Fundamental Freestanding Lace

Freestanding lace may look complicated, but it’s not. See just how easy it is to create lace right in your embroidery hoop!

With the right stabilizer and a bit of patience, creating freestanding lace (FSL) is really quite easy.

Freestanding Lace Fundamentals

Start with a water-soluble stabilizer (WSS). Use the fabric type or the kind that looks like milky plastic. I usually start off with one layer and add others if it becomes necessary.

Freestanding Lace snowflake from Oma's Place.

Not just any design will stitch out as freestanding lace. Designs must be digitized in a special way to be freestanding. Stitches build upon each other so that they do not come apart when stitching is done and stabilizer is washed away.

I am using the FSL Snowflakes from Oma’s Place. Use the same color thread in the bobbin as that with which you are stitching since both the front and back will show.

Tape tail threads out of the way to keep them from getting embedded in the layers of stitching. Tie them off after embroidery is finished. You can see that a slight hole has started near the top center point.

Freestanding Lace Fundamentals

To prevent a stabilizer malfunction, you could add a patch of WSS stabilizer. Since FSL typically has a high stitch count concentrated in one area, I opted to add an additional layer of WSS to the back of the hoop, over the embroidery.

The stabilizer will all wash out in the end, so adding layers and patches will not ruin your final design.

Freestanding Lace Fundamentals.

When changing thread colors, bring the bobbin thread to the top. That prevents it from getting buried within the rest of the stitches. White may not show as much but it would be nearly impossible to pick out any red thread stitched into the snowflake.

Freestanding Lace snowflake from Oma's Place.

When embroidery is finished, remove everything from the hoop. You will probably look at this and wonder how it will ever become a beautiful, lacy snowflake.

Freestanding Lace snowflake from Oma's Place.

Trim away as much WSS as possible, then soak away the rest per the stabilizer manufacturer’s instructions. Several rinses may be necessary. Not washing away all of the WSS in the stitches keeps the lace crisp.

Freestanding Lace snowflake from Oma's Place.

Pat dry with a paper towel and lay flat to dry. Beautiful lace magically appears!