Mechlin Lace

Eighteenth century piece of Mechlin lace. Eighteenth century piece of Mechlin lace.

Mechlin lace (Dutch: Mechelse kant) is one of the oldest and most delicate forms of bobbin lace produced in Flanders, Belgium. It is made without pins. Its name derives from that of the town of Mechelen. This type of lace was used mainly to decorate (women's) clothing, and remained popular until the beginning of the twentieth century, mainly being worn, because of its open appearance, over clothing of a different colour.  

Mechlin lace is characterised by its floral patterns and hexagonal ground that was produced at the same time as the lace patterns. The patterns (toilé) are outlined with a loosely twisted silk thread (cordonnet). By the eighteenth century, Mechlin lace had become very popular among court circles all over Europe. By the early nineteenth century, however, machine made lace started to replace handmade forms, such as Mechlin lace. It is still being produced by small groups of people, and is still regarded as the most difficult, and hence most costly form of bobbin lace.

The hexagonal bobbin-made net, in use since the early eighteenth century, and the extra thread around the patterns, clearly differentiate Mechlin lace from Valenciennes lace. The hexagonal net gave Mechlin lace its characteristic lightness, and during the eighteenth century at royal courts it was the preferred lace for the summer time, instead of a type of needle lace that was worn in the winter.

Mechlin lace, because of its intricacy and costly manufacture, was often presented to high dignitaries, such as empress Maria Theresa of Austria.

Digital source (retrieved 15th July 2016). See also the TRC Needles entry on a Dutch language source.

Wikipedia (retrieved 15th July 2016).

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 15th July 2016).


Last modified on Thursday, 08 June 2017 19:09
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