Choosing the best heirloom lace typically depends on whether or not you will be attaching lace to fabric to create an heirloom piece or looking to create your own lace through knitting, tatting, needlework, or other lacemaking techniques. There are many reasons to become interested in heirloom lace: an interest in needlework techniques, the quest for the perfect bridal lace, a wish to create lasting heirlooms through handmade lace, or even just curiosity about historical lacemaking. The best type of heirloom lace depends on your needs, skills and passion for needlework.
If you are interested in choosing the best heirloom lace for a specific sewing project, there are many retailers that specialize in vintage lace. When finding the perfect lace for your special project, it is best to search for specialty retailers of fine lace or vintage fabrics either online or in specialty fabric shops. Online, you can search for bridal lace, vintage lace, French lace, or heritage lace. Many retailers are also experienced in lacemaking, and they can make custom heirloom lace to your specifications.
There are also several lacemaking techniques that will result in heirloom lace. Lace can be knitted using small knitting needles and fine silk thread or yarn. Another popular lacemaking technique is tatting, where the lace-maker knots silk thread fine using lacemaking needles with a shuttle. Lace can also be made from whole cloth by cutting out threads in a technique called cutwork or whitework. All of these techniques can create fine quality lace.
To choose the best kind of lacemaking technique for your special project, there are several things to keep in mind. If you want to add lace to existing fabric like a pillowcase, cutwork might be the best option because it creates lacy patterns on a larger piece of fabric. To add heirloom lace to a bridal veil, needle techniques might be best because you can stitch a unique lace pattern directly onto the veil. Knitting can also produce heirloom quality doilies, so knitting might be best for creating larger lace projects.
If you are looking to make your own heirloom lace, you can find many modern and antique patterns. Knitted lace patterns are more common than patterns for other kinds of lace, but you can also find patterns for tatted lace or cutwork. Books on lacemaking are readily available at sewing retailers, and many lace patterns are also available online.