Cover of Lisa Melen's 'The Art of Filet Work,' 1973. Cover of Lisa Melen's 'The Art of Filet Work,' 1973.

The French term filet is used in some English language works for a knotted mesh or net, and also for the mesh/net with a darned pattern (also known as filet work or filet lace). 

In one such form of filet, the design is worked with a running stitch (in this context this stitch is called in Italian punto a rammendo) in one direction only, often covering two meshes (squares) at a time. Another form is worked with a type of linen stitch (in this context in Italian called punto a tela and in French point de toile), which is closely darned in both directions, so that several crossing threads occur within each mesh (square).

Printed patterns for filet, or filet work, date back to the early sixteenth century and are included, for example, in the model book produced by the Venetian artist Giovanni Andrea Vavassore (Corona di Racammi) first published in 1530.

Filet work was popular in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and then again in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Also known as: filet brodé (French: ‘embroidered net’) or filet guipure.

See also the TRC Needles entries on buratto; darned nettingembroidered lace and lacis.


  • CAULFEILD, Sophia Frances Anne and Blanche C. Saward (1882), The Dictionary of Needlework, London: L. Upcott Gill, PP. 233-243.
  • EARNSHAW, Pat (1984). A Dictionary of Lace, Aylesbury: Shire Publications Ltd., p. 61.
  • MELEN, Lisa (1973). Knotting and Netting: The Art of Filet Work, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Inc.
  • TORTORA, Phyllis G. and Ingrid JOHNSON (2014). The Fairchild Books: Dictionary of Textiles, 8th edition, London: Bloomsbury, p. 229.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 6th July 2016).


Last modified on Sunday, 07 May 2017 12:13
More in this category: « Dresden Work Rudesyning (Denmark) »