Tape Lace Mat: a Beginner's Lesson T14

  © Lorelei Halley 2015 


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diagram   reverse side. This photo is oriented to match the diagram below.

This lesson assumes you have worked through the Bobbinlace Lesson-Cloth Stitch, above. You should also work through Plaited lace lesson #1, which explains how to make braids and picots. Everything else will be explained in detail. 

I used 6 pairs of 20/2 weaving linen. Cordonnet crochet cotton #20 would work just as well (DMC, Lizbeth, or Anchor). The pattern is 6.5 inches at the widest part.

All the images are thumbnails. Click on the image to see the full size photo or diagram.

This pattern has no pinholes. This means you will have to estimate how far apart to place the pins. Many, perhaps most, tape lace patterns do not give pinholes. This is especially true of the European tape lace traditions of Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Russia. This actually allows you more freedom about choosing a thread size. If your thread is a bit too fine, you can add a passive pair, or reduce by one pair if it is a little too thick. The central passives should look like woven cloth, dense, but not be so dense that it is hard to neaten up the rows.

As you go around curves the pins should be set closer together around the inside of the curve, and a little further apart on the outside of the curve. On the outside this may leave a substantial gap, and you can put an extra twist on the outside edge pair then this gap occurs.
  • Set up the tape like this. Each line represents 1 thread.
  • Cloth stitch the first 2 pairs.
  • Twist the weaver once, at a.
  • Cloth stitch the weaver through the next 3 pairs (the central passives).
  • Twist the weaver once, at b.
  • Cloth stitch the weaver and the last pair, the edge pair.
  • Set the pin after 2 threads, so the weaver goes around the outside of the pin.
  • Twist the weaver 2x as it goes around the pin. This will make a hole to sew into later.
  • On every row, make sure you have 1 twist on the weaver in positions a and b.
  This is another way of describing this tape. Each line represents 1 pair.
The red intersections are TCTC.
The purple intersections are CTC.
But you will have to remember to put in compensating twists in positions a and b.

 Tape lace is held together by attachments called "sewings", which are made with a crochet hook. There are quite a few varieties which I have taken to calling "joinings". In this diagram a red dot indicates that you have to prepare to make a joining at that position.

The joinings that occur in this piece are the most commonly used ones -- long sewings, braids/plaits, and false braids.

As you work things will be happening on both sides of the tape, so you have to stay alert. The red dots are where you have to do something.

1 2-3 and 8-10-12 are both long sewings. There are 3 more that occur later. Also at 5-16-25-29-36.  The hatch marks represent twists.

4, 28, 31, 32, 33 and 35 are sewings where the tapes touch each other. At 6-15, 17-25, 18-24 there are sewings where the tapes are near but not touching. In these cases add 1 or 2 twists to the weaver to take up some room. (Twists take up space.)

7-13 and 20-23 are false braids (false plaits). A false plait is always started from the new part of the tape, and is thrown back to a finished segment of tape.

9 is a double braid, or a braid-going-and-returning. Another occurs at 34. The braid flower 11-14-19-21 is worked in the same manner.

But it is also possible to make a braid flower all in one movement, as at 27.

Start at the blue dot. Work the tape to #1. Then start a long sewing. Twist the weaver several extra times, 3 or 4, set the pin in the center and twist the weaver again, enough times to match the outward journey. Resume the tape.

But while all this is going on you have to remember to set pins on the inner edge of the tape a little closer together. And set the pins on the outside of the tape a little further apart.

You also may have to do turning stitches in some places.  See below.

  At the 2nd pass do the same, and just lay that long loop on top of the first long loop. 
At the last pass twist the weaver 3 or 4 times, then stick a crochet hook through both existing long loops and draw up the nearest thread of the weaver pair into another long loop. Then insert the other bobbin from that pair -- the green dot bobbin -- into the loop. Gently snug to remove the slack.  Reset the pin. Twist the weaver enough times to match the outward journey, and resume the tape.

Remember to set pins on the inner edge of the tape a little closer together. And set the pins on the outside of the tape a little further apart.  Pin placement may not be enough to get around the curve.

You may have to do turning stitches to help you get around the curve. In the photo left the red dots are where I did turning stitches.

 click for full size image
 In a turning stitch the weaver does not go all the way across the row but stops with the last central passive. 

