Lace - for your wedding gown
Cram Brisbane Marriage Celebrant ©
| Wedding Attire |
Lace and weddings go together like, well,
wedding gowns and weddings. Regarded to be the
traditional bridal fabric, lace has been popular for
luxury wedding gowns for centuries. It has kicked off an
enduring fashion choice (enter Queen Victoria and her
lace-trimmed white gown), it has revived local industry,
it has been used as the main fabric and as a trim.
What is lace?
Lace is a decorated fabric that is made either on a
background fabric of net or with no background fabric.
Today it is used both as an all over fabric and as an
Handmade or machine-made?
Way back when lace was a luxury fabric it was always
made by hand. Today it is largely machine made, and many
of the patterns (usually floral) imitate the hand-made
originals. Understanding how much handwork goes into a
type of lace and how intricate the design will give you
a clue to how expensive it is. Expect to pay hundreds or
even thousands of dollars per metre for the most
Here are some of the major
types of lace used in wedding gowns:
- All over lace. The pattern covers the
entire fabric, rather than being isolated on one
section of background net.
- Ajour lace. A very open lace design with
the pattern scattered on the ground.
lace. Lace made on a sheer net fabric
with a solid design that is outlined by cord.
- Antique lace. A heavy lace made on a
square knotted net with designs darned onto the net.
Machine made antique lace is usually used for
curtains but I have seen it used in wedding gowns
- Argentan lace. Somewhat similar to Alençon lace
but the designs are usually not outlines with cord.
The designs are also often larger and bolder than
those of Alençon
- Belgian lace. Any lace made in
Belgium! However, originally it meant a bobbin
lace worked on a machine made net.
- Binche lace. Handmade lace motifs are
appliqued onto a machine-made net ground.
- Bobbin lace. Lace made using a pillow to
hold pins around which thread is arranged. Bobbins
are used to hold and feed the thread. Not generally
used for yardage, but for features such as collars
- Bourdon lace. Machine made lace,
usually in a scroll design with the design outlined
with a heavy thread.
- Breton lace. Lace made on open net,
usually embroidered with very heavy coloured yarns.
- Brussels lace. May be either a bobbin
lace or a needlepoint lace. It is usually worked on
a machine-made ground and sometimes the designs are
- Chantilly lace. Lace made on a fine,
six-sided mesh background and elaborate patterns,
often floral designs. It is popular for lingerie,
and is often used for trimming veils. Made by the
bobbin method, the designs are outlined by thick
- Cluny lace. The traditional lace for
doilies and place mats it is also used for very
structured garments, such as suits. It is heavy,
made of thick cotton or man-made fibres using the
- Crocheted lace. Most often used for a
Boho style wedding dress. It is made with a single
yarn using a crochet hook to form loops which are
joined to other loops to form the design.
- Guipure lace. A type of bobbin lace in
which the motifs are made of large corded yarns and
are connected with bars or plaits (called brides or
bridges) rather than net or mesh.
- Honiton lace. A type of bobbin lace in
which the motifs are made separately and then sewn
onto a net base. It hasn't been made commercially
since 1940, but there are still some enthusiasts who
produce it non-commercially. But you will often see
references to it because it was the lace Queen
Victoria had on her wedding dress and that choice
was credited with saving the lace industry in Devon.
- Irish lace. Strictly speaking, a heavy,
crocheted lace with a square mesh background, but
nowadays any lace made in Ireland, but generally
either crocheted lace or embroidered net. Often
ornamented with rose or shamrock medallion motifs.
- Needlepoint lace. Lace made with a sewing
or embroidery needle to form buttonhole stitches as
the basis of the design.
- Re-embroidered lace. Lace with the
designs outlined with embroidery stitching.
- Tatting. Generally used for edging
veils. A narrow, knotted lace worked with fingers
and a shuttle that holds the thread.
- Valenciennes lace (sometimes called Val
lace). A flat bobbin lace worked with
one thread forming both the background and the
design for the lace.
- Venise lace (sometimes called Venetian
or Venice lace). A needlepoint lace
usually having a floral pattern connected by picot
Lining choice is important
What your designer chooses as a lining fabric can make a
world of difference, and not just to the level of
modesty it affords. Lining affects comfort, drape (how
soft or stiff your dress is) as well as how it looks and
how loud it might be. Some fabrics can rustle loudly
when you move!
Thanks for reading!