For discussions of lace history and lace identification.  You can post a photo into a comment box for a lace you want to discuss.  Bobblin lace history.  About historic lace. Kinds of lace.  Distinguish types of lace.

We can identify a piece of lace for you, but we need good detail.  At least one photo with this kind of detail is necessary.  Otherwise we are just guessing.  A shot of the whole thing is useful because that shows us the style.  Style gives us clues to date and possibly geographical origin.  But we need the detail shot to tell us how it was made.

Members: 116
Latest Activity: Apr 20

Examples + Resources


Descriptions of several styles of lace -

To compare needle lace, tatting and crochet, Kathleen Minniti's sampler.

My antique lace boards on Pinterest 

My collection of boards on Pinterest 

Jo Edkins lace collection online:


 Bobbin lace    antiquebobbinlace     bobbinlace3     Needle lace    needlelace2 

Tatting     tatting2   tatting3      

Embroidery on tulle-needlerun      Embroidery on tulle-tambour        Carrickmacross  

Filet lace    filetlace2    filetlace3   filet lace4    Buratto 

Sol lace   sollace2   sol lace3

Knitted lace    knittedlace2     Crochet lace        Irish crochet lace      IrishCrochet2      

Chemical lace   ChemicalLace2  chemical lace3     chemical lace4     

See this for a technical explanation of the chemical lace process.

Barmen machine lace        Raschel machine lace     Leavers machine

machine1 (not sure what machine)   

I don't know how this machine relates to the Barmen or Rascheel (or other machine)

Bobbin tape lace  bobbin tape lace 2   

Mixed tape lace-machinetape      Romanian needlepoint lace  

For recognizing Swedish bobbin lace:




The Koon collection CD is a collection of images from the Eunice Sein Koon
Collection of Lace donated to IOLI by Ms. Koon. Ms. Koon was the editor of
Lace Craft Quarterly and a collector of lace.  It is not related to the
Minnesota collection to the best of my knowledge.  The CD is a series of
Powerpoint slides organized as the collection pieces are numbered.  There
are approximately 100 pieces of various types of lace in the Koon
collection.  Pictures from the CD could be copied and pasted into another
Powerpoint presentation, or the images could be used to request pieces of
lace from the collection for study by IOLI members.  Policy for use of this
lace is described on p. 58 of the IOLI Member Handbook. -- Jo Ann Eurell


The IOLI - Internation Organization of Lace, Inc. has a study box of lace fragments that members can borrow.  

(I am searching for a link)

IOLI also has a lending library for members' use

A site with good photos of high quality antique laces: ;

Discussion Forum

Large banquet cloth 1 Reply

Hopefully somebody has some ideas about this very large banquet cloth - or bedspread?  I have not seen it. These grainy photos are all I have. It looks to me like early 20th century bobbin lace. Do…Continue

Started by Karen Thompson. Last reply by Lorelei Halley Administrator Apr 20.

Lace Identification Help 6 11 Replies


Started by Bobbie Eccles. Last reply by Lorelei Halley Administrator Jan 19.

Lace Identification Help 3 Hankie 7 Replies

Here is a hankie that measures…Continue

Started by Bobbie Eccles. Last reply by Elizabeth Ligeti Jan 19.

Lace Identification Help 5 Hanky 7 Replies

Another hanky ....I am thinking possibly Maltese?  …Continue

Started by Bobbie Eccles. Last reply by Bobbie Eccles Jan 19.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Identification-History to add comments!

Comment by J. Ames on April 4, 2013 at 11:41am

Probably this should move to the conservation group.

The Maltese lace may be creamy in color.  It needs to be washed to rinse out all sizing, starch, and things like tea dye.  It must be supported in water by a soft net envelope basted all around, and with galloping stitches through lace holee, (not threads) so it won't bunch up.  The vinegar-wiped basin should only contain enough water to cover.  Fold in accordian style, so you can move the suds around.  You'll have to change the water almost immediately.  It should sit a while so fibers open and release stains. Lace should be blocked into shape, which can be on a clean kitchen counter, wiped down with white vinegar.  Keep pets away!  Before you mend, you need to know the color.  You need to practice washing on lace you do not care about.  There is a lot more to learn, before you tackle this.  Many precautions to take, including having a second pair of hands at the ready when you roll it out onto towels to blot out water.  Fingers are warm, and you can finger-press with them.  No rings or bracelets that can snag.

