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BellaOnline's Tatting Editor


Hanky corner Is it chemical lace?

possible chemical lace hanky corner

Is it real? Is it machine made? Is it chemical lace?

This is an old hanky rescued from an antique store. It is of the softest cotton with a folded hem that is machine stitched with the smallest of stitches. The flowers are also machine embroidered.

You may have heard or read about chemical lace in an article here at ( or in the lessons of the Online Tatting class. This type of machine-made lace was first heavily embroidered on a fabric background. Then the entire fabric is treated with a chemical which dissolved the fabric leaving only the "lace" behind.

Chemical lace was also called Schiffli Lace after the machine which makes this embroidery. Originally, the chemical baths were highly toxic and polluting so the practice was discontinued. Today there are water soluble, environmentally friendly substances to create this effect for decorative purposes.

So, what is left is the design sections held together by "brides." This is a term from bobbin lace. They are bridges of thread that join sections or motifs of lace to each other. True tatting does not have brides. Instead, sections of tatting are joined by using the picots.

I do think this small design could be interpreted in tatting. The corner piece is a three-leaf clover, so three rings, with the middle one slightly larger. And a stem to attach to the cloth of a small ring. The larger rings could be surrounded by chains.

Or, those could be 2-3 layer onion rings. Or even cluny leaves, hanging cluny leaves. The same is possible for the two side motifs. But they resemble small butterflies to me. Butterflies in profile. A very small alternating ring and chain pattern could be tatted to "tie" the pieces together and to attach to the cloth. Or consider mignonette rows.

So many possibilities. Please give it a try and send it your examples.

Here's the latest article from the Tatting site at

Li'l David's Snowflake by Harolah Cheser Harolah's snowflake features 6 long points with many picots. It comes in two variations, beaded or not, with an open center or one filled with beaded picots.

Please visit for even more great content about Tatting. To participate in free, fun online discussions, this site has a community forum all about Tatting located here -

I hope to hear from you sometime soon, either in the forum or in response to this email message. I thrive on your feedback! Have fun passing this message along to family and friends, because we all love free knowledge!
Georgia Seitz, Tatting Editor
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Chemical lace
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Content copyright © 2018 by Georgia Seitz. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Georgia Seitz. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Georgia Seitz for details.


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