Lace usually has two edges. The wavy or frilly edge is called a headside, and the straight edge is called a footside, which is used to sew the lace onto fabric. It is possible for a piece of lace to have two headsides or two footsides. A pattern with two footsides is called an insertion, as it can be used to insert into the correct shaped hole in fabric, and sewn along both edges.
There are types of straight edge which are not footsides - see below.
In British bobbin lace, the footside is usually worked on the right. Other lace traditions work the footside on the left. This makes no difference, as you just turn the finished piece of lace over! Anyway, if you have both sides the same, you need to work these from either side. This website will show the British direction.
The Dutch for footside is Zelfkanten. A twisted footside is Gedraaide Zelfkant and a cloth footside is Linnen Zelfkant.
It is important to tighten the threads in a footside. The threads change direction at the edge, and this can lead to looseness, or even a loop appearing. This will be very noticeable. The human eye is very unforgiving of wobbles at an edge!
Footsides have one or more pairs which run parallel to the edge, called passives. These help to provide a straight, strong edge, suitable for sewing to fabric.Sewn footsides (or Bohemian edge):
Here, there are no passives, so the edge will not be as strong. But leaving out the passives removes the strong line at the edge, which may be preferable for the effect of the pattern.Footside without passives
These are more complicated edges, which could be considered a type of headside. However, they are straight, so are described here.Rose ground edge
These can be used to thread a ribbon for a wedding garter. While the hole is not really part of the edge, it is close to the edge, so is described here.Broad hole
© Jo Edkins 2020 - return to lace index