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How to Buy Antique Alencon Lace Tablecloths, Napkins and Linens on Ebay

Updated on February 13, 2013

Antique French Alencon Lace for Your Dining Table!

Alencon lace is a wonderful light strong old lace from France. Not many machine made laces are this valuable and it is because of the hand sewn cordonnet tracing the machine woven lace design and production runs were limited and so this French lace is hard to find.

Floral designs are the most common and less expensive, mythical beasts and figural animals, dragons or birds are quite sought after. There were occasionally very rare commemorative tablecloths made of Alencon.

Alencon lace can be usually be found on tablecloths and napkins. Sometimes early fine linen Alencon lace trimmed the edges of boudoir pillows and lingerie. Beautiful lace similar to Alencon is used on wedding dresses and bridal wear and is very popular.

So let's give you some tips on buying Alencon lace wisely on Ebay. As an antique linen dealer on Ebay for 10 years, I am familiar with common questions and hope I can help.

Buying the Right sized Alencon Lace Tablecloth - You need to answer a few questions

-- What shape & size is your dining table?

-- How formal do you want the table to look?

-- How long of a drop would you like at the edge of the table?

A reasonable dinner tablecloth drop is 9", with up to 15" for the most formal dinners. Don't go any shorter than 6" as it will not hang properly because the lace is so light. It may catch sleeves and look strange. If you plan to have table extensions or leafs, buy for the most likely length at a holiday dinner occasion.

Here are some standard type Antique lace Alencon Tablecloths.

Unused Alencon Lace Tablecloths

Often with antique lace dinner table cloths, you can find unused wedding gifts, that need someone to finally use them after half a century in storage. They are great value and have their whole life ahead of them. Most Antique Alencon lace will still have the white "Made in France" woven ribbon with blue or red writing sewn in the corner and even better is the paper tag in the corner, then you know it was never laundered.

French Alencon Lace Tablecloth and Napkin Sets

These can be found and are a wonderful versatile and easy to care for antique dining set. If the tablecloth is over 100" it should definitely have 12 napkins, even over 86" should have 12 serviettes. Once you get to 72" length and under the set may only have 8 napkins and it not as valuable but it less expensive to buy. The smaller 4" square tea or luncheon lace tablecloths usually have 4-6 the luncheon set.

Bargain Antique Alencon Tablecloths

Alencon tablecloths will be cheaper with wear or repairs or stains, and are often quite acceptable below the drop. Smaller Alencon tablecloths, 72" or less may be quite a bit less and can be laid diagonally over large plain linen tablecloths for an attractive layering. Often shopping "mistakes" or overly damaged Alencon tablecloths make lovely net curtains and panels. The damage is often well hidden when the curtain is folded and layered.

Stains that are extremely hard to remove are sharpie marker, lipstick and candlewax. It can be done but you may damage the piece. Food type stains are easily removed and will net you a bargain.

Old Alencon Lace Napkins or Serviettes

Traditional linen or lace dinner napkins are over 16" square, with 20"+ considered more elegant and well to do. Luncheon type napkins for afternoon teas and parties are in the 12"-15" range. Alecon lace napkins will have lace in one corner usually and a hemstitched or handkerchief rolled hem in some cases. If you are lucky they will have the Made in France ribbon also.

Antique napkins and serviettes cost more in set of 12 as it is considered a compete set, so expect to pay more per napkin.

Looking for New Lace Tablecloths? - Check these out or browse using the search box!

I'd love to hear from you! - Let us know if you liked our lens today. Thanks for dropping by!

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    • askformore lm profile image

      askformore lm 

      5 years ago

      Very lovely lens and laces!

    • vetochemicals profile image


      6 years ago from Pittsburgh Pa

      These Alencon are beautiful laces, what a fun and valuable collectible too.

    • Rangoon House profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      Helpful hints - thank you.

    • skefflingecho profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Tobermory Ontario

      @buy-and-sell-on-ebay: Thanks for the great tips. Auction Stealer is another good bid sniping site. Last time I tried to bid myself, I messed jt up :-( A lots of lace items are mislabelled as crochet too, so look out for that.

    • skefflingecho profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Tobermory Ontario

      @collectors-corner: I know isn't it mind boggling? Thanks for dropping by and tho vote. Glad you enjoyed these beauties!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love lace tablecloth, I love all kind of lace to tell the truth. I just try to imagine all the work that went into each piece.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      As far as saving when buying on eBay goes:

      Use a site like to set up saved searches. You get an e-mail whenever a matching item is newly listed. Especially good for "Buy It Now"s that are priced right.

      Try a misspelling search using a site like to hopefully find some great deals with items that have main key words misspelled in the title. Other interested buyers might not ever see them.

      If you see an auction that you want to bid on, use a sniping service such as to place your bid for you. It'll bid in the last few seconds, helping you to save money and avoid shill bidding.

    • skefflingecho profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Tobermory Ontario

      @oxfordian: That sounds like real fun, and the beginnings of the habits of a lifetime! Thanks for stopping by, voting and sharing that image. Lovely!

    • oxfordian profile image


      7 years ago

      I LOVE lace tablecloths and dressing up my table. Every weekend when my kids were growing up, had formal pancake breakfasts for my kids and the housefull of kids that spent the weekends with us. Lace tablecloths, matching napkins, proper manners -- and the kids loved it!


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