Whats all the fuss about Lace?
May 14 2014
Published by:
Alison Hall

Lace seems to be a preferred finish that lends its self well to the vintage fandango that plays out in many a wedding breakfast. The mere nostalgia of dusty smelling tablecloths and worn out century old fabrics being snipped up to make bunting & accessories is a driving force to be reckoned with for wedding organisers and new brides wanting to embrace the ‘vintage’ heritage of this great old isle.

The mere mention of lace around is a daily occurance in bridal shops around the country. Mostly in a posotive manner although there are a few who are shunning the lace extravaganza that has monopolised the bridal world for many past seasons.
Vintage wedding. Blog 002
Vintage wedding lace blog 002

The intricate characteristics of lace make it special as a luxurious fabric, which is why it lends well to wedding dresses. There is much to ponder when choosing a wedding dress and so when recently asked what kind of lace is this and is it ‘real’ lace begs the question do all these lace followers actually know what it is they crave?

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lace overlay wedding dress. Lace blog 002

Lace is certainly not new and dates back centuries. Some believe it was first made in Venice & other references state its origins lay in France?

Wherever it was first made it was certainly by hand and a far cry from today’s mass produce machine made lace. Machine made lace in Britain came about during the industrial revolution, which almost wiped out handmade lace. Machines were made to try and re create copies of hand made lace but it didn’t go smoothly and it took nearly half a century of re building machines to finally come up trumps.

The technical stuff

Lace is an openwork fabric, which refers to the fact you can see through it, made by twisting, braiding or looping together threads. The openwork sections are surrounded by denser sections of detailed pattern.

Lace blog 002 image.

Bobbin lace refers to the making process, which involves many separate bobbins that are used to weave together threads.

Pins are used at the edges to pin down the weave whilst the lace is being made. This short video by The Lace guild shows step by step how bobbin lace is made, interesting stuff eh?


Needle lace is made by lots & lots of stitches. The buttonhole stitches make up the lace that is fastened to a backing fabric whilst being made. Once finished the backing fabric is detached and the finished lace is released.

There are many other types of lace such as crochet, tape, filet, netting, tatting, knotting which all are made using slightly different processes.

Check out A lace lovers diary has much more serious detail if you are thirsty for more in-depth detail on the technical side of lace production?


Lace is sometimes named after where it has been made e.g. the town, area or country so a lace labeled as Nottingham lace might not sound as alluring as Venetian lace. Chantilly lace originated from Chantilly, which is a city in France although it is also made elsewhere now.

Bridal gown lace

Wedding lace dress. Lace blog 002
Wedding dress lace. Lace blog 002

So you’ve seen a dress you love and its lace! The description sounds alluring but you have no idea what its means right?

Well there a few words you might encounter on a lace fuelled wedding dress shopping trip and these are a few of the popular ones

Beaded lace is popular at the moment as it has a very vintage aged look. Small beads/sequins are incorporated in the lace motifs.

Corded lace tends to look a little 3 dimensional as certain parts are outlined in cord or extra threads to emphasize the pattern.

Chantilly lace is quite common at the moment as it is very delicate, fine and lightweight. The background tends to be hexagonal mesh with motifs sometimes having silky threads added.

Guipure lace is the elegance king! Identified by the repetitive nature of the continuous motifs. A dense lace that when finished doesn’t posses a backing fabric.

bridalfabrics.co.uk shows the diversity of lace and the difference in cost per meter, which is what may make the cost difference in a lace wedding dress vs a chiffon wedding dress.

The lace that creates a modern all over lace wedding dress will be machine made lace made from synthetic yarn. The dress pattern will then be cut from a much larger piece. The skirt tip tends to be finished with another edging lace, which makes altering the length easier for bridal seamstresses.

Handmade lace is extremely costly and possibly only very small sections of detail would be hand made (high end gowns)

Dresses including lace usually refer to overlaid lace, which is where the lace forms merely a top layer of detail, or lace motifs are sewn or appliqued to the main fabric of the dress.

Go forth in search fo your lace wedding attire & be triumphant in your quest!

Thank You!

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