How to make irish lace

Updated July 20, 2017

Irish lace is a form of crochet inspired by Venetian lace that makes three-dimensional lacy motifs and mesh backgrounds. Three of its most popular floral motifs are the shamrock, leaf and rose. Irish lace can be worked as a single elegant design or a complete and intricate pattern. Worked in fine cotton or linen yarns, it looks best when placed over dark or medium colour smooth fabric. Irish lace patterns can be used to embellish home decor items and fashion accessories.

Choose an Irish lace pattern for home decor or fashion accessories. Determine the size and shape you plan to make and select motifs and mesh foundation styles. Read through the entire pattern and practice working the stitches and mesh background before making the actual project.

Cut the muslin fabric 1 inch larger than the size of the finished project. Prepare a grid for making the mesh foundation by measuring and drawing equal distance 1-inch intersecting diagonal lines on top of the muslin, or as otherwise indicated in the Irish lace pattern.

Crochet each Irish lace motif separately and finish off all foundation cords and stems as directed. Arrange the motifs on top of the muslin grid according to pattern. Baste each motif to the muslin in its centre, but leave the edges unattached. Join to other motifs only where the points touch. Shape motif cords and stems according to the design and baste in position. Weave all ends into the back of the lace.

Work the mesh foundation around the motifs by completing the first two rows of the foundation chain. With the right side up, baste it to the bottom line of the grid and work the third row. Continue to work the mesh foundation up the right side to the top of the motifs, stitching behind each motif as indicated in the pattern. Fasten off the thread and attach to the bottom left and work in the same manner as for the right side. Continue working across the tops of motifs from left to right picking up previously worked mesh foundation stitches where appropriate, and basting the mesh foundation to the grid as you stitch.

Make a lace border if desired or as specified in the pattern, working it around all sides of the mesh foundation.

Remove the completed Irish lace from the grid by carefully cutting and discarding the basting threads. Sew by hand to the home decor item or fashion accessory for which it was made. Tack any loose foundation threads and secure motifs by making a small stitch in each centre. Steam lightly without touching the lace to set in place.

Things You'll Need

  • Irish lace pattern
  • Home decor item or fashion accessory
  • Muslin fabric
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Light grey permanent waterproof fabric marker
  • Fine cotton or linen crochet thread
  • Steel crochet hook in size needed to obtain gauge
  • Basting thread
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Steam iron
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About the Author

Althea DeBrule has published over 500 articles about needlework, career, and religion since 2006, and currently writes for three popular blogs. Her articles have appeared on eHow and DeBrule has extensive experience as a needle artist, human resources executive, career consultant and executive coach. She holds a Master of Arts in pastoral ministry from Trinity Theological Seminary.