Vintage Rick Rack Lace and Free Patterns

1-rick rack pillow

The pillow is red silk dupioni trimmed with vintage rick rack lace and antique buttons. The center panel with monogram was stitched on an antique linen damask napkin.


I’ve always been enchanted by old textiles, laces in particular.  Rick rack lace is one of the most unique and intriguing in my collection.


RickRackLace blue


It sounds so tacky!  Certainly it can be and undoubtedly some good-taste challenged lady in the 40’s or 50’s created some unattractive yardage using this technique.  But it can be so charming, if not delicate.

RickRackLace green

Rick rack lace seems to have been very popular for towel and pillowcase edgings.  In fact, I have a length of it in red and white that was obviously used on a pillow slip.  The sturdiness of this trim makes it very suitable for heavily laundered items.


RickRackLace yellow


This white length is my favorite.  I would love to have enough to edge a baby blanket, but instead will have to settle on using it for trim on doll dresses for granddaughter Laurel’s American Girl Molly.  She was a miss of the 40’s so her time frame is appropriate for its use.  I envision it around the raised waist of a velveteen dress.  The texture contrast would be very pleasing, I think.


RickRackLace white crop


This 1952 needlework book includes several patterns/directions for making rick rack lace.


RickRack Lace booklet


While the photo showing styles is certainly representative of the popular color waves of that time, the lace is very intricate and would be beautiful, I think, in neutrals or pastels.


rickrack lace book pics


If I could really crochet, I’d try making some lengths of one or two patterns.  I wish one of you readers would make some and let us know how it goes.

UPDATE:  I found this site with wonderful pictures of rick rack lace.  Check it out.

Here are the directions.  If you are unsuccessful in copying the image, post a comment requesting me to e-mail it to you.

This is my White Wednesday post at Faded Charm.

RickRack Lace dir1



23 responses to “Vintage Rick Rack Lace and Free Patterns

  1. Just when I think I’ve “seen it all” in needlework, you surprise me with something cool! I love this idea and I’d like to try it sometime, but I will have to order some nice cotton rick rack first. Did you notice that it is made with #20 or 30 crochet thread, which is very fine? I have done the baby blanket edgings with #10 which is pretty fine, too, so these edgings will be quite delicate. Thanks for sharing the pictures and the patterns! You must have quite a collection of vintage books: what will you thrill us with next??

  2. Now I need to learn to crochet! It was very generous of you to copy the instructions as well as the beautiful pictures.

  3. Lisa, I did notice how fine the crochet thread is–I think that’s what elevates rick rack lace from lowly to lovely. I doubt it is much fun poking that sharp little #14 crochet hook into that dense, 1950 rick rack. I have a box of rick rack from that era which I almost threw out. It was soaked in rainwater that had filtered through two stories of insulation, flooring and plaster after Hurricane Charley blew a tree onto our roof. By the time I got to it, the stuff was pretty nasty. But I just couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. I hand washed and draped probably 150 yards from curtain rod to curtain rod around the house and it took days to dry in our humidity. Then it had to be pressed. Whew!
    My old needlework mags and how-to books are some of my dearest treasures. I plan to share more of these unusual, rarely seen techniques and projects in future blogs. The wide world of needlework, old and new, provides an endless supply of creative inspiration. I’d love for you to make some–I bet it would be entirely different than these pictures.

  4. While I was writing this post, I thought, “Jeannie B. will love this.” Bingo! So glad you enjoyed it.

  5. Jo, we both need to learn to crochet! I bet we could come up with some very heirloom-y yardage. I’m glad you enjoyed this post.

  6. I love this! I have been crocheting edgings on wee care gowns! I want some for me now! Maybe some pretty pillowcases!!! So much I want to do…so very little time!

  7. Janice, I bet that rick rack drying was a sight to see, but I couldn’t have thrown it out, either. I have a small collection of old magazines and a larger collection of old patterns and I like sharing them, too! I was thinking that a simple crochet between a baby blanket edge and the points of the rick rack would be pretty- almost like fagotting. Maybe I’ll try to figure that out. Looking forward to more interesting techniques from your “stash”!!

