Valenciennes Lace

Mid-18th century piece of Valenciennes lace. Mid-18th century piece of Valenciennes lace.

Valenciennes lace is a form of bobbin lace originally from the town of Valenciennes in northwestern France. It was very popular in the eighteenth century. Its production later moved to Belgium and the town of Ypres, and by the nineteenth century it was made by machine.

Valenciennes lace is characterised by its net (the réseau) being made at the same time as the pattern (called the toilé). Unlike comparable Mechlin lace, it does not have an extra thread (cordonnet) outlining the pattern. And again unlike Mechlin lace, the net has a diamond-shaped mesh, rather than being hexagonal. The diamond-shaped mesh was developed in the early eighteenth century, and the lace was called 'vrai' Valenciennes lace, rather than the 'fausse' Valenciennes lace still being made according to older traditions.

Valenciennes lace was simpler to produce than Mechlin lace, and was never used for expensive garments. Instead it was applied to bed linen, lingerie, and the fichu (a woman's scarf wrapped over the shoulders and fastened in front).


  • POWYS, Marian (2002). Lace and Lace Making, Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.
  • SHARP, Mary (2007). Point and Pillow Lace, Birmingham: Herron Press, pp. 102-106.

Wikipedia (retrieved 16 July 2016).

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 16 July 2016).


Last modified on Monday, 24 October 2016 18:59
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