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How to Stitch Cotton Freestanding Lace

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Craft a soft, natural look with freestanding lace embroidery specially created for cotton thread! These designs take advantage of cotton's unique texture to create light, open patterns reminiscent of handmade lace. Use this soft lace alone, or use it to accent garments and decor!

Project Needs & Notes

- Water-soluble stabilizer
  (Vilene or Sulky Ultra Solvy)
- 30-35 weight cotton thread
- Size 11 or 75/11 sharp sewing needle

For this tutorial, I used the Butterfly Ornament (Battenburg Lace) design. Find even more freestanding Battenburg lace designs here.

This project was featured in the following:
12 Top-Trending Embroidery Styles Lookbook

Designs Used

Battenburg lace designs are embroidered onto water-soluble stabilizer. When the stabilizer is soaked away, beautiful lace remains behind.

Battenburg lace is digitized for  30-35 weight cotton thread. This thread brings a classic, hearty, and traditional look to the lace pieces.

30-35 weight cotton thread is found under different names, such as mercerized cotton or
all-purpose cotton.

You will use the same thread in the top and the bobbin, too. Wind a bobbin with the cotton thread.

There are two main types of water-soluble stabilizer. One is clear and looks like plastic; an example brand name is Sulky Ultra Solvy.

The other kind is soft and fibrous, such as Vilene. Both will work well. Vilene is used in this demonstration.

Use a size 11 or 75/11 sharp sewing needle, instead of an embroidery needle.

A sharp sewing needle has a smaller, finer point than an embroidery needle. That means it will make smaller holes in the stabilizer.

Hoop the stabilizer firmly. Make sure it is nice and tight with no wrinkles.

Embroider the design. Battenburg lace uses two colors of thread. Remember to change the bobbin thread for the second color, too.

After embroidering, cut most of the stabilizer away. Then, soak in a bowl of water to remove the excess.

Air dry, and press.

Some lace designs have a tassel that embroiders with the rest of the design. To make the tassel lay correctly, iron it with a pressing cloth on top until all of the fringe lays flat and straight.

At Embroidery Library you'll find Battenburg lace designs in many shapes. Add them to pillows, towels, and garments for unique dimension and texture. You'll find specialty shapes for bookmarks and tree decorations too.

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