Brussels Tape Lace

Piece of Brussels tape lace. Piece of Brussels tape lace.

Brussels tape lace is a simple form of Renaissance lace, itself a form of tape lace, and requires the least amount of filling in the gaps between the tape(s).

The overall designs for this type of tape lace tend to be abstract floral and curvy geometric. The lace normally uses tapes that are between 3 and 5 mm in width. The only difference between Brussels tape lace and a closely related type, Battenburg tape lace, is that the latter uses a coarser tape, of c. 8 mm in width.

Traditionally, the tape of Brussels tape lace is plain or has a simple dotted line down the middle. Modern tapes, however, are often decorated with small geometric patterns, often abstract floral forms. 

The overall design is drawn onto a piece of thickish cloth or card and then the tape is sewn down, following the lines of the design, using long tacking stitches that can be easily removed at a later date. The tape is then sewn together using decorative stitches such as herringbone stitch and so-called spider’s webs, a form of needleweaving. Once the complete design has been sewn together, the tacking stitches and backing are removed, leaving a delicate open structure made completely of tape and stitches. 

Older examples of Brussels tape lace had the tape gathered or folded to fit around curves. Since the beginning of the twentieth century tapes include a special thread (gimp) along one edge that can be pulled to gather the tape, which gives it a neater appearance. 


  • BEST, Dianna and Nancy HUGHES (1992), An Introduction to Battenburg Lace, Saskatchewan: Regina.
  • EARNSHAW, Pat (1984). A Dictionary of Lace, Aylesbury: Shire Publications Ltd, pp. 24-25, 144.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 6 July 2016).


Last modified on Monday, 30 January 2017 12:56