Classic Lace Fabrics : A Complete Guide

by | Jun 15, 2024

The lace fabric is one of the oldest luxury items in the world. Nowadays, you can find budget-friendly cotton lace. Those too are even costlier than other clothing fabrics. 

Today, Team Muslin Dhaka is telling you many known and unknown facts about lace. We gathered this information from different artisans, designers, sellers, and factory owners. And don’t forget, our team talks about a fabric only after testing them in real life. 

Let’s begin.

Is Lace a Fabric

“I love playing around with vintage fabrics and lace – Helena Christensen. “

Yes, lace is a fabric. To be more specific, it is the most versatile fabric in the fashion industry. It has been a choice of richness and elegance throughout centuries. 

Lace is an open-construction fabric with various designs. The design or pattern is repeated throughout the sheet to create a complete fabric. Most of the designs or patterns in lace fabric are feminine. So, you can say that lace is a great choice for making women’s shirts or blouses. 

Generally, laces are delicate, soft, and sheer (or semi-sheer). It can either pair with another fabric or work on itself. Clothing lace fabrics are pretty expensive as the production process requires a huge amount of time and effort. 

The use of lace is no longer limited to the fashion industry. You can have table runners, cushion covers, etc. made of soft lace fabrics. 

Many thought that the trend of lace fabric would fade away soon. But it never happened. Apparently, the demand for lace grew day by day. Although you won’t see lace used in men’s clothing like before. Laces still hold a strong share of the fashion market. 


Industrial NameLace Fabric
OriginMainly before the 16the period in Italian and Flemish regions
Other NamesNone
ConstructionOpen construction
Weight40-180 GSm generally
ColorCan have any type of colors
Moisture AbsorbanceDepends on the material
WeavingOpen or Lacing
Heat InsulationNone
Shrinkage RatioAround 4-7%
UsageBridal wear, women’s fashion, lingerie, accessories, home decor, etc. 


Lace Fabric Material

There are different types of materials used to make laces or lace fabrics. At first, natural fibers like silk and linen were used to make lace fabrics or strips. The natural fibers also impacted the price of lace during those days. .

Some artisans even made lace using metallic yarns like gold or silver for the royalties. Till now, it was the most expensive type of lace. The metallic fibers combined with other yarns created a luxurious sheen that could enhance any clothing. 

However, it’s been a few centuries since the fashion industry started to use cotton as the primary material. The mass production of cotton from Asia and other fertile lands boosted the trend of cotton lace. Despite being a natural material, cotton laces are somewhat cost-efficient. 

That’s not the end. Recently, synthetic materials, especially polyester, have also become a part of making laces. Cotton or linen laces have a major issue, which is durability. Polyester as a lace fabric material is more durable for regular use. 

What is the color of lace fabrics?

This fabrics come in plain colors like white, red, black, purple, etc. Black lace are very popular nowadays. But white lace are still the easiest choice in garments. 

Normally, lace fabrics can have girly colors. Black or white laces are used in making home decor items too. 

Gold Threaded Lace Fabric

History of Lace Fabric

The use or production of lace was so spread across the world that it’s hard to define the exact timeline of lace. 

Some archeologists claim that they found some fabrics similar to lace in the Egyptian ruins. Because of this, some say the origin of lace is Egypt or the Middle East. 

But the findings aren’t too clear to prove anything. The first valid proof of the use of lace fabrics was found in Europe. Historians assume the time lace was invented was between the 15th and 16th centuries. 

A book was published in the 16th century, named “Nüw Modelbuch von Allerley gattungen Däntelschnür”. It was the first-ever guide to bobbin lace making. From that book, it was understandable that Flemish or Dutch-Belgian people had contributed to the early ages of lace. 

At the same time, needlelace was also born in Italy. But both bobbin and needle lace got their proper recognition during the European Renaissance. 

According to the article of SFO Museum, France, Flanders, and Italy were the hub of classic lace making culture. During that time, the production was completely manual. The production process took several weeks to prepare a complete fabric. 

