but you get the point. Still, it doesn’t hurt to know these terms in case you found yourself in the wedding dress shop. But when you need lace for your sewing project, stick to the main generalization and most common types described below.

Heirloom Sewing Lace

Heirloom sewing is a technique where strips of narrow cotton trims are joined to create a larger piece of fabric. It is also known by the name French hand sewing, although it is often done by machine now and rarely by hand. Trims with two straight edges are called insertions, while trims with one straight edge and one shaped edge are called edgings since the shaped edge can be left plain as a hemline.

This type of lace fabric is especially popular for christening gowns and other special garments for babies, toddlers and young children. Nightgowns and other trousseau items also can look stunning when made in heirloom lace.

Heirloom lace skirt

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Crocheted Lace

Trims of this lace are made by hand with fine steel hooks and crochet cotton. This type of lace can be found on heirloom and handkerchiefs. Irish crochet is one of the techniques for making crocheted lace. In this case, individual floral motifs are joined together with a net-like background–all created with just a thread and hook.

If you just want to add crochet lace edging to a finished sewing garment, the following vide will show you how.


Novelty Lace

While traditional white or ecru lace will never go out of style, these days this fabric comes in almost all shapes and colors. It can even include metallic threads, multiple colors or their mixture. Since it looks good on almost anything, fashion designers now use lace in untraditional applications and combinations.

Novelty lace has really opened a lot of doors and gave us endless opportunities. No matter what your new sewing project will be – add a laced detail and it will reach a new dimension of beauty.

Knitted Lace

Knitted lace is created with very fine yarn and needles of small diameter. The knitter follows a chart to make all kinds of patterns of holes between areas of plain knitting. Popular projects for skilled lace knitters are shawls and scarves, but the masters of this trade can knit entire dresses, wedding veils or even curtains. The most popular fiber for knitted lace is laceweight wool.

Curtain knitted from lace fabrics


Proper Care of Lace Fabrics

Just imagine creating a beautiful lace clothing piece and then to lose it to inadequate care. All that time and all that effort – gone with the wind. So bare with us for a little longer as we explain how you should take care of this material.

  • Washing – As said, forget about washing a lace in the machine. Dry-cleaning is apreferable option. Still, check the label and if the hand wash is allowed, choose a gentle cleaning agent, use cold water, and dry on a towel after washing.
  • Avoid ironing – When possible of course. Take special care in case the lace contains synthetic fibers since they can melt when pressed by a hot iron. If you do decide to iron lace fabrics, place a press cloth or a plain cotton fabric between the iron and lace and set proper temperature.
  • Drying – Dry heavy lace apparel flat to avoid stretching.
  • Keep it in the garment bag – Clothes made of lace should be stored in the garment bag and then put in the closet. This will prevent from accidentally catching it with the hanger top and damaging it. It will also keep it clean and dust-free.

Whether you plan to buy lace clothes or to make some on your own, now you know how to choose the material that fits your needs between so many different lace fabrics.


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