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