Lovers of lace are in many cases indifferent to whether it is of handmade or machine origin. That being said, in quite a great deal of other cases, there are countless individuals who greatly prefer a handmade type of lace over the machine-made variety. So for such folks, there are thankfully some very easy ways to tell the difference.
— The Tell-Tale Signs
To the untrained eye, the machine versus handmade lace appearance can seem very similar. One of the most common forms of lacing also provides an excellent case study for learning to spot this distinction — the Chantilly Bobbin Lace.
Even having two nearly identical pieces of lace side-by-side of Chantilly Bobbin Lace and one was machine-made and one was handmade, it would still be difficult to tell them apart without knowing exactly where to look. There is a specific area where the difference can be found.
Looking close in the areas knowns as “motifs” where there are half-stitches will show the clues needed to get to the bottom of a handmade versus machine-made question. The machine-made motifs (or shaded-areas) usually seem more sporadic and scattered as a way of filling in the area, rather than tight circles or semi-circle shaped patterns all interlocked.
— Should it Matter?
Whether it should matter or not is really a question of what the individual thinks. Some people are simply convinced of the sentiment that handmade beats machine made in all cases and generally speaking, that voice is so over-abundantly the dormant one that it drowns out everything else. When a motif is made by hand, this much can be said: more care and more attention needs to be put into each half-stitch, which has a certain result.
The handmade half-stitch in a Chantilly motif is usually more defined when the lace is made by hand compared to a machine-made lace of an very similar design. To that effect, usually prices are higher for handmade lace versus the machine-made counterpart. In the end, perhaps the discussion shouldn’t even be framed in terms of quality but simply effort.
Fans of the highest quality of lace or of the cheapest possible lace might stay and argue in favor of the machine-made variety but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a very special and important place for the handmade variety. It usually will cost more and thus the concern of not unintentionally paying for something that is supposed to be handmade when in fact it is really machine-made.
Spot the tell-tale signs of a machine-made lace piece and for all time— the piece in the bag is going to be the piece that really matches it’s price tag. Really, it is also a question of honor. It could really be an embarrassing moment to even unintentionally end up trying to pass off a piece of material as something that it isn’t, without even having any ill will. The investment of interest in being able to discern the difference always pays off for those who take the time to pursue knowing it.