Lace Collars: Lace Types

Figure 1.--This Edwardian boy wears a velvet suit and lace collar. We would estimate that the portrait was taken about 1905-10. It is unidentified, but we believe it may be English. I'm not sure about the type of lace here, but it may be crocheted.

There are several different types of lace, based primarily on how the lace was made. Occasionally laces are made by knitting, crocheting, or tatting. However, the finestlaces are made without use of a background fabric; these are bobbin lace and needle pointor needle lace. HBC has little technical information about lace. We would appreciate here any technical information HBC readers can ptovide on lace types to help develop this page.

Bobin Lace

Bobbin lace, also known as pillow lace, is so called because the instruments used are several spools, or "bobbins", around each ofwhich a thread is wound, and a long stuffed pad, or "pillow". The pattern to be producedis drawn on a piece of parchment or paper, and pins are inserted through the parchment, along the course of the pattern, into the pillow. The loose ends of the threads on the bobbins are looped about selected pins, and the bobbins are then passed under, over, oraround each other, plaiting, interlacing, and twisting the threads as desired. Fine, delicate bobbin laces are produced by using very thin threads; heavy laces, known as guipures are made from thicker threads, or from the braiding together of fine threads. A famous fine bobbin lace is Valenciennes lace, characterized by a square or diamond-shaped mesh.


Buratto lace is made by filling in designs on coarsely woven cloth.

Crochet Lace

Lace could also be crocheted. The authors believe that crocheted lace was most likely to have been made by a boys mother or other family member. The lace collar pages of HBC have proven particularly difficult. This is because I know virtually nothing about lace. As a result, analizing the available images is extremely difficult. HBC has had a difficult time assessing the different types of lace. A few are relatively easy to identify, some much more difficult. One type of lace is crocheted lace, that is lace produced by crocheting. The authots believe that crocheted lace was most likely to have been made by a boys mother or other family member. I believe that the crocheted lace is relatively difficult to identify because of its more crude, rougher appearance--although this may be because HBC simply does not fully understand this type of lace. These crocheted collars also appear larger than many other types. Crocheted lace appears to have been done in several differet countries.


Another method long in use, known as cutwork, consists of cuttingholes in a fabric, embroidering the edges of the smaller holes, and working lacy designs of threads over the larger spaces. I think this may be another term for "eyelet" lace. This was often done with the large ruffled collars tht became popular in the 1890s. A good example is the Harrison brothers about 1890.


Handmade laces have been introduced into the body of a fabric for many centuries by withdrawing certain weft threads and using decorative stitching on the warp threads thus exposed; such laces are known as drawn laces.


I think this is the same as"cutwork", butI am not yet positive.


Another ancient type of lace, called filet. It is made by embroidering designs on a net fabric.

Fine net

The simplest form of lace is a fine net. Most laces have more complex patterns, varying from geometrical designs to ornate pictorial scenes.

Needle-point Lace

Needle-point lacemaking utilizes a needleand thread, and a piece of parchment or paper with a cloth backing. As in bobbinlacemaking, the pattern is drawn on the parchment. The initial stitches are madethrough the parchment and cloth, and delineate the border, and sometimes the essential design, of the desired piece of lace. All stitches thereafter are made using the original stitches as supports, without piercing the parchment and cloth, so that, when thelace is finished, merely slitting the original stitches is sufficient to remove the backing. Occasionally a thin net is basted onto the backing, and ornamented in similar fashion. Needle-point lace, often called "needle point", is made with a variety of stitches. One common modern stitch is the buttonhole stitch, closed stitch, or feston stitch, which is used to finish border and ragged edges; another is the mesh stitch, which is made by passing stitch after stitch into the same region until a compact mass of fabric, forming a heavydesign, is produced. The thin background fabric in needle point is known as the ground;heavy supporting stitches, called brides, are often wrought between the patterns on aneedle point to interconnect them and give strength to the fabric. Famous needle-pointlaces include rose point, characterized by a pattern of raised flowers, and Alen (on point. However, the term "point" in the names of famous laces refers to bobbin lace as well as needle lace. The term "needle point" is also applied to a type of embroidery.


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Created: March 17, 2004
Last updated: 12:57 AM 9/10/2007