Torchon lace

Last updated
fabrication of traditional torchon Dentelliere2.jpg
fabrication of traditional torchon

Torchon lace (Dutch: stropkant) is a bobbin lace that was made all over Europe. [1] It is continuous, with the pattern made at the same time as the ground. Torchon lace is notable for being coarse and strong, as well as its simple geometric patterns and straight lines. [2] It does not use representational designs. [3] Torchon lace was used by the middle classes for edging or insertion, and also to trim cotton and linen underwear, where it was ideal because of its strength and because it was inexpensive. [3] Torchon lace was originally made from flax, but cotton is used as well, and has been for a long time. It is made in strips 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) wide. [3] Torchon lace generally has a gimp outlining the pattern. The gimp was first used in Sweden, but now is used generally. [3] Colored threads are occasionally used, but in general Torchon lace is white. [3]

Torchon lace is one of the oldest laces, and is common to many lace-making regions such as Belgium, France, Italy, Saxony, Sweden and Spain. [4] Due to its simplicity, torchon lace is generally the first lace a lacemaker learns to make, [1] and has been since at least the 19th century. It only requires a few bobbins and uses thicker thread than other laces, which makes it easier to learn on. It is also the simplest of all the grounded laces. [2] Beggar's lace is an alternative term for torchon lace. [5] [6]

Though it is one of the oldest laces, torchon lace was not made in England until the late 19th century, at which point it was made in the East Midlands, thus it is not considered an English lace. By the early 20th century, machine-made copies were being made that were almost indistinguishable from the hand-made lace. [3]

Related Research Articles

Tatting craft of making lace with loops and knots using a small shuttle

Tatting is a technique for handcrafting a particularly durable lace from a series of knots and loops. Tatting can be used to make lace edging as well as doilies, collars, accessories such as earrings and necklaces, and other decorative pieces. The lace is formed by a pattern of rings and chains formed from a series of cow hitch or half-hitch knots, called double stitches, over a core thread. Gaps can be left between the stitches to form picots, which are used for practical construction as well as decorative effect.

Lace openwork fabric, patterned with open holes in the work, made by machine or by hand

Lace is a delicate fabric made of yarn or thread in an open weblike pattern, made by machine or by hand.

Bobbin lace Handmade lace

Bobbin lace is a lace textile made by braiding and twisting lengths of thread, which are wound on bobbins to manage them. As the work progresses, the weaving is held in place with pins set in a lace pillow, the placement of the pins usually determined by a pattern or pricking pinned on the pillow.

Chantilly lace type of bobbin lace

Chantilly lace is a handmade bobbin lace named after the city of Chantilly, France, in a tradition dating from the 17th century. The famous silk laces were introduced in the 18th century. Chantilly lace, was also produced in the 19th century but this one was actually made not in Chantilly area but in the French Norman town Bayeux and in Geraardsbergen, now in Belgium.

Guipure Type of bobbin lace in which motifs are connected by bars or plaits

Guipure lace is a type of bobbin lace. It connects the motifs with bars or plaits rather than net or mesh.

Tønder lace type of bobbin lace from Denmark

Tønder lace is a point-ground type of handmade bobbin lace identified with the Tønder region of Denmark since about 1850, although lace of many types has been made there since as early as 1650. The term is also used more broadly, to refer to any bobbin lace made in Denmark.

Point de Gaze needle lace from Belgium

Point de Gaze is a needle lace from Belgium named for the gauze-like appearance of the mesh ground. It was made from the early to mid 1800s to the 1930s.

Antwerp lace type of bobbin lace, often depicting vases of flowers

Antwerp lace is a bobbin lace distinguished by stylized flower pot motifs on a six point star ground. It originated in Antwerp, where in the 17th century an estimated 50% of the population of Antwerp was involved in lace making. Antwerp lace is also known, from its familiar repeated motif, as Pot Lace— in Dutch Pottenkant or Potten Kant. It is sometimes said that the flowers were a depiction of the Annunciation lilies; however, the flowers were not limited to lilies.

Gimp (thread) narrow yarn of thread wrapped around a core

Gimp is a narrow ornamental trim used in sewing or embroidery. It is made of silk, wool, polyester, or cotton and is often stiffened with metallic wire or coarse cord running through it. Gimp is used as trimming for dresses, curtains, furniture, etc. Originally the term referred to a thread with a cord or wire in the center, but now is mainly used for a trimming braided or twisted from this thread. Sometimes gimp is covered in beads or spangles.

Valenciennes lace type of bobbin lace

Valenciennes lace is a type of bobbin lace which originated in Valenciennes, in the Nord département of France, and flourished from about 1705 to 1780. Later production moved to Belgium, in and around Ypres. The industry continued onto the 19th century on a diminished scale. By the 19th century valenciennes lace could be made by machine.

