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Alencon Lace - The Elegant French Lace
Submitted by, Denver Fabrics


Alencon lace trim, which is made in France, has separate woven floral pattern motifs on a net ground (backing). Each motif is outlined with a heavy thread or cord and may be referred to as corded lace. The lace trim is designed so that individual motifs may be cut out and used as appliqués with the scalloped edge used separately as a trim. Alencon lace trim is produced in narrow widths of 32" to 34" with a variety of coordinate and universal lace trims from 1-1/2 to 18 inches in width. 

The strong pattern resemblance from one Alencon lace trim to another allows them to be mixed within the same garment. It is not unusual to see as many as a half dozen different laces on one gown. Some designers are even combining different types of lace trim (Venice, Chantilly, Cluny, Alencon) within a single gown. Most lace trim manufacturers produce simplified patterns sometimes called universal designs. These patterns are compatible with almost all of the fancier, more expensive patterns and can be used to complement the expensive patterns in areas of the gown that are not prominent. Note: Sewing patterns infrequently give instructions for the use of Alencon lace trim.  Narrow universal scallops work well at the wrist, neck edge and for covering the seam between the bodice and the skirt.

A special point or motif could be placed in a central, highly visible location, such as the pointed V on a bodice, with the universal trim covering the balance of the seam. Some lace trims have a scallop on both sides with deep points nested together. These are designed to be split apart, separating them this way cuts the cost in half. 

Used properly, only small amounts of the higher cost full width lace trim is needed to embellish a gown. Once the piece is cut into individual motifs, each piece is treated as an appliqué. The arrangements are endless. The appliqué motifs can be arranged as if they were all-over lace, except there is no waste when the pattern piece is cut out and the design isn't interrupted at seam lines and darts. The arrangement can follow a neckline or be placed between two seams such as those on a princess line bodice. The motifs can be arranged into large designs on a train or skirt and can even be glued on headpieces and shoes. 

The cost of these exotic imported lace trims make it important to use them carefully. However, with the minimal waste, precision of placement and simplicity of use, Alencon lace trim is a very good buy and beautiful!

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