The Industrial Revolution gave new lights of hope to the lace industries. The same article of the SFO museum said that John Heathcoat invented new machines and technologies that would make lacemaking automated. It drastically reduced the price. People of all classes started to accept lace in a new way. 

After the 20th century, countries like China, India, England, etc. also contributed to exporting lace fabrics. Now, laces are found in two categories, luxury and commercial. 

Luxury Lace Fabric

What Type of Fabric is Lace: Luxury or Regular 

This fabric showcase the artistic mindset of the designer or craftsman. The test of patience artisans need to go through while crafting a unique sheet of lace is something you can’t measure with price or cost. 

After the Industrial Revolution, some big changes came for the production of lace. The addition of cotton in one of them. Harvesting silk for silk yarns was a key reason behind the sky-high pricing of silk laces. Whereas cotton was bought at a decent cost from several low and mid-economic countries. 

Nowadays, you can find nylon and polyester laces that price even one-third of cotton laces. 

When lacemaking became semi or fully automated, labor costs went down. The production also increased. Thus, the supply of this textile didn’t remain limited. 

9 out of 10 lace fabrics you see in the market are either made of affordable fibers or machine-made. 

Still, handmade laces didn’t lose their glamor. Till now, it remains a symbol of art and taste. The use of cotton and synthetic materials made easy access to these fabrics in general. But exclusive types like Brussels à Vrai Réseau bobbin lace (Belgium) and Point d’ Alençon France) are still luxuries. 

You can say that lace can be found in various price ranges. 

How is Lace Fabric Made

There’s no fixed method of making this fabric. It depends on the type of lace you need to make. 

The processing of the yarns remains the same as other clothing fabrics. After that, manufacturers create designs using the bobbin or needle method mainly. But there are other types of laces that require their own method of production. 

When the design is done, the fabric goes through some treatments like pressing, calendering, etc. They help the design and fabric to settle firmly. 

Types of Lace 

Depending on the material, there are 3 types of lace

  1. Natural fiber lace (cotton, linen, silk, etc.)
  2. Synthetic lace (nylon, polyester, etc.)
  3. Metallic fiber lace (aluminum, silver, vaporized metal, etc.)

There are some primary lacing methods like: 

  1. Bobbin lace
  2. Needle lace
  3. Chemical lace
  4. Cutwork lace
  5. Knitted lace

Apart from these 5 methods, there are some other sub-methods too. Some local areas even have their own methods of making lace fabrics. We talked about that in the types of lace article. You can go there to learn more. 

Design in Lace

Designs in Lace Fabric

There are two types of designs artisans use to make lace fabrics. They are: 

Floral Designs

Floral designs are more traditional. They go with both luxury and regular fashion. Floral designs have thousands of varieties. 7 out of every 10 lace fabrics have floral designs. The big plus is floral patterns match up well with all types of women’s tops

Geometric Designs

Geometric patterns like square, hexagon, round, octagon, etc. aren’t very old. Giving geometric patterns makes the fabric look modern and stylish. 

Characteristics of Lace Fabric

You won’t find too many specific or fixed properties of lace fabrics. The structure or design of a lace fabric is meant to be customizable depending on the demand. 

Even so, we figured out some main characteristics that would help you to find a good type of lace fabric. 


The first thing you notice in lace fabrics is the open weave construction. The weaving is neither too tight nor too loose. 

The sleazy binding of yarns apart from the designed areas is clearly noticeable. 


Most of the time, lace fabrics have a dull finish. Unless the manufacturer has used shimmery silk or metallic yarns. 

Some lace fabrics also have small shiny particles beaded with the design to reflect or glow under light. 

However, without any shiny effects, smooth synthetic yarns can offer a small amount of iridescent sheen. 

Lace Texture


Some of our samples were smooth. Some even were raised in the designed areas. One thing is sure, the lace fabrics don’t have crepe or crinkled texture. 

After making the designs, the manufacturer might press or stretch the fabric to make the thread work permanent. That’s why the fabrics are so plain. 