Mechlin lace type of Flemish bobbin lace

Mechlin lace or Point de Malines is an old bobbin lace, one of the best known Flemish laces, originally produced in Mechelen. Worn primarily during summer, it is fine, transparent, and looks best when worn over another color. Used for female clothing, it was popular until the first decade of the 20th century. It was made in Mecheln, Antwerp, Lier and Turnhout. It was used for coiffures de nuit, garnitures de corset, ruffles and cravat.

Brussels lace type of bobbin lace

Brussels lace is a type of pillow lace that originated in and around Brussels. The term "Brussels lace" has been broadly used for any lace from Brussels; however, the term strictly interpreted refers to bobbin lace, in which the pattern is made first, then the ground, or réseau, added, also using bobbin lace. Brussels lace is not to be confused with Brussels point, which is a type of needle lace, though is sometimes also called "Brussels lace".

Blonde lace type of silk bobbin lace

Blonde lace is a continuous bobbin lace from France that is made of silk. The term blonde refers to the natural color of the silk thread. Originally this lace was made with the natural-colored silk, and later in black. Most blonde lace was also made in black. It was made in the 18th and 19th centuries. The pattern, which is generally of flowers, is made with a soft silk thread, thicker than the thread used for the ground. This causes a big contrast between the flowers and the ground. It uses the same stitches as Chantilly lace and Lille lace, and is similarly made in strips 5 inches wide and invisibly joined. Blonde lace is not as good as Chantilly lace though, as the ground isn't as firm, nor is the pattern as regular.

Bucks point lace type of bobbin lace

Bucks point is a bobbin lace from the East Midlands in England. "Bucks" is short for Buckinghamshire, which was the main centre of production. The lace was also made in the nearby counties of Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire. Bucks point is very similar to the French Lille lace, and thus is often called English Lille. It is also similar to Mechlin lace and Chantilly lace.

Binche lace type of bobbin lace

Binche lace is a type of bobbin lace that originated in the town of Binche, Belgium. It is continuous, meaning it is made all at once, in one piece. It is generally made in strips 2 inches (5 cm) wide. Though typically it has no cordonnet outlining the design against the ground, occasional pieces are made with a very fine one, about the same thickness as the thread used in the pattern. The pattern in Binche lace is very detailed, with animal scenes and figures.

Irish lace lace produced in Ireland

Irish lace has always been an important part of the Irish needlework tradition. Both needlepoint and Bobbin-laces were made in Ireland before the middle of the eighteenth century, but never, apparently, on a commercial scale. It was promoted by Irish aristocrats such as Lady Arabella Denny, the famous philanthropist, who used social and political connections to support the new industry and promote the sale of Irish lace abroad. Lady Denny, working in connection with the Dublin Society, introduced lace-making into the Dublin workhouses, especially among the children there. It is thought that it was an early form of Crochet, imitating the appearance of Venetian Gros Point lace.

Mesh grounded bobbin lace any bobbin lace in which a mesh ground and motifs are woven at the same time on a lace pillow

Mesh grounded lace is a continuous bobbin lace also known as straight lace. Continuous bobbin lace is made in one piece on a lace pillow. The threads of the ground enter motifs, then leave to join the ground again further down the process, all made in one go. This is different from part lace, where the motifs are created separately, then joined together afterwards.

Flanders lace bobbin lace from Flanders, especially that made in the 16th and 17th centuries

Flanders lace was made in Flanders, which was particularly well known for its bobbin lace. The supreme epoch of Flemish lace lasted from about 1550-1750.

Bobbin lace ground is the regular small mesh filling the open spaces of continuous bobbin lace. Other names for bobbin lace ground are net or réseau. The precise course of the threads and the resultant shape of the ground are an important diagnostic feature in lace identification, as different lace styles use different grounds.

Leavers machine lacemaking machine invented by John Levers

The Leavers machine is a lacemaking machine that John Levers adapted from Heathcoat's Old Loughborough machine. It was made in Nottingham in 1813. The name of the machine was the Leavers machine. The original machine made net but it was discovered that the Jacquard apparatus could be adapted to it. From 1841 lace complete with pattern, net and outline could be made on the Leavers machine.


  1. 1 2 "Torchon lace". Encyclopædia Britannica (online ed.). Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  2. 1 2 Fuhrmann, Brigita (September 1985). Bobbin Lace: An Illustrated Guide to Traditional and Contemporary Techniques. Dover. p. 67. ISBN   0-486-24902-6 . Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Earnshaw, Pat (February 1999). A Dictionary of Lace. Dover. p. 171. ISBN   0-486-40482-X . Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  4. Raffel, Marta Cotterell (January 2003). The Laces of Ipswich: The Art and Economics of an Early American Industry, 1750-1840. UPNE. p. 153. ISBN   1-58465-163-6 . Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  5. Prince, Darwin Porter & Danforth (2006). Frommer's® Puerto Rico (8th ed.). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. p. 157. ISBN   9780470068663.
  6. Bath, Virginia Churchill (1979). Lace. Chicago: Regnery. p. 196. ISBN   9780140463781.