Here's another piece also found here in France. My wild guess would be an early example of Gros Point or something similar???? It measures roughly 18" x 5"

All suggestions will be much appreciated!


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It actually looks a lot like Irish crochet.  But I'm not sure.  In the ground there is an area of lines with round knot things. The lines connecting the knots appear to be chains in some places.  If you have the actual piece, check the ground knotty area with high magnification.  Are those lines twisted bars of 2 threads, or are they chains? If chains, you have crochet.  Also the densely packed areas appear to have longer stitches than would be normal for corded Brussels. So they are either twisted buttonholes, or  closely packed double or treble crochet stitches.  The motifs appear to be outlined by densely packed buttonhole stitches over the cordonnet, but Crochet can achieve a similar effect.  

If you could stretch the piece out a little, pin it down to a piece of foam or couch cushion, it might be easier to see the actual construction and individual stitches. With everything scrunched up it is hard to see the individual threads.

You're right - the bars are chains. And now that you said Irish, yes, of course...!!!

Here is another piece I find interesting. Would this also be a mix of needle and bobbin? 


I think your mystery piece is machine made chemical lace.  The fuzziness gives it away. If it were bobbin or needle lace (at this magnification) it would be possible to see individual threads.  For other chemical laces look here:

Chemical lace   ChemicalLace2  chemical lace3     chemical lace4      

Thanks again Lorelei. That's very helpful.

Hi again Lorelei,

Am I right then to think that this is handmade gros point? And this alencon? 

By the way, I'm still planning on getting involved on your other site and post a photo gallery there. The week's flown by!

Thanks in advance, Deborah


The first may be handmade needlelace, but but the photo is no completely in focus. If it is handmade, I don't think gros point is the exact name for it. Gros point would not have so much openwork inside the petals. They would be solid and dense, worked in corded Brussels stitch. The ground is also odd, in that it appears to be twisted threads with bullion picots. If the bars in the ground were buttonholed (they aren't) I would expect bullion picots.  There is something not quite right about it,

Does anyone else have something to say about this piece?  I am at a loss.

The 2nd one is not handmade, I think.

The ground is far too regular for handmade - green.

The dense areas - red - have irregularities which are all going the same direction. In handmade the stitching direction would probably change, lobe by lobe and petal by petal. Major and minor lobes would probably not all be worked in the same direction.

In some dense areas - blue - the stitch changes from dense to semi-transparent. This would occur in handmade point de gaze, but I'm not sure whether it occurs in Alencon. But either way, it looks suspicious.

The fancy filling in the purple area is also suspiciously regular.

And the thick outline appears to sit entirely on the surface.

All these factors would be predictable for machine made lace.

Go to our PHOTOS section and do a search on "Alencon" (with and without the little mark under the c) and you will see photos of hand made Alencon for comparison. Most are antiques. Very few of us are skilled enough to make Alencon.

I have done several online searches for Alencon lace, both on google and pinterest. Most of the pictures that come up are modern machine made nylon bridal veils. Apparently that is what the manufacturers are calling their product, in the hope of improving its appeal.

Hi Lorelei,

Very helpful thank you. I looked at the pix on the site. So, yes I see what you mean about this lace differing from usual gros point. Might it be a hybrid with other styles like - wild guess - Point de France? Attached is a better closeup as well as the whole piece on my mannequin so you can see it in context. Plus a scrap of alencon I found today in my box of goodies which now I can see is handmade while the other isn't. This is all so fascinating!

Thank you. Deborah



Your Alencon fragment is also machine made. The picture you have posted is quite good.  Look at the dense areas. There are prominent vertical lines. That is typical of one kind of machine lace.

Your gros point photos -- the shot of the whole thing is interesting. From the scale, and stylistically, my first thought was Irish crochet. But the closeup shows it isn't. I'm leaning more and more to machine lace.

I wouldn't call it a hybrid of gros point and point de France. First of all, I have never seen a closeup photo of any piece of point de France online. It is very rare. There may be pieces in museums, but museums often don't take photos good enough to see the threads.


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