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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Latest Activity: Jan 22

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


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Comment by Laurie Waters on April 24, 2015 at 10:52am

Pat Earnshaw never really did comprehend the 3-step method of making the meshes. I have lots of correspondence with her when she was writing her books on the subject.  Be a little careful when you read her technical descriptions - there are a lot of errors.  Pat was a good friend and her books were innovative at a time when no one was writing about needlelace. But they are not perfect.

Comment by Laurie Waters on April 24, 2015 at 10:49am

As far as the 45 degree angle in working the mesh, I don't recall specifying any particular angle in the Alençon class.  We were working from a continuous sample, and the point was more to illustrate the three-step method of making the brides bouclée and tortillée in the short time we had, rather than working from a more formal pattern. In a more formal setting we would have gone into the placement of pins to help form the meshes (the brides epingle).  In my study of old Alençon laces, it's best to regard the final layer of covering the brides with either twisted or buttonhole stitches as more a continuum ranging from pure twists to pure buttonhole.  Various combinations are often found on each leg of the mesh.  And the angle at which the meshes are covered also varies considerably between manufacturers.  Some proceed horizontally across the meshes, some vertically, some at an angle.  And important mid 19th c innovation was to do away with the first two steps completely and just use a machine tulle with hexagonal meshes.  I had a sample of this at the class, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts has a set of lappets made this way.

Comment by Laurie Waters on April 24, 2015 at 10:44am

I made a complete English translation of Brigitte Delesques Depalle's book, which is available to anyone. I did this for the IOLI Alençon class in 2012.  Brigitte and I were studying in Alençon together in 1980. She was there for a year and also studied embroidery. I was there for 3 weeks and concentrated on lace.  So my English translation of her book has a rather unique perspective of a needlelacemaker in the process of learning the art, and I pay particular attention to the terminology used.  I was not able to include the photos, so it's best if you have the French version alongside the English one. Write me if you are interested in this at  Laurie Waters

Comment by Jean Bowen on April 24, 2015 at 10:08am

Have just received my 1p book! Pat Earnshaws, what a super book, really most informative, I am really chuffed with it!!!

Comment by Christiane Machabée on April 24, 2015 at 9:04am

Dans le cas du livre de Brigitte Delesques, si la traduction pose quelque problème à l'une de vous, soyez certaine que je me ferai un plaisir de vous y aider. Vous n'avez qu'à m'envoyer un message personnel.

In the case of the book of Brigitte Delesques, if there is translation problem for one of you, be sure that I will be happy to help if I can. Simply send me a personal message.

Comment by Loretta Holzberger on April 22, 2015 at 1:31pm

Ah, yes, I remember working the sample in your class, and I am so thankful for your English translation of Brigitte's book.  I also remember how funny my sample turned out since I/we were laying the first lines at 45º angles instead of 30/60º angles.  That was such a  great class. 

Comment by Laurie Waters on April 21, 2015 at 9:51pm

I'll venture to say you also learned something about it at the week-long Alençon class at the St. Paul IOLI meeting, where we went over the Brides Bouclée in detail, and also worked a sample.  And where we also covered everything else I learned during my stay at the Atelier National du Point d'Alençon.  I even made a complete English translation of Brigitte's book for the class, among other things.

Laurie Waters, aka Mme. X.

Comment by Loretta Holzberger on April 21, 2015 at 4:26pm

My only resource for Alençon lace has been "La dentelle à l'aiguille" by Brigitte Deslesques Dépalle.  I think most of my layout was found there, but when needed, I added steps. 

Comment by Jean Bowen on April 21, 2015 at 9:38am

Lorettas fantastic intructions for Brides Bouclees. where does she get her original pattern for the thread laying?

Comment by Christiane Machabée on March 25, 2015 at 9:16am

Merci encore Loretta pour votre aide précieuse et votre générosité concernant les brides bouclées

Thank you again Loretta for your help and great generosity about "brides bouclées".


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