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A Complete Guide to Types of Lace for Your Wedding Dress

Different types of lace

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One of the most traditional materials used in wedding dresses, lace is no doubt among the most popular and iconic fabrics used even today. It can add a lot of detail to your dress, whether subtle or elaborate, and it can easily transform your otherwise simple gown into a charming and dramatic one.

But while we tend to think of lace as just one thing, there are actually several types of lace, and each has its own function and aesthetic appeal. To help you out, we’ve covered the top types of lace used in the bridal industry and how to choose the right type for your wedding dress.

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Different Types of Wedding Lace

1. Alencon Lace

Off shoulder wedding dress with alencon lace bodice by EL Design Studio

First on the list is Alencon lace, a handmade variety which hails from the town of Alencon in Normandy, France. It’s basically a needlepoint lace that’s often found with floral designs. Sometimes deemed as the “Queen of Lace”, Alencon lace features a fine cording outline which is evident throughout its pattern. The cording is superimposed on a lace pattern beneath.

In most cases, Alencon lace is embellished with sequins, pearls or even crystals. It makes a perfect choice if you are looking for a more traditional gown to wear during your wedding day but one that has a lot of detail.

When machine made lace became popular, handmade laces faced extinction, but Alencon lace was able to survive because of its unique beauty and inimitable style. Thanks to its distinctive qualities and finesse, it has continued to be used in the bridal gown market and serves as a favorite among brides these days.

2. Chantilly Lace

Chantilly lace bridal topper

Chantilly lace bridal dress topper by Cest Toi Bridal Atelier.

Chantilly lace is yet another type of handmade lace that originated in France; this time, from the city of Chantilly. It’s one of the most common types of lace used on wedding dresses, specifically in the sleeves and overlays. It features an outlined pattern as well as a fine background.

One of its most notable features is the light and shadow effect which can’t be found in other lace type. If you’re one of those brides who fancy a soft and romantic lace pattern, then you will certainly love the Chantilly lace.

Chantilly lace typically features floral or botanical patterns on a net background and is often scalloped along one edge. It’s delicate and elegant, ideal for a sophisticated look.

3. Guipure Lace

Bride wearing guipure lace bolero

Italian guipure lace bolero by Girl and a Serious Dream

Guipure lace, also known as Venetian lace, is a type of lace that doesn’t have a netting as compared to other varieties. It’s one of the earliest lace varieties and has been used for centuries in bridal gowns. It only has an open design, and the motifs tend to contain thick borders that outlined the elements of the pattern.

Guipure lace is composed of a continuous pattern and has a thicker design that’s raised and noticeable, almost 3D in its look. It’s also one of the common types of lace found in wedding gowns. Due to its unique design, Guipure lace works best for regal brides who want a formal dress that makes a statement.

4. Schiffli Lace

Schiffli lace closeup

Schiffli lace by Antique Delights.

Schiffli is a machine-made lace that’s often used as edging. It’s also known by a less romantic name – chemical lace. Just like the Guipure, Schiffli lace also doesn’t have a netting since it’s designed on a dissolvable backing that’s removed in chemicals once the design is embroidered.

Aside from that, the Schiffli also comes with certain features that make it easy to recognize. For one, it’s created using a machine that has an overlapping embroidery field. Another aspect is that it can be used for trimming hemlines and sleeves in order to create a difference in texture.

5. Point D’Esprit

Bride under veil

Point d’esprit veil by Alice and Mae Bridal

Point D’Esprit is a lightweight type of lace typically used as an overlay or in veils. It features square or oval dots woven throughout the fabric and typically in an irregular pattern. Compared to the traditional Alencon lace, the Point D’Esprit has more spaces and tends to be airy.

Point D’Esprit has a vintage feel to it which makes it perfect for bohemian, country or barn weddings. It also works best if you’re the type of bride who wants a light, comfortable and minimalist type of lace for her wedding dress.

6. Embroidered Lace

Bride wearing embroidery lace

Embroidered lace with sequins by Gaychun

Embroidered lace is an excellent choice if you want to be unique on your wedding day. It’s often as a motif that is stitched tightly to an illusion base, making the lace appear as an applique. This type of lace is very vivid and distinctive, with clear patterns that stand out against the rest of the fabric.

Embroidered lace can be crafted either by hand or machine, and it also gives your designer enough room to get more creative. It’s perfect as overlays or for an embellished bodice. A little embroidery lace goes a long way because of the richness and how elaborate this type of lace is.

