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Bobbin lace footsides and straight edges.

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):
pic of lace Twisted footside       pic of lace Cloth footside       pic of lace Gimp footside

Winkie pin footsides:
pic of lace Winkie pin twisted footside       pic of lace Winkie pin cloth footside       pic of lace Winkie pin plaited footside       pic of lace Winkie pin gimp footside

Simple straight 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.

pic of lace Footside without passives

pic of lace Straight edge alongside solid area

Decorative straight edge

These are more complicated edges, which could be considered a type of headside. However, they are straight, so are described here.

pic of lace Rose ground edge

pic of lace Internal picot 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.

pic of lace Broad hole

pic of lace Narrow hole