  8. Crochet edgings are so sweet on little things. But you deserve some pretties so get those hooks into something for you! I think we all have the same lament–we need more time! I’d like an 8-day week, a 27 hour day. But would that be enough?

  9. June mellinger

    You amaze me. I have to find a way to improve my blog. I guess that could be my 2012 resolution. Then again it is not too easy to do a blog from an iPad and work at the same time. Back to my knitting. Forgot to say that I do remember what a great job you and Suzanne did to teach the Brother educators about antique laces. Can you two do another week long retreat? I would come. It was great!

  10. Merry Gay Lape

    Janice, this is wonderful. I’ve only crocheted with the #10 thread, so the #20 and #30 would be a challenge. I’m going to make a copy of this and will play with it when I get some time. At the moment, I am up to my neck in projects to get finished before I start something else. I did get that little receiving blanket finished with the sweet little embroidery that you gave me early on in the football season. I crocheted an edging along the edge of that. I need to take a picture of it and send it to you so you can see how well it turned out. Thanks again for the embroidery that I used on it.

  11. What memories this brings back! My mother did lots of crochet and all the bits and pieces of old edgings that I found in her house when she passed away are a true treasure to me. Never mind that I can’t use them all……they’re just sitting in a drawer and waiting until we return to the lake in northen MN this summer and once more I’ll drool over each piece and dream about how it could be used. I think I might even have the book that you have photographed here or at least one like it. Guess I’ll have to dig in my closet today. Keep up your great blogs……I so look forward to each one!

  12. Shirley, I have finally come to the conclusion that these bits and pieces do not necessarily HAVE to be used. Just enjoying them, as you would art or flowers, is often enough justification for keeping them. I’m glad you have some to enjoy.

  13. I’d LOVE to see a picture of the receiving blanket, Merry. Getting unfinished projects finished is a forever goal of mine. Let me know if you actually finish everything!

  14. What are you knitting, June? It had been at least 20 years since I had done any knitting when Laurel wanted to learn. Since then, I’ve really had the urge. The new yarns are so lovely! About another sewing retreat, I would LOVE to. I’ll chat with Suzanne about it.It would be great just to spend some time with you again. I miss you, June!

  15. When I first read the post I noticed the 20-30 weight crochet cotton and thought, Where or where would I find something like that today?? Then I read the other posts… that seemed to catch most eyes. What my mind started to wonder was how could this be achieved at the machine? Using a combination of decorative stitches with something like a Cotona madeira weight cotton thread in the top and bobbin…. My mind is whirling right now…. Could you send the picture of the “laces?” I’d like to zoom in closer and see the details. I love rick rack and hand stitches together….but crocheting isn’t my favorite, I like knitting… that hook always throws me off. Hope you’re feeling better

  16. WOW! It would be fabulous if you could do this on the machine! I’ll send the pics so you can enlarge them as much as you like. This is exciting!

  17. please send me by email the patterns for the rick rack lace. I am fascinated.

  18. The directions have been sent to you, Mary. Please share pictures of any that you make.

  19. The lace is fantastic! Could I have the pattern? I did my best to set my mind on understanding, how it is knitted – it seems to be not very complicated, and I am afraid of being not successful…

  20. Galina, this rick rack lace IS fantastic, isn’t it? The pattern at the end of the post includes the only directions that I have. Because I have never made any of this lace, I can’t give you any advice other than to say that it appears to me that the rick rack is joined with crochet rather than knitting. At least the directions all seem to be for crochet. I hope you can figure this out and make some up. If so, would you please share a photo and your comments?

  21. i have a beautiful Rick rack laced item that was given to me… Would love to figure how the yard was stiticed on the Rick rack..

  22. Vela, that sounds very interesting. I’d love to see a picture of it. Maybe we can figure it out.

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