Mechlin lace

Mechlin lace
18th century
18th century

Mechlin lace is a bobbin lace originally produced in Mechelen.[1] It is one of the best known Flemish laces.[2] It is fine, transparent, and looks best when worn over another color.[3] It was made in Mecheln, Antwerp, Lier and Turnhout. It was used for coiffures de nuit, garnitures de corset, ruffles and cravats.[3]

Mechlin lace is known for its floral patterns,[4] fine twisted-and-plaited, hexagonal ground, and its outlined designs.[1][2][3] It looks much like Brussels lace, however it is made all at once,[3] with the réseau or ground made at the same time as the pattern on the pillow. Also, the plait is shorter, and the mesh smaller than those of Brussels lace.[2] All Mechlin laces are outlined with a loosely spun silk cord used to define the pattern, whereas Valenciennes lace isn't.[2] Mechlin lace is also more expensive than Valenciennes lace, as it takes more time to make because of the different réseau.

Sometimes Mechlin is grounded with an ornamental réseau, instead of the usual hexagons. In the regular hexagonal réseau, the two sides parallel to the long axis of the lace are plaited three times, and the other four sides crossed.[3] The same threads pass across the whole width, and thus form both the ground and the pattern.[2]

Mechlin net is a machine imitation of the Mechlin lace ground.[1]


Carolus -Private Collection - Mechelse kant-detail.jpg
Carolus -Private Collection - Mechelse kant.jpg

Originally the term 'mechlin lace' was used for any bobbin lace from Flanders.[1][2][3] Mechlin lace grew in popularity throughout the late 17th century and the 18th century, and was mentioned several times. The 1657 inventory of the Maréchal de la Motte included 'a pair of Mechlin ruffles'. Jean-François Regnard, when visiting Flanders in 1681, wrote of the lace and lace-makers. When the English prohibition was removed in 1699, Mechlin lace became the grand fashion in England, and it was advertised in the London Gazette. It was very popular at this time in France and Holland as well. The earliest with a réseau (open net) ground wasn't made until 1720,[2] and at this point the term became specific to this lace with the open net.[5] In 1755 Mechlin lace went into decline in England, and by 1834 there were only eight manufacturers left.[3] Machine-made Mechlin lace started to be produced in 1819.[5] Another machine was invented in 1847 which exactly followed the hand movements a lace-maker would make. Manufacture has since died out.[3]

Mechlin lace was also very popular with the English royalty. Queen Mary II, in spite of the prohibition against imported laces, purchased two yards of knotted fringe for her Mechlin ruffles in 1694. Queen Anne purchased quite a bit of it— 83 yards in 1713. George I had a Mechlin cravat, and it was a favorite of Queen Charlotte and Princess Amelia.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d "Mechlin." The Oxford English Dictionay. 2nd ed. 1989.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Sharp, Mary (March 2007). Point and Pillow Lace. Herron Press. pp. 147–148. ISBN 1406745626. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Palliser, Bury (November 1984). History of Lace. Dover Publications. pp. 111–114. ISBN 0486247422. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  4. ^ "Tondern lace". Encyclopædia Britannica (online ed.). Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  5. ^ a b Earnshaw, Pat (February 1999). A Dictionary of Lace. Dover Publications. pp. 108–109. ISBN 048640482X. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • mechlin lace — noun see mechlin * * * 1. a fine bobbin lace with raised cord, originally made in Mechlin. 2. a similar lace made by machine. Also called Mechlin, malines. [1690 1700; after MECHLIN] * * * Mech|lin «MEHK luhn», noun, or Mechlin lace, a fine lace… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Mechlin lace — 1. a fine bobbin lace with raised cord, originally made in Mechlin. 2. a similar lace made by machine. Also called Mechlin, malines. [1690 1700; after MECHLIN] * * * …   Universalium

  • Mechlin lace — Mech′lin lace′ n. 1) clo a fine bobbin lace with raised cord orig. made in Mechlin 2) clo a similar lace made by machine • Etymology: 1690–1700 …   From formal English to slang

  • Mechlin lace — /mɛklən ˈleɪs/ (say mekluhn lays) noun 1. (originally) handmade bobbin lace with raised cord, made in Flanders. 2. (now) a similar lace copied by machine. Also, malines. {from Mechlin, a city in N Belgium} …  

  • mechlin lace — type of expensive delicate lace which originated in the city of Mechlin in Belgium …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Mechlin — Mechlin1 [mek′lin] n. a fine lace made in Mechelen, with the design clearly outlined by a heavier thread: also Mechlin lace Mechlin2 [mek′lin] Eng. name for MECHELEN …   English World dictionary

  • Mechlin — [ mɛklɪn] (also Mechlin lace) noun lace made at Mechelen (formerly known as Mechlin) in Belgium, characterized by patterns outlined in heavier thread …   English new terms dictionary

  • mechlin — n. (in full Mechlin lace) lace made at Mechlin (now Mechelen or Malines) in Belgium …   Useful english dictionary

  • lace — 1. noun 1) a dress trimmed with white lace Syn: openwork, lacework, tatting; passementerie, needlepoint (lace), filet, bobbin lace, pillow lace, torchon lace, needle lace, point lace, Battenberg lace, Chantilly lace, Mechlin lace, Valenciennes 2) …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • Mechlin — /mek lin/, n. 1. French, Malines. Flemish, Mechelen /mekh euh leuhn/. a city in N Belgium. 64,638. 2. See Mechlin lace. * * * …   Universalium

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