For discussion of construction and style details of antique Alencon needle lace, and for those who want to learn it.   Alençon  We are now including Argentan. There are some differences but many similarities between the two. Eventually we will be able to clarify. 

Christiane says: "Anne Kraatz in her catalog of laces "Les dentelles" indicates that, nowadays, Argentan laces are those that consist of more significantly by the "brides bouclées" hexagonal network and a smaller number of "modes" or "fillings". Pat Earnshaw also addresses the Argentan and the Argentella too. The latter type, Argentella, I would point out, is made in the town of Argentan and is characterized by its "rosacé network" or "rosette network " but still in the same family as the Alençon . But basically, the two towns of Alençon and Argentan know well and exercise either the three types." "

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Books and Resources for Alencon Needle Lace

"La dentelle à l'aiguille" by Brigitte Deslesques Dépalle.   (Dorothy Searle translation of part of this book)    Brigitte and Laurie Waters "studied at the Atelier National du Point d'Alencon at the same time in 1980". Brigitte's "book is the definitive work on the technique."  

Laurie Waters translation of Brigitte Deslesques Depalle   La%20dentelle%20%C3%A0%20l%27aiguille.pdf

There is a book, Alencon Lace derived from the original Histoire du Point D'Alencon by Mme Despierres, 1886, that is a translation by Roberta Morgan into English that describes a lot about the organization of the industry.

Pat Earnshaw NEEDLELACE. Merehurst, London, 1991 has a chapter on Alencon and its stitches.  I don't know if her choices are exhaustive or merely common ones.

This video shows lace makers at the school in Normandy, showing how they hold their hands.

A set of photos showing working methods and some antique laces (but not closeups)

Loretta's diagrams for horsehair picots are here.

Loretta's instructions for Brides Bouclées  a one page pdf file.

Stitches of Alencon - ;

Photos of Alencon lace

Discussion Forum

Alençon books 2 Replies

Hy everyone. I learned some Burano and Aemilia Ars stitches. I also do Orvieto Crochet with cotton n.100.I'd like to learn Alençon lace but I'm in Italy and so I have to found a book or some books or…Continue

Started by Francesca Merletti. Last reply by Francesca Merletti Aug 21, 2018.

Concernant la brode, concerning the « brode » in Alençon lace 13 Replies

Bonjour à vous tous,Peut-être pourriez-vous m'aider. J'ai acheté du fil 100/3 en coton pour commencer un essai en dentelle d' Alençon. Est-ce que doubler le fil 100/3 pour la trace sera suffisant ou…Continue

Started by Christiane Machabée. Last reply by Angelina Aug 21, 2018.

How to work the basic Alencon reseau stitch 12 Replies

I have followed the comments about the basic stitch for Alencon reseau with interest.     A few days ago I was fortunate enough to be able to examine some antique Alencon lace under a 400X…Continue

Started by Maureen Bromley. Last reply by Maureen Bromley May 17, 2014.

A beginner's sampler 6 Replies

Here is my first attempt at an Alencon sampler. It consists of 9 half-inch squares and uses gassed cotton thread - size 160 for the reseau in the centre and 120 for the rest. I see that this thread…Continue

Started by Dorothy Searle. Last reply by Karen Roy Jan 2, 2014.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Alencon-Argentan-Argentella to add comments!

Comment by Lorelei Halley on July 10, 2016 at 12:19am


I suggest you also look at our photo albums. Some of our members have been working with Alencon lace and have produced some samples.

Comment by Ritsa Laskari on July 9, 2016 at 4:15pm

Hello everybody! I am new to the group and to the site also! I admire the Alencon lace but I do not know anything about this.I already started reading all the texts concerning this lace and in about 1-2 months I hope I will make my first try. You see I have my hand broken and everything is difficult for me. I also have to apologize for my English because it's very poor. I am happy I found such a nice and interesting group!

Comment by Elizabeth Ligeti. on November 29, 2015 at 9:17pm

Could not get the link today - we have exceeded the allowable number of looks at it, apparently!!!

I will try again another day!!

Comment by Lorelei Halley on November 29, 2015 at 6:09pm

Thanks for that link. I didn't know it was online.

Comment by Christiane Machabée on November 29, 2015 at 9:59am

Pour un bref aperçu du contenu du livre de B. Delesques:

For a brief overview of the contents of the book by B. Delesques:

Comment by Elizabeth Ligeti. on October 24, 2015 at 3:38am

Look at all those tiny Venetian Picots everywhere!!!!!!!!! Wow!!!

Comment by Lorelei Halley on October 23, 2015 at 7:04pm

It is a very good example. And the close up photos are marvelous. But the lady does not seem to know lace terminology very well. Point de Paris is a bobbin lace. I just hope those photos stay up for some time.

Comment by Christiane Machabée on October 23, 2015 at 9:50am

On this website is a beautiful example of an Alençon lace / Bel exemple d'une remarquable dentelle d'Alençon

Comment by Lorelei Halley on May 24, 2015 at 6:52pm

Teri - I did look at Jean Leader's website, but she only has an example of Alencon, but not Argentan. And one example doesn't help much. Distinctions only become clear when you can compare at least 10 examples. But her enlargements of elements of the lace are very useful.

Christiane and Laurie - you are both saying that the distinctions may be artificial because the towns are so close together and may both have been influencing each other or even copying each other. This relieves my mind to some extent. My confusion may result from this closeness of contact between the 2.

This brings to mind a similar situation with 18th century bobbin lace, particularly Binche and Valenciennes, which were probably making the same laces (towns being very close together), according to Santina Levey.

Laurie - Your description is very helpful.

Comment by Christiane Machabée on May 24, 2015 at 10:37am

Merci Laurie,

Vous confirmez que le sujet concernant les subtiles distinctions entre l’Argentan et l’Alençon varient selon les époques et sont fort complexes. Heureusement que les historiens et collectionneurs sont là, entre autres raisons, pour faire en sorte d’éviter la fraude et la mise en marché de copies faussement identifiées comme des modèles anciens propres à une région.

Par contre, en tant que dentellière moderne étrangère à ces régions, ma vision concerne davantage les points communs à ces deux dentelles et la façon similaire d’exécuter les différents points qu’on retrouve indifféremment dans l’un ou l’autre cas.

Merci beaucoup pour le lien que vous nous suggérez.

Thank you Laurie,
You confirm that the subject about the subtle distinctions between Argentan and Alençon vary over time and are very complex. Fortunately, historians and collectors are there, among other reasons, to ensure to avoid fraud and marketing of falsely identified copies of old models specific to a region.
However, as a foreign modern lacemaker to those regions, my vision further concerns the common points to both laces and similarlities between the various stitches to be found and used either in one or the other case.
Thank you very much for the link you suggest us.


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