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." "

Members: 69
Latest Activity: Oct 13, 2020

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 Linda Dumas on October 13, 2020 at 1:40pm

Hi Loretta,

I am not trying to compare La Gaze Claire to Le Reseau Fin.  I'm trying to compare La Gaze Claire to Point de Gaze from Laurie's article Part 2 stitch formation.  There she talks about the Point de Gaze having 1 1/2 twists from left to right and 1 twist from right to left.  I think I know my problem.  Point de gaze is not Alencon, but is a different lace made in Beligum and I shouldn't be comparing them.

thanks for your help.


Comment by Loretta Holzberger on October 13, 2020 at 11:10am
I'm looking at La Gaze Claire on page 87. I think the difference here from Le Reseau Fin on page 75 is that rather than a whipped return, there is a straight return to the left, and it is left exposed between the rows of twisted stitch. It is not worked back and forth like Point de Gaze, therefore no combination of 1 twist and 1½ twist. All the twisted stitches are worked from left to right.
Comment by Linda Dumas on October 13, 2020 at 8:28am

I have been reviewing La dentelle à l'aiguille" by Brigitte Deslesques Dépalle and have come up with a few questions.

1.  on page 61 there is a photo of Point d'Alencon.  for the rempli ajoure it looks like decorative holes.  Is that actually using the technique of Les Mouches on page 82?

2.  on page 87 is described La Gaze Claire.  it looks like part of the technique uses a stretched thread to return to the left to begin the next row.  I saw in Laurie's article, Point de Gaze can be made with 1 1/2 twists from left to right and then 1 twist from right to left.  Is La Gaze Claire the same as Point de Gaze?

thank you for your help.


Comment by Linda Dumas on October 12, 2020 at 2:56pm

Myriel, thanks for posting these pictures.  I see where you are coming from now.

Comment by Lorelei Halley on October 11, 2020 at 9:19pm


I think your first idea - that the fuzziness is a product of how the machine works, and the sloppy cutting - was correct. I very much doubt imitation of Alencon has anything to do with it.

Comment by Myriel on October 11, 2020 at 2:12pm


unfortunately I was just randomly browsing around ebay that time and I can't find the exact lace anymore for the life of me, but I found two other examples that kinda show what I mean.

For this example, I would've thought in the past, that the edge is just plain out messy.

This lace on the other hand (while not resembling Alencon in of itself) has an edge with picots that are actually tidy enough to resemble, well, actual picots.
Instead of just looking like messy threads.

They are both schiffli/chemical lace.

Comment by Linda Dumas on October 10, 2020 at 11:30am

Hi Myriel,

by any chance, is that a picture you can post here?



Comment by Myriel on October 10, 2020 at 6:48am

I just had an (admittedly somewhat late) epiphany.
For the longest time I was wondering why some machine made lace has such fuzzy/messy edges, because usually it makes the lace look worse/cheaper than if it had a smooth edge.
I always figured it was just left over thread bits from the manufacturing process.
But just now I came across a picture of a decent (and probably old) piece of machine lace with that same element and it dawned on me:
I think it's supposed to imitate Alençon's just usually so sloppily executed that I never recognised as a legitimate design feature before.

Comment by Laurie Waters on October 5, 2020 at 4:05pm

5a and 5b, yes, two times around.

I don't think I've ever seen a 3A/4B combination in traditional needlelace, although it certainly is doable. Just start from the right side with 4B, but wind around from the left, not the right (I think, check it out).  But the primary convention for point de gaze is to start on the left side with 4A and go back with 3B.

Let me check around and see if I can find something in the Italian laces with just 3A.  Devon has been asking me to look into the Italian flat points, there may be something there - Devon, I have all the laces out but just need to get closeup photos.

Comment by Linda Dumas on October 4, 2020 at 11:20am


I have been studying your article about stitch formations.  I find what you said about Point de Gaze very interesting.  My question is when would someone use stitch 3A?  Is it coupled with stitch 4B?  Also, for stitches 5A and 5B, would that be 2 times around the needle?

thank you for your help.



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