Aponce is a French word, meaning to join by overlapping.    It appears in the book “Cluny de Briode” but does not appear in any dictionary of lace making terms, or any French dictionary for that matter.    Thanks to Helene, she has been able to get a definitive explanation from a French lacemaking friend.  Here is her email to Gumlace on the subject:

Helene says:   Well, I did spend most of yesterday with my French lacemaker friend, and I remembered to ask about aponce and its meaning!!!!!

She happens to be doing a course by correspondence on pattern drawing, and she found her course book, which has a lot of articles from La Dentelle and others publications to illustrate the lessons. One of the chapters is about Aponcage, which is the act of aponcer something.  I shall email a scan of the first page to Noelene, it’s in French, and the author is Michel Jourde, so you can’t go much further for authenticity of the information!!!!  Nicole thinks it comes from an old copy of La Dentelle, when Michel Jourde was active.

So I will translate the first paragraph here for you.

First, aponcer does mean joining together the beginning and the end of a piece of lace, or, I suppose, joining 2 lengths of the same lace together to make a longer length…However, they are talking about the old way of joining, like he Belgian laces still practice, or Chantilly…, which is to make an extra bit of lace and cutting the threads off so you can put the 2 ends on top of each other, match the pattern and then stitch the 2 pieces together while they lay flat on top of each other. That might be why we couldn’t understand why it was better not to make picots at the end….

The text:     THE APONCES  :       Pour answer the request from numerous readers (of La Dentelle) who have difficulties joining both ends of a piece of lace, we thought of giving you some general instructions.

First of all, when you make linear lace,it is necessary to make a few extra centimetres so you can superimpose the identical motives and grounds.

The lace from the beginning of a length must be able to be laid exacty on to the end of the length to precisely hide each stitch.
Once you have selected where your aponce is going to be, you must fix the 2 laces together on both sides of it (the aponce site) with a holding thread, so the lace doesn’t move.

2 stitches are used for the aponce : a rolling stitch for the cords (not sure of the exact translation) and a stopping stitch on the intersections of the cords, cloth stitch, half stitch, ground or footside.

….M. Jourde goes on to demonstrate howto use these 2 different sewing stitches to do an aponcage.


There you are, ladies, aponce really means join!!!!