7. Venise (a.k.a. Point de Venise) Lace

Venise lace ballgown

Venise lace ballgown by EL Design Studio

Venise lace, also known as Point de Venise, is a needle lace created in Italy about three hundred years ago. It’s ideal as a wedding gown trim to add drama and style. This type of lace is quite heavy and very distinctive. It’s perfect for structured, more formal dresses but is versatile enough to adapt to a variety of dress styles.

Venise lace is often embellished with beads, seed pearls or sequins. It’s a very luxurious and expensive looking lace and definitely adds an extra touch to your wedding dress.

How to Choose the Right Type of Lace for Your Wedding Dress

how to choose lace for your wedding dress

There’s really no right or wrong when it comes to choosing the type of lace for your wedding dress. After all, each of the lace varieties has its own individual characteristics which add to its charm and elegance. That said, here are some pointers to help you pick the type of lace that can go well with your wedding dress:

1. Consider the color of the lace

One important factor you should consider when picking a lace is its color. Off-white colors with more texture often create a vintage look on your wedding dress. On the other hand, a lace that’s crisp white and has clear-cut details are perfect for giving your wedding dress that modern appeal.

2. Seek the experts if you need any alteration on the lace

Wedding dress lace can be quite fragile. If you need any alterations on your lace, make sure you leave it to an expert. Any repairs that should be done on a lace gown should be handled with care. It’s because it can get easily damage if not worked on properly.

3. Make sure to store it in a secure storage

As mentioned, lace is fragile and can get damaged easily. As such, you have to make sure that you store yours in secure storage away from any possible traffic zones in your room.

4. Factor in your jewelry and veil when choosing lace

Apart from your wedding dress, your wedding veil will also contain lace, if you’re wearing one. So, make sure you match the lace in your veil with the lace in your dress to create a cohesive effect.

5. Put an emphasis on quality, not quantity

Handmade lace, such as Alencon lace, comes with exotic and unique qualities that are not found in any machine-made laces. This means that even just a small amount of handmade lace on your wedding dress can look classier and more luxurious than using excessive amounts of machine-made lace. It’s always better to go with the classics, especially if you want to achieve that elegant and stylish look and feel.

How to Take Care of Your Lace Clothing

how to take care of your lace wedding dress

Lace definitely adds a charming effect on a wedding dress and other types of clothing. But as mentioned earlier, it’s quite delicate, and taking care of it seems like a tough task. Fortunately, there are ways you can follow to make sure your lace clothing is properly taken care of.

Before we start, let’s first have a look at the following rules of thumb for caring for your lace clothing:

  • Avoid wearing lace dresses to just about any event. They’re meant for wearing on special occasions such as weddings or formal events. You can, of course, wear a beautiful lace dress when running errands or out on a summer day, but the chances of damage are higher. Duh.
  • Don’t wash lace alongside other clothes. Since lace dresses are delicate, you should only wash them separately.
  • Sweat can affect the texture and color of the lace. As such, you should make sure that you wash your lace dress before putting it back in your wardrobe.
  • Always store your lace in a flat position. This will allow it to hold its shape and prevent any dragging, fraying or tearing. You also want to store your wedding dress flat on a shelf or perhaps a box for safekeeping.

Washing Lace

When washing your lace clothing, always remember this one rule: Always hand wash lace. Regardless of its size or color, you should always wash lace using your hands. Do NOT use a washing machine, since the washing cycle will end up damaging the lace.

To wash your lace clothing, simply follow these steps:

  1. Fill a bucket with lukewarm water.
  2. Then add a gentle detergent to the water.
  3. Dip your lace clothing and use a gentle swishing action.
  4. Rub the places that need cleaning gently.
  5. After one or two minutes, replace with clean water.
  6. Rinse until the detergent is removed from your clothing.
  7. Gently squeeze your clothing, but make sure not to wring it.
  8. Dry it on a flat towel afterward.

Taking Care of Old Lace

If you have old lace clothing passed on to you by your mother or grandmother, then you have to handle it with care. After all, old lace clothing is very delicate that needs protection from chemicals, rough usage and even sunlight.

To take care of an old lace clothing, you should follow these tips:

  • If it looks really frail, it’s best to wear it very sparingly.
  • If you want to have it cleaned, it would be ideal to call for the help of an expert.
  • If you’re eager to wear it, it’s best to have it reconstructed using a new base material and the lace parts of clothing that are still salvageable.

And there you have it… the types of lace and how to look after your lace! Hopefully this article gives you an idea of what you’re looking for and makes your search easier. Good luck!