The range of softness depends on the amount of work done on the fabric. The yarn quality won’t make too much difference here. 

For example, a fabric covered with small floral patterns is soft (but not as soft as Dhakai muslin or chiffon). You can squeeze or bend it easily. But a fabric with dense patterns and sparkles feels like a crisp textile (for example: taffeta) made for structured dressmaking. 

No matter what the softness range is, a lace fabric would feel okay over your skin. 


No doubt that any type of lace fabric is comfortable to use or wear. Natural fiber laces are the most comfortable ones. 


Open weave or knitting construction creates several organized gaps between threads. You’ll find a pleasing amount of ventilation from them. So, lace fabrics are very breathable. 


Normally, lace textile won’t stretch unless it contains spandex or knitting construction. 

Moisture Absorption

Yes, cotton or silk lace will absorb moisture quickly. The absorbance speed depends on the yarn quality. But synthetic or metallic fibers would take some time. 

One good thing is, lace fabrics also get dry faster. 

Cotton Lace Fabric


The range of transparency is sheer to semi-sheer. The density of patterns makes the difference here. It’s impossible to find opaque lace fabrics. 

For that, this textile is so popular in bold fashion and lingerie. 

Thickness of Lace


Cotton lace fabrics are very thin. Even thinner than your ATM card. But the use of thicker cords or yarns for sake of design can increase thickness. 


For cotton and silk lace, the shrinkage ratio is around 4-7%. But polyester or nylon’s shrinkage is nearly 0.  


The drape of lace fabrics can be both flowy and structured. Higher GSM creates better structured draping. 


Many say that laces are very sensitive. But recently, most laces come with strong constructions to resist wear and tear so easily. You can use lace fabrics for regular wear. 


40-180 GSM is the average weight range. But woolen or raised construction can weigh more.


You need to be a little careful while cleaning the lace fabrics. Especially while ironing and removing stains. Apart from those, use your regular methods. 

Lace for Redecoration

Advantages and Disadvantages of Lace Fabric

Now, let’s talk about the main features and drawbacks of lace fabric. 


  • Versatile designs
  • Multipurpose use
  • Good for summer
  • Easy to dry
  • Adds style to simple clothes
  • Breathable
  • Better than embroidery


  • Even the normal lace fabrics (not the luxury ones) are a bit pricey
  • Transparency might not be suitable for some people. 

Beaded Lace

What is Lace Fabric Used for

Cotton or silk lace fabrics can be used in these ways: 

Bridal Wear

In Western cultures, the use of lace fabrics to redecorate or create bridal dresses is a never-ending trend. Light and vibrant colors with floral designs enhance the persona of a bride. And makes her the woman of the evening. 

Regular Clothing

We’ve talked about some interesting facts about lace tops in our discussion of types of tops. During summer, you can wear beautiful lace tops not only for fashion but also for breathability. 

Traditional Dress

In Asia, traditional women’s dresses can have lace sleeves or add-ons. Some prefer using lace blouses with georgette sarees. A few exclusive lehengas also have lace fabric construction. 

Home Decor

Tablecloths, doilies, curtains. etc. can be made of cotton or nylon lace fabrics. A beautiful design in the interior accessories can enhance your bedroom or living room setup. 


Simple cushion covers made of lace are enough to give your bedroom a rich outlook. Don’t worry if your sofa set is too plain. Just add lace cushion covers or throws. 


Pouches, veils, scarves, handkerchiefs, etc. can have an aristocratic look when the construction has lace. They are good to use when attending parties or events. 


Due to its softness and see-through nature, lace fabric is a good material for making appealing lingerie items. Lace undergarments are comfier than many other options in the market. 

Lace & Sustainability

Organic cotton or silk lace fabrics are biodegradable. The production process doesn’t release harmful industrial waste. 

However, making lace with automated machines requires a huge amount of energy, mostly non-renewable. So, using handmade lace fabrics would be a help to the environment. Although handmade types might cost you more. 

Lace Fabric Care Guide

Taking care of lace fabrics is more complicated than buying a good one. But we are giving you some pro tips that might ease your job. 