In the last 18 years, I have written about conservation/restoration on the free discussion site    Arachnes can use the archives.  Find my full name in the IOLI 2012-13 Handbook, and put that in the archives search box.  Read subject lines for specific problems.  Memos are cautious and take into consideration a world-wide audience (different climates and products).  It is a file of over 1,100 memos.  Will take time.  Learn a lot!

I wash strong silks in alkaline-based Orvus, the soap for linen and cotton.  You cannot easily find other soaps without lanalin, whiteners, and other harmful substances.  We know exactly what is in Orvus (used by museums).  The trick is to be willing to drink the last rinse water.  Final rinses must be distilled water, not tap water.

To mend, use a #26 or finer tapestry needle (blunt point) and do not pierce silk lace threads..  Silk sewing thead is expensive.   You might use 1 or 2 strands of DMC 6-strand cotton floss.  Soft, and will not cut silk the way sewing thread might..  There are many cream-colored dye lots.  You can get a good color match almost everywhere in the world..

Learn more before you undertake this project.  Not possible to condense here. 

Comment by Elizabeth Ligeti on April 3, 2013 at 9:01pm

I think Maltese lace was often made in sections and then stitched together.  I have a photo (close-up) of a collar and that was made on sections, and it is separating in a couple of places.  it appears they just used an overcast or whip stitch to hold the sections together.

The central section is large for a cap, but it certainly looks like a cap and lappets.

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on April 3, 2013 at 6:10pm

Silk definitely, but I can't advise about silk.  Hopefully others can.  I think the stitch used would be either overcasting or coral knot.  

Comment by Kelly Bargh on April 3, 2013 at 4:49pm

Oh yes I agree entirely Lorelei, when I examined it closely it looks more to have come apart in sections rather than as a frayed hole as such. So it is somewhat stable in that the lace itself is not unravelling, only the section joins. This happily will make it much easier to mend. The joins are impressively well done, they are very hard to detect even with my magnifier. I think you are spot on where you put te red lines as taht is consistently where it goes. The worst of the 'holes' are around the widest portion, with a couple of smaller ones on one of the ends. I would like to source some silk that would be good match for mending it, any suggestions anyone? Or on what might be the best way to approach it. I'm a dab hand with embroidery and fine sewing but as this a lace perhaps a better technique is more appropriate here.

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on April 3, 2013 at 3:29pm

Helen, Loretta, Jeri:  I've added your comments to the recommended books page, above right.

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on April 3, 2013 at 2:55pm

I think the holes may be where separate parts detached, rather than frays or broken threads.  I can't be sure, of course.  Red line is possible seam line.

Comment by J. Ames on April 3, 2013 at 2:50pm

The Lace Museum in Sunnyvale CA has this book in their shop: "Lace - Quick Guide to Identification" 40 pages, spiral bound.  That is a pretty good endorsement.

My copy is from Nancy Evans, when she was teaching at an IOLI convention.  $12  She has been a West Coast lace dealer for many years.  She teaches Lace Identification.  Another pretty good endorsement.

Comment by Lorelei Halley Administrator on April 3, 2013 at 2:46pm

Loretta: thanks for the description.  The book does sound useful.

Kelly: Quite a piece.  I see the holes you refer to --1 by your hand and 2 more near the narrow end.

Karen: You clearly know more about fashion history than I do.  The shape does seem odd for a table runner.  Some sort of head covering does seem more likely. Like a veil to wear to church.

Comment by Karen Thompson on April 3, 2013 at 6:34am

It looks like a fallcap or fanchon from the 1860-1870's It would cover some of the hair with the lappets falling at either side. It is hard to see in the photo, but looks somewhat like Maltese.

Comment by Kelly Bargh on April 3, 2013 at 2:46am

Hi again, I have a picture of the entire lace, well half of it (it is symmetrical), my hand is on the left at the middle of the item. I measured it is 1.7m long.  It does look somewhat lappet like in shape but is as you say quite large for that purpose. It could be a runner but seems a silly shape for that given it's so very narrow at both ends. Any advice very gratefully accepted.



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