Freestanding Lace Tips and Tricks

It’s really pretty easy to stitch fabulous freestanding lace (FSL) with these tips! What once took weeks to make can now be stitched in minutes on our embroidery machines. We can mimic hand crochet doilies, edging, and ornaments using specially digitized FSL designs. Then, all that you need is water-soluble stabilizer (WSS) and a bit of patience. These tips will help!

Not all designs are suitable as FSL. Specific designs are digitized to interconnect so that the project doesn’t fall apart after you rinse away the WSS.

  • Use any thread type that you like. Rayon and silk threads give a lovely sheen and fluid drape. Polyester threads will give you slightly less shine and a bit stiffer drape, while cottons will mimic more of a traditional look. Even some metallic threads work beautifully.
  • Use the same thread in the bobbin as that with which you are stitching.
  • Pull the bobbin thread to the top when you start embroidering to prevent thread tails from becoming buried under stitching. If the design contains jump stitches, trim them as you go, front and back, for the same reason.
  • Water-soluble films can tear or perforate, especially with dense or high-stitch count designs. If you get a hole in your stabilizer, make a patch!
  • Keep your WSS scraps. Since they rinse away, you can use them for extra layers to support high-stitch areas as well as to patch holes. Wet the edges, smooth onto the hooped WSS, and let it dry. Get a recipe for making a stiffening spray from WSS scraps here.
  • The more you rinse the final piece, the softer the lace will be. The less you rinse, the stiffer the lace will be.
  • Use paper toweling to remove as much water as possible from the rinsed lace. Rubber brayer rollers help to flatten the piece for drying.

What FSL tips do you have?

Debbie Henry
Sew Inspired by Bonnie

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