How to Clean Lace?

  • Read the fabric label first
  • Use lukewarm water and mild detergent
  • Rinse the cloth gently in the soapy water
  • Make sure other things you’re cleaning with the lace don’t have anything stiff or edgy
  • Don’t twist or wring at all

How to Dry Lace?

  • Don’t tumble dry
  • Hang the fabric in a way that it never loses its shape or gets wrinkles
  • Put the cloth under a shade for passive heat

How to Iron Lace?

  • Iron when the fabric is slightly wet
  • Put the fabric on a flat table
  • Place a thin veil or runner over the fabric
  • Turn on the iron in the mid-low setting
  • Start ironing without pressuring too much; it might stiffen the designs

Removing Stains from Lace Fabric

  • Don’t use bleach to remove stains
  • Use a mild stain remover or regular detergent on the spot
  • Rub with your fingers, not any brush or scrub
  • Rest the detergent on the area for a few minutes
  • Clean it with cold water afterward

Lace vs Tulle

Both lace and tulle are considered sheer luxury fabrics. They are also found in lower price ranges. However, there are some major differences between them. 

Net-line weaving is the core of tulle textile. Whereas lace fabrics use complicated methods to finish with various designs. 

A tulle can also be called a net fabric. But lace sheets aren’t so sheer like tulle. Lace weighs more here. 

Tulle is mostly used to overlay or structure a dress. But lace have far more uses than those. You’ve already known the common uses above. 

Tulle fabric can come with a decent amount of sheen. Whereas, lace are dull if metallic yarns or pallets are not used. 

Alternative to Luxury Lace Fabric

Luxury lace clothes aren’t available like other expensive fabrics. So, if you fail to find a few yards of high-quality lace fabrics, try these instead: 


Some even say it is a type of lace fabric. However, eyelets have become a different niche nowadays. There are several similarities between these two fabrics. 

Swiss Dott

It is a type of cotton fabric. You’ll feel raised dots all over this fabric. Although it has no feminine or floral design, you can still replace lace with Swiss dott. 


Embroidered fabrics also feature versatility like lace fabrics. They come in different materials, colors, designs, patterns, and finishes. 

Lace Fabric by the Yard

Cotton Lace Fabric By the Yard

The average price of cotton lace fabric is $7-15$ for each yard. You can also find cheaper ones in the market, which will surely provide a poor quality. 

The price of exclusive lace starts from 25$ mostly. Some can even cost twice the average price. 

Where to Buy Lace Fabric

This is a list to 5 best places where you can buy lace fabrics online: 

  • Etsy: Overall
  • Joel & Sons: for Exclusive collections
  • Mood Fabrics: For different designs
  • Lace to Love: For authentic luxury lace
  • Amazon: for Budget


What is the most expensive type of lace?

French Leavers lace is the most expensive lace in the market. You won’t find this fabric everywhere. 

Which country has the best lace fabric?

France, Switzerland, and some other European countries make the best types of lace. You can also find Asian countries mass producing lace textile at a decent price range. 

What is the easiest lace to make? 

Usually people learn lace making by understanding the bobbin method first. Primary needle lace is also pretty simple as it requires only needles and thread. Still, needle lace is a form of art that requires practice and patience. 

Can you bleach lace fabric? 

No, you can’t. If you bleach, the softness will go away from the fibers. Besides, the designs will get severely damaged by bleaching. 


It’s hard to conclude the discussion when the key topic is lace fabric. We only summed up the required infos to learn lace. Apart from that, there are tons of interesting facts about this fabric. Maybe we might come with those later in another article. 

In fine, we covered all the basics in this article. You can also read about another versatile fabric Organza here

Shariful Alam

Shariful Alam

Shariful Alam Pavel, A fashion lover, passionate marketer. Love to share wisdom based on real life experience to enrich knowledge.
Founder of Muslin Dhaka, a brand, speaks the truth about royal muslin and fashion. Explore the digital fashion universe with organic cotton muslin and much more!


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