Edging, trim or lace can be crocheted by hand. Instructions for edging patterns can be found online at free pattern crochet sites and at libraries with a good craft section. You may also be able to find patterns in your great-grandmother's collection of old patterns and magazines, such as The Workbasket.
Hand-crocheted edgings and trims were made in the 1700s to 1800s by home artisans and nuns. This was the start of the Irish cottage industry. The clientele included milliners, seamstresses and wealthy housewives or socialites. Fine hand-crocheted trims were made for a new bride's gown, trousseau and linens. Simple black lace and trims were made for mourning gowns and head coverings. Patterns were made available for the needleworker, who was then able to add decorative touches to her home. Free vintage patterns are available on crochet websites. See the Resources section for some links.
Hand-crocheted edgings are made with small steel crochet hooks. The tiny hooks are manipulated to make delicate stitches with fine threads and crochet cotton. The edgings are worked in single, double, treble, fillet and picot crochet. Patterns of seashells, fans, flowers and pineapples are produced by skilled crocheters. Edgings can be worked directly onto an item. Most edgings are crocheted and then hand-sewn to the project. You can edge handkerchiefs, table runners, curtains and place mats.
Simple Edging Pattern
Row 1: Choose a No. 8 or other small steel crochet hook and crochet a chain that is about two inches longer than you need for your project. Work six double crochets into the fifth chain from the hook. Skip three stitches and single crochet in the next stitch, then skip three stitches and work seven double crochets in the next stitch. Repeat the previous step for the entire length of the edging. Turn and chain three. Row 2: Double crochet between the first two double crochets, chain two. Then make one double crochet between the next two double crochets, and then chain two from there to the end of the row. Turn, chain four. Row 3: Single crochet in the first chain two space, chain three. Single crochet in the next chain two space and chain three to the end of the row. Slip stitch and tie off at the end of the edging row. Cut the crochet thread. Sew the edging to your project by hand with matching thread.