How to Make Battenburg Lace

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Battenburg lace is a tape lace. Loops of woven tape are formed during its creation. The spaces created by these even-width loops are joined at the edges so that the gaps are filled with decorative stitches or brides. This method is used to make borders, centerpieces and corners. Battenburg lace was created for the First Duke of Battenberg, but is most popular today as an embellishment for wedding dresses and table linens.

Things You'll Need

  • A pattern
  • Linen braid
  • Nos. 70 or 80 linen thread
  • Nos. 40 to 60 linen thread
  • Needle
  • Sewing shears
  • Rings
  • Mild detergent
  • Salt
  • Cheesecloth

Basting the Braid

  • Choose a pattern with the Battenburg lace design you want to make.

  • Lay the linen braid along the outline of the pattern. Follow the outer edge of the pattern with one edge of the braid.

  • Baste the linen braid to the pattern placing the basting threads through the open edge of the braid on the outer line of the pattern that is usually designated with a double line. Use linen thread Nos. 70 or 80.

  • Carry the basting thread across the braid if the pattern changes from an outer curve to an inner curve.

  • Fold the fullness over to lie along the edge of the braid and baste to the extreme point of the angle if your pattern includes sharp angles.

  • Fold the end of the under braid up, and the end of the upper braid down, when the ends of a braid meet at a corner. Overcast together at the ends.

Making Scallops and Loops

  • Baste the braid on the outer edge of the pattern until it reaches another section of braid, then double it back upon itself so the fold just barely touches the other braid if the pattern contains overlapping scallops or loops. Continue to follow the outer line of the pattern with the returning braid.

  • Turn the braid under the side of the preceding loop on the opposite side of the pattern to maintain symmetry on both sides.

  • Take the end of the braid nearest the basting in the fingers of the left hand when the point is reached where two braids diverge. Use the right hand to double the braid back and under that in the left hand, Place the doubled braid on the pattern, making sure it is long enough to complete the loop or scallop. Baste the two layers in place with one row of stitches.

Overcasting

  • Overcast the full inner edges of the curves to bring them into position, after basting is complete. Use linen thread between Nos. 40 to 60.

  • Pass the thread over the edges of the braid and into the marginal loops. Connect all marginal loops.

  • Omit the overcasting on the edges of space that will be filled in with stitches where the working thread passes from point to point following the edge of the braid. Examples of such stitches include spiders, twisted bars and wheels.

  • Pass the needle through both braids if the overcasting thread reaches a point where two edges of braid cross or meet. Use a simple overcasting stitch or a single buttonhole knot to secure the braid in this instance.

  • Place a buttonhole stitch along the edge of the braid where the curve changes, if in the course of basting the design the inner curve becomes the outer curve. Follow up by carefully weaving the thread through the braid to the opposite side and place another buttonhole stitch before continuing to overcast.

Basting the Rings

  • Baste the rings lightly to the pattern. Position will depend upon the design.

  • Baste the rings to the pattern only as the work requires, not all at once, to avoid catching the basting thread.

  • Place the stitches so that threads enter each ring at one point only if the pattern requires rings to be placed so close together that they touch, being careful not to pull the stitches too tightly. The rings should be able to slide freely.

Finishing

  • Remove the basting stitches carefully so that the finished lace pulls away from the pattern.

  • Press the finished project.

  • Clean soiled Battenburg lace by basting it between two pieces of cheesecloth and boiling it with a tiny amount of detergent and a pinch of salt. Rinse carefully in cool water. Do not wring or squeeze and hang to dry while still in cheesecloth.

Tips & Warnings

  • When you must add thread, fasten the end of the used thread by overcasting along the edge of the braid, using a buttonhole knot. Then create several very small running stitches with two back stitches along the body of the braid. Start the new thread by placing two buttonhole knots and continue overcasting in the opposite direction.
  • Begin the new thread, when filling in with stitches, on the side opposite of the space where the previous thread ended. This will make juncture less noticeable.
  • Drawing the basting thread too loosely will make the braid pull away from the pattern and affect the finished design.

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