Leaving the right hand edge pair unworked set a temporary pin so both the last passive and the weaver go around the right hand side of the pin. Set the pin to keep the passive pairs traveling smoothly along a path that matches the previous path.

The last passive (nearest the pin) will become the new weaver, and the old weaver will become a central passive.

On the next left-to-right row you will work a normal edge stitch.


At pin 4 do a simple sewing. Remove the pin from the completed tape. Stick the crochet hook into the loop on the completed part of the tape. Pull up a loop of the nearest thread of the weaver pair. Insert the other bobbin of that pair into the loop. Remove the slack, and stick the pin back into the same hole. Resume the tape.

When you set pin 6 twist the weaver at least 3 times. This will make a longish loop for sewing into later. The extra twists will strengthen the weaver. Set the pin halfway between the 2 tapes.

The yellow rings show places where sewings were done. If there is a small gap between the tapes twist the weaver a few extra times to cover the gap.

Whether or not you twist the weaver before or after doing a sewing depends on how far apart the tapes are. You want the line that the edge pair makes to be a smooth curve with no nips or indentations. Do whatever achieves this result.

At 5 start another long multiple sewing. You will lay down more loops at 16, 25, and 29. At 36 you will complete it by sewing through all 4 loops.

At 9 make a double braid (braid going and returning). The braid, which needs 2 pairs, is made with the weaver and the edge pair.

Start by making a hole, for sewing into later. Cloth stitch the weaver and edge pair, then twist both pairs at least 2x. The more twists, the bigger the hole and the easier it will be to do a sewing later. But large holes may be unsightly. When you are learning don't worry about large holes. Later when you have good skill with sewings you can make small holes.

Make a picot about halfway.  The knotted picots are better. But if you are having too much trouble with them at this stage, make a single thread picot instead. See Plaited Lace Lesson #1.  That lesson also explains how to make braids.


Sew into the weaver loop on the opposite tape. Some people pull up a loop of only 1 thread, and put only one bobbin into the loop. I think a double sewing is stronger. Pull up a loop of the 2 nearest bobbin threads. Then put the other 2 bobbins though the loop at the same time. Sometimes it works better to insert the bobbins into the loop from underneath, but sometimes it is better to insert them from the top. There is no rule. Just do it so as to make the neatest sewing while maintaining the smoothness of the braid.

After the sewing, resume the braid, working back toward pin 9. Make a picot halfway back.

Do another double sewing into the hole you made at pin 9.


At 13 start a braid flower. Make it by the method above. Except that the first time the braid goes to the center of the flower you have to make a hole to sew into later. Make the hole by twisting one pair 1x and the other 3x.  You can reduce the twists later when you find sewings easier.

At 14, 19 and 21 make the other 3 petals of the braid flower, making a double sewing into the central hole each time.



But before you do that you will need to make a false braid at 13.  A false braid starts as a long sewing. Twist the weaver several times to span the gap, and sew it into the previously completed part of the tape.

On the return journey sew it to itself.  You can twist it half as many times as you did on the outward journey, then sew, then twist again, half as many times as the 1st journey.

Or you can sew it to itself  2 or 3 times. Twist it just once or twice between sewings.

This will never be as smooth as a good braid, but it is a quick method of spanning a considerable gap, and it is used frequently.

Another one occurs at 23.


At 27 there is another braid star, but make that on all in one movement. Both methods are equally valid.

The method can be used for a 4 petal start, or to fill a larger space.

At the red dots make a hole for later sewing.
At the blue dots make a sewing into the weaver loop there.

At 27 make a hole. At the red dot in the center make another hole.

At a make a double sewing into the weaver loop.

Braid back to the center and sew into the center hole.

Braid to b, sew, braid back to the center and sew.

Do the same at c.

After sewing into the central hole, braid back to 27, sew into the hole there and resume the tape.

While all this is going on, don't forget to make picots at the black dots.



When you get back to the large blue dot you sew out at the end.  Each pair must be sewn into one of the beginning loops.  Don't make any knots until you have checked to make sure all loops have something sewn into them.
After all the sewings are done, knot each pair 2x. There are several ways to secure the ends. Look here for various options.


    Last edited:   10/04/16