Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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On Princess Lace


Amazon Books

Bobbi Chase is a needlework designer with a passion for making Princess Lace. I first “met” Bobbi when I started embroidering a needlebook that she designed. Bobbi operates a website called Embellishments One, which is devoted to Princess Lace. (The website isn’t entirely complete yet, but do bookmark it for future reference!)

I was delighted when Bobbi agreed to write an article introducing Princess Lace. I have long wanted to undertake another embroidery on tulle project, and whenever I start meandering through the books, I invariably come across Princess Lace, a technique I’ve never actually tried. Bobbi teaches on the subject of Princess Lace, so it’s great to have an introduction from an expert!

Introduction to Princess Lace

I do not even know where to begin. Instead of taking up space with my “personal story” I am just going to launch into talking about something I have been doing/teaching for the past 25 years. I am passionate about all types of needlework, and Princess Lace is a really cool thing to have in one’s repertoire.

Introduction to Princess Lace

What is it? Princess lace is one style of tape lace made popular at the turn of the last century. It is similar to a more commonly recognized Battenburg lace, but is much fancier in appearance. Princess lace hardly merits the label “handmade,” but would more correctly be considered as “hand-assembled” from a variety of machine-made elements. The technique requires some time, but is well within the range of amateurs with minimal instruction.

Introduction to Princess Lace

Princess lace employs a combination of characteristic plain and fancy machine-made tapes and its design generally relies upon stylized flowers, scrolls, and medallions worked in “imitation” of traditional Duchesse or Brussels lace designs. Many examples can be found in old trunks and attics (bridal veils, children’s dresses, handkerchiefs, doilies, table runners).

Introduction to Princess Lace

There are myriad possibilities with Princess Lace to create exciting visual texture. These techniques also may help one to repair old laces, incorporate vintage pieces into new projects, and generally add to one’s basket of needlework “tricks”. One can use the ingredients in the traditional way and create lace motifs to use in projects OR one can creatively use its elements to do other types of embellishment.

Introduction to Princess Lace

The identifying feature of Princess Lace is the use of 8 particular styles of tapes (purchased by the yard). These tapes can be mounted on net (to more closely imitate “Duchesse” lace) or they can be held together with needlelace stitches (similar to Battenburg lace). Very different in appearance, and very different opportunities for embellishment, both styles are considered “Princess Lace” if they use these characteristic tapes.

Introduction to Princess Lace

The first 3 tapes are different styles of “edging” – that is, straight on one side and scalloped on the other. There is a “pull string” on the straight side so that you can gather and curve these edgings.

Introduction to Princess Lace

The next 2 are “straight tapes.” While similar to Battenburg, they are lighter in weight and appearance. These tapes have a “pull string” on BOTH sides, and can be curved in either direction.

Introduction to Princess Lace

There are two “leaf tapes”, and it is pretty obvious what they are designed for: leaves!! They are woven in such a way that you can cut between any two leaves and they will not ravel.

Introduction to Princess Lace

And the 8th tape is the “bubble (or ring) tape.” Miles of little circles strung together. These, too, are woven so as to be able to cut them apart without raveling.

These tapes are 100% cotton and most come in 3 colors: white, ecru, and black (they are dyeable).

Princess Lace is one of those endeavors where the results appear much more complex. It is deceptively easy! Here are a few photos to give you an idea of SOME of the possibilities.

If this is something that interests you, maybe we can talk Mary into going further into the subject. It really is fun! Honest!!

Methinks we should talk Bobbi into going further into the subject! >:-) (Forgive me a cruel chuckle!) Thank you, Bobbi!


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(11) Comments

  1. OOOOHHH!! You’ve “met” Bobbi!!! I have personally known her for many years! Bobbi is one of the sweetest people I have ever known!! And super talented. She has a teapot cosy that class in the EGA catalogue that is gorgeous!!!

    Hugs Bobbi!!

  2. G’day there Mary and Bobbi,

    AND methinks it’s just GOTTA be done so you two’d better get yourselves sorted!

    Princess Lace. It’s so lovely. Thank you for the beaut write up and inspiring photos. It looks very familiar, probably from antique and vintage work I think, but I’m not familiar at all with the making of Princess lace. On second thoughts, I think I probably have seen it in books but I’ve skipped over it, unaware of what I was missing. I’ve bookmarked your site Bobbi.

    I can see the yokes of baby/little girls dresses with an insert around the bottom of the skirt too, in Princess lace. Bonnets, coathangers, framed birth samplers, pram/bassinet/cradle nets. Doll’s house bedspreads, tablecloths etc. Brooches and bridal assessories including veil or hair adornment. Christmas decorations. Cards. Just thinking ‘aloud’. Nothing there that hasn’t been done I’m sure.

    Thank you both,
    Cheers, Kath.

  3. Oh oh be still my heart. Thanks so much Mary for bringing Bobbi and princess lace front and center. Lovely to meet you Bobbi, and am very inspired by this post and your website. Have been dreaming of making myself a nightgown in lawn or other fine cotton with a lacey embellished yoke. Ah, at last believe have found just the right style embellishment. Believe I’ll try one of the motifs and handkerchiefs first then will move into the yoke design. Lacy jabots might be quite fun as well. Off to dream and to choose a motif. Cheers, Jane

  4. I’ve seen several article on using Princess Lace, but never one with explanations! Thanks for the info! I would love to see a tutorial on it, for maybe a small project such as the lovely bag shown. But where do you buy these?

  5. Beautiful! The concept is simple…but the execution makes it look so complex! Love it! Yes, you have got me interested! Great article, thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Thank you to everyone for the enthusiastic comments! As you all noted, it is VERY useful stuff! And, as Kathy said, it looks a lot more complicated than it is. I would be HAPPY to continue an instructive “conversation” about Princess Lace (I’ll get together with Mary on this).

    For those of you that found my website (embellishmentsone.com), it is in the process of being build (as Mary said), so please be patient. I do have all the supplies necessary as well as some other goodies in mind.

    Thank you so much, Mary, for the opportunity to share (one of) my passions. This is such a great website! I look forward to it every day.

  7. Hello,
    Could you tell me where I may find needle lace trim or battenburg trim for a craft project. Thank you so much. I can’t seem to find such. I can place on international order if need be. Again thank you.

  8. I need some of this lace. Do you sell it? or do you know where I can purchase it? I was soo happy to find your site


    1. Hi, Elaine – I don’t sell princess lace. You can find the supplies for making your own through Lacis.com, out of Berkeley, CA. Hope that helps!

  9. Hello from Long Prairie. May I contact Bobbi through you? I am trying to match a tulle for a copy/ remake of a vintage piece of Princess lace…thanks!

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